I grew up reading comic books wanting to be a superhero. Comics taught me that those who speak the truth are heroes, all the rest are liars.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Route 66: Illinois and Twinkies

Currently I'm traveling down Route 66 with the odd side trip here and there...I'm blogging about my Mother Road adventure at The Grateful Muses blog but side trips and odd things that don't quite fit the travel log will get posted up here...like this one about Twinkies...

Old Twinkies advertisement tin

As Route 66 is America's Main Street, so are Twinkies America's snack cake. And guess what? Twinkies were invented in Illinois...

Schiller Park in the 1930's. The inventor James Dewar realized that several machines used to make cream filled strawberry shortcake sat idle when the berries weren't in season. That's when he conceived a snack cake filled with a banana cream filling. He came up with the name Twinkies when he saw a billboard in St. Louis for 'Twinkle Toe Shoes....giving birth to 'Twinkies'.

Due to the rationing of bananas during WWII, the company was forced to change the filling to vanilla cream...making them even more popular. Twinkies also did limited time promotions with other fillings including hot dog like meats...vanilla cream however dominated the market even today.

On May 4, 2012 Hostess Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and ceased making Twinkies...fortunately Twinkies, along with other famed Hostess Brands, were purchased out of bankruptcy by Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co.  A reduced sized Twinkies was returned to US shelves on July 15, 2013. They now contain 135 calories and have a mass of 38.5 grams, while the original Twinkies contained 150 calories and had a mass of 42.5 grams. The new Twinkies also have a longer shelf life of 45 days, which was also a change made before bankruptcy, compared to the 26 days of the original Twinkies. So Twinkies junkies can rejoice...as their fix remains available...

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Route 66 Roadside: Pets

As most know, we are traveling historic Route 66 from Chicago to California. Currently we are in New Mexico...with us are our dogs who are the best travelers...
Dot and Burrito

Dot and Burrito on Route 66
When we started down Route 66, we had our two mixed Boston-Rat Terriers (Brats!). They are siblings, brother and sister, who we've had for the last ten years so this isn't their first trip. They love going to new places and staying in hotel rooms...seemingly without emotional issues.

Naturally we bring their most favorite toys, treats, and bedding with us. We also make sure they get water and food regularly as well as exercise. Basically the same we do for ourselves. They should feel comfortable, safe and secure... with theirs needs being met just like when they are at home.

Dogs will surprise you in that they are very adaptable, curious and when they feel secure will make the best explorers.

CoCo holding Tiki Man,,,Latest family dog!
A couple of days ago, a week into our trip... in Erich OK, we found a starved, dirty, flea ridden and scared little puppy in a dumpster...We fed him, cleaned him up, gave him medicine...and now he's part of the family...so there's three of us...and three little dogs...now traveling down Route 66...

Along the way, there's lots of motels and hotels, rest stops, RV parks and campsites that are pet friendly...also stores that carry food, medicine, and dog items...so by all means take the family pet with you..they deserve a vacation too! I've even seem a 'horse friendly' motel along the route!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Route 66 Roadside: Mother Jones

Mother Jones (Mary Harris Jones) was like every one's mother...teaching us what's correct, moral and ethical. Her story is still teaching the power of speaking the truth, standing up for others and working for everyone.

The kids and I are traveling down Route 66 (read more of our Rt66 adventures at The Grateful Muses). We made it to Mount Olive, Illinois when we noticed a marker for Mother Jones at the Union Miner's Cemetery on the outskirts of town...another side trip to take a look at another bit of history that shaped American labor, mining conditions, child labor, and unions.

Mary was a schoolteacher and dressmaker. She lost her husband and four children to yellow fever and then her dress shop was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Speaking for myself, I'm not sure I could continue on but at 60 years of age...Mary took on a new roll as an organizer for the Knights of Labor and the United Mine Workers union

Mary become know as 'Mother Jones d coordinate major strikes demanding better conditions for miners. Her organizing skills demanding
better conditions for miners and better laws and stronger enforcement of those laws regarding child labor.  She was so successful that in 1903she was dubbed 'the most dangerous women in America"

Mother Jones gave no apology for speaking the truth. She demanded that workers and families be treated fairly, humanly, and with respect. She stood for all the values that mothers everywhere stand for...a better life for their children...and her story teaches us that one person regardless of age can make a huge difference when we act for those in need. Her impact on workers, families, unions, laws and organizing shows how dynamic one women can be even amiss lost, suffering, and adversity. RIP Mother...