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  • Foster Braun

    American Road Trip Talk: Heather Hausmann: Sinful Sidney Sesquicentennial

    By Foster Braun

    Click here to listen…
    Click here to download…

    In the rough and tumble days of the late 1800’s, the little town of Sidney, Nebraska was an important military and commercial outpost on the railroad lines that were becoming the arteries of American expansion. It was indeed the Wild West, populated by such colorful characters as Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane and earned the moniker, Toughest Town on the Tracks.
    In 2017 what was once called Sinful Sidney is celebrating its Sesquicentennial ( that’s 150 candles) between Aug. 18-20 with a double extravaganza. One is man-made and the other is Mother Nature made and utterly unique. Our guest Heather Haussmann, Cheyenne County Visitor and Convention Bureau, which is based in Sidney, has all the details for both events.


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    Sinful Sidney’s Sesquicentennial
    This summer the “toughest town on the tracks” is rolling out the red carpet for lovers of the Wild West and good old fashioned family fun. Whether you are a classic car enthusiast, history buff or just making plans for a family vacation, you’ll want to save August 18-21 for a visit to Sidney, NE.

    If any place knows how to throw a great party, it’s Sidney. Over the last 150 years the town, known as the “Wickedest Town in the West”, has seen the likes of Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, and Calamity Jane. Good food, non-stop entertainment, a classic car show and loads of activities for kids will be topped off by two extraordinary light shows. The first one will be a spectacular firework display on Sunday night at the Cheyenne County Fair Grounds. The second one will be a once in a lifetime experience put on Mother Nature.

    On Monday, August 21, Western Nebraska will be one of the best places in the country to watch a total eclipse of the sun—make Sidney your hub. This will be the first total solar eclipse visible in continental United States for the 38 years and you will have one of the best seats in the house. Nebraska is one of a few places in the country that will be under the complete blackout as the moon blanks out the sun and day turns to night for nearly 3 minutes. It will be an historic event for young and old alike.

    This summer Sinful Sidney 150 will be an awesome opportunity to enjoy a good old fashioned community celebration and get a good night’s rest before witnessing the rare historic event of a total solar eclipse. It’s an experience your family will treasure for the rest of their lives.

    Don’t forget to mark the dates, August 18-21, 2017 in Sydney, NE. It’s going to be an unforgettable event that you won’t want to miss. For more information visit cheyennecountytourism.com and follow the celebration on Facebook at “Sinful Sidney 150 Sesquicentennial Celebration.”
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  • Foster Braun

    National Road Garage Sale 2018

    By Foster Braun

    Click here to listen...
     Click here to download.   In  our 2018 Spring Viva Las Vegas issue , under the Friends in the Fast Lane column, the lead story was about an 824 mile long garage sale!  In this American Road Trip Talk podcast,  you are going to meet Pat McDaniel, the lady who dreamed up this great gathering.  The Historic National Road Garage sale took place from May 31 to June 4 Along US 40 from Baltimore to St. Louis.  For ore information visit their Historic National Road Meanderings page on Facebook or www. oldstorefrontantiques.com      
    • 0 comments
    • 1,945 views
  • etchr66

    Geneva And Geneva On The Lake Ohio

    By etchr66

    It's summer time and its hot. What better way to cool down then to spend some time at the lake. With that in mind, our Namesake town for this entry is Geneva, Ohio and the nearby summer resort town of Geneva on the Lake. Both are located in Ashtabula County, which has a wealth of museums and sites of historic interest. In addition there are some eighteen covered bridges in the county, including both the longest and shortest covered bridges in the United States. Add the ten or so wineries in the county and what's not to like?   At 613 feet the Smolen-Gulf Bridge, loacted on Ashtabula County Road 25 just south of the city of Ashtabula, is the longest covered bridge in the country and the fourth longest in the world. The map coordinates are (41.855458,-80.762204). At just 18 feet the shortest covered bridge is the West Liberty Street Bridge in the town of Geneva. The map coordinates for it are (41.799183,-80.948532). [1]   Please comment if you like these entries or have any feedback to offer.   From the book "For Namesake, a Travel Book" [2]:   Geneva, Ohio is a town of 6,215 located in Ashtabula County along US Route 20. It lies 25 miles from the Pennsylvania border and 45 miles northeast of Cleveland. Geneva on the Lake is a town of 1,288, which lies 5 miles north of Geneva on Ohio Route 534. The county seat of Ashtabula County is Jefferson, located 10 miles southeast of Geneva. The closet college is Lake Erie College in the city of Painesville.   Ashtabula County was established in 1807 and was the first county created in the Connecticut Western Reserve. The area around Geneva was originally part of Harpersfield Township. In 1816 a small group of settlers decided to withdraw from Harpersfield and create their own community. They named it Geneva for the scenic town of Geneva, New York. With the completion of the Eric Canal in 1825, its location close to the lakefront added to its attraction. In 1829 the first post office was established. By 1840 the population was over 1,200. The Lake Shore railway came from Cleveland through Geneva to Ashtabula in 1852. The community of Geneva was incorporated as an official Ohio Village in 1866. By 1896 the village had a population of three thousand persons. In the early 1900’s Geneva gained its first automobile industry company with the manufacture of the Geneva Steamer in 1901. The company that manufactured this car closed just 3 years later. A few other attempts were made to manufacture automobiles in Geneva; however they too only lasted a few years. The grape industry has played an important part in the economy of Geneva and still does so today. In 1958 having obtained a population over 5000, Geneva was incorporated as an official Ohio “City”. [3]   Geneva on the Lake was Ohio’s first summer resort. It began in 1869 with the opening of the first public picnic ground on a bluff above Lake Erie known as Sturgeon Point. By the early 1900’s it had evolved into a camping and fishing playground for America’s elite. Incorporated as an Ohio Village in 1927; today it is a premier lakeshore vacationland. [4]   Ashtabula County has sixteen museums and sites of historic interest; the following is a sampling of those you may want to visit. The city of Ashtabula has Great Lakes Marine & Coast Guard Memorial Museum, Hubbard House (a northern terminus of the Underground Railroad) and Olin’s Museum of Covered Bridges. Conneaut has the Conneaut Historical Railroad Museum. Shandy Hall, 2 miles south of Geneva, is the 1815 home of Robert Harper and said to be the oldest frame house in the Western Reserve to be preserved in its original form. Hartsgrove has the Presidential Museum. In Jefferson you will find a nice railroad depot and the Victorian Perambulation Museum. In Windsor there is the Servants of Mary Center for Peace featuring a fifty-foot statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There are eighteen covered bridges in Ashtabula County including the longest one in the United States, spanning a distance of 613 feet. [1] The warm breezes off of Lake Erie make this region a prime location for growing grapes and there are some ten wineries in the county. [5] Geneva hosts an annual Grape festival in September. Geneva on the Lake is a very popular summer resort with a strip of tourist oriented businesses and parks. To learn about all of the attractions in the area stop by the Geneva on the Lake Visitor Information center at 5536 Lake Road.   Enjoy the Lake Erie shoreline with boating, camping, hiking, fishing or just relaxing at Geneva State Park, just one mile from Geneva on the Lake. Additional recreation areas include Pymatuning State Park and Reservoir, Mosquito Lake State Park and Reservoir, Headlands Beach State Park, and Punderson State Park.   Notable residents of Geneva include Brian Anderson, major league baseball pitcher; Edward S. Ellis, dime novel author; and Ransom E. Olds, automobile industry pioneer.       Notes:   1. http://www.experience-ohio-amish-country.com/covered-bridges.html   2. http://www.amazon.co.../dp/B00CBM6JFK/   http://www.barnesand...n=2940016722009   3. http://www.genevaohio.com/history.html   4. http://www.visitgenevaonthelake.com/history.htm   5. http://www.accvb.org/wineries.html   Picture is Harpersfield Covered Bridge, at 228 feet in length this was the longest covered bridge in Ohio until the construction of the Smolen-Gulf Bridge in 2008. Picture Credit: (Wikimedia Commons – User: Homefryes CC-BY-SA)
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  • Alex Burr - hester_nec

    Introduction

    By Alex Burr - hester_nec

    Hello. Tho I am new to this media, blogging, I am not new to American Road. I've been around since the beginning. I do have a road trip web site, but decided to give this blog a try to post my rather infrequent road trips in the Memphis, TN, area.   Being nearly 73 years old I'm old enough to remember the good old days of 2-lane road travel. Indeed, I went with my folks in the late 40's and early 50's on several trips from southern Maine to the Dayton, Ohio, area to visit friends and relatives. I look back and think, good old days?? Hot summer days on the road in a 10 year old Chrysler with no AC?? Motels that were more cabin than motel and usually not air conditioned?? Greasy spoon diners - tho most were pretty good. But, it was still exiting for a 10 year old to see what was around the corner. Kids miss so much today on vacation trips on the interstate. And there's not much new around the corner - or down the road, either. Got a Mickey D's in your home town - you'll find many along the road - along with BurgerKing, Wendy's, shopping malls with the same stores. No, kids today miss a lot.   Back in 1953 I was crazy enough to go to the west coast, from Maine, with a buddy of mine, on 20 to the mid-west where we picked up 66 to California. Then 101, more or less north to Oregon and Washington, then home to Maine, mostly on 20, but some on 30, 6 and 2. We were celebrating the big transition from child-hood to adult-hood - getting our drivers licenses. At the time, in Maine, you could get a license at 15 - Maine was largely rural and farm land so 15 year olds were expected to drive the family farm equipment, trucks, etc. Can you imagine two 15 year olds driving across country today?? Probably wouldn't get out of the state, to start with.   So, I'll probably be posting more on my new blog as time goes by. Won't be every day, won't be ever week. We'll try to find something to add at least inside a six month window.   Happy, and safe, travels everybody.
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    • 4,713 views
 

Quiche For The Road

Hello everyone!!!! A good breakfast is always an excellent way to start the day before exploring the countless things out there across the country to see and do. Quiche Lorraine makes for a good and hearty simple breakfast in the morning and it can be made very easily in a camper, RV, an outside oven while camping, etc. The best part is quiche can also be eaten cold, so it makes for a good travel food as it can be sliced almost like a pie. For those who may not choose a restaurant everyday, this is an excellent alternative. This recipe is one I make quite a bit for guests at Museum Hill Bed and Breakfast I manage and is a wonderful Quiche with Feta Cheese and spinach. Feta cheese is a wonderful cheese that combined with spinach, tomatoes, onions, and even bacon makes for a real treat when cooking them all together in a dish. This dish can also make a great lunch. So instead of relying on going out all the time for breakfast while on the road, just think cruising the road in the morning enjoying the scenery with your own gourmet breakfast and a good cup of coffee.   Spinach Feta Quiche   1 9 in deep dish pie crust 2 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp minced garlic 1 small red onion, diced 16 oz fresh baby leaf spinach dry and chopped 8 oz fresh mushrooms, cleaned and chopped 8 oz Feta cheese 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese 4 eggs, beaten 1 cup whole milk     Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large skillet over medium heat sautee lightly onion with the minced garlic in olive oil. Onion should be just transparent. Add mushrooms and lightly brown. Remove from heat, let cool, add Feta, add 2 oz cheddar cheese and mix slightly. Spoon mixture into pie crust. Add spinach on top of mixture. In medium bowl, wisk eggs and add milk. Pour into pie shell over top of mixture. Bake in oven for 15 minutes at 375 F. Sprinkle top with remaining cheddar cheese, and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes or until center is set. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.   Note: This can also be made crustless in a 4 in by 4 in square baking dish, just spray pan with nonstick spray before adding ingredients. This can be prepared the night before to put in refrigerator to bake and serve in the morning as well.       Keep traveling out there everyone and enjoy the beginnings of Spring   Sincerely,   The Road Recipe Warrior

roadwarriorvet

roadwarriorvet

 

Exploring The Little Everglades Of The North- Horicon Marsh

Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin is known as the Little Everglades of the north- and for good reason! The number of bird species that make it home or migrate through the area is astonishing.   For years I had visited the area during the fall season for the annual migration of Canada Geese. As the geese flock to the area, so do the the bird watchers and tourists. We drove and hiked through the marsh area and it was amazing.   Then one spring we took a pontoon ride through the marsh with Marc and Gayl at Blue Heron Landing. It was AWESOME! Marc knows the marsh and all of its inhabitants better than anyone- he has been doing the tour since he was 11 years old. He knew every bird and animal that showed itself. He knows the history of the area, and is active in its present and ensuring its future.   He even pointed out the great whirly-bird when it flew over head.   The pontoon ride allowed us to see a side of Horicon Marsh that had been previously hidden to us. Bring along your binoculars and explore!   Here is there website: Blue Heron Landing    

WisHxGeek

WisHxGeek

 

Finding The Tropics And A Few Dinosaurs In Wisconsin

Well, we may not have found any pinball machines while visiting Madison, WI- but we did visit two great attractions that neither my husband nor I visited while a student at UW-Madison (too busy studying- of course ).   Our first stop was Olbrich Gardens BolzConservatory. In the summer their gardens are amazing- but in the winter their tropical greenhouse is paradise! It houses "more than 650 plants representing more than 80 plant families and 475 species and cultivars from tropical and sub-tropical environments around the world." (From their website http://bit.ly/UWMOlbrich). One note of caution though- during the winter the change between the outdoor and indoor temps/humidity will cause your camera lens to fog up, so bring a clean cloth to wipe it off continuously.   We then wandered over to the UW-Madison Geology Museum (http://bit.ly/UWGeology). It is a small yet very cool museum. It includes a good selection of gems and minerals, a great explanation of the geology of Wisconsin, glow in the dark minerals, and a fine collection of fossils. At the very end of the exhibit is a room with several dinosaur skeletons.   Both stops were great fun for the whole family. Each stop took approximately an hour, and the cost of admission was right ($1.00 for the Bolz Conservatory, the Geology Museum was free!)

WisHxGeek

WisHxGeek

 

Where Have All The Wizards Gone?

There is something that stirs my soul when I return for a visit to Madison, WI. Maybe it's the 5 or so years I spent there going to college... and occasionally studying. Even though the landscape has changed and many businesses I once frequented are no longer there (not to mention campus buildings like dormitories), I still love to reminisce as we wander the campus(mostly because it really annoys the kids).   I have learned to accept the changes that are bound to occur as my college days fall further into the past... but this last visit I came across a change that really sent me into an all out funk. The Plaza Tavern, home of the addicting Plaza Burger, had not one pinball machine!! For close to thirty years I have counted on them for my pinball fix while in Madison.   In talking to the owner he commented that he was the last holdout and that they had just removed the pinball a few weeks before. He said they just didn't make money- but he also said video games did not make much money either. As I walked down State Street, which is lined with similar establishments, I came to the horrifying conclusion that he was correct... not one pinball machine!   When I arrived at Memorial Union, the student union, I tried to ease my depression with Babcock Ice Cream (a must eat if you are in Madison) but was stunned to find that the arcade had been turned into a coffee shop!   My daughter saw my pain...she suggested a game of Pinball on the Wii...

WisHxGeek

WisHxGeek

 

Update On The Gifts Sent To The Troops Serving In Afghanistan

We've been working on the upcoming Spring issue so I haven't had a moment to share that we received a letter from our platoon contact. I'm pleased to report that the platoon received the gift boxes and enjoyed receiving the care packages.   We wanted to share some of the great letters that we were able to included in the packages. Special thanks for the help of the two elementary school classes (Mrs. Amy Quick's second & third grade class - Joseph M. Carkenord Elementary in Chesterfield, Mich., and Mrs. Zaiglin’s first grade class - Joseph M. Carkenord Elementary in Chesterfield, Mich., who made this possible.   Entities and individuals that participated in this effort include:   American Road advertisers Anonymous donations from some of of our active American Road magazine on-line forum members Pat & Jennifer Bremer Bruce Clark Mary Ellen Filbey Rick Filbey Brenna Filbey Kaelyn Filbey Denny Gibson Bryan McGinnis Joe & Cheri Miller Steven Rastigue, DDS David Reese Tom and Pat Repp Mrs. Amy Quick's second & third grade class - Joseph M. Carkenord Elementary in Chesterfield, MI Mrs. Zaiglin’s first grade class - Joseph M. Carkenord Elementary in Chesterfield, MI Staff at American Road magazine   Thanks again to everyone for helping make this possible!

beckyrepp

beckyrepp

 

Over The Water Withoutt The Car Ferry...

This time of year provides the opportunity to cross from Bayfield, WI to LaPointe, WI (Madeline Island)by wind sled. During this window of time there is too much ice to cross by ferry, but not enough to open the ice road. You can check the status of the ice road and wind sled schedule (and the ice caves) here: http://bit.ly/Bayfield.  

WisHxGeek

WisHxGeek

 

One Tank Of Gas Trips

I still think that the 'one tank of gas trips' are my favorites, living in Western Washington there are lots of close to home destinations on the 'Places to Go" list, and I'll start adding those here as time goes by.   Port Orchard, Washington is one, here's a link to the Chamber of Commerce website http://www.portorchard.com   Good journeys, Guy

guyrcook2015

guyrcook2015

 

Otter Trail Scenic Byway

I recently had the opportunity to drive a section of the Otter Trail Scenic Byway in Minnesota. I enjoyed the small stretch of the Byway that I drove (near Fergus Falls, MN). Attractions along the way:   The World's Largest Otter: http://www.visitfergusfalls.com/gallery.ph...=jpg&pid=21   The quaint town of Fergus Falls:   http://www.visitfergusfalls.com/gallery.ph...=jpg&pid=15.   http://www.visitfergusfalls.com/gallery.ph...=jpg&pid=16   I would have liked to spend a few more days just exploring Fergus Falls and enjoying breakfast every morning at the Viking!   Unfortunately, weather wasn't cooperating with me during the trip—a big snow storm blew in from the West—so my outdoor photos are snow covered.    

beckyrepp

beckyrepp

 

Not The Typical Road Side Attraction

I am often lured in by the promise of seeing the "World's Largest.. (your favorite animal name here..." and my wheels always turn at the sign of a history museum or the glow of a diner's neon.   But, the sight of a small cemetery makes my head turn every time. I can't help but wonder what history awaits to be found carved into the old stones. It started as a quest to find my heritage- but now I like to stop at cemeteries that bear no last names in my genealogical roll call. And more often than not my kids wander with me- and occasionally Bob the dog.   The artwork is amazing on many of the stones- symbols, poetry, maps and more. We have noted memorials in the shape of logs, trees, columns, lambs, urns, houses (Native American burials on Madeline Island), books and more.   Sometimes the brief inscriptions speak volumes: "Step gently for here sleeps my dream..." "They are coming..." (That one still makes me go "Hmmm..."   For a walk through history nothing beats a cemetery. Just remember to tread lightly, leave no trace, pick up trash when you see it and set right flowers and such that have gone astray.          

WisHxGeek

WisHxGeek

 

Hearty Style Pork And Beans With A Kick

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!! The other day I was thinking about what could I make that is simple, hearty, and warms the soul during the present Midwest Winter Wonderland and cold. There is a perception not much can be done with pork and beans because they are basically already prepared, you just open the can and heat. Maybe add cut up hot dogs to them on occasion. Well I had several cans around along with some pork I was trying to figure out what to do with and I came up with this really cool and simple recipe.   Hearty Style Pork and Beans with a Kick   2 tbsp vegetable oil   1 lb cooked pork, diced (from pork chops or a cooked pork loin)   2 16oz can pork and beans (Busch beans are the best)   1 large sweet white onion diced   3 stalks fresh celery diced   2 tbsp garlic powder   4 to 6 oz fresh cooked bacon bits diced   1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles     For the pork, grilled pork chops can be used or even a small baked pork loin. After cooking the pork, dice into small cubes. Cook the bacon in small pan until brown and then place on paper towel over a plate, this will help to absorb the grease. Pour the oil in a large sautee pan or skillet, place on medium heat over the stove, and add the dice onions and celery, stirring occasionally. After about 10 minutes, add the diced pork and continue sauteeing for another ten, sprinking in the garlic powder. Then add the Rotel diced tomatoes and pork and beans. Stir over medium heat. Crumble the bacon into small pieces or bits and add to pan. Simmer over medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. This is a great simple meal for the cold weather, it is warm and fulfilling.       This would work great for all of those out there in campers and RVs that are braving the winter weather in pursuit of traveling the American Roads. A warm simple hearty meal, good with hot coffee, cocoa, a glass of red wine or even a beer. I can envision this on a cool Spring evening as well, with a campfire enjoying an evening under the stars. Keep the roads traveled and stay safe out there   Sincerely, The Road Recipe Warrior

roadwarriorvet

roadwarriorvet

 

Cooking Turkey Anytime!

Hello everyone and Happy Holidays!!! This year during Christmas I decided to try something very easy and simple with turkey. I usually like to cook a full bird for the holidays, and haved used various methods to do so over the years. Cooking a full bird though requires preparation and time during slicing, and also cleanup can be somewhat cumbersome. Well this year I decided to just cook a turkey breast and see how that works. I started by buying a fresh raw turkey breast at the grocery store, many companies make them (Saralee, Butterball, Tyson, etc) and all are packed well. Some you can buy frozen, others are in the chill area. I got a frozen one about a month ago and thawed it out in the refrigerator 2 days before cooking.   To start, first I rinsed the turkey breast under cold water. (A method that should be done for all poultry). Then I let drain for about 5 minutes. I chopped about 8 oz of celery and 8 oz of white sweet onion. There are plastic baking bags out there in the market, been out there for years, Reynolds makes them. These are great things to have on hand for roasting meats. I keep them on hand always and grabbed one from my supplies. Laying the bag down on a flat surface, I placed the celery and onions in it to create a vegetable bed. I then seasoned the turkey breast with Montreal Chicken Seasoning from Mccormicks and placed it in the bag. Sealing the bag, I placed it in a small roasting pan and put it in oven at 350 degrees F. It is a good idea to preheat oven for 10 minutes. Depending on the breast size, it could take 2 to 3 and half hours. Check the turkey at 20 minute intervals and rotate in oven to give even cooking. The beauty of this is any portable medium size appliance oven will work which would make it perfect for RVs, campers, etc. So those on the road, this is a great way to cook a good special meal without all the mess. When done, the temperature should be 160 to 165 degrees F. Let stand for 10 minutes out of the oven, then slice. The best part, leftovers are a breeze to store and you have turkey ready for sandwiches, etc. For those of us who like turkey throughout the year, this is a great alternative to the full bird. Simple, good and clean up is easy.   Well hope this helps and provides some good ideas for the future. To all the Roadwarriors, stay safe out there, looks like this year "Winter Wonderland" during the holiday season became reality. Happy Holidays everyone

roadwarriorvet

roadwarriorvet

 

Ultimate Sausage Gravy

Hello Road Warriors!! How is traveling going on the highways and byways of the US? This is the coolest magazine for roadtrips!! At my bed and breakfast, we get a lot of travelers who always talk about breakfasts at different places during their travels. A common item that comes up is biscuits and gravy. Several travelers asked me if there was a way to make biscuits and gravy a little lively. Well this is my own recipe that I believe fits the bill.   Sausage Gravy   2 lb ground Pork Sausage (chubs)   1/3 cup flour   3 oz garlic powder   3 oz Canadian Steak Seasoning   2 small white onions finely diced   2 oz salad oil   2 cups whole milk       In a large stainless steel skillet, add oil and sausage using medium heat. Stir sausage occasionally as it browns for even cooking. When sausage is half way done, add onions. Cook and continue to stir until sausage is done and a little brown. Add flour and mix it in with sausage. Cook for 2 min while stirring. Lower heat and add milk, continually stirring. Gravy will begin to thicken as it simmers on low heat. When gravy starts to bubble, turn off heat.   Note: if gravy appears a little thick, add a little more milk while continuing to stir. Enjoy over warm homemade buttermilk style biscuits.             Serve this with some good eggs and morning coffee, and you will have a breakfast that will rival any country road restaurant.   Sincerely,     Road Recipe Warrior      

roadwarriorvet

roadwarriorvet

 

More Than A Effn' Good Hot Dog

This is a effn’ good hot dog.”   My brother Dan is a geologist and he never swears.   We’re in an old building with salmon-colored walls. Dan plows through his third hot dog, smothered in relish, pickles and ketchup.   “Are they dotted? Hey! Are they dotted? Five, one, three!”   Yester-slingers shout in this thick Yester-brogue, barely audible over Casey Kasem’s American Top 40: The 70s. Coke and Quaker Oats spokeskids wink and pout from their rusty metallic signs. A girl, no more than eight, teeters back to her booth carrying a bottle of hot sauce and three bags of Cheese Curls.   Yesterdog is a place yanked out of time, from the days of the shoop-shoop soda jerks and pie holes, but it is living and breathing in 2009 East Town, Grand Rapids. A plaster sign next door points to an Ethiopian Restaurant, which is down the street from a hookah bar and a jazz club. And it’s a block over from a ribs joint, whose barbequey goodness you can smell all the way down Wealthy Street.   The atmosphere, akin to Old Country Buffet at Thanksgiving. But manager Rene "Nino" Torres is light on his feet and his power suit is a calf-long tear in his jeans and a Dickies button-up. Definitely no geeky Mickey D’s headset and boob-high pants slapped with the Yesterdog brand for this guy, no way. An old gramophone, flipped cone-up, serves as the tip jar—the trick, it’s small and it’s behind the counter. Quarters fling, the old crank register cranks with a good strong arm and hungry customers reach with hungry fingers. It is a process of synchronized chaos, with the dip, dive and dodge quality of a fight with Mohammed Ali.   This restaurant exists without pretense in the beating heart of West Michigan—and it opens its screen door to everybody.   But is it just the franks swathed in sweaty chili and cheese? That’s just another Coney Island—Michigan’s east side is littered with Souvlakis and Leos claiming to serve up New York’s best. Why is it a watering hole for the digestibly insane? For that matter, really, why is it the place for anyone looking for a good hot dog?   Because food is culture. And culture is food. Everyone, everywhere is guzzling, shoveling, gnawing and slurping; right now, people are eating everything from blood sausages to seaweed salads. And the beauty of it, anybody with a stove and knife can mash, hash and serve food.   Especially artery-clogging “street food”, as dubbed by chef, TV-host and bad-ass foodie, Anthony Bourdain; this past season on his Travel Channel show, No Reservations, Bourdain filmed an episode entitled “Down on the Street”. In an hour-long montage of not-five stars, but carts, vendors, hole-in-the-walls and Iggy Pop, Bourdain explains that it’s these places, places like Yesterdog, that offer the best experiences and tastes.   Bourdain and chef buddy, David Chang, recently sat in on a Food and Wine panel in New York City. Bourdain reportedly asked Chang, "Is bacon less cool because Paula Deen likes it, or is it always cool, like Orson Welles?" Chang passed on explicating. But he did say that he “freakin’ hates cupcakes.” I’d say, from all of Bourdain’s serious pigging-outs on pork, he’s with Orson on this one.   These guys just use food as the serving platter. The main dish, the people they eat with. The things they learn at the dinner table or street stall. The jokes they tell and the stories they hear. That, dear friends, is culture.   And here at Yesterdog, it’s handed to us on a chilied-out bun.

JunoLev

JunoLev

 

2009 October 31b

At the urging of Becky Repp I will attempt to comprehend and take part in this Blog feature.   For this last year our work with the Yellowstone Trail has been more or less limited to the Trail in Wisconsin. In deed, we have a product to show for the effort which I will comment on as soon as I have a better idea of what happens with this text after I "submit" it!   Perhaps "Add Entry" is the way to go?

yttrailman

yttrailman

 

Thanksgiving Travel Ideas

I started thinking about different ideas for this coming Thanksgiving. Something fun and different. I thought I'd share what I found - just in case it might interest some other people. I will work to post at least two ideas per week until Thanksgiving. Feel free to share ideas in your comments.   Thanksgiving Marketplace. Rugby, Tennessee. November, 27, 2009. Phone: 888-214-3400 Hark back to the 1880s Rugby Christmas. Visit beautifully decorated candle and lamp lit buildings; enjoy music and actors portraying early Rugby colonists; join in carol singing with hot wassail.

beckyrepp

beckyrepp

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