Before it's too late.

The Riviera Roadhouse in Gardner, Illinois, is a Route 66 delight dating back to the 1920s, and of course, Al Capone stopped there. It is closing January 1st. The owners are in their mid-80s and it is too hard for them to continue.

Noted for great food at reasonable prices, the restaurant in the basement, "cave" bar, dumbwaiters and clothesline for getting food and ordering, and owner Bob Carlson holding court behind the bar. Lovehis "Lucliest Man in the World" story about himself. Oh, yes, then there's the interesting toilets and the "Al Capone passed gas here in 1932" sign.

Also, the "A Christmas Story" movie exhibit at the Indiana I-80 welcome center by the Illinois line closes Jan. 11th. Jean Shepherd, whose story the movie is based on, grew up in nearby Hammond. Earlier, they had Flick, the kid who got his tongue stuck on the flagpole, come in to talk and a "Mother's Little Piggy" eating contest.

We're hoping to get to these two places if the weather cooperates.