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American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!


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Posts posted by RoadDog

  1. ROBERT ADLER 1913-2007


    Co-inventor of the Remote Control


    That NECESSARY item to be found by TVs in motels and hotels all over the US, the remote control, has lost its father. How many times have you checked into a motel and were unhappy to find the remote either gone, broken, or without batteries (nasty battery steallers)? Definitely not a happy camper, were you?


    Robert Adler, who along with Eugene Polley, developed the Space Command for Zenith in 1956, died February 15, 2007. He worked for Zenith for 60 years and held 180 US patents.


    Strangely, he wouldn't have even chosen it as his favorite invention as he only very rarely watched TV. When someone would question him about it and the rise of "couch potatoes", his response would be, "It seem reasonable and rational to control the TV from where you normally sit and watch TV."


    Thank you very much robert Adler, from a major couch potato and bane of my wife when I have one in my hand.

  2. I see that Woodstock was just named as a top distinctive destination for travelers by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It represents "the best of smalltown America."


    Of course, a lot of this has to do with the historic square with its 1857 courthouse and 1889 opera house, formerly the city hall.


    Congratulations to Woodstock, Illinois.





    Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

  3. The Outer Banks of NC are a definite stop. You can see where the Wright brothers flew their plane and the Lost Colony.


    If you get by any place serving Carolina pit-cooked bbq, stop in. This is pork done in a vinegar base. That, along with the necessary coleslaw, hushpuppies, and sweet tea, is a real taste treat. Personally, every fork full I put in my mouth has to have equal parts bbq and coleslaw.


    Farther down, by Wilmington, NC, is the Battleship North Carolina, a great old downtown and riverfront. If you like flowers, check out Orton Plantation and the city might be having their azalea festival then. Also, you'll be able to visit Fort Fisher, site of the largest amphibious operation during the Civil War.


    Right by the SC-NC line, the small town of Calabash has the best shrimp I've ever tasted.


    Then there's Myrtle Beach. Check out the local Beach Music scene, and I'm not talking about Beach Boys music.






    We are arriving in NYC on the 30 March 2007 and collecting an RV the following morning, heading south to Baltimore for a couple of days to visit friends and then onto the Capital for a full day or two. We have been to DC on a previous trip to the States, but still more to see. From DC we are heading south to Savannah - any suggestions on what to see on our way down, places to stay, etc. We plan to spend three days in Savannah, then head North West to Asheville to the Great Smokey Mountains, any suggestions, again, where to stay, what to see, etc. From there we will make our way to Cincinatti to visit friends, then back to NYC.


    We are two middle aged women, so not really into the extreme sports, such as hiking, skiing, etc, but love scenery, wildlife, whales, a touch of historical stuff, would really appreciate any advice.





  4. Plans for a windmill museum in Fulton are underway. Fulton is the home of Der Immigrant, a full-size Dutch windmill sitting on the Mississippi River levee at the site of the original Lincoln Highway Bridge.


    There was a question of what to do with the site of the new museum. There currently is a structure there called the Cramer Building. It is the old Jimmy Jones service station which operated from 1941 to 1991. Should it be razed or should it be renovated? Tearing it down could come into conflict with an existing historic preservation ordinance.


    At the February 22nd City Council meeting, after discussion, a motion was made to destroy the old building and passed, pending a review of the historical preservation ordinance. It reads that 'No building shall be demolished within the district unless a hardship exception has been granted by a majority vote of the city council."


    I have seen pictures of the Cramer Building and the proposed structure, and although I'm usually against demolition of old buildings, the proposed museum is a vast improvement.


    You can see pictures of both buildings at:



    Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

  5. We finally have highspeed internet access, so I got around to looking at these pictures. I only went through the Illinois ones so far, but will come back again. You sure did a great job!!!







    Last June, my wife and I drove Lincoln Highway from New York to San Francisco

    through 13 States. I made slide shows of the pictures I took during our trip and

    posted them on the net.

    Several weeks ago, I posted a message on Yahoo's e-Group of American Road.

    In the message, I wrote URLs of my slide shows.


    A day before yesterday, a hacker attacked the server of which I have been renting

    some space.

    All index files not only of mine but of all customers of the provider rewritten into

    a page of antiwar movement related to Lebanon War. The provider notified us

    the contaminated server should be initialize very soon and all data will be deleted,

    and they will stop service thereafter.


    I uploaded my slide shows to another rental server which is I believe more reliable

    and safer against hacking because its provider is a subsidiary of NTT, largest

    telephone company in Japan.

    New URL of my slide shows is http://isao-net.com/driving/LINCOLN/index.html

    This is just for your information.



    Ran Walgreens for almost 40 years. Son of founder


    This past week, Charles Walgreen died at age 100, just three weeks short of his 101st birthday.


    He had many memories of the early days of Walgreen's. He remembers driving his father from store to store in Chicago at age ten because his father was afraid of the new-fangled contraptions called automobiles. He had to tie blocks of wood to his feet in order to reach the pedals. He remembered going from gas lighting to electricity and the old soda fountains.


    He took over the chain in 1939 upon his father's death, and ran it for almost forty years. The first Walgreen's opened on Chicago's south side back in 1901 and by 1921, there were 500 stores.


    He oversaw the company's change to the new concept of self-service retailing where customers chose their own products off the shelves instead of having a clerk get it for them. He was also a leader in getting the work week of pharmacists down from 66 hours to 40.


    It was under his tenure that Walgreen's began locating in shopping centers, the first one at Evergreen Plaza in Chicagoland in 1952. This was one of the first major shopping center built east of the Mississippi.


    Of course, some of us have a problem with the current leadership of the company with their penchant for tearing down historical and architecturally significant buildins in their pursuit for corners locations, but Charles Walgreen was no longer in charge of operations at the time.

  7. On the occasion of Barack Obama announcing his presidential run outside of the old state capitol in Springfield this past Saturday, the Chicago Tribune ran two articles, one on the significance of the building, and the other on the city's cuisine, notable the horseshoe. More on the food later.


    Of interest in the old state capitol was Lincoln serving his one state legislative term in the building 1840-41. It was a Lincoln and the Long Nine who were instrumental in getting the capital moved from Vandalia to Springfield. It is also the site of his famous "House Divided" speech during the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Also, after his assassination in 1865, his body lay in state here before being buried at nearby Oak Ridge Cemetery.


    Two other, little known facts are that the ill-fated Donner Party left from here back in 1845. Plus, in 1838, close to 850 Pottawatomie Indians passed through during the Trail of Tears.


    There was also an article about the cuisine of the capital city. For any of you who have never had the pleasure, the big thing is the horseshoe. This concoction is the very pinnacle of eating and consists of a piece of toasted bread, covered with your choice of meat, usually hamburger, but also you can order it it with buffalo wings, shrimp, beef, sausage, or many other items. That is then covered in a cheese sauce mixed with french fies. Now that just has to get your saliva juicing and cholesterol pumping.


    One popular place to get it is Springfield's oldest sports bar, Sportsman's Lounge, dating from the 40s. They specialize in a grilled pork tenderloin horseshoe.


    You can also get a smaller portion called, get this, a ponyshoe. I've even seen breakfast shoes at various establishments as well. Two other great places are D'Arcy's Pint and Charlie Parker's.


    If you like Italian, the place to go is Saputo's with their popular, and very secret, garlic sauce.


    Located north of town is one of the Maid-Rite restaurants. They are famous for their "Loose Meat" sandwiches and date back to the 1920s. Allegedly, this is where the first American Drive-Thru was.


    They didn't mention one of my favorite places (and where we had our very first horseshoe) Norb Andy's, located just a few blocks from the new capitol. It is rumored that many political deals were cut here over the years. You dined and drank downstairs at this establishment dating back to the 1850s. Unfortunately, it has been closed since summer. Hopefully, they will reopen soon as I need to have my Norb fix.


    Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

  8. On a recent bald eagle viewing trip along the Mississippi from Dubuque, Iowa, to the Quad Cities (we saw about 100), we were quite impressed with what the city of Clinton has been doing to embrace its Lincoln Highway heritage.


    South of town, there are several areas featuring stonewalls, old-style lampposts, and really impressive signs incorporating both the LH logo and the town's name. Essentially, the L in Clinton is the LH L. Looks sharp.


    Also, if you go to Clinton, make sure you stop at J&D Steakhouse for some really great food at cheap prices. I'd say this place, once part of a small chain, was the predecessor of the Bonanza/Ponderosa steakhouses. It is right on the old road.


    Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

  9. I Came, I Saw, I Froze


    What did the Groundhog Say?



    Well, I was out there on Woodstock Square, nice and early at 7:07 AM. pretty early for these retired old bones, to see what Woodstock Willie had to say about the next six weeks.


    We were serenaded by a German oompah band, one of whom had liederhosen (in the 5 degree weather). Of course, they played the "Pennsylvania Polka" in honor of our neighbors to the east, Punxsutawney, Pa., and then, a rousing rendition of "Bear Down Chicago Bears" in honor of our Super Bowl bound football team.


    The mayor said a few words. Then the deejay who gave his voice after "I Got You, Babe", "Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your ______ 'cause it's cooooold out there today." did his bit. (See if you're a Groundhog Day movie fan and fill in the blank.)


    The unhappy groundhog was then pulled out of his nice warm stump (he wasn't much happy about it) and after a consultation with the main man, said, he definitely did not see his shadow. That means an early spring. Despite the frigidity, a round of applause and cheering went up into the wintry air.


    As I sit here, with the subzero winds howling outside, I have to wonder about that overgrown rodent.


    Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

  10. Don Edgren 1923-2006


    Engineering Whiz for Disney


    Created the Matterhorn and Pirates of the Caribbean



    Disneyland is still a top tourist draw in California. The man who made some of its, and Walt Disney World's, attractions has died at age 83 of a hemorrhagic stroke.


    He was working with an engineering firm that was involved with the construction of the Matterhorn back in the 50s. It was generally believed that it would be impossible to put tobaggans, a skyride, and waterfalls inside it. Mr. Edgren figured out a way to do it. This so impressed Walt Disney, that he hired him and Mr. Edgren remained with the company for 33 years.


    The Pirates of the Caribbean was originally planned as a walk through attraction, but Mr. Edgren decided it would be best as a boat ride and had it built.


    Last fall, he was named a Disney Legend, which honors those who have had a lasting influence of Walt Disney Co.


    He was a Los Angeles native and served as an aviator in WWII, flying 45 combat missions in the Pacific.

  11. Woodstock is your perfect town square kind of a town. The roads around the square are paved in bricks dating back to the 1850s. There is an old courthouse and jail on one side (complete with a Dick Tracy museum as the creator lived in Woodstock), the old town hall, now called the Opera House with lots of shows and entertainment throughout the year, and specialty stores.


    The square itself has a spring house, a huge gazebo, and a statue honoring McHenry County's Civil War dead. This is where the movie's snowball fight took place.


    This is worth a trip at any time of the year.

  12. But then, I am a Dr. Pepper drinker and the Moxie taste is certainly closer to Pepper


    I never had a Moxie either, but am willing to try it. Of course, I like the old 10-2-4 Dr. Pepper when it really had a kick.


    Living in North Carolina, there was nothing better than going to my uncle's old (and I mean really old) gas station in Mt. Olive, reaching into one of those old floor coolers, and pulling out a Dr. Pepper, chilled to perfection, with a thing patch of ice across the top, and taking a deep swig. Now, that was one way to beat the heat of a hot, muggy, summer day.


    Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

  13. For any of you who might be up Chicago way in the early days of February, you should get yourself out to Woodstock, about 45 miles northwest.


    Woodstock is where the movie "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray was filmed and if you're a fan of it, you will notice a large number of the sites featured in it.


    Highlights include the Feb. 1st Lighting of the Groundhog and Feb. 2nd Groundhog Prognostication and Breakfast.


    On Feb. 3rd, Saturday, there will be 10 AM showing of the movie in the actual theater where Murray did his Eastwood impersonation, chili cookoff, walking tour of filmsites as well as plaque dedication, movie symposium, and dance.


    For more information:




    Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

  14. I have always thought that it was too bad that US 1 didn't stay right by the coast the whole way from Maine to Florida. In Illinois, SR 1 runs all along the Illinois/Indiana border. Also, Cal. 1 runs along the Pacific much of the way.


    We will be driving some of it in Florida near the end of this month. I sure hope Ernie's BBQ is still open near Ft. Lauderdale. A1A here we come.


    What were they thinking when they numbered it?


    Again, Happy New Year.


    Keep Rollin' Down that Coast Highway(well sorta). --RoadDog

  15. Our road favorite animated movie "Cars" ended up as the second-highest grossing movie of 2006 at $244 million. The number one was "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" at $423 million. Somewhere, Walt Disney must be smiling.


    In case youre wondering, the next highest was "X-Men:The Last Stand" at $234 million. Rounding out the top ten:


    4. The Davinci Code

    5. Superman Returns

    6. Ice Age: the Meltdown

    7. Happy Feet

    8. Over the Hedge

    9. Casino Royale

    10. Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby at $148 million


    It would be interesting to see what impact it had on Route 66 and old roads in general. I don't know about you, but I saw it three times when it was in the theaters, the first time at the McHenry Outdoor Drive In where there was a big round of applause at its conclusion.


    Keep on Watching that Cars movie. --RoadDog

  16. Del Reeves


    60s Country Singer- "The Girl on the Billboard"


    Del Reeves died New Years Day. He is a member of the Grand Ol' Opry and scored many big hits back in the 60s. His biggest hit was 1965's "The Girl on the Billboard" about a provacative billboard on Route 66 between Chicago and St. Louis. He mentioned that it was by a truckstop (perhaps the Dixie?). He also had several other trucker songs.


    He was born in 1932 and named Franklin Delano Reeves by his parents as they were big admirers of President Roosevelt. He later dropped the Franklin and shortened Delano.


    He was often called the "Doodle-Oo-Doo-Doo Kid" for his nonsense syllables in his songs. His shows also consisted of impressions, some of the better ones of Jimmy Stewart, Walter Brennan, and Johnny Cash.


    He helped the "Achy Breaky Heart" man, Billy Ray Cyrus, in the early part of his career.


    "Da Da Doo Dah Dah"




    If any of you come across an obituary that has something to do with the road, please post them. I'm sure that I miss some that would be of interest.

  17. Well, I claim DeKalb as my hometown quite often, even though it actually isn't. I'm from Malta, which is about 6 miles west of DeKalb on Illinois SR 38. But very few people have ever heard of Malta, and DeKalb is more widely known.


    I'm very familiar with Malta, home of Illinois' first seedling mile for the Lincoln Highway and home of the mighty Kishwaukee College.


    Probably be out by Dekalb this weekend.


    Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

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