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


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Posts posted by RoadDog

  1. TV Producer of "Route 66"


    Herbert Leonard Died at age 84


    Herbert Leonard was the executive producer and creator of such famous TV shows as "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin" 1954-1959, "Naked City" 1958-1963 and of course its great introduction, and "Route 66" which the obituary regarded as his most memorable series, 1960-1964.


    This show featured Martin Milner and George Maharis (replaced by Glenn Corbett in the last season) as a pair of young men going across America in that great old car. This series was shot on location in about 40 states.


    He was born in NY City. played college football at New York University and was a navy pilot during WWII.





    Mr. Arundale was the holder of 68 US patents in chemical research, including the development of synthetic rubber for tires and unleaded gasooline. He spent most of his 35 year career in the chemicals division of Exxon Research and Engineering Co. He died in Woodstock, Illinois on August 12th.


    He graduated first in his high school class and Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. During WWII there was a shortage of natural rubber needed for the tires on military vehicles. The US government recognized his talents and he came up with a synthetic rubber.


    In the early 1950s, he was a member of a team that developed unleaded gasoline which has had a huge impact on the quality of earth's environment.


    His family said he had a very sharp mind and quick sense of humor. He could finish a crossword puzzle in two minutes.





    Carl Cyrus Clark died August 24th. He was an international expert in human acceleration and crash protection. His research contributed significantly to the development of the automobile and airplane airbags.


    Ralph Nader said this about him, "He did more for humanity than 99.9 percent of the world's scientists." Mr. Clark did not believe there was a technical problem that he couldn't figure out.


    In 1955 he headed up the biophysics division of the Aviation Medical Acceleration Laboratory in Johnsville, Pa. He provided centrifuge training for X-15 pilots and the original seven Project Mercury astronauts.


    Evidently, he conducted hydroplane sled experiments on himself. He first intended to use airbags with the astronauts, but soon concluded that it would be useful with civilians in automobiles. He met opposition from the automobile industry, but through his involvement with the National Highway traffic Safety Administration and National Bureau of Standards, he was able to prevail


    Since retirement, he had been active as a consultant on highway safety and was often called by lawyers in court cases.



    Bruce Ruth, 73


    The man many say brought this "delicacy" to the masses, well at least the masses around Severance, Colorado, died August 23rd after a stroke.


    His place "Bruce's Bar" in Severance served as much as 4000 pounds of the stuff a month. He liked to say Severance was "Where the geese fly and the bulls cry."


    He first got the idea when a friend served him turkey oysters in the late 50s. His bar/restaurant was struggling at the time and he hit upon the idea of serving sliced up, breaded, deep-fried meat with dipping sauce. This very well have been what saved him.


    His place became a big tourist and biker destination. Such notables as John Wayne, Julia Roberts, and George W. Bush , have eaten there. Each September, thousands of bikers descend for an annual rally.


    In case you were wondering, Rocky Mountain Oysters are bull or calf testicles. Calves have theirs cut off to increase beef production and there are several beef packing plants in the area.



    Photographer James Fee, 57, died September 4. He was known for his sad pictures of an America that has been passed by. Topics such as abandoned factories, lonesome highways, crumbling drive-in theaters rusting cars abounded in his work. Another series of pictures was called "Four Days in New York" where he photographed tourist attractions from interesting angles.


    His photography dealer said, "He was disappointed in what America had become as opposed to what it could be."


    I went to his site and, if you've never seen his work, it's worth a look.

  6. When visiting Santa Fe, be sure to come back to Albuquerque on the Turquoise Trail and also visit Sandia Crest (elevation10,678 ft.) and the Tinkertown Museum. Well worth the time.

    Fran in Cuba, MO.



    Is the Turquoise trail the old 66? We'll be in the Duke City near the end of the month as we make our first-ever end-to-end Route 66 trip. We've been as far as Tucumcari going west. On the way back, we'll go to the Grand Canyon, Las vegas, and Santa Fe. If anyone knows of a neat place that is not in any of the 66 books, let me know.

  7. Cornfest is History


    The 2006 Dekalb, Illinois, Cornfest is over for another year. Lincoln Highway, which serves as Dekalb's main street, was blocked off between 1st and 4th streets for three days. Fun was had by the crowds, who came despite the constant threat of, and occasional rain.


    Friday, we ate...corn. Also brats. Buck an ear is a good price these days.


    We also visited an old college stomping ground, Andy's. They have been doing extensive remodelling and returning to its 30s-40s look. You can now see the original tin ceiling, covered since the early 60s by a dropped one.


    They are also going to reopen McCabe's which is next door and has been closed for years. McCabe's is housed in what I regard as the most impressive buiding in downtown Dekalb.


    Saturday, we ate...more corn, this time for FREE!!!! From 11 to 2, 20,000 ears (50 tons) were given away on a first-come first-served basis. And come they did. There were long lines but relatively short waits thanks to the assembly line serving process. The only negative aspect was the very slippery road, thanks to the butter drippings of thousands of ears of corn being wolfed down.


    An old steam-powered piece of farm machinery heated the water in the four huge troughs, where people stirred with pitchforks. The corn was then placed in laundry baskets and brought up to the tables to be devoured. This poor piece of machinery valiantly tried to out whistle the many trains that pass through Dekalb daily, but with little success.


    The corn was donated by a very generous Del Monte Corporation.


    We got to see a Jimmy Buffett tribute band called Pirates Over 40 and then a high-powered girl group called Catfight.


    FYI- for any of you traveling through Dekalb, all restaurants are now non-smoking and the same will apply to bars next year.


    Sunday, we ate...you guessed it...more corn!!!! I am officially corned out for awhile. Saw an excellent blues performance by Howard & the White Boys at noon. They cut their teeth at Andy's. Other regional acts that got their starts at the venerable place are Mr. Myers, a Caribbean rock band, and the Dekalb Footstompers, a group you have to see to believe. Hint: tuba, accordion, rock guitar, and drums.


    Later, the Fabulous Janes took the stage and put on a performance that would leave you breathless.


    I managed to get the last seat on a tour of Dekalb's historical homes led by Dekalb historian Steve Bigolin. If there is anything you want to know about the town's history, he's the guy to ask. The Dekalb Chronicle has just published a book by him in honor of Dekalb's susquicentennial being celebrated this year.


    Sunday's headliner was Survivor. For a bunch of aging guys, they haven't lost a bit of their rock and roll swagger.


    I was surprised at how few of the people knew anything about Lincoln Highway and got a lot of questions because of my LH shirt and hat.


    Keep on Eating that Corn and Cruising Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

  8. In his first appearance back at the site where his movie Field of Dreams was filmed, Kevin Costner hung out with fans, ran bases, and gave a 75 minute performance with his band. This took place August 11th and was at Dyersville, Iowa, right by US-20. This was also the first time the movie was actually screened at the site according to an article by Mark Caro in the Chicago Tribune of August 14 in an article titled "Recurring 'Dreams.'"


    At least 5000 fans showed up and several hundred were turned away when the local fire department declared the place at capacity. Evidently, the land is owned by two families who don't get along too well. This event took place at what is called Left & Center Field of Dreams. The right field, infield, and area by the white farmhouse is owned by another family and was off limits. Both have gift shops.


    It is too bad these two families can't just get along. I hope to visit the site this week as we'll be driving US-20 to Galena, Il., one beautiful drive.


    The movie was screened by the Rolling Roadshow, which this August is visiting ten movie sites and showing the movie for free. Upcoming ones are the 24th- Poseidon Adventure in Long Beach, Ca., and 26th- Escape from Alcatraz in San Francisco, Ca. You can find out more at www.netflix.com/roadshow

  9. We have two Dog 'N Suds here in Illinois near the Wisconsin border. One is in Ingleside, near Fox Lake and the other is in Richmond on US-12. Love those Coneydogs and Texas Burgers, and of course, that great root beer and carhop service.


    We also have the McHenry Outdoor Theater nearby. We thought it was going to be torn down last year, but got a reprieve. Nothing like doing a retro night going to Dog 'N suds and then to the drive in.

  10. Three interesting stories in the papers recently, two road and one not.


    What Speed Camera?


    Did you hear the one about the lady in Scottsdale, Arizona, who racked up 70 speeding tickets in the last 5 months. She didn't know about the speed camera police had installed at the one point of her drive. Her excuse was that she was late for client meetings. She didn't think anything would happen if she didn't pay them. She owes $11,000 and could have her license suspended. Imagine that. Who'd a thunk?


    Better Late than Never


    An 86 year old man in Florida paid his parking ticket..........sixty years late!!!! He received it in Norfolk, Virginia, back in 1946 while he was in the Navy. It cost $1. He bought a money order to pay it, and just discovered the ticket and order while cleaning out an old box. "At my age, when I go out of here, I don't want to owe anyone a dime." The Norfolk police are not going to cash it. They are going to frame it and put it in the department's museum.


    Watch Out for Those Vicious Mannequins


    OK, so this one isn't completely road, but, hey, I have stopped at malls while traveling, and isn't the Mall of America a tourist destination?


    In Chicagoland, a lady has sued JC Penney's at Westminster Mall for an attack by a mannequin last year. This "attack" bloodied her scalp, cracked a tooth (which led to a root canal), has caused recurring shoulder problems, and numbness in her fingers. She was hit by an arm that fell off when she and a clerk were removing a blouse she wanted to try on. The mannequin was probably just being modest.


    First, we had the attack of the steaming coffee, now the marauding mannequins. What next?


    In 1990, a Florida woman collected $175, 000 from a similar "attack."


    So, the next time you're at a store, keep an eye out for those mannequins. They may be watching and plotting.


    Keep Laughing Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog



    Manny Cortez, 67, died of a heart attack on June 18th. He was the longtime president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.


    Las Vegas' attempt to turn itself into a family-friendly destination in the 90s had failed, and tourism was way down in the wake of 9-11. Mr. Cortez had the R&R Partners advertising agency come up with what, since its 2002 debut, is regarded as one of the most effective tourism slogans of all time. "What happens here stays here."


    He started in Las Vegas as a parking attendant at the Stardust Hotel and Casino.



    On August 14th, Doris Mae Hastert, 93, died of natural causes. Along with her husband, she took a one room bankrupt restaurant in 1954 and turned it into one of the biggest and best-known chicken places in the US, especially to fans of Route 66


    From that small beginning, White Fence Farm, in Lemont, Illinois, today has 11 dining rooms and can seat 1100. There are three offsite carryout places around Chicagoland, a museum, and petting zoo.


    She and her husband married in the early 30s and opened a poultry market in Aurora, which eventually became the Harmony House restaurant. They sold it to buy White Fence Farm.

  13. If you're trying to get around Chicago and want to avoid the hassle of congested freeways and suburbia, I recommend Il-47. It runs from the Wisconsin border at Herbron and eventually ends up just west of Champagne.


    We take it from Woodstock to Dwight, where we get off onto US 66. There is great scenery and interesting places to stop including the patriotic hotdog. However, suburbia is lapping at its shoulders so I don't know how much longer it will be a good alternative.


    Morris and Yorkville are worth stops as well.


    Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

  14. I have no idea where they came up with number 5. I picked Mark Twain because he was from Missouri.






    I would have scored over 14K points on these questions with #5 being the only real 'headscratcher'. I am also very good at answer guessing (I know very little about personalities, literature and movies) in NTN games so a perfect score would have been a real likelyhood.





  15. These were the trivia questions for NTN Topix game from August 11, 2006. I know they are on the interstates, sigh! But just imagine how BAD things would be on our two lane roads without them.


    1. Who was the president who signed the 1956 Federal Highway Act that created the interstate system?


    Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, LBJ, Woodrow Wilson


    2. What state has the most interstate mileage?


    Alaska, Ohio, Arizona, Texas, Florida


    3. Standards established by the Act called for all of these except:


    50-100 mph speed limits, two plus lanes in each direction, 12 foot wide lanes,

    standardized shoulder widths


    4. The eastern starting point of I-40 is at?


    Wilmington, San Bernadino, Riverside, Long Beach, Bakersfield


    5. Missouri's St. Charles County is called the ________ of the interstate:


    Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Upton St. Clair, James F. Cooper, Herman Melville


    6. I-25 is located in this part of the US:


    Northeast, Atlantic Seaboard, Gulf Coast, West, Southeast


    7. At 3,020 miles, it is the longest interstate route in the US:


    I-10, I-25, I-40, I-70, I-90


    8. I-5 connects:


    the Rocky Mountains, the longest rivers, international borders, four interstates


    9. The final piece of the original interstate plan is called the _______ Tunnel.


    Fargo, Boston, Amarillo, Miami Beach, El Capundo


    10. What state has no signed interstate highways:


    North Dakota, Maine, Alaska, Mississippi, New Mexico


    11. I-84 follows the same route as:


    The Spanigh Trail, Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail, Gila Trail, Mormon Trail


    12. I-80 passes through all these states except:


    Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania


    13. I-10 goes through all of these except:


    French Quarter, Alamo, Santa Monica Pier, Lincoln Center


    14. The shortest interstate, I-97, is located in which state:


    Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire


    15. I-25 and I-40 come together in:


    Phoenix, Dallas, Albuguerque, Cheyene, Denver



    See how well you do. NTN times you starting at 1000 point on each question and working down to zero. You don't get much time to answer either. They do eliminate two incorrect answers and will give you the correct answer on the third clue. You would only get 250 or less points if you change it then.


    I missed 2,6,7,11,13, and 14. I got number 5 right, even though I've never heard anything about it before. I was figuring they'd ask about it being the birthplace.


    One person scored a perfect 15,000. The lowest top twenty score was 13,500. A place called Famous Dave's had a team score of 14,362. The lowest team score was 11,632. Evidently. there are some people out there who really know their interstates. My score was 9,789. I thought I knew about the interstates, but obviously didn't. My excuse is that it was about interstates and I'm a two lane guy. That's my story anyway and I'm sticking to it.


    My wife and I are no longer into "clubbing" and like to stop at places that have NTN on our travels. We have met some really great people and found out a lot of places to visit in the areas. I'd recommend it to you. You can go to www.ntn.com to find out site locations.


    I'll give the answers in several days. Let me know how you think you did. No cheating though. Don't use an atlas which would have greatly helped me while I played the contest.


    Every Wednesday, NTN has a Passport game where they take you to a part of the US or the world and ask you questions about it. This is at 8:00 PM Central Time.


    Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

  16. Occasionally, I come across the obituary of a person who has had an impact on the road culture of the US. Perhaps they were an engineer, inventor, restaurant founder, or involved in the resurrection of our old roads. I know that others die and I don't get to read about their accomplishments. This would be a good place for their obituaries.


    Co-Founder of In-N-Out Burgers and the Drive-up Window



    Esther Snyder had died at age 86. Along with her late husband Harry, she founded In-N-Out Burger in Baldwin Park, Ca. in 1948. They started their chain at the same time as McDonald's (the original), Carl's Jr., and Jack-in-the-Box.


    The Snyders always favored a slow-growth approach, and even today, there are only 202 In-N-Out stores across California, Arizona, and Nevada. Estimated sales in 2002 were $260 million. They are very loyal to their employees.


    She grew up in Sorrento, Illinois, and was a member of the WAVES during WWII. This is how she ended up out west where she met her future husband while working as the day manager of a restaurant where Harry sold baked goods.


    In 1948, they opened the first In-N-Out store in Baldwin Park, right across the street from the house where Harry grew up. They sold 47 burgers their first day.




    Most burger joints in the post WWII had carhops and then McDonald's and Carl's Jr. added walkup windows. Harry, who had no seating and little parking, took a different approach. He "capitalized on the emerging twin cultures of cars and fast food" and introduced a two-way speaker where a driver could order his meal and pick it up and never get out of his car. As we know today, that has had a major impact on fast food.


    I found it interesting that there are different ways of ordering items at In-N-Out. "Animal style" is a burger with pickles, grilled onions, mustard with extra sauce. A "Flying Dutchman" is two meat patties, cheese and no bun. A "4 by 4" is four patties and four pieces of cheese.


    The next time I'm out west, I will definitely check out this chain.

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