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


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Posts 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. You are absolutely right when you compare the cost of a 500 mile trip. The difference between this year and last is small. In fact, that was how I was figuring the Hypotenuse Trail “extra cost” of gasoline….on a single trip.


    It cost me about $530 for gasoline for the whole trip, and that is only about $160 more than it would have cost last year. No big deal, Right? That is how I figured it…..but…..


    What I forgot is that if I kept doing my regular driving, got 25 MPG, and racked up 25,000 miles in a year, the difference in costs between $2.50 and $4.00 gasoline would be would be $1,500 in after tax dollars!


    So before I take any optional trips (or buy a burger) at all, I first woiuld have to make up that $1,500 somewhere. In some ways I wish I was driving a big vehicle that was getting 15 MPG because I think I could buy a brand new small economical car for the savings in gasoline. But, alas, I am already driving a car that gets 25 - 30 MPG, so I am among the “fuel impaired.”


    And to add injury to insult, everything that is transported gets kicked up a notch in price. Even if the cost of fuel isn’t a factor, it provides an excuse for raising prices anyway. I see it already. The guy delivering wood chips for the garden today has added a $4.95 fuel surcharge on top the delivery charge, which amounts to about a 10% overall price increase!


    Curses! :angry:


    Keep the Show on the Road!





    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..... :D

  4. Was the OST somehow sanctioned by federal or state governments? I don't know much about the OST but that is certainly different from the named highways (e.g., Lincoln Highway, National Old Trails Road) that I am more familiar with. Those roads were privately organized and route sharing with any government group was essentially coincidental. You express surprise thatbut that is exactly the behavior I expect with other named highways and the numbered US routes of 1926 and later. Is there reason to expect the OST to behave differently?


    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.



  5. I have not had the time nor opportunity to travel the OST/old US 90 corridor. Please post some pics of your journey!





    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.




  6. That was a revelation, and a most happy one. I went looking for the American I feared we had lost, and found instead that we had lost nothing, and we were still the optimistic, forward looking people that made and make this country great.


    My own sister (who never travels, and watches TV) cautioned me that I would not be welcome in some places, and that I was risking getting mugged along the way. Nothing of the sort, and no indication in the slightest that either was a risk.


    I guess I would encourage everyone to turn off the TV and radio (at least for awhile), and hit the road, particularly the two lanes. Look for yourself. Don’t take my word for it. We are there, we are well, and we can be whatever we put our mind to. We can be better, of course, and we only need to continue doing that.


    Keep the Show on the Road!




    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! :D


  7. Alex,


    Your insights are right on target! I did learn something about this country, and it was good.


    As I drove along I witnessed Americans doing what we do, mowing lawns, going to school, talking with friends and neighbors, working, playing….all across the country. There were no muggings, no corrupt or corrupted politicians, no death and destruction. Not one example, up close, on the ground.


    The America on the television is not the America on the ground. Of course it doesn’t take a genius to intellectually recognize that. But when you see the good people of Alabama and Kansas and Wyoming and everywhere else first hand, doing what good people do, it has to viscerally impact you. It did me.


    The Americas I saw were a strong, happy, hopeful, helpful, hard working lot from the tip of Florida to the Puget Sound. I saw political differences, but they were on the radio or on the signboards, not in the way people interacted, not in how they mowed their lawns, or in whether they smiled or not.


    I felt proud of America, and Americans…not necessarily proud of what our government does…. but proud of what Americans do, and are doing day by day. We are a good people, from sea to shining sea, and we have the strength and ability to be even better.


    I intend to post many more photos, and even hope to use a program that will allow them to be viewed on a background map, so the location is evident. However I am handicapped by a leaking kitchen faucet and lawn that is 4 inches tall.


    Maybe I will start today to post the movie clips as they will not show up on a map as the stills are supposed to, and thus do not take the technical manipulations


    Thanks again for the thoughts, kind words, and encouragement!


    Keep the Show on the Road!





    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.



  8. I'm assuming that, by "Highway celebration events as the annual Route 66 Fun Run", you're thinking of events that celebrate some highway and have a significant automotive element. Events that meet that definition and which I've attended include one each San Bernardino Rendezvous and Woodward Dream Cruise and three Springfield, Illinois, Route 66 Festivals. I've also attended a fair number of car gatherings that had no connection with any particular highway and some highway related celebrations with little or no car culture connection. I've yet to attend the Route 66 Fun Run.



    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.



  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........ :D

  12. Memphis/Millington area, while I was out and about, gas prices range from $3.30-$3.38 for regular; $3.45-$3.52 mid-range and $3.60-$3.75 for premium. Diesel stands at around $4 everywhere.


    There IS something we can do about it as follows:


    1) Vote in a new administartion in November and hope THEY do something;

    2) Everybody change their driving habits - not likely to happen as we Americans ARE going to do our thing and price be damned;

    3) Shoot the speculators that are driving oil prices to Mars (well, it's a thought!!);

    4) Truckers go on a National strike. Shut down the trucks and something's gonna happen real quick. Tha't's probably more of a possibility than 1 and 2. The independent truckers are already starting to park their rigs in some places. But as long as the trucking industry can pass on the added cost to us (we've felt it in the grocery store already) it'll be a while before a national strike happens.


    The pot may come to a boil Memorial Day weekend. That's the first big travel weekend of the summer season and traditionally gas prices go up like a rocket powered elevator. I suspect prices will go over $4 a gallon and it should be interesting to see what happens. Motel owners should start burning their motels for the insurance money shortly.


    I bought two gallons of gas for my lawn mower the other day - the gas is worth more than the mower!!!! :D


    For myself - well, I go do all my errands on Friday, if possible. Rest of the week the car sits. I've got several road trips planned out around the area, but am putting those on hold for a while. I will still do pet transports - I have one to Brinkley, AR, on Sunday. That's about 125 mile round trip. But it's well worth it to help some pup get out of a bad situation and go on to a new and more loving (hopefully) home. And sometimes I can make a road trip out of it - like coming back from Brinkley I can use U S 70 (parallels I-40) so little, if any traffic to worry about.




    Everybody take care and safe traveling.



    Alex Burr

    Memphis, TN



    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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.



  15. 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!

  16. Starfire,


    I think you are absolutely right!


    Some years ago I thought that a tour book of the type done by AAA, but featuring vintage lodgings and restaurants, would be fun to develop. It is not hard to imagine selling advertising and marketing the finished product.


    But like a lot of my other ideas, it started to look somewhat like work. :angry: That was the end of it for me! :rolleyes:


    I am 100% with you on the virtures of the old roads! We are not alone!!!


    BTW, join the Association now while the price is right and you can beat the crowds!


    Keep the Show on the Road!




    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.

  17. 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...

  18. It is a bummer! But Wyoming is so interesting, I forgive them for this “mistake.” There is no doubt that any route the Hypotenuse follows will be interesting, but it is obvious that the interstate designers didn’t consider my needs here. Maybe this is revenge for all the bad things I have said over the years about their handiwork! :rolleyes:


    I am mindful of the awesome responsibility that has been heaped upon my shoulders as the Hypotenuse Trail Pathfinder. I am humble (as always :P ) in accepting this charge, and recognize that others may follow in my path. Whether they succumb to the siren song of the interstate for a few miles here and there will be a battle they must fight. I haven’t been able to bring myself to the view that the interstate here is just two a two lane road anyway…..in each direction!


    In addition to being the undisputable best auto trail between Key West and the Puget Sound, I have discovered that the straight line distance SE/NW across the United States is about 50 miles greater than the straight line distance SW/NE. In short, this hypotenuse rules!


    You gentlemen, being officers and charter members of the Hypotenuse Trail Association, may take pride in knowing that you are following in the great American tradition that the longest, or biggest, is best! Hail the Hypotenuse! One Great American Road!


    I have been working on an original song for the Hypotenuse. This is as far as I have gotten. Now if I could just find a tune to go with it!! <_<


    This Road is your Road,

    This Road is my Road,

    From the Gulf Stream Waters

    To the Puget Sound


    From the Mississippi

    To the plains of Kansas

    This Road was made for you and me


    As I went driving that ribbon of highway

    I saw above me that endless skyway

    I saw below me that golden valley

    This road was made for you and me!



    Keep the Show on the Road!





    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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