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

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  2. Keep the Show on the Road!

    Gillespie Dam Brigde

    Terrific photos!! I recall visiting there in about 2007. In fact i think I posted something about it way back then. It is good to see it is getting good care. Glad the Vibe is doing well. My first car (in 1956) was a Pontiac, a big 1948 straight 8 sedan. You could pull stumps with the torque that car had. . It is a shame they have left the scene. They made some excellent cars. And ahhhh the Miata. I owned one of the first three in Washington. I drove from Olympia to Spokane to claim it. I actually cried when I sold it. It was my second favorite car, after the 1958 MGA I had in college. You must be doing some recent road tripping. Great reports! Dave Keep the Show on the Road!
  3. Oh, and to update another facet of this 10-year-old thread, I still have the '05 Vibe. 187,000 miles and still zero major problems. Did have the infamous Tanaka airbag recall, and then a recall on the recall. Did not drive it on this particular trip, though, but it is hitting the road for San Diego in less than a month. The '99 Miata was not so lucky, took a check from insurance for it in '16 following a chain-reaction crash on I-10 that would've cost about 7K to repair.
  4. Revisited the 1927 bridge yesterday, and drove the nearly the entire stretch of Old US 80 from the Salome Highway down to Gila Bend. Some changes in the last 10 years: The bridge now has height 'sizer' barriers at each end--wonder if there was an 'oops' accident? Also, at the east end of the bridge there is now a parking area and raised viewpoint, constructed in 2012 according to the sign. It looks like there are places for interpretive signs in two places, but they have not as of yet been installed. The view area does have a steel 'knuckle' of the type used in the bridge--neat touch. Here's some pictures:
  5. Keep the Show on the Road!

    Fairbank AZ roadside store restored

    It has been "forever" since I saw that style of desk!!! I knew it very well in the 40's. The lid (large writing surface) lifted and the bin underneath provided space for books, papers, pencils, and just about anything else. If I recall correctly the seat can be adjusted up and down by the custodian. What makes those desks special to me is the inkwell on the upper right. You had a bottle of ink, and a pen with a removable metal tip, and you used it. Talk about the past!! I understand that youngsters don't even learn cursive these days. I hope the power never goes off. Thanks! Dave Keep the Show on the Road!!
  6. Dave, I just looked on Google Earth at the Fairbank area and saw the structure you mention above. That is a horse corral, presently in use. Horseback riding in the National Conservation Area is popular, and there are many trails. If you follow the old rail bed south from the Highway 82 a short ways you can see the foundation remains of the old rail depot.
  7. mga707

    Pioneer Grain Elevator on Stage Coach Road

    Very nicely done!
  8. Not sure about the foundation you mention. The old two-story railroad station, which was demolished after passenger service ended in the mid-1960s, was located farther south along the old rail bed, so it's probably not that. I'm going to have to check Google Earth as well--love looking at their aerials of abandoned places I've visited. Yes, the BLM had done a wonderful job of historical preservation in a couple of National Conservation Areas not too far from my home in Tucson. Fairbank is located within the San Pedro Riparian NCA, and they have also beautifully restored the Empire Ranch buildings, including the main ranch house that dates to the 1870s, in the Las Cienegas NCA, which is located just east of State Route 83 near Sonoita. Here are two more shots from Fairbank, of the interior and exterior of the old three-room schoolhouse that is now the Visitor Center. The school closed in the mid-1940s, which is when the town declined to just a few dozen residents. The desks came from the old school in Tombstone. The schoolhouse is to the left of the store in the above pictures, and the former teacher's house is next to it. Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, the school is the only one of the three buildings open to the public, although the house can be looked into through the windows. Fairbank is one of those rare 'ghost towns' that are located right along a paved State highway.
  9. Keep the Show on the Road!

    Pioneer Grain Elevator on Stage Coach Road

    Grain elevators are dangerous places. They too often explode, or the unfortunate worker smothers in the interior storage bins. In the same year the 1916 Union Grain Elevator at Boyd was built, 22 people died because they could not outrun the flames as grain dust exploded at an elevator in the east, at Baltimore. Boyd sits just off The Dalles California Highway (US 197) on the old stage coach and freight road between the Columbia River and the gold fields at John Day. It was the main road between California and the Columbia River Highway until the Oregon highway folks chose a route further west through Dufur in 1923. Grain was lifted from horse drawn wagons up a long conveyor belt to the top of the elevator (note the structure on top the elevator) and dropped by chutes into silos or bins below. The grain was stored 10 or more feet deep. A misstep and a worker could fall into a bin, and as in quicksand quickly sink into the wheat and smother. As recently as last year 10 workers in US grain elevators met their fate in that manner. The Union elevator was built by the farmers in the Boyd area to save them the 12 mile wagon haul to The Dalles on the Columbia River. The Great Southern Railroad built a siding to the elevator, and grain cars could be loaded through a big chute that resembled an elephant's tusk. No record exists of an explosion or suffocation death at the elevator. The pioneer barn at Boyd collapsed last winter. I photographed the barn last June. The cupola that provided airflow to the hay loft was still standing proudly on the roof then. The loft door was a bit askew, but you could still imagine a loaded hay wagon beneath and a farmer throwing pitchfork loads of hay from the wagon up through the door. The barn escaped loft fires generated by oxidation of hay too wet to store (thus the cupola), and the ravages of 100 years, only to succumb to last winter's heavy snow load on a weakened roof. A sad loss. https://youtu.be/1Xx6RyZ6odw
  10. Keep the Show on the Road!

    Fairbank AZ roadside store restored

    An interesting location. The store looks typical pre 1940 Arizona. I looked at Fairbank in Google Earth. There is a big complex foundation across the road and toward Tombstone a few hundred yards. What was that? I didn't know BLM was into historical restorations. I guess I have not been on the road enough lately!! Thanks for sharing!! Dave Keep the Show on the Road!
  11. Earlier
  12. The Fairbank Commercial Company store, gas station, and post office sits along one of Arizona's original State Highways, SR 82, a few miles NW of Tombstone and right by the San Pedro River. Fairbank got it's start in the late 1800s as the rail stop for Tombstone. The trains stopped running in the 1960s, but the store remained open into the early 1970s. By the early 1980s it was in very bad shape and in danger of collapsing. Luckily, the BLM has restored the building and the entire Fairbank townsite around it. Original plan was to put a visitor center in the old store but the building was just too deteriorated so the center went into the three-room schoolhouse next door. It is a gem! Here's a photo of the old roadside store from last month, and one from 1982 for comparison. State Route 82 is just to the right in both shots.
  13. Keep the Show on the Road!

    Dad death, radio show reboot, vehicle fronts

    Hi Cort, I read your tribute to your father. I'm sure he would have been pleased. Dave
  14. * Remember me? When I last visited (mid-December 2018), I had intended to be more active; unfortunately, life got in the way. While I suspect it will again (still job hunting), I wanted to give an update. Instead of re-writing, links are below if you are interested; check out the website for other entries from late December, January & February, including my work (late December 2018 to early April 2019) for the mayor of Elgin IL via my CD Consulting Services! 03/15/2019 VYING TIME - some thoughts about life in general & links: http://www.oldcarsstronghearts.com/2019/03/15/vying-time/ 03/22/2019 COMPANY STRATEGY - a look at automotive front ends: http://www.oldcarsstronghearts.com/2019/03/22/company-strategy/ 03/27/2019 COMING SOON - my new CD SHOWCASE radio show, with more ways to listen: http://www.oldcarsstronghearts.com/2019/03/27/coming-soon/ 04/05/2019 AT THE HEART - my tribute to Dad, who died 2 days earlier: http://www.oldcarsstronghearts.com/2019/04/05/at-the-heart-235/ Cort, pig&cowValves+PM, www.oldcarsstronghearts.com 2003 MGM LS + 1981 cmc SC; need 1975 Chrysler Cordoba "Where do you begin?" | Dolly Parton | 'Starting Over Again'
  15. After giving the Mom & Pop Motel guide a little bit of thought I believe that it has to be a phone app with a VR tour. I've seen a few of the high end hotels offer a virtual reality tour on their websites now and I think being able to walk through a motel and check out the room before even stopping to take a look would be beneficial to those mom & pops that are clean and comfortable looking. Of course, there may be a VR marketing angle to be found for the seedier motels too, but I digress. Imagine if you could pull up Main St. in Anytown on Google maps, click on the motel that looks interesting from the street view, and then walk into the rooms and around the grounds before your trip even starts. It wouldn't eliminate looking at the room before you signed in but at the least you would have a good idea what it was like before you got there and could eliminate the less desirable motels from the start. Roadhound
  16. I have wondered for at least twenty years (I am slow to resolve these questions) whether there could be a special book, publication or web site just for mom and pop motels that was sort of a review and guide. There may be one, but my original idea was that it be distributed at the registration desk, or even in the room, free. Then those inclined to favor those unique places of character and personal attention would know where to stop next. I suppose mom and pop restaurants could be featured as well. The mom and pop places would pay for advertising and naturally promote the distribution and awareness because each gained when all handed them out. You see that model sometimes in the antique business. So there is a way to fund retirement.....but I am too long retired to want to start now!!! Dave Keep the Show on the Road
  17. Geez, I leave for a couple of days and come back to arachnid flashbacks, mutant cattle, and fond remembrances of thousand finger massages. My parents never gave me the quarter so I'll never know the euphoria that a thousand finger massage can bring. For the record it was my younger brother that wanted a pool, my desire was a restaurant nearby not only so that we didn't have to drive any more but also so that I could get a hamburger and fries. I don't know why it was but hamburgers on a road trip were always bigger, juicier, and tastier than anything I could get at home. It didn't matter what town we happened to stop in it was always the case. MGA707's comments about the Mom & Pop motel in New Mexico reminded me of our stay at the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari. It had all of the warmth of a good bed & breakfast (without the potpourri) along with the nostalgia of 50's roadtrip. The room we had was immaculately restored and clean, clean towels and bed linens, plus modern conveniences like wifi and flat screen TV's. The rate was extremely reasonable, if I recall, and the person I gave the credit card to when we checked in was the owner. It captured the nostalgia of the era with modern convenience thrown in. My wife was so impressed she forgave me for the machete adventure on our way to Montoya earlier in the day. I know of a few Mom & Pop type motels that have been restored and are operating but they are mostly along Route 66. Besides the Blue Swallow the Munger Moss in Missouri, the El Trovatore in Kingman, and the Wigwams in San Bernardino and Holbrook come to mind. I wonder if there is much of a market for that type of road trip motel nostalgia outside of the Route 66 corridor? Roadhound
  18. MGA, Terrific! Yes KFI was another beacon in the night! And a station in SLC. Who today can imagine the satisfaction of pulling in one of those "old friends" from your home town while somewhere on the road in the great American "outback" at night. Those old AM stations were as American as apple pie, and brightened many a dark road. Heck if you bought your car in So Cal or the Bay Area, KFI or KGO was labeled right on a push button. But you actually had to turn a knob to tune in most stations. No one today realizes the hardships!!! And while Rick was looking for the pool, I was asking Dad for a quarter Dave Keep the Show on the Road!
  19. KFI Los Angeles at 640 on the AM dial was another 50,000-watt clear channel station, so I'm sure you were able to hear them at night as well. As well as 1520 KOMA in OKC, who came in all over the western US at night. But I digress.. Got a sample of those bygone days last summer in Raton NM. All of the eight or so chain motels were full due to forest fire evacuations, so we would up at a place I believe was called the Maverick Motel. An absolute time warp 'Mom and Pop' place straight out of the 1950s. Room (one of 12) was clean and quiet, but definitely 'no frills'. Even had one of those old-fashioned tiny free-standing bathroom sinks. And a tiny stall shower! At least the AC was good and not too noisy. Mattresses were thin but not too bad. We slept well!
  20. Gees, my memories of the Mom and Pop travel business of the late 40's and the 50's come back. We never saw a pool, but I remember the two headed calf in the store window just down the street from the motel in Garberville, California. And I not only remember Magic Fingers, but rooms that featured pay radio. Drop your two bits in the radio and you could listen to an hour of the news on AM. No FM in those days. KGO in San Francisco was a 50,000 watt station. At sundown local stations had to shut down, so 810 on the dial could be heard in Oregon, Washington, etc. It was our connection to home! And even stations in Tijuana came in loud and clear on the road. Microwave, refrigerator, TV......HA. Vending machines, hot breakfast, all night front desk, sundries in case you forgot your razor,.... HA HA. Pillow top mattress, shampoo, hair dryer, air conditioning, mints on your pillow, cookies, etc, etc..... HA HA HA. Yap, the good old days. Dave
  21. Rick, Terrific description of your experiences, and they brought back similar reflections. Your descriptions are worth saving. The era of the Mom and Pop is obviously over, and your description of the transition is valuable. I try to explain to my grandchildren the differences between a travel experience where individuals were the driving force rather than corporations. Is it better now? It sure is. The bed I sleep in, and the room I enjoy in even a moderately priced motel is twice as nice as in most Mom and Pop places. Who sleeps today on a mattress laid on a wire spring base metal bed frame, or watches black widows crawl in and out of the ceiling lamp fixture? Of course they were not all that bad, but your description of stopping at several and sometimes making a desperate choice is true. Older is not better, but different, and more varied, less predictable, and much more personal. But what is personal is also variable, while what is corporate is standardized. And I miss the 25 cent a ride Magic Fingers Vibrating Beds....:) I better explain Magic Fingers. The company produced a vibrating motor that attached to the aforementioned bed frame, and placed a coin machine on the night stand. You put your quarter in the slot, pushed down the lever, and got five minutes of relaxing vibration. Just the thing for the weary road traveler! Dave Keep the Show on the Road
  22. Thanks Dave, I always enjoy and appreciate your comments. I bet you've got a lot of great photos in that archive of yours. Do you recall what film your father was shooting back in the day? I hope it was Kodachrome because then there is a good chance that the slides still have an image on them. Some of the comments that I add to go along with the photos are from the perspective of a man now in his 50's recalling what he remembers of the vacations with his parents and imagining the experience from his parents perspective based on his own experience years later with his own family...if that makes any sense. As a kid in the late 60's and early 70's I certainly remember coming into a town's main street late at night, after driving all day, and passing by the motels all lit up with neon. Mine and my brother's first reaction was always to the sign, sometimes dad would pull in and other times it was "no, not that one." We had other criteria too. My brother wanted a swimming pool, I wanted a resturaunt nearby, and mom just wanted it to be clean. Typically we would pull into the parking lot and my dad would get out and ask to see a room while we waited in the car. Sometimes we would stop at 3 or 4 motels before he found one that he was comfortable with, and my dad isn't a picky person. Sometimes we would have to take what was available and make the best of it. My last vacation as a passenger in my parents car was in 1978, by then they would look first to the major chains. By the time I was traveling with my family in the late 90's through the 00's I would look to the chain motels as well. By then the mom & pop motels were pretty rundown and not desirable for a family. By the time we took our last trip as a family in 2012 we had settled on one or two major chains. The Best Western chain seemed to be preferred, the rates were reasonable and they provided a free breakfast. When your doing a 2 week drive saving $20 or $30 a day on breakfast for a family of 4 adds up. Rick
  23. Rick, Great image and it brings to mind my early days. I thought getting old would take longer! But I sure recall the days in the late 40's through the 60's when neon ruled. As a kid, and before I got my license in the mid 1950's, I'm not sure that those fancy signs attracted my parents when we were on road trips. I suspect they figured if the place had a fancy sign, it would cost too much! What I recall most was that Mom wanted it to be clean and quiet, and my sister and I wanted a grassy play area. Many of the places were along railroad tracks, so it wasn't easy to find quiet. I don't know why motels snuggled up to the tracks, unless the land was cheaper, and of course the roads tended to follow along railroads. I have a few shots of motels in the early 60's after I started taking movies and stills. And Dad was something of an early adopter with slides. But when a single photo cost the equivalent of a few dollars in today's money, you didn't take a lot of pictures of motel signs!! It was an entirely different business model because motels were mom and pop affairs. There was no such thing as today's cookie cutter chain motels. Each night was an adventure to find a good place to stay, and part of the fun of travel. With today's consistent look alike, clean and well appointed motels I bet I could be blindfolded and still locate everything on the property.....even if I might scare a few people with the mask. Thanks for the great photos....I really appreciate them! Dave Keep the Show on the Road
  24. Neon Arrows Of all the roadside architecture probably nothing beckoned to the traveler more than well lit neon signage. The warmth and glow of the neon could make even the dodgiest of places look decent. Add in a theme that appealed to the restless kids in the back seat, with some animation, and you had a double threat. The Arrow Motel along State Route 68 in Espanola, New Mexico may have had that appeal. A close look at the neon tubes would indicate that they were synchronized to turn on and off to give the appearance of the bow string being released and a neon arrow flying through the air. After sitting vacant since 2000 the Arrow Motel was demolished on Jan 3, 2017 after a prolonged legal battle between the city of Espanola and the owners of the property who had refused to clean it up. The sign reportedly has been relocated to the Glorieta Station redevelopment in Albuquerque, NM. Roadhound http://rick-pisio.pixels.com http://www.rwphotos.com
  25. Roadhound, the above video is certainly disturbing and downright creepy. Wonder if there is anything new on this since this news video from 2014? Got to say I was a little taken aback by the, shall we say, 'lackadaisical' response by the police officer interviewed.
  26. Ha Dave, you're entitled to a little snarkiness! And about you being the expert on figural art, well, that figures. All my facts come from thorough research on the internet so they must be true. The Google never lies. To give you an idea of some of the weird stuff that I was reading about before I went to that part of New Mexico this is a youtube video I recall seeing before that road trip. Cuervo sits on I-40 about 9 miles west of Newkirk, I had just stopped there before getting to Newkirk. I didn't show this to my wife before or after that trip but while we were in Cuervo she refused to get out of the truck to look around. Rick
  27. Ah my young friend….figural bottles must be bottles that are in the shape of figures….most probably female humans, but also deer, dogs, cats, and other figures. My wife did small sculptures in plastic clay and called them figural art so I am an authority!!! I imagine business may have been a bit slow. Don’t all motels still have open parking garages between the rooms….when did that design go away? Time flies….but when I was a kid, that was the basic design. Early era....Indeed!! Who conducted the survey to determine 1 in 7 passing cars was on illegal business? It must have been a doctoral study based on survey forms filled out at local bars…..I love it. Aside from my snark, great photos and terrific dialog. This is the stuff of real road tripping!! Great stuff. Dave Keep the Show on the Road!!
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