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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 Starfire

  1. Anyone know how well the old Chain of Rocks bridge may be fairing with the current flood. That old gal has survived many floods but sooner or later the rip-rap around the supports in the river is going to play out and the old girl will go into the river. I don't guess anyone would dispute the fact a bridge with a curve in the middle of it was not the best idea, but I'd sure hate to see it go down.
  2. The good or sad fact, depending upon one's viewpoint, is if your present vehicle is getting 25-30 mpg there is no possible way to save enough on fuel cost to justify buying something new that may get 5-10 more miles per gallon unless gasoline costs get into the $6-$7 per gallon range. Owning all the vehicles I have outright, a new anything would have to almost be producing fuel for me to justify forking out $20,000 to $40,000 cash for something marginally more fuel efficient. If one has a lousy 15 mpg vehicle they could easily drive seven years on what it would cost to buy a newer more efficient vehicle, assuming a typical annual number of miles. That's why I don't cringe when I fire up one of my 1950's or 1960's gas hog cars to go for a weekend trip. (nothing like taking a 1950s-60s car down the old two lanes... ) It is a fact that rising fuel costs are or will affect virtually everything we buy. It is also a fact inflation could start running rampant, but that is a political type subject best cussed or discussed in other forums.
  3. We are all concerned about rising fuel prices, but even with a roughly $1.30 per gallon difference in the price of gasoline verses last year it's still not the end of the world. Do the math! If you do a 500 mile round trip now it will only cost you around $40 more this year than last if your vehicle averages 20-21 mpg. Yeah, $40 is $40 but unless you are on a really tight fixed income there are probably a lot of frivolous things that can be cutout in order to keep on the road. As I sit typing this, I can think of roughly $100 in frivolous monthly expenditures I can certainly live without. If I can figure out a way to legally cut the IRS out, I can add around 8,000 miles per month to the driving budget.....
  4. Like most or all of the "named trails" the OST was not a Federal effort. I've got to eat a bit of crow here. For a nine year period Texas Highway 27, which the OST followed going West from San Antonio, was designated as U.S. 290 according to TxDot. In 1935 U.S. 290's route changed dramatically linking to U.S. 90 in Houston and running Westward through Austin, Fredericksburg, and Junction then to an intersection with U.S. 80 some fifteen or so miles East of Van Horn, Texas. Jim
  5. Jeff, I'm presently working on organizing photos along the OST from Columbus, Texas to Seguin, Texas. Have far too many to just upload without reducing down to the more important. The small communities along that stretch of the OST have done such a great job in saving so many things along the route it's hard not to get too many photos. Jim
  6. Yup, people in rural America are still genuine and usually most eager to strike up a conversation with a passing stranger. And as you know, it is very, very unlikely anyone would get mugged. Unlike "City" people most who live in rural America are not glued to their TV. We don't have the time for one thing, though we might have access to 500 channels via Satellite. For another we still have meaningful conversations with the folks sitting at the table next to us in the local diners. The conversations will be about the weather, the last sale at the auction barn, how the fishing was last weekend, a mountain lion being seen roaming the area, and sometimes about how the rest of the world is going to hell. Out here in the boonies we can still leave home without locking the doors and walk around outside at mid-night without fear of somebody jumping us in the dark. On the other hand, if you are lurking around in the dark at mid-night on someone's property uninvited you might just go home in a body bag, if the dogs don't run you off first. Believe it or not, from time to time we still have problems with cattle rustling and horse theft right here in the 21st Century. So if your not a cattle rustler or horse thief, Y'all come see us, you'll be glad you did!
  7. What you seem to have discovered that once one gets away from the major metropolitan areas America is still alive and well and some of the photos you have already posted proves it. But, don't let that lull you or anyone into thinking things are as they were fifty years ago even in rural America. We live over 80 miles from any major population center in a county almost as large as Rhode Island, but with only 25 or so thousand people, and we still have drug problems which of course creates petty theft and burglary problems. While our problems are small compared to a New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Houston, or Dallas, rural America is no longer fully insulated from some of the same problems as it once was. Jim
  8. I should have made my question a bit more clear. Being a vintage car nut as well as a two lane highway nut I view the preservation of the old two lanes as being directly related to people touring them. Many "motoring" hobbyist, whether automobile, RV, or motorcyclist have club events which include touring a specific route as a group. The Route 66 Fun Run has taken that idea to a different level in making it a multiple community related thing rather than a club related thing. I see this same concept as being something to save the old roads through a general public awareness. In a way I was more or less hoping to find some among the participants here having an interest in the partaking of such events. More particularly as one who lives on the OST I would like to develop a public interest in the OST as has developed with Route 66. As some can attest there are many great things to see and do along the OST. Many quite historical in nature others of more modern times. The OST is rather unique among the old two lane highways as there are still many, many miles of the original alignment remaining in daily use in various parts of the country. I some cases even the original pavement is still in use. It would be a mistake to let this historic resource go by the wayside and I see an annual touring event or events for the public in general along the OST as one way of saving what remains before the Urban Planners and highway engineers make a total mess out of it as has happened with so many of our two lane treasures. Jim
  9. Anybody seen a Toddle House or Dobbs House recently? They were both parts of airline catering companies and were quite common around the major cities of the country in the 1960s and 1970s. There was also a string of diners call "The Pit." They were appropriately named as they were all the "pits." A bit like about half the Waffle Houses. Burger Chef? I remember those but weren't they purchased by Burger King back in the 1970s? Dang, almost forgot about Minnie Pearl's Fried Chicken. Nice places, but as I recall the major investors and Minnie got all crosswise with one another and the whole thing blew up. Sambo's.....remember the big racial flap over the story of "Little Black Sambo" that put them out of business? I think the original Sambo's is still in business in the L.A. area. Glad to see Hardees is still around I always thought they were a notch above the other burger chains.
  10. Thought it would be neat to revive this thread. Bob's Big Boy and other "Big Boy" restaurants have obviously shrunken to near oblivion. It was a peculiar approach to franchising with each franchise store having the same floor plan, same basic sign. Well not exactly the same. The sign was setup for a three letter name so if your name was Mortimer you'd have to find anther name to use. In Texas the Big Boy Restaurants were known as "Kips Big Boy." No one knows if there really ever was anyone named KIP. I think they are all gone now. Then there was the Nickerson Farms combination of a Stuckey's, I-HOP, and gas station. Neat looking places but as I recall the chain died in it's first ten years. Know where there are buildings just sitting, but haven't seen an operational one for years. If you are in Oklahoma or the Northern portions of Texas there is a neat chain of stores named Braums. One of the last "fast food" operations where you get a shake or malt made the old fashioned way with real ice cream. But then what should you expect? Braum's is the largest dairy operation in the State of Oklahoma. Braums stores are a bit unique being part fast food operation, part convenience store where you can buy milk, eggs, bread, ice cream, etc.; but no alcohol. It's strictly an old fashioned family store. Haven't seen anyone mention the old "Tastee Freeze" drive-up places. Pretty much a no frills basic burgers and malts from soft serve ice cream operation. And is Hardies still alive anywhere? Seems they tried a comeback several years ago and then died again.
  11. Let's hope for all that enjoy this diner it will be able to make it with the new owner. So many times a place like this closes for a few weeks or months and re-opens only to shortly close again forever. It's really hard to re-establish a business once it has closed. As for the time it will take for someone to "snatch" up the property, given how things are today economically I wouldn't get into a panic about someone snatching it up and putting a bulldozer to it. I know of a property at a prime intersection which was a barely five year old Super K-Mart when K-Mart declared bankruptcy. It was among the stores that were closed. Everybody figured various chain retailers would snatch it up, but now around 8 years later it's still sitting there with no occupant. Something to think about......... Forty years from now our grandchildren will probably be lamenting the closure of a Burger King, McDonald's, or Starbucks because a classy neon lit diner just opened in the next block. I hope I live long enough to see it happening........
  12. Is it possible this recall is directly related to the 2007 Anheuser-Bush recall of potentially defective Bud Lite cans........
  13. I'm trading the lawn tractor in on four sheep. (not a real well accepted idea in cattle country, sheep that is) We keep about 6 acres around the house mowed and I think the sheep will do quite nicely........ When you live 9 miles from civilization as we do it's a no brainer to minimize trips to town, we've always been compelled to keep the trips down to two or three a week. Just takes a bit of planning ahead and buying what you need for several days at a time.
  14. Do any of you guys have an inclination to attend any of the Highway celebration events as the annual Route 66 Fun Run? Maybe a better question might be are there any such events elsewhere anyone attends or has attended?
  15. Some of you guys must not be old enough to remember Quakes were fairly common in the general area in the late 1940s into the early 1950s. Of course there was the BIG ONE which created Reel Foot Lake in Tennessee circa 1812.
  16. Great Disappointment! After two weeks or so of looking to help the people trying to do the OST 100 year celebration I've decided to throw in the towel. They have virtually no concept of what they are doing and are seemingly more interested in identifying and perhaps saving old buildings than actually attempting to identify original alignments or organizing driving events along what was the OST. In five years of working on the project they have yet to really accomplish much in the sense of creating a national interest in touring the OST or U.S. 90 as it is known East of Van Horn, Texas and U.S. 80 from that point to San Diego. They seemed more interested in promoting some cockamamie walking tour along the OST 2700 mile route than seeing automobiles running the route. Which struck me as pure lunacy knowing well the nature of all things West of Junction, Texas. Get three feet off the pavement and find yourself waist deep in rattle snakes for starters. No significant signs of civilization in some cases for close to 100 miles. Not real good country to be hoofing it through for the most part, and it gets worse through New Mexico and Arizona!
  17. Been doing a bit of exploring and found roughly another 11 miles of the OST, which became the original alignment of U.S. 90 between the Texas towns of Weimar on the East and Schulenburg on the West. This section is partially in two counties and portions are maintained by the State of Texas and by Colorado County respectively. Going West out of Weimar on Jackson Street the road becomes CR 253 which eventually junctions with Farm to Market Road 1593. About 5 miles East of Schulenburg one will cross one of the original bridges which has a bronze plaque dated 1922.
  18. It does look like a really neat place. But before I can get really excited I'd have to know whether the chowder was Boston or New England..........
  19. That supposed 27 million to gravel a short distance seems to me to be a bit ludicrous and perhaps an estimate done by an idiot. The State of Texas just finished doing a resurfacing of the road that runs in front of our house over a distance of some 8 to 9 miles and it didn't cost anything even close to the cost per mile that 27 million represents. The resurfacing in this case included new base, and asphalt. Something ain't just right about that cost estimate!
  20. These days I doubt if a print book would be very successful and as you point out it would be a lot of work. No, more like a drudge as I suspect it would be a very hard sell to convince mom and pop operations to pay for advertising in such a medium these days. Yeah, I guess I'd better get that membership fee off right now. You do accept shekels don't you........ If you still have a serious interest in doing something like that, I'll E-Mail you the idea I had in mind about five years ago and got side tracked with other things without getting too far beyond square one with the idea. I think it is still a good idea, and could well be a serious money maker along with a lot of fun. That's your first hint I figured out a way to make money out of taking fun trips along America's two lane highways.
  21. What a rich account of a true motoring trip. Some of that trip might be considered somewhat challenging even today with modern automobiles. I was truly amazed of the short time it took to make the trip, but then I gather they were on the road almost 15 hours of each day. Guess the cars of the era were a bit more substantial than they look today. Thanks for a great story...
  22. Realizing your reference to the "Hypotenuse Trail Association" is somewhat in jest, I've long thought a commercial rebirth of the "trail associations" as a means of advertising now bypassed businesses could be a viable enterprise when taken to the internet as the medium of exposure. How many mom and pop restaurants and motels along those routes could benefit an exposure targeted to all the nut cases like us that enjoy traveling the old highways? With a bit of promotion younger generations could be exposed to the true culture of America. There is a culture and heritage out there beyond urbanization, Interstate Highways, video games, and plastic funny money, or at least it appears to yet be so.
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