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


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Everything posted by roadmaven

  1. Welcome back, ypsi! We've missed you around here. Really looking forward to tuning in tonight. 8pm on Channel 20 for the Indianapolis members on the forum.
  2. roadmaven

    The Michigan Road

    That's some excellent photography by the photographer who took the "now" shot. After trying my hand at that kind of thing, I know how hard it can be to get your angles just right. It looks like all the buildings are still intact, and the only differences are the trees and pavement....and the horseless carriages.
  3. roadmaven

    The Michigan Road

    Having been to Madison umpteen times over the past few years, I'm ashamed to say we've never been to Hinkle's. But after looking at their menu, I have to say their prices are more than reasonable. I recall eating at a soda fountain a few years ago on the north side of Main Street in Madison and it was what I'd call "not a quality dining experience". Warm Cokes with little ice and the food was uninspiring, as food goes. I'm thinking another good weekend AR cruise would be southern Indiana, maybe between Cincinnati & Louisville along the Ohio River with a lunch stop at Hinkle's.
  4. roadmaven

    New Magazine

    Good question! After briefly reviewing their web site, it appears it's an online magazine only with a "free" subscription. Archives appear to go back to the summer of 2002, at least the dated ones, and possibly earlier than that. This is the first I've heard of it.
  5. roadmaven

    Shed Road In Bossier City, La

    The best I could find on a quick online search is a mural of Shed Road. Whether it actually looked like this, that's up for debate:
  6. roadmaven

    Shed Road In Bossier City, La

    I'd love to see a photo of this. One would think that if it was standing for 15 years, that it had to have been photographed. But would they still exist??
  7. roadmaven

    Adventure Touring Vehicles - What Do You Drive?

    After reading through here, I realized I hadn't made a reply to this thread. So here goes! We've got three to choose from, depending on the length of the trip. First is my '98 Honda Civic. Just turned over 180K miles and it still runs like a champ. I'd not hesitate to drive it to the west coast....except I would hesitate to drive to the west coast only because it doesn't have cruise control. Our second choice is Jennifer's '04 Corolla. It's "Choice A" when making a long roadtrip, simply because it does have cruise control! And lastly is the old '65 Corvair. Mainly used for day trips within a couple hundred miles from home. The older both the car & I get, the fewer miles we want to be stranded from home.
  8. roadmaven

    Indiana State Road 42

    Good write-up on this one, Jim. And the bridge over Cagles Mill Lake is a work of art. I've only been on a short stretch of 42 in the past. We have some friends that live just a few miles west of Mooresville off 42, and that's been the extent of my adventures on it. It's short jaunts like this that inspire me to find a route like this which can be traveled and photographed in a day, while capturing some of the local treasures they have to offer. Time to check out some maps for the weekend....
  9. roadmaven

    Adventure Touring Vehicles - What Do You Drive?

    I'm going to say one of the VERY wide portions of the Mississippi River.
  10. For those of you here in Indiana & surrounding areas, here's a day trip that's PERFECT for this time of year. So perfect, I might be inclined to take it this weekend. This was the route we took on the American Road Forum's "Cool Roads Cruise" in November 2007. Denny's write up can be found here. From Indy, cruise south down US 31 to Taylorsville (I-65 Exit 76 area). From here, you can jump on I-65 south , OR, continue on US 31 south and hook up with IN-11 near Columbus and take it south through Walesboro, where you'll want to turn right onto CR-450 South. Take it west and once you go over I-65, it becomes IN-58. If you want to bypass C-bus altogether, you can always jump on the Evil-I at Taylorsville and take it to Exit 64 and take IN-58 west from there. 58 is the perfect two-lane, twisty road that won't put you to sleep. It cruises through some small little burgs, farmlands, and rolling hills in its trek toward Bedford. At Bedford, jump on IN-37 south for a short distance until you see the signs for IN-450 West. If you thought 58 was a joy, 450 surpasses that. A stop off at the Williams Dam in Williams for a break is a must. Just on the outskirts of Williams, a left turn onto Huron and Williams Road will take you across the 124 year old Williams Covered Bridge, which crosses the east fork of the White River. Crossing back over the bridge and getting back onto IN-450, you'll continue your cruise through some more tunnels of trees and enter the town of Dover Hill, where 450 snakes through town with seemingly endless S-curves. As 450 comes to an end, you'll enter Shoals. Take US 150 east and follow it down to the West Baden/French Lick area & enjoy a nice tour of the West Baden Springs Hotel and maybe grab a bite to eat at the French Lick Winery. I think you'll find this will be a full day of two-lane fun, as members Denny & Bliss could attest. And just for historic purposes, it was on this same route that I organized some 8 years ago for our Corvair club, that my good friend and eventual best man Pete Lapitsky annointed me "The Road Maven" for leading us on this fun backroads adventure. So there you have it folks! I would encourage anyone in the area to treat yourself, especially while the leaves are turning and falling. Nothing like blasting through a road layered with leaves, and this will provide it! And if you're a fan of the aroma of burning leaves, I can just about bet you'll get a few whiffs of that within the next couple of weeks along this route too. If you make the trip, let us know what you think!
  11. roadmaven

    Warning! Us 10 Swallowed By Lake!

    You're feeding the savage beast in us with these pics, Dave! More, more, more!! This is a perfect example why we love our abandoned alignments.
  12. roadmaven

    Trip To Utah & Arizona Planned

    I'm afraid I'm with Denny on this one too. I've been to Utah once in my life and that was in 1994 (14 years ago this week, come to think of it!) on a Greyhound bus while on my way to SoCal. My Arizona adventures have been "confined" to the Route 66 corridor and US 93 from Kingman up to the Hoover Dam and on into Lost Wages, Nevada. I might be able to pester Jim Ross into adding his $.02. I know he spent some time in Utah a few years ago and was quite impressed with what it had to offer.
  13. roadmaven

    Hot "new" Forums

    I'm all for that, and I must admit I'm sometimes lacking in my duties! But, we do need to add to our moderator list those who will show up. Sorry if I step on toes here, but when some of our moderators haven't even been on the forum in over 8 months, then I think it's safe to say they're probably not coming back. And in the case of some of the smaller subforums whose moderators have been AWOL and activity there has been nil, to me those subforums are the ones we should consider eliminating for the sake of tidiness. Something else I would like to see more of is participation by some of the department heads of the magazine who don't already post here. I have no doubt their status with the magazine would give a reason for folks to come back if they saw some postings from a Johnnie V, McJerry, etc. At least 1 post per month on the forum should be a stipulation for their employment. And lastly, I think we can all help the situation by just watching out for stories online that would fit nicely into our forum where we can formulate a discussion that way. Speaking of employment....back to work!
  14. roadmaven

    Falling Fuel Prices.....

    As of this posting, crude oil prices have fallen below the $90/barrel mark for the first time in quite some time for November delivery. Also, unleaded gasoline futures, also for November delivery, have fallen to $2.23/gallon. Several parts of the country are selling gas in the $2.80's/gallon. It's probably a safe bet that barring any national crisis, most of the country will be seeing fuel prices below $3.00/gallon this time a month from now. American Road has a neat resource to monitor fuel prices as well as crude oil prices: http://www.americanroadmagazine.com/gas_prices.html So are the lower fuel prices swaying you in getting out more? Or, when gas was $4+/gallon back in June, did that keep you from taking your trips? Did you sacrifice your travel budget somewhere else so you could still take your trips? For us, typically we don't let fuel prices get in the way of us hitting the road. If we typically fill either our Toyota or Honda, it takes around 10 gallons. So comparing $3 gas vs. $4 gas, it's a mere $10, which we could save by skipping a meal and brown-bagging it. Just curious what others' thoughts are since our travel costs are a little cheaper than they were a few months ago.
  15. Due to some last minute arm twisting by some fellow Corvair club members, I'll be heading over to the 7th (7th!?) Annual International Route 66 Festival in Springfield, IL Friday & Saturday of this week. 'Twas at this event in 2002 where the idea of American Road was first introduced to the masses. We've got 5 other cars from our Corvair club heading over Friday morning, then I'll have to cruise I-74/72 later in the afternoon, due to some work issues. I know Bliss will be there. Anyone else heading over? The 900+ car cruise on Friday night is a can't miss event. Had a blast last year with Bliss, Denny, and Road Dog.
  16. roadmaven

    Hot "new" Forums

    Not playing favorites with our advertisers, but this just happens to be one that I requested after a trip on US 51 a few months back. Wisconsin's efforts with US 51 are outstanding! The info I received is 1st rate and was in my mailbox in less than a week. You'll get a Wisconsin US 51 Passport and a guide that includes maps of the current US 51 as well as the historic alignments. It also includes things to do in some of the larger communities from Beloit all the way up to Hurley. I can't tip my hat enough to the folks at the Wisconsin Department of Tourism for how they've put this together....they "get it"! It should be the standard all states should follow when putting together info for heritage tourism. This would make a really nice 3 day weekend trip for anyone around the midwest....highly suggested by your's truly! Web site info is availble at the web site Jennifer mentioned above and scrolling down to "Wisconsin Highway 51". And don't forget to check out the rest of the list.....many useful resources there & it's FREE.
  17. I just realized this morning I hadn't posted about my trip! The weather was perfect Friday & Saturday. I made it over Friday just in time to join the others at the staging area for the Friday night cruise. The rest of the folks from our Corvair club had a great time, especially Friday night. We hit the car show fairly early Saturday morning and we went our separate ways throughout the show. It was there I ran into AR forum member Bliss & his crew (including new forum member "tombstone"). We made a couple of treks through the streets of Springfield to check out the nearly 900 cars on display. The count definitely was down from the previous year, based on the streets that weren't being utilized this year. Still, there was a decent crowd on hand. Early Saturday afternoon, the folks from Indy were planning on heading back east around 2pm, but since it was still early & a beauty of a day, I chose to do some 66ing the rest of the afternoon. I left around 1:30 & cruised north and made it to Joliet before hooking up with US 30 east into Indiana where I stopped off in Crown Point to visit with some friends who live there. Got a nice tour of the courthouse square in CP and the exterior of the jail where John Dillinger once made his escape, and where Johnny Depp filmed part of an upcoming moving about Dillinger. Sorry I didn't have any pics from Crown Point, as we walked several blocks to the square & I had left my camera in my car. Pics from Friday & Saturday are here. My dashboard cam video from the last 5 minutes or so from the Friday night cruise is Background audio courtesy of the Brian Setzer Orchestra, who I was able to squeeze in the back seat.
  18. roadmaven

    Hot "new" Forums

    Becky, Thanks for doing some digging! In regards to #1, those are some pathetic stats. In that regard, no, things aren't that bad! I try to compare our forum with another forum I frequent daily totally unrelated to roads: motor oil. There is a site out there relating to anything motor oil related, and they have a forum to go along with it that was started in 2002: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ They have over 22,000 members and over 1.2 million posts in those 6 years. I've yet to figure out what makes motor oil a more attractive discussion than road trips & highways. But, they do have a variety of subforums, including a "General & Off Topic" subforum which is actually one of the more frequented subforums on there (nearly 12,000 threads and over 190,000 posts). But they do stipulate no politics, religion, sex, etc. That forum is watched by its moderators like a hound and typically things stay in line. I guess where I'm going with this is that *if* we want to include such a subforum for non road related topics with strong guidelines, I'd be willing to give it a test. I say that very cautiously however, because I don't want to do anything that might put AR's reputation at risk. I think it would be a good way to know what our fellow members think about things outside of roads and thus it'd enable us all to get to know each other a little better. I got some message stats from Denny & while we are down from a year ago, it's not that dramatic of a drop, and we're actually higher than two years ago. While we've tried for some time to increase participation, I think the important thing (for me at least) is to still provide a top notch outlet for those members who find the AR forum their "home" for 2 lane discussion. And we'll attract new members who'll participate over time. Keep & mobilene are relative newcomers who are at & near the top of the posting ranks in a relative short period of time. We'll get "found" by those in the future, I'm sure. I think a reminder to department heads about the forum and encourage them to participate wouldn't hurt either. Just a few random thoughts before starting my Saturday chores.....
  19. roadmaven

    Jefferson, Ia On The Lh

    And that Ben Franklin hasn't changed since I could first remember going in there in the mid-1970's. I think on our '77 trip, I got a toy Ben Franklin semi-truck to keep me occupied while on vacation. I'll bet that thing's still over at my dad's house in box somewhere......
  20. roadmaven

    Hot "new" Forums

    Hi all..... I've been checking this topic out throughout the day & wanted to formulate my thoughts before responding. Very good points brought up by everyone. I would have to agree with Keep as far as things hitting a plateau. I'm not sure what the reason is for that either. We seem to have the same core group of posters we can count on, but how we get new members to join the group of regulars is the $64 question. As far as hits on the site, I don't think I have access to those kind of stats. That might have to come from web guru, Guy Cook. I was able to find some membership registration stats, and what I found was rather disturbing. I was able to enter a custom date range for new registrations to the forum. I sampled two 6 month (April through September) periods from 2007 and 2008. In 2007, our new memberships in that time frame were 116. For the same time frame in 2008, that number was nearly cut in half to 63. The reason behind that is what I need to figure out. Is it because of gas prices that people's minds aren't on road trips? One would think that with each new post on here, our chances for new members should continually increase. Because, Google and other search engines scan this forum daily, so all the info on here should end up somewhere on a search engine, thus exposing us to more searches. It very well could be a "shot of B-12" we need is a larger, quick-hit in the magazine itself. I don't know if it could be by me having something put in the "Write of Way" or possibly a small article in an issue telling about the forum. Something like that would probably be harder to get done (space is money!). One thing I'm pretty sure of is that I don't think contests are the way to attract new, participating members. Sure, we can have a contest that'll attract maybe 25 new members, but history has shown that their continued participation in the forum has been nil. And any contests we do internally, i.e. not announced outside the forum, will only attract our current, active posters. Now, as far as adding more subforums, I'm open to that idea if they're the right topics. Right now we have some subforums that I'd like to look into taking their contents, dumping them in "General Discussions" and eliminate those subforums. Since there are some subforums that haven't seen a new post in over a year, I don't think they'll be missed. It was brought up regarding off topic posts. That's where things enter a slippery slope area. If the AR forum was independent and just a forum about two-lane roads started and run by a roadie, then I could see having an off topic forum. BUT, that's not the case with this forum. We're tied to the magazine which is advertiser driven. Certain off topic discussions can lead to opinions that can lead to some volatile discussions, which can spawn some negative views of the forum, which will in turn have a negative view on the magazine. But, with some strict guidelines, I'd be open to trying off topic discussions, but with limitations on what can't be discussed, such as religion, politics, etc. It might be time for a little revamping & housecleaning on the forum. I'm sure Becky will chime in here & give us her thoughts. But nevertheless, it's good we're having this discussion and tossing around ideas on how to make things a little more active.
  21. roadmaven

    A Pair Of Indiana Sleeping Spots

    Just curious Denny, was the rate in line with what you got?
  22. roadmaven

    A Pair Of Indiana Sleeping Spots

    Denny, Thanks for trying out the Woodridge for us! Every time I pass that one, I wonder how it is. Based on the pics, it looks acceptable, to my standards at least.
  23. With the annual International Route 66 Festival coming up, each year at this time I can't help but associate that with the announcement at that event in 2002 of a new magazine called American Road. The announcement was made by founders Jim Ross and Thomas & Becky Repp at the Steinbeck Awards Banquet on Friday, September 27, 2002 to be exact. Somewhere floating around out there is a picture from that announcement with Jim & Thomas at the podium, and Becky holding up a jumbo sized American Road magazine cover with the late Juan Delgadillo gracing it. Unfortunately that cover never ended up on an issue, but just by the way that cover turned out, everyone knew this magazine was going to be something special. Jennifer & I had known Jim through our Route 66 travels for a few years. We had just got married two weeks prior to the festival in Springfield, and closed on our first home the day BEFORE we went to Springfield. With nothing more than a mattress and clock radio in the house, we headed for Springfield Saturday the 28th. We met up with some of our fellow 66ers in the Artists & Authors area and ran into Jim at his booth. Immediately he said he wanted to talk to us and had asked if we were at the banquet the night before. He then went on to tell us that he & Thomas were in the process of starting up a new magazine that encompasses auto trails & US highways thoughout the US. Already feeling pretty stoked about what he was saying, he then went on to tell us where we fit in. He & Thomas wanted us to start up and run their online forum which would serve as a companion to the magazine. Since I considered Jim to be one of my Route 66 "heroes", I was honored beyond explanation that they wanted us to do this. At this point, he brought us over to Thomas' booth. We had never met Thomas before, although I think we had one of his books at the time. The days following the festival, we worked on putting together the American Road Yahoo Group and it launched on October 2, 2002 at 7:41pm with Jim having the honors of the first post: Greetings from AMERICAN ROAD magazine. To find out more about our group and our publication, simply post a message here or go to www.mockturtlepress.com and take a virtual tour of our personal wonderland. We are about to embark on a great adventure, and hope you will catch a ride with us. We're going places. Jim Ross Managing Editor, American Road Going places we have! The Yahoo Group was launched some 8 months before the first issue ever hit the stands, so some of you not there during those early years could probably imagine the anticipation of opening that first issue. I remember I carried that issue with me every day to work and re-read just about everything in there two or three times. We've had many great members onboard, both on the old Yahoo Group and now on its replacement forum. Their participation on the forum has led to many contributions to the magazine itself, be it through letters in the "Write of Way" department, through writing articles, or through photography. It just goes to show how talented our membership truly is. I can always count on having four good days out of the year, and that's when I come home from work and find a new edition of AR in my mailbox. It serves as quite an elixir after a tough day on the job. I can't thank enough Thomas, Becky, Jim, and everyone else who's made American Road the success it was from the starting gate, and the success it continues to be today. Hope you are of the same opinion. And remember....AR makes a great stocking stuffer!
  24. roadmaven

    Lh In Belle Plaine, Ia

    Great shots....I especially am fond of the one with the tear drop trailer! One of my brothers also had a '77 Monte many moons ago. Good ole gas guzzlin' Detroit sled, if I may paraphrase M. Wallis. Looking forward to seeing it this weekend!
  25. roadmaven

    Rv'ing On The American Road

    Right back at ya, Jack! And when it comes time to do the Ben Hur Route (Fall, 2007), I'll cruise it with you! Had a really fun time with Thomas Repp mapping and subsequently following that old auto trail. The start's just a few hours away from you in Terre Haute (or Ft. Wayne, depending on which way you're headed). Since it's been over a year since we did that, I think I just might have to take a weekend before winter hits and drive it again.