The Legend-News

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Monday, 2012 March 5 : Volume 15, Number 3

What We Got Here

Lost In the Mail, Critters Are Found! Unread messages. Bloomfield to Baghdad: New fiction from Tom Claffey. C.W. On the Radio: An interview with K-HOG. Previously, in The Legend-News: The Clark County Fair. Over the Double Nickel: “Bypassed”. eBay Update: Toys in the attic.

Lost In the Mail, Critters Are Found!

If you have but one e-mail address, then I admire you. Having only one address means that your only concern is you, and not a variety of other endeavors that each require a unique address. Me, I have twenty-three addresses, spread among sixteen domains.

This newsletter, for example, comes to you from; but if you were corresponding with me about topics that were not related to The Legend-News, I would use If you were dealing with my web company, over there I’m And at the web sites that I maintain, I’m to the users of those sites.

Using almost two dozen addresses might seem ridiculous, but consider: if you wrote a letter to BigCheese@BigCheese’, wouldn’t you be suspicious of a reply from BigCheese ought to be using an address at his own domain, and not a “free” account at another provider. BigCheese seems to be a cheapskate and a fool.

But to the point: I lost track of one of my addresses; specifically,, which is the address where you can tell me that you’re a Crispy Critter who wants to join the party in the Swimming Pool. Somehow, three years ago, probably while setting up the computer which I’m now using, I failed to add that address to my mail client.

So for three years I haven’t been answering any mail that was received at that address. Critters seeking recognition were ignored; tales of Critterdom went unread. I, the Space Cadet and Leader of the Crispy Critters, failed to read those messages.

Failed, failed, FAILED!

I throw myself upon the mercy of the tribe.

To James “Ghosthunter” Dauphinais of Nashua, New Hampshire, and Bill Heatley of Riverton, Wyoming: I’m sorry about not adding you to the rolls back in ’09. I have now corrected my mistake.

And I am regularly checking the Critters mailbox, every day.

Bloomfield to Baghdad

bloomfield_to_baghdad Tom Claffey, who you may remember from previous issues of The Legend-News, has a new novel, Bloomfield to Baghdad. This is the third of his 18-wheeler tales, following Hoot ’n’ Holler and Searching for C.W. McCall.

Bloomfield to Baghdad is about Jesse Harper, who has just graduated from Bloomfield (New Mexico) High School. Jesse learns to drive a semi, enlists in the U.S. Army, and serves in Iraq. The trucker team of Hoot ’n’ Holler makes a reappearance; and there’s a dog named Sloan.

Bloomfield to Baghdad is available from the online store of ABQ Press and at

On Tom’s site, you can find a full listing of his works.

Tom’s next book will be Morgan Bluestone, which should be published in 2014.

American Spirit / The Real McCall Bundle

American Gramaphone still has a bundle deal on two albums, The Real McCall: An American Storyteller and American Spirit.

The Real McCall: An American Storyteller is a re-recording of fifteen classic C.W. McCall songs (and all of his songs are classics, aren’t they?), plus a new song, “Comin’ Back For More”, the story of Al Packer, who wasn’t picky about his food.

American Spirit is an “Americana” album, with Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man”; “Battle Hymn of the Republic”; “Home on the Range”; and spoken word pieces by C.W. McCall.

C.W. On the Radio

Bill Fries was interviewed by Ronzo and Latigo on KHWG Classic Country in Fallon, Nevada, on 2012 February 7. Among this interview’s topics: why “Convoy” was written; the beginning of C.W. McCall; and Bill’s connection with Johnny Carson. (You can find other radio interviews on the Two-Way page.

Previously, in The Legend-News

From the 2003 January 6 issue of The Legend-News.

The Clark County Fair in Ridgefield, Washington, August 1977.

Clark County Fair, Vancouver, Washington, August 1977

Over the Double Nickel


A café has closed because it was bypassed.

I’ve traveled across Iowa a few times. Sometimes on Interstate 80, when I was in a hurry; once on US 20, to take a more northerly route to Norfolk, Nebraska; but usually I drive on US 30, which is often on the same alignment as the Lincoln Highway. In the summer of 2011, I drove along the route of the Lincoln Highway from Geneva, Illinois to Cheyenne, Wyoming before turning south towards Denver.

Tama, Iowa is about a half-day drive between my home in Illinois and wherever I’m going to stop for the night. Every time that I drove across Iowa on US 30, I stopped at the King Tower Café and afterward visited the Lincoln Highway Bridge, just a quarter-mile west of the Café. But, as I discovered on a trip last June, US 30 through Tama had been bypassed by the US 30 Expressway.

Yes, “Expressway”. Two lanes in each direction, a median, entrance and exit ramps. Not a surface street, but an elevated highway for much of its length. The old route of US 30, a two-lane highway that turned northwest just past the King Tower Café and passed between Tama and Toledo, had been bypassed by a higher-capacity road.

US 30 is, oddly enough, often a bypass of the Lincoln Highway. The Lincoln Highway, through towns, often made turns at intersections. When the route of US 30 was determined, some of it was laid on new pavement that avoided those in-town turns, and sometimes avoided the towns themselves. It was a bypass; and businesses along the Lincoln Highway then suffered as the traffic no longer passed their location.

The King Tower Café was located on the northeast corner of East 5th Street and Mansfield Drive, on the east side of Tama, Iowa. If you were driving into Tama on US 30, the Lincoln Highway, you couldn’t miss seeing it, because it was right on the corner, with a large parking lot to its east.

Less than a quarter-mile west of King Tower, US 30 turned to the northwest and 5th Street continued into Tama. US 30 bypassed the route of the Lincoln Highway, but it continued through Tama. 5th Street was on the original alignment of the Lincoln Highway. You drove west on East 5th Street, turned north on State Street, then west on 13th Street. The Lincoln Highway continued west to Montour.

But in November 2010, the US 30 Expressway opened. On its east end, it begins on 330th Street (5th Street in Tama) between L Avenue and M Avenue, heading northwest. The King Tower Café was west of that starting point; and the traffic that once passed its door was now gone. To reach the Café, you would need to drive to the first exit on the Expressway, then go south to 330th Street and onto 5th Street. But why bother, when your intention was to drive on “US 30” past Tama? Instead of driving through town (more or less) and seeing the businesses along the road, you could just keep driving and be west of Tama in five minutes.

And so the King Tower Café closed. No traffic, no business. Instead of being a place along a major road through town, it was now an old restaurant that was off the path. Since 1937, it served tens of thousands of travelers; now, it was lucky to get a dozen a day. And those patrons would have to be looking for it.

Other businesses were affected by the opening of the Expressway: the Lincoln Bridge Inn, west of King Tower and across the street from the Lincoln Highway Bridge, has also closed. Venture Lanes, a bowling alley near the Inn, is closed. Even a Chinese restaurant, just west of US 63 but on the “old” US 30 road, has gone out-of-business. Three businesses closed, because their potential customers are traveling out of sight of the business.

I live at the west end of McHenry, Illinois. The major roads are Illinois 31 (north-to-south) and Illinois 120 (east-to-west). Go south, you can drive to Crystal Lake, the largest city in McHenry County; go north, and you’re in Richmond. Ten miles west-southwest, there’s Woodstock, famous for its Opera House and Dick Tracy. East? Well, there really aren’t many interesting places to the east, but it’s the way to go if you want to reach Lake County with its high-priced homes and gigantic shopping centers.

McHenry has a traffic problem: for about a half-mile, Illinois 31 and Illinois 120 are contiguous through the middle of McHenry. Attempting to turn left off Illinois 120 (Elm Street), to go south on Illinois 31 (Front Street) or north (Richmond Road) is painful. You can idle through two or three lights before you can make your turn, especially during the so-called “rush hour”. And those left-turn lanes are too short; you’ll see cars and trucks lined up on the supposedly “safe” double-yellow islands and still blocking the left lane.

Of course, the solution to this problem is obvious: a bypass! A bypass that will start on Illinois 31 south of the McHenry city limits, travel around the west end of the city, and terminate at Richmond Road (Illinois 31) north of McHenry in the village of Ringwood. Problem solved! The traffic that merely wanted to move through McHenry can now ignore the city entirely.

But the businesses on Front Street, north of the start of the bypass? How will they fare? Even a McDonalds can’t do very well if the traffic past it is reduced. The businesses on Elm Street shouldn’t be affected much; Illinois 120 is the east-west road here, and it’s not being bypassed.

The most interesting effects will be to those businesses on north Richmond Road: that’s the major shopping area in McHenry (and Johnsburg, just north of McHenry). Walmart, Target, Sears Hardware, Arby’s, McDonalds (not yet, but soon), Burger King, Kohl’s, Best Buy, Famous Footwear, Meijer Foods, Mobil, Steak & Shake, Michaels, Petco, Petsmart, OfficeMax, Staples, Home Depot, Wendy’s, Starbucks, Chili’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Olive Garden, Discovery Clothes, JCPenney and I’ve run out of names. All of these businesses will be located two-and-half-miles south of the northern end of the West McHenry Bypass.

And I’ve not heard any complaints about the Bypass from these businesses; do they think that they won’t be affected? And as for me, this West McHenry Bypass will run past the back end of my property, where now there is just a two-lane road.

But “bypasses have got to be built”, as Mr. Prosser said.

eBay Update

Last month, I mentioned that I had some Apple II games up for auction on eBay, and I expressed surprise at the bids which I was receiving. Well, the results are in; and the biggest bid was for a copy of the Infocom Classic Mystery Library — three games in a box set: The Witness, Suspect, and Moonmist — with a winning bid of $510. No, that’s not a typographical error: a set of games for which I think that I paid about $60 in 1985 sold for eight-and-half-times its original price.

So, if you’ve got some old Apple II games in your attic or garage…

The Legend-News is published monthly by TechRen Enterprises, freakin' at the Freakers Ball. Copyright 2012 TechRen Enterprises. Send subscription requests, unsubscribe demands, complaints, kudos, suggestions, news and other contributions to Almost everything in The Legend-News has been written by Ed. Floden, except for the stuff that he blames on someone else. “I’m going to pack my goodies, and I’m going home!”