Thursday, January 30, 2020

Bigger Is Better in Casey-- Part 6: About That Giant Pitchfork, Yardstick, Pencil, Bat and Mousetrap

Jim Bolin says, "I try to use recycled materials to keep costs down.  Pointing to the giant pitchfork outside Richards restaurant, he said the prongs were fashioned from parts of old streetlights.  The shaft was made from a telephone pole.

Before building one of his big things, he does research to find out how big things are already existing and then he builds his just a bit bigger.

"The engineering side of it is the creative part," he said,  "You don't just put a spindle in a lathe and turn a 23-foot leg."

Not everything he and his people have made has shattered a record.  Just for fun, and to add to the giants, he designed a yardstick that's 36-feet long instead of 36-inches.  He has also created a giant pencil and baseball bat which stands outside the USA Softball of Illinois Hall of Fame in Casey's Fairview Park.  He also has a giant mousetrap slated for the town's future welcome center.


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Bigger Is Better in Casey-- Part 5: Who Does the Measuring and a Giant Teeter-Totter

Jim Bolin, the man responsible for all that big stuff, says the Guinness recognition "brings legitimacy to what you're trying to do.  It gives you the stamp (of approval)."

He said Guinness had used his documentation on some of the items, but they took their own measurements of the world's largest barber pole, 15-feet tall and operational outside Tina's Barber Shop; a pickup truck key that's 26-feet long and weighs 1600 pounds outside the former Downtown Garage, and a functioning 123-foot long teeter-totter that can hold several persons at once.

You can give this giant a try Fridays to Sundays as long as volunteers are available to unlock the mechanism and ensure it is used safely.  (Remember back in your playground days when you'd get off and the person on the upside would come crashing down?)


Sunday, January 26, 2020

Bigger Is Better in Casey-- Part 4: About That Rocking Chair

Maps showing where the "Big Things" are can be picked up at businesses throughout the town.  They are also listed at Jim Bolin's website, along with the dimensions of those big things.

The world's largest rocking chair (which had been formerly owned by the huge rocking chair at Fanning Outpost a little ways west of Cuba, Missouri) is 56 feet high and weighs in at 23 tons.

The town Casey pronounced "KAY-zee" by locals has made the record book for largest golf tree at the Casey Country Club; the nearly 12-foot-long wooden shoes at Casey's Candy depot and the 60-foot pitchfork outside Richards Farm restaurant.

Huge knitting needles and a crochet hook inside the Yarn Studio, had ranked as the world's largest until dethroned by bigger ones in England


Friday, January 24, 2020

Bigger Is Better in Casey, Illinois-- Part 3: 12 of the World's Largest According to Guinness

And, Casey's collection of all things big keeps getting bigger.  Officials from the Guinness Book of World Records traveled to Casey in late September 2019 to certify the world's largest key, golf club, gavel, twizzle spoon, teeter-totter and barbershop pole.  The Casey area now has twelve of the largest things.

Then there is Jim Bolin's world's largest mailbox which is 60-feet high and has a working red flag.  People can actually go inside and up to the box because of concealed stairs in the post.

Said Mr. Bolin:  "It's awesome.  Now that we've got 12, it's got even more pull for people to get off the interstate.  We're hitting everybody's interests, I'm hoping."

Jim Bolin is 55 and began his "Big Things, Small Town" project in 2011 when he created the world's largest wind chime made of giant pipes as much as 42 feet long, hanging from a 56-foot stand.  And, yes, they clang in a slight breeze.

Bolin is a local businessman and has 20 oversized things (not all are world record size) and says Casey gets as many as 2,000 people a week in the warmer months.  Some make the 200 mile drive from Chicago or travel from other states to see the items and take selfies with them.


Goodbye Dixie Highway?

I will be writing about this in my Civil War II: The Confederacy Under Attack blog as this is just another of their attempts to erase history.  Just click on  the My Blogs list to the right of this to go to the site.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

If You Want to Cruise the Dixie Highway, Better Do It Soon, Well, At Least in South Florida

All that boo-hoo-hoo about anything Confederate that is going on these days is about to target the Dixie Highway.  There are those who believe the name implies the "S" word (slavery) and, of course, the evil, horrible "C" word (Confederate).  And, lately, they have been pretty much getting their way.

An article in the January 20, 2020, New York Times   'We've got to change this':  Has Dixie Highway reached  the End of the Road? by Audra D.S. Burch.

In South Florida, leaders are discussing  whether to change  the name of Dixie Highway, which some say glorifies the nation's racist history.

These anti-Confederates have been very successful in their efforts since the murders in Charleston, South Carolina, so it is most likely they will succeed in their drive to do away with the racist highway.

Just Letting You Know.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Things Getting Bigger in Casey-- Part 2: Giant Rocking Chair, Pitchfork, Golf Tee and Wooden Shoes

The first time I really heard about all the bigger things they had in Casey was when Liz and I were at Rich Henry's Rabbit ranch in Staunton, Illinois.  A couple came in and were asking where the largest rocking chair in the world was.  We quickly told them it was just west of Cuba, Missouri, at the Fanning Outpost.

They were using an app which said it was at Casey, Illinois, and didn't know that was on Route 66.  So, someone had built a bigger rocking chair.

People in Casey credit its new-found popularity to Jim Bolin, who is the creator of these giant, one-of-a-kind attractions.  Let's face it, the world's largest rocking chair could pull in tourists, but Jim has created a lot of the world's largest and really, really big things for Casey.

These big things include, besides the rocking chair, the world's largest pitchfork, world's largest golf tee, world's largest wooden shoes and they are hyped on blue signs along I-70.  They keep people in Casey for longer than a pit stop or pop drink.

And, the collection keeps getting bigger.

So They Built A Bigger Rocking Chair.  --RoadReallyBig

Things Getting Bigger in Casey-- Part 1: New Businesses and More Tourism

From the October 13, 2019, Chicago Tribune  "Big things happening" by Jay Jones.

Once a sleepy town, business is now booming in Casey, Illinois, thanks to giant one-of-a-kind attractions.

This town, and one individual in particular, is following an age-old formula for increasing visitors dating back to the glory days of Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway.  Borrowing from that movie, "Build it and they will come."

Build it they did and come they did.

And, it has attracted new businesses to Casey (population 2,700).  In late August, employees at a new pretzel shop were handing out samples at the town's only stoplight.  Nearby, a two-year-old hotel was welcoming  customers.

Casey is on I-70, about half way between St. Louis and Indianapolis.

Bigger Is Better.  --RoadDog

Monday, January 20, 2020

Along 66, Dec. 2019: De Anza Motel Sign Relighted

DECEMBER 30--  The De Anza Motor Lodge sign in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will be relighted Sunday.  It is located at 4301 Central Avenue.

The De Anza has undergone big rehabilitation and rebuilding in the last several years and is reopening as higher-end apartments.

Always glad to see an old motel finding new life.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Along 66, Dec. 2019: Time Is Running Out to Save the Gasconade River Bridge

DECEMBER 5--  Located near Hazelgreen, Missouri, a really small, unincorporated town about half way between Lebanon and Waynesville, the bridge was closed in 2014 due to severe deterioration.  It is over 90 years old and carried Route 66 over the Gasconade River until then.

A new bridge has been built a few yards north of the original one and south of the I-44 bridge.

No progress has been made between MoDOT and groups hoping to save it.  Another meeting is planned Dec. 9.  If anew bridge owner and finances aren't found before part way through 2020, the bridge may be torn down.

That would be too bad as that is a really neat looking old bridge (back when a bridge looked like a bridge, not a bunch of concrete blocks lined up by the side).  We were fortunate to get to drive over it on many occasions before it was closed.

They could make it into a neat park, perhaps with picnic tables on the bridge deck.

Let's Hope Something Is Found.  --RoadDog

Friday, January 17, 2020

Along 66, Dec. 2019: More 66 Art and a New Bike/Pedestrian Path in Oklahoma

I take these from the Route 66 News blog spot.  I only take the ones of most interest to me, but if you want to know pretty much everything going on along our old road, this is where you want to go.  There is an entry every day with a lot more information and pictures.  Where you want to go for 66.

DECEMBER 1--  Road art goes up on 66 near Calumet, Oklahoma.  This is the art of John Cerney of Salinas, California, and consists of an 18-foot Paul Bunyan muffler man, an 18-foot tall Uniroyal Gal and a clean-shaven muffler man.

Oh Boy, something else to see.

DECEMBER 4--  Route 66 Trail project in Edmond Oklahoma, to begin this month.  It will be a trail for bicyclists and pedestrians and will cost $2.6 million.

Wouldn't it be great if the whole Route 66 was turned into a bike/walking path, along, of course, with roadway for vehicles.


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Along 66, Nov. 2019: Preservation Plan for Oklahoma's Route 66 Sidewalk Highway

NOVEMBER 19--  Ottawa County, Oklahoma to proceed with preservation plan for the Sidewalk Highway near Miami.

This will include a bike and hiking trail.

Much to neat of a Route 66 aspect to let go.


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Auto Gunfight Between Cops and Automobile Bandits in DeKalb County in 1919

From the Nov. 27, 2019, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1919, 100 Years Ago.

"Three of the four alleged automobile bandits who chased over the countryside from Somonauk to Kaneville  in a running gunfight on September 18, and are now in DeKalb County jail at Sycamore. will plead guilty when arraigned December 8, State's Attorney Smith says.

"These men , it is charged, stole $500 worth of tires from the Bruenig and Dolder garage at Somonauk.  In the pursuit which followed, all but one, dubbed the 'patriach' because of his white hair and 75 years, were wounded."


1994, 25 Years Ago.

"The City of DeKalb recently erected a new welcome sign at the south entrance on Route 23 near Brad Manning Ford."


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Along 66, Nov. 2019: A Museum Begins and Two Signs Relit

NOVEMBER 16--  Construction has begun on the Illinois Rock and Roll Museum which is in Joliet on 9 West Cass Street, Route 66.

How about that, rock and roll on Route 66.  Just sounds kinda right, you know.  Always room for another museum, especially of something I love so much.  Hopefully they will have a lot on the Chicago bands of the 60s.

NOVEMBER  17--  The Roy's sign in Amboy, California glows again for the first time in 30 years.

NOVEMBER  24--  The fourth new or restored neon sign has been lighted on Route 66 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It is at the U.S. Studio 66 at 5202 E. 11th Street (Route 66) just west of the historic Desert Hills Motel.  Two other neon signs are at Billy Ray's Catfish & BBQ and Tally's Good Food Cafe.

More power to Tulsa for doing this program.

Neon Is Good.  --RoadNeon

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Weedpatch Camp, Ca.-- Part 4: About Those "Okies"

The migrants from the Dust Bowl were derisively called "Okies" and were the subject of discrimination by the local population.

The plight of the Okies and a description of Weedpatch Camp were chronicled by novelist John Steinbeck in his book "The Grapes of Wrath."  The book is dedicated to camp administrator Tom Collins who was the model of the character Jim Rawley in the book.

Migrant advocate Dr. Myrnie Gifford revealed in a 1937 Kern County Public Health Department annual report that 25% of the Okies  in Arvin Federal Labor Camp  tested positive for  a disease associated with agricultural dust exposure called "valley fever."

The camp was subsequently taken over by the Kern County Housing Authority which administers it as  the Sunset Labor  Camp to assist migrant workers.


Friday, January 10, 2020

Weedpatch Camp, Ca.-- Part 3: Three Original Buildings Remain

A great name for a camp such as this one if you ask me.

The camp originally had canvas tents on plywood platforms for  residents and permanent buildings for the community functions such as administration, community hall, post office, post office, library and barber shop.  The resident tents were later replaced by permanent single story wood frame shacks.

There are three original buildings remaining of the camp that make up the National Register of Historic Places property:  the community hall, the post office and library.    These last two buildings, however, were moved to be next to the community hall to make the beginnings of a historic park.

In 2007, the exteriors of the library and post office were renovated

The buildings and camp are significant to the history of California because of the migration of people to the state trying to escape the Dust Bowl.


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Weedpatch Camp, Cal.-- Part 2: Providing Hygiene, Running Water and Security to the Displaced

Because of lack of hygiene  and security, these type of camps were not acceptable, so the Farm Security Administration (FSA) built labor camps consisting of permanent buildings with running water, schools and libraries.  The FSA also provided help in finding work.  The first administrator of Weedpatch was Tom Collins.

Between April 1935 and December 1936, the Federal government's New Deal Resettlement Administration (RA)  had relocated many struggling  rural and urban families to planned communities.

Weedpatch camp, however, was constructed by the Works Progress Administration  (WPA).  It was located on the outskirts of the small towns of Arvin and Weedpatch.  The camp is now located in an unincorporated area of Kern County, south of Bakersfield.


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Weedpatch Camp, California-- Part 1: Built By the WPA for Migrants

Before reading about this place in the Route 66 News, I'd never heard of it before, but definitely all that The Grapes of Wrath."

From Wikipedia.

Weedpatch Camp, California, also known as the Arvin  Federal Government Camp or the Sunset Labor Camp was built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA)  south of Bakersfield, California,  in 1936 to house migrant workers during the Great Depression.  Several historic buildings remain of the camp and have been placed on the NRHP as of January 1996.

The camp had its origins  in the migrations during the drought that caused the Dust Bowl in the mid-1930s.  Oklahoma was particularly hard hit. and many farmers and their families left because of it.  They migrated to California where they heard there were jobs and help.  Most became farm laborers.

They were joined by others from Texas, Arkansas and Missouri.  Housing for migrants consisted of squatter camps (essentially groups of tents pitched beside a road or camps established by farmers or growers.


Along 66, Nov. 2019: Weedpatch Dust Bowl Festival and Camp

NOVEMBER 15--  End of an era?  Final Dust Bowl Festival held at Weedpatch Camp in California.

It was made famous in John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath.  It was the 30th and last festival as the survivors of it are getting too old to continue with it.  (Evidently they were guests of honor.)  It was held in Bakersfield, California and built in 1935by the WPA  to house Dust Bowl refugees.

From the Visit Bakersfield Site.

Officially known as the Arvin Federal Government Camp, the migrant worker center most notably featured in John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath."

The camp was a government rescue center for distressed migrant workers fleeing from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl during the Great Depression.  Various scenes from the 1940 movie adaptation of the novel were filmed here.

It still aids migrants today.


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Of Motorcycle Accidents and Bypasses

From the Nov 20, 2019, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1919, 100 Years Ago.

"Andrew Manos, the proprietor of the shoe shining parlor at the corner of Second Street and Lincoln Highway who was injured yesterday afternoon when he crashed into the post at the corner of First and Pine streets while riding a 'third wheel' motorcycle, regained consciousness last night and was this morning so much improved that he was removed to his home."

1994, 25 Years Ago.

"Peace Road will continue its trek north next week when the newest segment of the road will be officially opened.

"DeKalb County Engineer Cliff Adams said a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for Peace Road between Sycamore Road and Route 64 will take place Tuesday near the intersection of 64 and Peace Road."

Peace Road serves as a bypass around Sycamore.


Monday, January 6, 2020

10 Rude-Sounding English Names-- Part 2: Titty-Ho

5.  Great Cockup

4.  Tongue of Gangsta

3.  Titty-Ho

2.  Wetwang

1.  Twatt

Oh, Well.  --RoadHaHa

Saturday, January 4, 2020

While On the Subject of Funny British Names, Here Are the Original Ten-- Part 1: Shitlington Crags

From the April 17, 2019, ListVerse  "10 Rude-Sounding British Places With Unbelievable Back Stories" by Matt Garrow.

Again, more information and pictures at the site.  I'm just listing them.

10.  Brown Willy

9.  Cockermouth

8.  Bell End

7.  Sandy Balls

6.  Shitlington Crags

Anybody Seen My Sandy Balls?  --RoadBall

Friday, January 3, 2020

2019 MVPA Lincoln Highway Convoy (TMC19)

August 10 to September 14, 2019,  from York. Pennsylvania, to San Francisco, California.  This is the second MVPA convoy  to commemorate the Lincoln Highway.

MVPA stands for Military Vehicle Preservation Association.

Thursday, August 22, they were in Clinton, Iowa, where we saw part of it driving on the Lincoln Highway.  We're thinking it was probably the rear of the convoy as we drove back and didn't see anymore of them.

On Monday, August 26, they were in Woodbine, Iowa, where the main street was blocked off and all the vehicles lines up.

Fourteen hours ago, there was a post on their site from Big Springs, Nebraska.

"Today we passed the Phelps Hotel in Big Springs, NE.  It was built in 1885.  This is a page from  the guest register signed by Lt.Col. D.D. Eisenhower (& wife) on Aug. 6. 1919.  This was while he was on convoy!    Of any  convoy members got a picture of the hotel  on our way by, please post it!  Thank you."

A photo of the page accompanies the post.

Very Interesting.  --RoadEis

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Along 66, Nov. 2019: Glenn Wrinkle Honored in Lebanon

These are taken from the Route 66 News site.  I just pick the ones of most interest to me, but if you really want to know what is going on along our favorite road, you need to check this site.  There is an article every day and they go into much more detail than I do.

NOVEMBER 13--  The founder of Wrink's Market in Lebanon, Missouri, was honored by his hometown, 14 years after his death.  Glenn Wrinkle owned the store from 1950 to 2005 and he has received the Lebanon Community Achievement Award.

Wrink's Market was reopened by his son Terry in 2007 and closed in 2009.  Then D.C. Decker reopened it in 2011 as a cowboy emporium, but that also closed.

Wrinkle's granddaughter Katie Wrinkle Hapner reopened it two years ago and has been doing well.  She is famous for her handcrafted sandwiches.  I will attest to how good (and reasonably-priced) those sandwiches are.

We were fortunate to meet and talk with Mr. Wrinkle on several occasions.  He was a real Route 66 icon.  One of those folks who made and make Route 66 so much fun.

--Congratulations Glenn Wrinkle!!  --RoadDog

Clinton Lumberkings Have Shutout Over the Cedar Rapids Kernals

From the August 23, 2019, Clinton (Iowa) Herald  "Andrews impresses in shutout win" by Carie Kuehn.

The Clinton Lumberkings (named after the fact that Clinton was a major place of lumber in the 1800s and many people became very wealthy) stayed hot with a few fast runs and an impressive performance from starter Tanner Andrews to take the second game of the series from the Cedar Rapids Kernels 6-0, keeping them just behind the Kane County Cougars in the Midwest League West Division.

The Lumberkings are winners of five of their last six games.

Andrews (7-4) pitched seven innings in the shutout.

The Lumberkings scored four runs in first inning.and then one in each of the sixth and eighth innings.

There are just two weeks left in the season.

Nothing like good ol' Class A Midwest League baseball.

We Were At This Game.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The 14th Year and 5,736th Post For This Blog

RoadDog's RoadLog Blog.  Has a certain poetic element.

This was my very first blog which started back in 2007.  As of this post, I now have 5736 posts and it has run for 14 years.

I sure wasn't sure what I was going to do after retiring from teaching in 2006 after 33 years.  I knew I was going to be doing something, just not what.

Liz and I had gotten into old roads back in 2002 after a spring break trip on Route 66 in Illinois and Missouri.  I was on a road trip and visiting my nephew Andy's family in White House, Tennessee, and mentioned I might like to start a blog, but didn't know how.  His wife, Andrea, showed me how and off I went to way too much blogging.

I now have eight active blogs, having just started a new one in September of 2019.

The RoadDog sign-off is because that's my "Road" name.

Way Too Much Time, But I'm Sure Enjoying It.  --RoadBlog