Thursday, January 31, 2019

It's "Groundhog Day" ... Again-- Part 1: Stories, Awakening and Trivia Today

From the Woodstock, Illinois, "Groundhog Day" Festival site.

Woodstock is where the famous "Groundhog Day" movie was filmed back in the 1980s.  Many sites around town, and especially the famous Woodstock Square were featured in the movie.  Most of the events listed here also take place on or near the Woodstock Square.

Every year Woodstock has a festival devoted to the movie and, of course, the day.

Woodstock Willie, both the mascot and a real groundhog will be making an appearance.



Groundhog Stories

Awakening of the Groundhog

"Groundhog Day" Trivia


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Having Fun in the Cold, Snow and Beer-- Part 3: "Meet the Beatles", "Green Book", Band and Sunnyside


Bob Stroud Spotlighted the Beatles' "Meet the Beatles" album today on his Rock and Roll Roots show in Chicago's frozen WDRV, 97.1 FM.  This was the Beatles' first album (not download) and it was released this week back in 1964.  Remember all that screaming from the girls and Mrs. Paul McCartney.  Of course, I recorded Terri Hemmert's Breakfast With the Beatles on WXRT on my cassette tape.

I went to the Fox Lake Theatre and saw a movie I had been wanting to see and now that it is nominated for Best Picture on the Academy awards, they finally showed it, "Green Book."  This movie gets my vote for Best Picture, but my vote doesn't count.

And, gas in Fox Lake was $1.96!!!   The lowest I've seen it in a long time.

Liz and I went to Stucky's in Johnsburg where they were having a going away party and enjoyed a band.  Later we stopped in for awhile at Sunnyside.


Having Fun In the Cold, Snow and Beer-- Part 2: Civil War and A Chili Cookoff


Temperature at Woodstock, about 16 miles from here at -12 degrees this morning.    By 3 p.m., it was 6 degrees.  But sun out and really didn't feel that cold.

Drove to Crystal Lake for the McHenry County Civil War Round Table discussion group meeting at Panera Bread in US-14 (Northwest Highway).  Topic today was Hood's 1864 Tennessee Campaign (which I will write about in my Saw the Elephant:  Civil War blog next month).  We also discussed the attacks on Confederate heritage.

Stopped at a favorite place, Barnes & Noble on the way home and bought two of my favorite magazines:  "Naval History" and "Civil War Monitor."

Later, we went to the Legion and I gave post commander Kelly pictures of World War II veteran Ray Merrick who was in the Asian Theater during the war.  I wrote about him in my Tattooed On Your Soul:  World War II blog earlier this month.  She will be putting those pictures along with my posts in the Legion newsletter.

We were at the Legion also for the Rotary Club's annual Chili Cookoff held in the Legion hall.  This is always one of the best cookoffs as there are always 25+ samplings.

And, I Loves My Chili!!!  --RoadDog

Monday, January 28, 2019

Having Fun In the Cold, Snow & Beer-- Part 1: Popeye's and the Legion

This last week or so has been a stressful one around here in northeast Illinois.  We had 5-6 inches of snow on the 19th, another 5-6 inches on the 22nd and 23rd.  And, we have not been above freezing in all that time.  Last night we had another 7 inches and right now another two inches.  But what really is looming is the sub-zero temperatures looming for the rest of the week, with -40 to -55 degree wind chill temperatures.  Now, that's cold.

But, we're managing:

FRIDAY, JANUARY 25--  We went to Popeye's (not the fried chicken chain) in Lake Geneva, overlooking the lake and the new Ice Castle that opened this weekend.  This week Lake Geneva is preparing for its annual Winter festival complete with the National Snow Sculpting Contest.  I don't think they need to worry about it melting.

Later to the Fox Lake American Legion for 50-50.


Friday, January 25, 2019

Along 66, December 2018: Govt. Shutdown Impacts Some National Parks

DECEMBER 22--  The U.S. Government's partial shutdown is affecting some, but not all U.S. National Parks.  This is not a big impact on Route 66 because it is off-season right now.

The Grand Canyon is staying open.

But, the shutdown has impacted some:

Midewin Tallgrass National Prairie in Wilmington, Illinois
Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois
Old Courthouse and Gateway Arch in St. Louis
Petrified Forest National Park in eastern Arizona

Somebody Does Not Play Well With Others.  Detention Time.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Along 66, Dec. 2018: Mother Jones "The Most Dangerous Woman In America"

DECEMBER 22--  The Mother Jones historical marker was unveiled at the Coalfields Rest Area on I-55 in Illinois.  Union activist and the lady politicians feared was a major figure in the coal fields in southern Illinois.

The marker is 4 X 4 feet and there is also an indoor exhibit.  Of course, her memorial and grave is in nearby Mt. Olive, Illinois.

At one time she was called "The Most Dangerous Woman In America."

And, there is the story that FDR once ducked out of a meeting when he learned that Mother Jones was there and in the mood for a confrontation.

Always make John Q. Public aware of history.  Get 'em off those "idge" phones.


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

2017 Indy 500-- Part 3: Urban Renewal On Speedway's Main Street

We went to Speedway's Main Street area because there is a big-time urban renewal going on there.  Every year there are more places opening and buildings being repurposed.  The first years we went there, it was a bit "long at the tooth."  The word slum almost came to mind.  But the least several years the town has become aware of how good of a money-maker this area, within easy walking distance of the raceway, and not just during race days, but year round.

One of our favorite new places now is Daredevil Brewing, a craft beer place that finally opened last year.  We enjoy buying a flight of 4 beers for $8.  They have a chart of their offerings so you can get an idea of what each has.  We then take turns sampling and rating the offerings on its finer points.  One of these was a strong kicker at 9%.

We went through a second flight.

At the end of this, we each pick the one we liked the best.  I picked a char-smoked English porter with a real smoky flavor.  I do really like craft brews, but am definitely not keen on the $5-$6 prices.

While at the brewery, we enjoyed watching two-seater Indy cars from the building next door taking people for rides around the Main Street area.


Monday, January 21, 2019

Along 66, Dec. 2018: Of Spook Lights and Afton Station

DECEMBER 17--  Spook Light legend debunked more than 70 years ago.

This is located in the Tri-State area of Missouri,Oklahoma and Kansas., near Hornet, Missouri.

The "cause" of the Spook Light, they say, are cars on Route 66.

DECEMBER 20--  The majority of the Packard automobile collection at Afton Station has been sold and hauled away.  They belonged to the late David Kane.  His wife, laurel operated the Afton Station for years before her death.

The future of the station is uncertain at this time and folks are unsure whether it will reopen.

We are very sorry to see the place close.  Afton should do everything they can to keep the place open.  This town is in dire shape.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Along 66, December 2018: Washburn, Texas, Now A Route 66 Town

DECEMBER 16--  Texas now considers the small town of Washburn as being on Route 66.  After going through maps and records, they have reached this conclusion that the 120 people of this unincorporated town, part of the Amarillo metropolitan area can now claim that honor.

The town's Route 66 section existed 1926-1928.

There are 178 miles of Route 66 going through Texas' Panhandle.


Thursday, January 17, 2019

2017 Indy 500-- Part 2: All That Rain and Jim Cornelison


We talked with some fellow RVers who said that they had been there since Tuesday and that it had rained every day which would account for all the eater standing on the grounds.  It was a bit chilly sitting outside for cocktails.

While sitting there we could hear Chicago Blackhawks "Star-Spangled Banner" singer Jim Cornelison practicing "Carry Me Back to Indiana" in preparation for Sunday's show.  At 4:34 we could hear Indy cars going around the track.

We found that the Speedway Legion was being very strict on admittance this year to their building as three weeks ago they had been busted by authorities.  They are considered a private club.

We decided to walk over to the Main Street in Speedway to see what had happened there since last year.


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

2017 Indy 500-- Part 1: We're Off With the Sliders and Bumps

MAY 25, 2017, Thursday

Met Sue and Paul and later John, Paul's brother, at their place by Long Lake (Chicago Northwest suburbs) and left.  Made our prescribed stop at the Gurnee, Illinois, White Castle for a case of the good stuff (20 Sliders) and were on out interstate way at I-294 to I-65 in Indiana then on to the racetrack.

We go in Sue and Paul's RV who take turns driving.  But, it always seems that poor Sue gets the roughest driving stretches.

This section of I-65 has to be the worst for bumps, clatters and teeth-rattling anywhere in the U.S. (yes, even worse than the manhole covers on US-12 in Fox Lake).  Of course, RV suspensions aren't the best, but golly.

Gas in Lafayette, Indiana, was $2,26, in Indianapolis $2.18.  Always, the closer you are to expensive town Chicago, the more expensive the gas.

We have had a camping spot at the American Legion Post 500 in Speedway for the last several years and this is a prime spot as we are right across the street from the race track.  Makes getting back and forth mighty easy.  Just a short walk.

We are in a small grove of trees and in the past on grass, but most of our site now is asphalt.  There was a lot of standing water around as they have been hit the last few days with heavy rain.

Rattle Me Bones.  --RoadChatter

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Along 66, December 2018: Route 66 in Lebanon, Springfield (Illinois) Buys Sonrise Donuts Sign

DECEMBER 15--  Some residents in Lebanon, Missouri, would like to change the name of Elm Street to Route 66.  A Missouri State Law from 1999 says they  can do it.  I am always for anything naming Route 66.

DECEMBER 15--  The city of Springfield bought both sides of the Sonrise Donuts sign.  Ace Signs in Springfield will restore one side at no cost.  They will be using online financing for the other side..

It will come to $22,000 for both sides.

The city had no definite plans for the signs as of now.

Ace Signs is to be commended for all the sign restoration work they are doing.  Hopefully they will have a sign museum in the future which would be great for Springfield since they lost the Bill Shea museum.


Monday, January 14, 2019

NIU Homecoming 2018-- Part 14: No 'Stompers But Good Time Anyway

Continued from January 8, 2019.

As I said, Lord Stanley's was crowded, but not near wall-to-wall as it is when the Footstompers play.  We were kind of hoping that the group would "come" out of retirement at least for this date.  Hey, I mean it just isn't a Huskie homecoming without the 'Stompers.  But, there was hide nor hair of any of them (and we would definitely recognize the three original members still with the group as we have grown "old" together).

And then we were hoping that Lord Stanley's would at least have another band playing, but they didn't.  Too bad.  We did get to watch the last quarter of the Huskie homecoming game and despite doing pretty much everything to lose the game, we won!!!  Now, had the 'Stompers been there we would have had a rousing rendition of the Huskie Fight Song.  But no.  We sang it ourselves anyway.

A good-sized crowd anyway.  Two people fell down off their bar stools due to severe gravity storms.  And both of them were at least in their sixties.  You just can't teach an old Huskie new tricks.

We had a couple pitchers then drove back to the motel and went to Pizza Pro's across the Lincoln Highway from the motel.  We watched all sorts of football games on the TVs and had some good conversations.

A Huskie Good Time.  --RoadDog

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Gone But Not Forgotten for 2018

Yesterday, January 11, 2019,  (and I remembered 2019 and not 2018) Bob Stroud did this topic on his Ten at Ten on Chicago's WDRV, 97.1 FM.  The list was of songs musicians who died last year were involved with, either solo or in a group.

Song-- performer--  name of deceased

JAILHOUSE ROCK--  Elvis--    D.J. Fontana
HOLD YOUR HEAD UP--  Argent--  Jim Rodford
MIRACLES--  Jefferson Starship--  Marty Balin

COVER OF THE ROLLING STONE--  Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show--  Ray Sawyer
THINK--  Aretha Franklin
DRIVIN' WHEEL--  Foghat--   Craig MacGregor
GO NOW--  Moody Blues--  Ray Thomas

GRAZIN' IN THE GRASS--  Hugh Masakela
SWEET HOME ALABAMA--  Lynyrd Skynyrd--  Ed King
SENTIMENTAL LADY--  Fleetwood Mac (original)  Danny Kerwin

Tomorrow, Sunday, January 13, he will do his whole Rock and Roll Roots show from 7 to 10 a.m. CST on Gone But Not Forgotten, and I believe I heard him mention the show will be replayed at night as well.

It streams, so give it a listen.

I also kept a running list throughout 2018 on my Down Da Road I Go blog.  Go to this blog and click on any entry Headlined "Music Deaths" and click on Music Deaths in 2018 for all of them.

Thanks for the Music.  --RoadDog

Along 66, December 2018: Sonrise Donuts Sign in Sptingfield, Illinois

DECEMBER 12--  Sonrise Donuts sign in Springfield, Illinois,  is being auctioned off.  The sign is nearly 70 years old and very striking.  The building it sits atop in a non-doughnut tenant and no longer wants it there as people keep coming in asking for you-know-whats.

One side of it is now at $3,000 and the other at $2,500.

The sign, located at 1101 S. Ninth Street (Route 66 alignment) has been off for many years.

Sonrise Donuts closed in 1998 after the death of long-tern owner Don "Donuts" Greenslade.  Sonrise opened in 1947 by Byron Figuera, who bought the sign two years later..  Greenslade was a former employee, bought the business in 1967 and at one point made over 400 varieties of donuts a day.

The sign shows a rising sun with the words "SONRISE DONUTS  Famous For  Coffee Bar."


Friday, January 11, 2019

Along 66, December 2019: Death of Bill Deck and Tulsa's Route 66 Rising Sculpture

DECEMBER 5--  Bill Deck of Deck's Drugstore in Girard, Illinois, has died at age 91.

His brother, Bob (who died in 2013 at age 83) and he were co-owners of the store which later became known as Doc's Pharmacy and Museum.

DECEMBER 11--  It is at the traffic circle at Mingo Road and Admiral Place in Tulsa, the original Route 66.

It costs $650,000 and is 70 feet long and 30 feet high.  Designed by Eric F. Garcia of Albuquerque.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Along 66, December 2018: Denny's Windmill and Country Classic Cars

Stories taken from the Route 66 News blog site.

DECEMBER 2--    Denny's windmill in Arcadia, California, spinning again.  It fell off last year.  Denny's purchased the site in 1989 and spent $100,000 refurbishing it at that time.  It is on an original Route 66 alignment.

Saw a picture of it and next time through there, we'll be stopping.  That is one neat-looking windmill.  Definitely a tourist attraction.

DECEMBER 2--  A series of an estimated 15 tornadoes struck the Staunton, Illinois, area and severely damaged the Country Classic Cars complex nearby (off I-55).  They are having some bad luck after a destructive fire in 2017.

I haven't heard anything about damage to Rich Henry;s Rabbit Ranch so guess he had no damage.


Monday, January 7, 2019

This Is My Very First Blog, 13th Year and 5414th Post.

This was the first of my seven blogs.  I started it on April 26, 2007, in White House, Tennessee, with help from my niece Andrea.  I had been wanting to start a blog for awhile, but am fairly technologically challenged so need help from one of those who knows.

This is my 5414th post since then and 13th year.

I intended this to be the only blog and write about things from the old roads like Route 66, the National Road and Lincoln Highway.  But, I also have other interests which why I have seven blogs all together.  My other blogs are to the right of this in the My Blogs column.

I Need To Get A Life, But Sure Enjoy It.  --RoadDog

Friday, January 4, 2019

NIU Homecoming 2018-- Part 13: Andy's and Bands


Besides the DeKalb Footstompers, Andy's in DeKalb also served as a starting point for Mr. Myers, a reggae/Caribbean band and Howard & the White Boys, a rockin' blues band.  We sure had fun with those groups and still catch Mr. Myers around here on occasion.

Sadly, however, both Andy's and McCabe's are closed these days.  I sure wish they reopen these two places.

We went into Lord Stanley's which gets its name from the Stanley Cup and is a huge Blackhawks bar.  There is hockey stuff all over the place.  A great place to watch a game.  There are two levels, but the upper level has been closed ever since a girl fell from it back in the 1980s.

And, today, Lord Stanley's was a destination for lots of NIU alumni, including us.  The DeKalb Footstompers have played here for the last twenty years for every Northern Homecoming.  But sadly, this year they weren't.  They called it quits after 45 years and played their last shows this summer.

We always would leave the Huskie football game early so we could get seats at Lord Stanley's.  If you waited to the end of the game, you would have to stand.   But there were far fewer people there today since they weren't going to play, so we got seats at the bar very easily.


NIU Homecoming 2018-- Part 12: The DeKalb Footstompers At Andy's


Those two bars across the street and to the east of Lord Stanley's, Andy's and McCabes, are special to Liz and me, especially Andy's.

Andy's used to be strictly what we called a "townie" bar, one frequented by townspeople, not students.  But my fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, and Alpha Kappa Lambda started going in there and pretty soon it was both a townie and student bar.

We spent a lot of time in Andy's, especially on quarter beer night.  (We were, of course, all of legal drinking age.)  Cheap beer all the time, a great juke box and bands.  Hard to beat that.  And, it was one of those "Dive Bars."  Nothing to look at, but comfortable.

We continued going to Andy's after graduation and it would not be a homecoming without a visit.  Over the years we saw several bands there who remain favorites despite lineup changes.

By far our favorite was the DeKalb Footstompers, a four piece band with drums, guitar, a tuba and accordion.  You haven't lived until you hear their version of "Purple Haze" with those instruments.  When they played "When the Saints Go Marching" they led the crowd outside and up and down the Lincoln Highway with the bouncers hectically and anxiously grabbing drinks that weren't allowed out on the street.

We saw them Homecoming 1973, their first year together and then saw them at homecoming most every year until 2016.  (We missed them last year, 2017, because of bad weather and lack of a motel room.)  Three of the four members were original.

Also, a Great Polka Band.  --RoadStomper

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Changes to Blogs for 2019

I spend way too much time researching and writing these blogs.  One wouldn't be so bad, but I have seven of them.  So I need to make some changes.

I could either drop several of the blogs or reduce the numbers I post for each one.  However, I enjoy each one of my blogs.  That would be too hard to do.

Up until now, I have always striven for an average of one post per day per blog.  So my minimum posts would be 365 a blog.  Starting now, I am shooting for a minimum of 20 posts per month, per blog.  That means 240 posts per blog as a minimum.

Also, taking Saturdays, Sundays and holidays off.

I'm Thinking That Would Work.  --RoadDog

Road Cruisin' Songs for '19-- Part 2: "Already Gone"

DING DONG--  George Harrison
RAISED ON ROBBERY--  Joni Mitchell

U.S. BLUES--  Graeteful Dead

NUMBER 9 DREAM--  John Lennon
YOU'RE NO GOOD--  Linda Ronstadt

TIME OUT--  Joe Walsh
TROUBLE NO MORE--  Muddy Waters

Name That Tune (from the above songs):  "So You Think Your Schooling's Phony."  Answer below:  --RoadDog

"Bloody Well Right"

How About Some Road Songs for the New Year-- Part 1: 1974 "Tell Me Something Good"

And, we'll be going back to 1974, my first year out of college and first year teaching.

These were some of the songs played on WXRT's, 93.1 FM Chicago Saturday Morning Flashback on December 1, 2018.  Every Saturday, they spotlight a year from 9 to noon, Central Time.

Good music and good comments and observations.

RIDE MY TIGER--  Jefferson Starship
SPANISH MOON--  Little Feat
BRIDGE OF SIGHS--  Robin Trower

I SHOT THE SHERIFF--  Eric Clapton

TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD--  Chaka Khan & Rufus
MIRAGE--  Santana
TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE.--  Rolling Stones

I'm not sure how much longer it will go, but Chicago's WDRV 97.1 FM, the Drive" is playing some 2000+ songs from A to Z and have been since Christmas Day.  They don't know when they will reach Z, but it could be tonight or tomorrow.  Give it a listen and it streams at www,

Name That Tune (from the above songs):  "But I Did Not Shoot The Deputy."  Answer below.  --RoadDog

"I Shot the Sheriff"