Category Archives: Route 66

A Spook Hike

This past weekend was the Lions’ Club Spook Hike fundraiser. For $5 you get more than your monies worth with a headless horseman (real horse) and other psychological fears.

My oldest son loves going through the the haunted houses. I was certain that he would have nightmares for months after we went the first time three years ago. Instead, he approached it as though he were attending a broadway play. I find it curious because this child has an extensive imagination and can scare himself right out in broad daylight.

As far as the spook hike goes, he is just like me. The spook hikes don’t bother me either. I like to see the clever ways they startle, distract, and unsettle you or tap into that irrational fear. I like to watch the process but I’m not affected by it.

Then this morning, I realized just how much I am like my son. Recently, I read about a weight loss blogger who was running early in the morning in her reflective gear, etc. It made me want to get out in the wee morning hours despite the lack of daylight. So, I laced up some minimals and went for a run long before day break. The thing is, I have a terrible fear of running in the dark. This was only the second time I had ever ventured out into the scary pre-dawn world. I didn’t even think using my iPod because I wanted full hearing functionality in case footsteps approached from behind or a nondescript white van with no back windows suddenly started its engine. I made it back to the house unscathed but spooked to the core…over nothing at all. I guess my imagination was getting the best of me.

Still, I am not sure if I’ll be brave enough to even run to the garage in the morning.

Almost anything can lurk there..including a double stuff Oreo.



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Filed under minimalist shoes, Route 66, running

Ron’s Pork Shack

I’ll admit that I drove here tonight to get a slice of Mama’s pizza. But, when I walked in the door a friendly lady inquired,

“Are you here for Mama’s or Ron’s?”

The ladies entering ahead of me bee-lined for the pizza. I felt a little guilty dosing out more rejection so I redirected my belly. Usually, we have Mama’s delivered, so, I hadn’t realized the two restaurants share a building. Pretty frugally smart if you ask me.


The food:
Cole slaw – good, looks homemade and if it isn’t then they’ve got a good source for it. I particularly liked the big, crunchy pieces of cabbage.
Pulled pork on a bun, easy on the mild sauce – the meat was juicy, tender, and flavorful. The sauce was very easy but you don’t need sauce on meat like this.
You know how McD and B-K use their buns to cover up the taste of their meat? Ron’s pork doesn’t NEED a bun.

See? It’s all gone.

The Service:
Jimmy Johns has some competition. Since I didn’t order fries it was blindingly fast. I didn’t even finish catching up on my texts.

The Atmosphere:
This is the only downfall. Pizza business in our town is about delivery so it makes sense that this “restaurant” makes a run-down greasy spoon look high class. However , being located at the entrance of South Island Park makes it a great place to pick up something for an impromptu picnic with the best scenery in town.

Final result, I can’t wait to bring the hubs here when we’re looking for a fast meal that doesn’t leave us feeling like we’ve been coated in grease from the inside out. This meal is definitely worth getting it to go.


Filed under Route 66

The Polk-a-Dot

Your driving southbound on Route 66 in your Daddy’s brand new, 1955 cherry red caddy with the top down. Your pony tail, sitting high on your head, and the scarf you tied around it this morning are whipping around under the brilliant sunlight.


It’s almost Christmas and it’s 2011 not 1955. So, instead of being in your daddy’s cherry red caddy with three of your friends, each with a poodle skirt that fills more than half the seat, you are actually driving a 2006 red Honda sedan, wearing stretch jeans and have your two tween boys in the back seat.

Either way, the destination is the same. The Polk-a-Dot, a year round standard 1950’s themed diner on Route 66 on the north side of Braidwood, IL. It claims to be a drive-in but you don’t get served at your car. They enclosed an area around the “ice cream stand” so that you can sit inside. It’s actually better this way because you get to look at walls full of 1950’s celebrities, Betty Boop, a few photo ops with life size celebrities, and it’s open year-round. One of the best things, is a fully functional, 100% legit Wurlitzer stocked full of Christmas songs long forgotten and Elvis singing Blue Christmas from a 45. Well, the rest of the year it’s regular golden oldies.


Forget going to Dairy Queen and stop by Polk-a-Dot instead. DQ in these parts is closed during the winter anyway. K-man has a soft spot for their shakes, Mik likes the root beer floats, the hubs is a banana split man, and I stick with the strawberry sundae. They have it all plus food.


For a quarter, the little kids can “drive” the car with flames.

Shakes, root beer floats, and fries!

I love being just a short drive along Route 66 from this classic. 50 years of Polk-a-Dots can’t be wrong.

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Filed under Route 66, travel

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Way number #33 on how to make your runs more enjoyable:  The Cheers Method

I’ve mentioned before that I have a friend who owns a local (better than $tarbuck$ or McD$) coffee shop. Jaszy’s Java is located one block off Old Route 66 in Wilmington. It’s a cheerful little shop with an owner who cares about what her customers want to drink, especially, if it’s coffee or a smoothy. I recommend the not-so-berry berry smoothies. It’s a Barefoot Roses custom smoothie.

Several of my recent runs went right past Jaszy’s by design to either take a picture or just waved a hello.

You know that scene from Cheers when Norm walks into the bar, says hello and everyone yells back “Norm” in greeting?

OK, maybe Darla is the only one waving and saying Hello to me but still it perks up the run a bit.

So if you can find a running route with a place where everybody knows your name, I recommend it.


Filed under Barefoot, Route 66, running