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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 mga707

  1. 2 hours ago, Keep the Show on the Road! said:


    I have a question. How does a radio station get permission to play music artists? Do they have to pay royalties....or something?


    Keep the Show on the Road

    The 'Reader's Digest' short version is that commercial radio stations have contracts with the two main music publishing organizations, BMI (Broadcast Music International) and ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) whom they pay.  The two publishing organizations then distribute songwriting royalties to their respective songwriters.

  2. 3 hours ago, Sue H. said:

    Hi mga707,
    Thank you for posting the photos and info about the Gillespie Dam Bridge. This is something we may want to include in an upcoming issue of American Road magazine.
    Curious about your comment,  "It looks like there are places for interpretive signs in two places, but they have not as of yet been installed."  I did a little research and came across this: 
    There was interpretive signage placed at the bridge during the 2011-2012 bridge rehabilitation project. However it has since been stolen.
    The text that appeared on the interpretive plaques and photos can be found at: Next Exit History, http://www.nextexithistory.com/explore/historical-sites/historic-gillespie-dam-bridge/

    Thank you for that update--really disappointing that the signs were stolen, one would assume merely for the value of the metal.  The Next Exit article is fascinating!

  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.

    • Like 1

  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. 15 hours ago, Keep the Show on the Road! said:

    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!!


    Keep the Show on the Road!


    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.



  6. 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.



  7. 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!

  8. Not to minimize your rather harrowing experience with 'La Migra', but the road you were following through Dome Valley was not actually the old Bankhead Highway/Broadway Of America/Old Spanish Trail/US 80.  There is doubt whether the road through the valley ever actually was signed as '80', as the 'new' route through Telegraph Pass, which is still the route of eastbound I-8, was completed and opened for traffic in 1927.

    Anyway, from your description I gather that you were traveling on the paved, 'stairstep' road through the valley that runs north and east of the Gila River bed, following section lines.  This road is newer than the actual old highway, which has never been paved and runs very close to the railroad tracks that are south and west of the normally dry Gila bed.

    In his exhaustively-researched 2009 book, "Drive the Broadway Of America--the U.S. 80 and Bankhead Highways Across the American Southwest", author Jeff Jensen gives a mile-by-mile account of this early alignment, and strongly recommends attempting to drive it only with a 4WD vehicle, as parts are extremely sandy and rough.  This original alignment comes out to what is now US 95 about a mile south of the historic McPhail bridge that you mention above.  

    Ironically, had you taken this old but rough original alignment, you probably would not have encountered any BP vehicles at all--but you may very well have gotten stuck in a sandy, dry washbed!

    For what it's worth, I was traveling the opposite direction on I-8 the following day, heading to Encinitas CA from Tucson, and wishing I had the extra time to explore some of the old sections of US 80!

  9. On 12/7/2018 at 4:18 PM, roadhound said:

    Exit O

    Along Interstate 40, at the state line between Texas and New Mexico, sits "Exit 0."  On the south side of the Interstate sits the Route 66 ghost town of Glenrio but at the exit itself there are 2 abandoned service stations on the Texas side of the state line. It was 1980 when the Interstate bypassed Glenrio and shifted traffic north of the town. It is also likely that sometime around that time period that the two service stations were built.  Not sure when they serviced their last customers but today they are left abandoned and exposed to the elements.


    Abandoned Standard\Chevron station in Glenrio, Texas

    Pump islands at the abandoned Standard\Chevron station in Glenrio, Texas.

    Wild sunflowers at the site of an abandoned Texaco station in Glenrio, Texas.

    Abandoned Texaco station in Glenrio, Texas.




    Thank you for posting those 'Exit 0' photos.  I've driven by them about a half-dozen times over the past 30 years.  Never have checked out what is left of Glenrio.

  10. Thank you, Dave!  Did not see any peacocks.  Just one resident dog and two resident cats.  No ghost cats, although there is supposedly one 'haunting' the hotel, along with an adult male ghost and a juvenile female ghost.  I slept like a log, but my travel companion did not!  After I got home i learned that the Amargosa is supposedly one of the 'most haunted' hotels in the Us, for what that's worth.  I'm not sure how long it has been since the Hotel re-opened, but I hope the owners can make a success of it.  They were nearly full the two nights we were there, with many foreign tourists.  About half of the building has not been renovated, as the 18 rooms open all have private baths and the closed-off rooms do not.  Our tour of the Opera House ($5 donation) was well worth it.  It is amazing inside, and we were treated to a two-song piano concert by a concert pianist who happened to be visiting that day.  He used to play for Marta there when she did her shows, which ended in 2012.  I would love to revisit in the future.

  11. 5 hours ago, roadhound said:

    Thanks mga707. Of the half dozen or so times that I have been to Death Valley I have always approached from the west side and never made it as far east as Death Valley Junction.  Looks like it is worth checking out.


    It definitely is!  And from an old roads perspective, the drive south from DV Jct. to the 'big town' of Shoshone (pop. 31 per the town sign) is also interesting, as one has the abandoned railroad track bed on the left (east) side of CA 127 and and recurring bits of the old, narrower road alignment to the right.  If lucky one might see wild mustangs!DSCN2699.thumb.jpg.ee272c320f2e9c6cb2faec7e542601bc.jpg

  12. Just returned from a week-long trip through four of California's iconic National Parks (Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, and Death Valley) and the Mojave National Preserve.  One of the highlights of the week was spending two nights at the wonderful Amargosa Hotel and Opera House in the near-ghost town of Death Valley Junction, resident population 3 in winter, 1 in summer.  Others commute from Amargosa Valley or Pahrump NV.  The history of this town, which was originally a rail junction and is still a road junction (CA state routes 190 and 127), is too long to go into here but is fascinating, if one wishes to look it up.  The name of dancer/actress/artist Marta Becket figures prominently in the town's history and why there is still a functioning opera house in a town that for all intents and purposes has ceased to exist.  Highly recommend the hotel to anyone planning to visit the Death Valley area.  Enjoy some photos of the hotel and surrounding structures:


    DSCN2602.thumb.jpg.e37f795e7bd2943b30098953401d479f.jpgFormer garage and gas station across the highway from the hotel.

    DSCN2607.thumb.jpg.6913fcd7e6e156c9cae3b9bf4cb53981.jpgThe hotel and opera house at sunrise.DSCN2612.thumb.jpg.870781642af703cd7e80be47a7188ef3.jpgDSCN2609.thumb.jpg.0e6d5670e3e458b4372c8d6f29db7a86.jpgDSCN2645.thumb.jpg.757aee03605596a64e615de072eda103.jpgDSCN2649.thumb.jpg.feaa417a1ec72b34f8673fbc5bfcf5e6.jpgDSCN2651.thumb.jpg.971b568b96cb28cef7f08ce3bb786a25.jpgDSCN2650.thumb.jpg.3056b10c27a20d334aafa441fdc886a3.jpg

  13. It's 1934.  And the western terminus of 66 is in Los Angeles, hard to tell exactly where.  The Los Angeles city map in the back is stingy with US highway shields.  The farthest west 66 shield shown is in Monrovia.  Also interesting is that California is one of the few states that did not by that time have a numbered state highway system.  Only US routes are shown on the combined California/Nevada map, and now California state shield is shown for reference, unlike nearly all other states.  The variety of state highway shields is amazing!  Arizona's had a 'backwards' swastika on theirs, which was a Navajo symbol before that idiot in Germany ruined it forever.  You can see ti above, inside of the arrowhead, which in turn is inside of the detailed state outline.  Current AZ shield is a very simplified and 'stylized' rendering of our state's shape.

  14. On 9/1/2018 at 11:25 PM, roadhound said:

    I would like to start a thread that captures those buildings along the roadside whose days of glory are in the past and now wait for time to take it's ultimate toll. 

    During my road trip travels I am always on the lookout for those buildings that were once part of the road trip experience but are now likely relegated to a distant memories of road trips past. Whenever I pass through a small town, or along what was once the major thoroughfare through an area that is now bypassed by the Interstate, I always keep an eye out for that former gas station, diner, or motel. Sometimes they have been repurposed to fulfill another roll, others are in a state of suspended animation, but many times they are abandoned likely to never be a stop along the highway again. 

    In the 15 or so years that I have taken an active interest in the history of the American road I have had the opportunity to visit sites multiple times seperated by a few years and have witnessed the accelerated decay of some of these buildings, some are even gone completely. The "Kamp"ground office at Two Guns is an example that comes to mind. Each time I pass through that area east of Flagstaff I pull off the Interstate and take a look. Each time there is more grafitti, less of the buildings siding intact, and more of the interior exposed to the elements. I'm sure there are many more examples out there and I hope you will share some of what you've seen.



    I'll start with an iconic building that I have attempted to reach 3 times, once successfully, but don't expect to see the next time I pass through Arizona. The Painted Desert Trading Post stands in the middle of nowhere, east of Painted Desert National Park, and nearly inaccessible. The section of Route 66 that this building sits on was bypassed sometime in the 50's and like many Route 66 buildings that lost traffic to the Interstate it eventually was abandoned. It has survived the 70 or so years since it last saw customers only because of its remoteness. Time and the elements have taken their toll however. When I was last there the east side of the building has started to slip, the stucco was flaking off, parts of the walls are gone, massive cracks are present in the foundation, and you can see the sky through the roof.

    There may be hope for the old gal yet. As I was writing the draft for this post I was looking online for some information and came across this article. It would appear that a group has purchased the land and the building with an eye to preserving the structure. I wish them the best of luck!



    Minor correction:  The correct name of the national park is Petrified Forest National Park.  The Painted Desert itself occupies the northern third or so of the park, and extends outside the park boundaries to  east, north, and west.  The entire park is a wonderful place.