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

Jack B

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About Jack B

  • Birthday 09/18/1943

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    Full Time RV'er
  • Interests
    Wife and I live in our Class 'A' motorhome towing a Ford Ranger. Travel mostly in the Plains and Prairie states, Wintering in Texas

Jack B's Achievements

Day Tripper

Day Tripper (1/6)



  1. From a "neighbor" one forum down "RV'ing on the American Road" , Jack Burke: I noticed two postings for the Matrix. Do you happen to know...does it come as a manual transmission, how much does it weigh, and have you seen them towed four-wheels-down during your travels? Thank You, Jack Burke DeKalb, Illinois On the Lincoln Highway
  2. Just a quick thank you for all the birthday wishes. The friendships within "The American Road" are really amazing. Made a two week loop around the Dakotas this Summer. Unfotunately we weren't able to use as many Blue Highways as I would have liked. Interstates are still the answer for two week vacations, but once we retire I hope to never see another one. We did the tourist things in South Dakota: Corn Palace, Badlands, and Mt. Rushmore. I was so glad to get out!! If I saw one more billboard for "Wall Drug" I was going to scream. The South Dakota we saw was one long string of signs. It all got so tacky and irritating. North Dakota was a welcome and wonderful surprise. No billboards, no casinos just real towns with real people and all very nice. We stayed in Medora and visited the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Did you know that North Dakota has a Badlands? Yep, at TR's National Park and is even better than South Dakota's Badlands. Medora celebrates Teddy Roosevelt at every turn and is a very enjoyable town to walk. We returned to Illinois through Minnesota and Wisconsin and it was back to work at NIU. My daughter graduated in May with her degree in French and my son is currently a Junior. I have a road atlas marked American Road and plot every route that appears in the magazine. As soon as my son is finished, I hope to try all those featured roads and maybe discover some along the way. In the mean time thank you for a wonderful magazine for dreamers and thanks to the forum. Jack Burke DeKalb, Illinois
  3. Becky ought to be doubly happy. We have a camping topic now, to go with our RV topic. Cool! I tought this end of the forum would be quiet till the snow thawed, if it ever does. It was fun to see some fresh gabbing about camping. If you read my bio or click on the link at the bottom of my posts, you'll see that I'm from DeKalb, Illinois. I work, civil service, at NIU, my daughter is a senior there, my son a sophomore. It was a very scarey day and a dark one for DeKalb and NIU. To top it all off, my wife is a 9-1-1 dispatcher with the City of DeKalb and was too busy to check on any of us. We were all locked in our buildings till the all clear. My family was safe, the kids are back in school. I'm afraid that DeKalb and NIU will now always be mentioned with Virginia Tech and Kent State. I think we would rather have been known for being on the Lincoln Highway and having a football team that can never quite beat the Big 10. I hope you get lots of posts on the camping topic. My son and I camped in Wisconsin with the Boy Scouts in his 7th and 8th grade years. It was great fun! But, to me, that is the fun and magic of camping..."with the kids". Once the kids are gone or grown up, you lose your labor force. At ten years old gathering wood for the camp fire is fun. At seventeen it is more like, "are you kidding, why don't we buy some?" Space seems to be a major concern as kids grow older too. Even with individual sleeping bags, "his feet are touching mine!", "no they're not", is a refrain that I don't ever want to hear again at 2:00am. Individual bunks in an RV is far more peaceful. I was inspired to add this post because today my son and I took the cover off the RV, after shoveling 5" of snow and ice off the roof first. I'm thinking road trips, even if the weather is not co-operating. This coming Saturday, the 8th, we are heading South till we run out of snow, probably central Arkansas. We just couldn't take the snow anymore. We're outta' here! I'll let you guys know where we found Spring. Jack Burke DeKalb, Illinois "On the Lincoln Highway"
  4. My RV is in the drive now covered with a form fitting bag and lots of snow. I thought this forum would be quiet till Spring too. Who knew food would kick it off again. Class B's are very cool. Remember the custom party vans of the 60's with the shag carpet, plush velours, and murals? They've come a long way! My loyalty to Class C's is harder to explain...I like to drive from a truck cab; I like a hood in front of me. But I have a food to toss in the mix: chicken fried steak with gravy. We usually cook in our RV, my wife prefers it. But whenever we dine on the road, I scan the menu for chicken fried steak. We did take one Autum trip before pumping the RV full of antifreeze. My wife said she wanted to go somewhere she'd never been. We went to Keokuk, Iowa! Actually we enjoyed the town and area very much. It is a very old river town at the confluance of two rivers. There is a lot of history and grand, old river front homes. It would make a good road trip. Have fun with your food Jack Burke DeKalb, Illinois
  5. Oh, to: "brownwho63" I'm 64, so I guess I'm a senior, my wife is younger but has MS and so requires extra rest and more comforts than camping. Believe me, try Rv'ing, you'll be a youngster compared to the ages at most of the RV parks you stop at during your travels. I looked at your red 'vette pictured in your profile, it's cool. You would trailer it with a cover, not tow it four-wheels-down. I also like your dog, hope mine looks like a traveler. Actually he likes to sleep right next to the LP gas "sniffer" and set off the alarm. Jack Burke DeKalb, Illinois
  6. Well, it's not really Kevin and Jack against the rest, but let me add a couple of items to Kevin's defense: If you travel only at certain times you can turn your insurance on and off like motorcycle riders do. When not in use for extended periods insure the RV like property. IF your agent allows. You can finance for 15 yrs, usually, and, if you live in it at least two weeks a year (which we do easily) the interest can be subtracted on your Federal Income Tax as a second or summer home. Just like your primary home mortgage. Most full time RV'ers, those that retire and hit the road as a life, choose a domicile state with little or no taxes. Some states, So. Dakota, Texas, and Oregon are a few, actually cater to out of state residents. I know that sounds like a contradiction. Mail forwarding services place themselves in these states to give you an address, then you register your vehicle there. Some states still do not have state income tax and Montana has no sales tax. So choosing a state base, if the homestead is sold and the RV is it, can be worth a great deal of money. As others have pointed out it's up to what you're looking for, but I might add: it's how you plan to travel too. If you are just pulling in for the night, because you have a destination in mind, just plug in power, that's it. You have your own water and toilet or can use the facilities at the RV park. A couple of years ago we went to New Brunswick by entering in Michigan and then crossing Canada to New Brunswick. We just stopped nightly and didn't plug anything in but power, till we entered NB and headed for the coast and the Bay of Fundy to see the tides. Then we stayed two or three days in each place totally hooked up. Emptying the tanks is merely a matter of pulling a gate valve, easy. Oh, and for "Keep the Show....." If you bought an RV you'd never sell it, you'd be too busy planning your next trip. We bought our 30', Class C six years ago to take the kids to Disney World in Orlando because we don't fly. We thought if we resold it as soon as we got back we'd get back most of our money. We've been traveling ever since. And one PS: if anyone considers trailers or 5th wheels, don't forget it is against the law in most states to ride in them. With an RV my wife asks, "do you want me to make coffee?" Sure! So while I drive she makes coffee and fixes lunch. It sure ain't camping!! Jack Burke DeKalb, Illinois
  7. Well, Becky wanted an RV forum topic, I guess one has taken off...finally. RV's can be expensive, but don't forget the Truck-Camper type that slides into a pickup bed, and also what is known as a Class "B" which are radically reworked vans, both styles are less costly and now-a-days very complete for camping. But it is still camping, not living in an RV. For that you really need a class "A" (built up from a chassis with only the drive train) or a Class "C" (built up from a truck chassis, where the truck cab is still visible). When weighing gas costs and MPG against motel bills, don't forget restaurant bills as well. We always cook in our motor home; we've never eaten out when on the road. My wife tires of cooking at home, and says it, but enjoys cooking in the RV. My wife and I always tried to stay in better motels, but still you wonder if they changed the sheets and curse the loud neighbors having a party in the room next door or out in the parking lot. And is the bathroom ever clean enough, would you go bare foot in a motel shower? Have you ever gotten up at night in a motel and checked the night chain on your door when the fight in the hall got louder? When we go to bed in our motor home, it's our bed and our bathroom in our house. And the dog is sleeping at the foot of the bed. A good RV park can average $20.00 a night. A State Park is even less, but you usually get less. State Parks are long on scenery and short on services. Sure you can park for free in a place where it is lawful, but you'll soon tire of the generator running for everything but the most basic electrical needs. But here's what you miss motel-ing...the people. Have you ever met your motel neighbors, even when staying more than one night? In an RV Park, after you hook-up, you meet your neighbors, not only next door but down the road as well, when you get out and walk about. I can't count how many folks I've met in just the few years that we've been traveling by RV. There is always someone to gab with, and they always have an interesting story that I haven't heard. And you won't miss the "Blue Highways". If there are some that you don't want to try in the RV, you drive them in the car you are towing. Easy, and you won't miss a thing.
  8. "Keep the Show....." I guess it all depends on your style of "Adventure". I've sure learned a lot about grades and what is at the top. We are great fans of New Brunswick (all right, I know it is not part of the AMERICAN Road, just think of it as an annex of Maine. At least it is on this side of the St. Lawrence). My wife wanted to see a particular lighthouse, later I wished that we had gotten literature on it first. The grade up was the steepest I had ever driven, and narrow, and winding. Our 30' Gulfstream has "sissy bars" (I'm dating myself but that's what we used to call bars or little wheels on the back of lowered cars to keep them from bottoming out). As the grade got steeper and steeper, I could actually hear them scraping. I was scared. I wondered if one of these things could do a back flip. When we got to the top, the lighthouse was beautiful and the view spectacular, but there was no place to turn around. What few cars were in the parking lot had to move, then with my wife and a Park Ranger waving and yelling I got turned around. Then there is the trip back down! Read the truck manual and know how to down shift, let the engine do the braking. I can tell you, that smell of burning brakes is unmistakable! I now want to know first: what the road up is like and what we'll find at the top. No surprises! Besides grades and how to handle them, I would say: "Know the heigth and width of your vehicle from your own check, not the owners manual." Actually measure the width at the widest point, then use a ladder to climb up and measure making sure to include the air conditioner and/or any roof vents. Then give yourself an inch or two for good measure. Put the measurements on a sticky note in the cab. All this begs the question: why not tow a car? We will someday, with a bigger RV. Unfortunately once you fill the tanks, the closets, and cupboards, and load two adults, two teens and a dog there isn't any towing capacity left in the manufacturer's weight limits. The only damage, that reqired repair, that I've ever done has been tree branches that didn't seem that low at the time, and gas station entries and exits that were sharply inclined. All that said, we are heading for Arkansas for a week over Memorial Day and wouldn't change a thing. Jack Burke DeKalb, Illinois
  9. As a new member of the forum, I thought I might take up Becky's offer to add a post for RV'ing. I understand that real "road cruising" is done in a '57 Chevy, though my dream Chevy would be the '58, but an RV can sure make it comfortable. This past holiday season we ventured into the Texas Hill-Country for the first time. We entered at Texarkana and tried to come and go using different routes. We used US59, US79, and Texas 21 (how else would you ever find, Dime Box, Texas. We circled the Hill Country using different Texas highways. We had a wonderful time just wandering about. We saw the Interstates around Austin and San Antonio, and, while relaxing at night, watched the traffic news on TV explain all the back-ups on I-35. You get sort of a smug feeling when you realize that you've discovered a better way. We have a 30' Gulfstream Class "C", the design that has a loft extending over an obvious truck cab. We don't tow a car, so we sight see in a 30' vehicle, and yes, parking can be a problem. We visited caverns in Texas and always started with, "Where can we park this?" Everyone was very nice. We already have "RV" magazines, and I buy them. I would not want "American Road" to change, even the slightest. "RV" magazines tout the destination, always with the RV in mind. "American Road" celebrates the getting-there, just the way it should be. But if your writers should encounter roads, bridges, or tunnels that would be difficult for an RV, I hope they would say so. I hate backing up! On the flip side if an area is RV friendly, they could toss that in, but not if it threatens the content or flow of the story. Jack Burke DeKalb, Illinois "On the Lincoln Highway"
  10. I enjoy American Road magazine very much and have the last seven issues. My wife has odered back issues for me as a treat. I'm anxiously awaiting the mailman. But that will be a lot of trips on a lot of roads to try to remember, if I want to go back and check the route for the Amish country or the "Blue Valley Drive" in Iowa. Why not periodically publish an index as part of the last issue of a given year. It would have to be cummulative, of course, but I wouldn't think that it would get out of hand for many years. It could be by state and list the routes or trips that were featured from that state and what issue they appeared in. Even with just seven issues, now, on my book shelf, I find myself remembering a story about a "Woodpecker" highway in the Southeast but not what issue I saw it in. Just an idea. Jack Burke DeKalb, Illinois "On Lincoln Highway"
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