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Author Topic: How was travel back in the good old days?  (Read 3209 times)

jeffandnicole

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #75 on: February 13, 2019, 03:46:15 PM »

Starting in the 1980s these signs were your friends.  I guess not so mucn now with apps and stuff but companies still pay to be on them.

Apps are overrated when it comes to this stuff.  People are driving along and want a quick bit to eat or a place to pee.  They know they can just look for these signs.

Another reason why apps are overrated - nearly every restaurant has some sort of app - some you can use to pay, some have coupons, etc.  Just glance at people next time and you barely see anyone have their phone out to pay, even though they could've saved a least a few bucks on what they're buying, or earn points towards free stuff.
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kalvado

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #76 on: February 13, 2019, 03:57:45 PM »

Yeah, sometimes we simply don't want to bother whipping out our phones, using up data in the process, and getting ticketed for cellphone use while driving when we know we can rely on signs instead.
FIFY, you missed the most important part. 
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kphoger

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #77 on: February 13, 2019, 04:15:58 PM »

Yeah, sometimes we simply don't want to bother whipping out our phones, using up data in the process, and getting ticketed for cellphone use while driving when we know we can rely on signs instead.
FIFY, you missed the most important part. 

It is not against the law for a passenger to use a cell phone in the car.
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abefroman329

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #78 on: February 13, 2019, 08:37:20 PM »

Yeah, sometimes we simply don't want to bother whipping out our phones, using up data in the process, and getting ticketed for cellphone use while driving when we know we can rely on signs instead.
FIFY, you missed the most important part. 

It is not against the law for a passenger to use a cell phone in the car.
Yeah, I only use iExit when I’m a passenger.
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PHLBOS

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #79 on: February 14, 2019, 11:37:17 AM »

Yeah, sometimes we simply don't want to bother whipping out our phones, using up data in the process, and getting ticketed for cellphone use while driving when we know we can rely on signs instead.
FIFY, you missed the most important part. 

It is not against the law for a passenger to use a cell phone in the car.
True, but many drivers travel alone for whatever reason/circumstances; both then and now.
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mgk920

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #80 on: February 14, 2019, 11:57:03 AM »

How were breakdowns and other mishaps handled before we had cell phones?
Your choices were:
(1) raise the hood of your car, hope a cop drove past and saw you
(2) walk to the nearest service station
(3) [starting in the 1980s or so] walk to the nearest motorist assistance call box, if there was one
(4) repair the car yourself

Hell a good chunk of the roadways I travel on you won't find any help aside from what you have in your trunk.  That kind of thing was typical on pretty much every roadway until probably the early 2000s when cell phones became common.  I still rather carry a set of jumper cables and full size spare than have to rely on calling someone for help.

I've seen true warnings in century-old 'automobilist' direction/touring guides advising against taking alternative routings, even if advised to do so by the locals, in that the shortcuts were routed through truly desolate places where there was little, if any, hope for help in case of a breakdown, while the routings described in the book closely followed railroads and went through towns, allowing civilization (ie, food and lodging) and repair parts to be shipped in by train.

Mike
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abefroman329

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #81 on: February 14, 2019, 12:09:04 PM »

How were breakdowns and other mishaps handled before we had cell phones?
Your choices were:
(1) raise the hood of your car, hope a cop drove past and saw you
(2) walk to the nearest service station
(3) [starting in the 1980s or so] walk to the nearest motorist assistance call box, if there was one
(4) repair the car yourself

Hell a good chunk of the roadways I travel on you won't find any help aside from what you have in your trunk.  That kind of thing was typical on pretty much every roadway until probably the early 2000s when cell phones became common.  I still rather carry a set of jumper cables and full size spare than have to rely on calling someone for help.

I've seen true warnings in century-old 'automobilist' direction/touring guides advising against taking alternative routings, even if advised to do so by the locals, in that the shortcuts were routed through truly desolate places where there was little, if any, hope for help in case of a breakdown, while the routings described in the book closely followed railroads and went through towns, allowing civilization (ie, food and lodging) and repair parts to be shipped in by train.

Mike
And 50 years later, it was common to be stranded if your car broke down and the nearest mechanic didn't have the part they needed to repair your car.  I bet it's not completely unheard-of today.

I carry jumper cables just because I don't want to have to try to find someone who can give me a jump AND has jumper cables.
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mgk920

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #82 on: February 14, 2019, 12:47:35 PM »

Another is that into the late 00s, I would use those directory booklets that the motel chains printed a couple of times every year on roadtrips to plan routings and schedules in order to find decent places to crash at night.  Now, it is back to paying attention to billboards and those blue signs.  I found those directories to be far easier and more convenient to use than trying to navigate company websites.

 :banghead:

Mike
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abefroman329

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #83 on: February 14, 2019, 12:59:43 PM »

Another is that into the late 00s, I would use those directory booklets that the motel chains printed a couple of times every year on roadtrips to plan routings and schedules in order to find decent places to crash at night.  Now, it is back to paying attention to billboards and those blue signs.  I found those directories to be far easier and more convenient to use than trying to navigate company websites.

 :banghead:

Mike
You're talking about the ones they give away at welcome centers?  Did they really stop printing those?  That's too bad.  They were useful, although good luck getting a room at the rate advertised in the booklet.

I did have to try to find a motel using Safari on an iPhone while on the road about five years ago, and it was a giant pain.  We needed to find somewhere dog-friendly, and I don't think there was a way to do that using an app such as Orbitz or Hotwire.
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hbelkins

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #84 on: February 14, 2019, 01:14:14 PM »

Another is that into the late 00s, I would use those directory booklets that the motel chains printed a couple of times every year on roadtrips to plan routings and schedules in order to find decent places to crash at night.  Now, it is back to paying attention to billboards and those blue signs.  I found those directories to be far easier and more convenient to use than trying to navigate company websites.

 :banghead:

Mike
You're talking about the ones they give away at welcome centers?  Did they really stop printing those?  That's too bad.  They were useful, although good luck getting a room at the rate advertised in the booklet.

I did have to try to find a motel using Safari on an iPhone while on the road about five years ago, and it was a giant pain.  We needed to find somewhere dog-friendly, and I don't think there was a way to do that using an app such as Orbitz or Hotwire.

No, I think he's talking about the chain directories. Last chain I saw that still had them was Red Roof. The coupon books are still available; there are generally two (one with a green cover, and one with a red cover) available in Kentucky. Both those companies also have apps. I've never tried to use one of their coupons, because there are often too many restrictions.

As for your dog-friendly comment, it pays to know which chains are dog-friendly and then use their apps. The aforementioned Red Roof is one. I don't know that I've ever seen a Red Roof that didn't allow dogs.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #85 on: February 14, 2019, 01:19:13 PM »

How were breakdowns and other mishaps handled before we had cell phones?
Your choices were:
(1) raise the hood of your car, hope a cop drove past and saw you
(2) walk to the nearest service station
(3) [starting in the 1980s or so] walk to the nearest motorist assistance call box, if there was one
(4) repair the car yourself

Hell a good chunk of the roadways I travel on you won't find any help aside from what you have in your trunk.  That kind of thing was typical on pretty much every roadway until probably the early 2000s when cell phones became common.  I still rather carry a set of jumper cables and full size spare than have to rely on calling someone for help.

I've seen true warnings in century-old 'automobilist' direction/touring guides advising against taking alternative routings, even if advised to do so by the locals, in that the shortcuts were routed through truly desolate places where there was little, if any, hope for help in case of a breakdown, while the routings described in the book closely followed railroads and went through towns, allowing civilization (ie, food and lodging) and repair parts to be shipped in by train.

Mike

Almost every pre-1960s Utah State Highway Map shows warnings like that on State Highways in the southern part of the State.  Considering most were just wonky graded dirt trails it’s easy to understand the concern.  You’d still be in a hell of a bind most places out that way due to the remoteness of the territory.  Back in 2016 I mowed down a deer on UT 95 and got incredibly lucky it mess up my accessory belt or push the radiator in.  Usually I carry a week worth of water with me on trips like that. 

abefroman329

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #86 on: February 14, 2019, 01:20:54 PM »

As for your dog-friendly comment, it pays to know which chains are dog-friendly and then use their apps. The aforementioned Red Roof is one. I don't know that I've ever seen a Red Roof that didn't allow dogs.
I don't know that there was a Red Roof Inn app at the time, and even if there was, I wasn't interested in downloading it over my broadband connection.  Same for Motel 6. 

Those were the two chains that I was looking at, and neither one had a version of their website that was mobile-friendly.

Paper directories published by the chains went the way of the dodo bird for the same reason paper airline timetables did.
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PHLBOS

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #87 on: February 14, 2019, 02:06:31 PM »

Paper directories published by the chains went the way of the dodo bird for the same reason paper airline timetables did.
I believe, and such was mentioned a few posts back, that Red Roof still publishes a paper (booklet) directory; at least as of last year.
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abefroman329

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #88 on: February 14, 2019, 02:27:30 PM »

Paper directories published by the chains went the way of the dodo bird for the same reason paper airline timetables did.
I believe, and such was mentioned a few posts back, that Red Roof still publishes a paper (booklet) directory; at least as of last year.
Ah, well, if your demographic is less tech-savvy and more likely to do it the old-fashioned way, then it probably behooves you to continue publishing a paper directory.
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PHLBOS

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #89 on: February 15, 2019, 10:09:30 AM »

Paper directories published by the chains went the way of the dodo bird for the same reason paper airline timetables did.
I believe, and such was mentioned a few posts back, that Red Roof still publishes a paper (booklet) directory; at least as of last year.
Ah, well, if your demographic is less tech-savvy and more likely to do it the old-fashioned way, then it probably behooves you to continue publishing a paper directory.
Do keep in mind that a higher percentage of the traveling population will be lodging vs. flying and there's more hotel/motel chains around than there are air carriers.  As a result, said-lodging population is likely more diverse than the flying population.  That diversity probably includes those that are less tech-savvy, per your earlier comment.

That said, have some lodging chains either discontinued or never (for newer chains) published paper directories?  Sure, but I believe your earlier going the way of the dodo comment in reference to paper directories (for lodging) is either exaggerated or premature at this time.

Additionally, stop at any hotel/motel lobby or even at a welcome/service plaza along a highway; and one will still see paper pamphlets for various attractions both near & far.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 10:18:28 AM by PHLBOS »
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abefroman329

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #90 on: February 15, 2019, 12:22:07 PM »

That said, have some lodging chains either discontinued or never (for newer chains) published paper directories?  Sure, but I believe your earlier going the way of the dodo comment in reference to paper directories (for lodging) is either exaggerated or premature at this time.
OK, but they're certainly less prevalent than they used to be.  Once upon a time, there would be a directory sitting in your room, waiting for you.  Maybe, nowadays, they can give you one at the front desk.

Additionally, stop at any hotel/motel lobby or even at a welcome/service plaza along a highway; and one will still see paper pamphlets for various attractions both near & far.
Yes, along with the multi-chain guides I asked about earlier.
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Nacho

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #91 on: February 17, 2019, 10:19:29 PM »

I can date my earliest road trip memories to the late 80s, though of course my memories are clearer the more recent the trip. Whether that constitutes the "good old days" is up to the reader I suppose, but it was certainly before cell phones were commonplace.

The biggest difference I notice could generally be described as ease of access to travel information. Without TripAdvisor, Google Maps, and the like you were a lot more reliant on other sources of information. On the earliest trips we'd look for a place to stay the night as we went until a particularly disastrous trip in which the only vacancy we could find one way was at a fleabag motel and the other way we couldn't find any vacancies and our family of five ended up sleeping in the station wagon at a rest area. After that my parents would make hotel reservations in advance using one of those paper directories. I liked to browse through them when we were at the hotel room. I recall they'd typically give some description of the amenities (often using a series of icons), a phone number and address, directions from nearby major highways, and a small map showing the location. Said maps typically weren't to scale and certainly weren't above making the property seem closer to the highway than it actually was. There also might be an indication for properties that were considered among the top in the chain but you didn't really have access to any sort of customer reviews of a particular location. After enough blah experiences at the Days Inns and Econo Lodges of the world, my parents eventually developed something of a loyalty to Hampton Inn since you knew it would be at least decent.

The obvious sources on information on food and gas were billboards and LOGO signs, plus some vague sense of "there's places in <insert name of upcoming town>" but again there was no real good way to check what would be available, say, 30 miles down the road. This could prove particularly troublesome for my family when we found ourselves on the big turnpikes, as my parents absolutely hated Roy Rogers, who occupied a lot of the service plazas in those days and then as now you wouldn't generally see much to alert you to establishments off the turnpike. Many a summer trip to Maine featured front seat discussion after passing the signage indicating yet another Roy Rogers at the next plaza of whether to press on and hope the next one featured a more desirable restaurant or to just bite the bullet and eat at Roy's. The few attempts we made to find a place to eat or cheaper gas off the turnpike tended to result in a lot of aimless wandering, so we ended up being pretty reluctant to go that route.
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abefroman329

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #92 on: February 18, 2019, 12:35:25 PM »

I have clear memories of having to call nationwide reservations lines for availability and rates at hotels, and having to perpetually ask "is that your cheapest rate?"  Now I can do that with a few keystrokes.  I don't have fond memories of the old way.
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bandit957

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #93 on: February 18, 2019, 09:42:55 PM »

In the old days, radio was so much better, so travel often involved listening to radio through much of the trip. I also remember that people would blow bubbles with bubble gum on long trips, because that was a big pastime back then.

Holiday Inn was by far the dominant motel chain, and they published a print directory. The first routing software I remember was Automap, which came in the early '90s. But it only showed major towns and roads.

When you were refueling, you could actually smell the gasoline fumes. Nowadays, this doesn't happen.

In the 1990s and 2000s, there was a book called 'Next Exit', which listed restaurants at every Interstate exit.
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bandit957

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #94 on: February 18, 2019, 09:48:35 PM »

I also remember when I had Internet access at home, but motels didn't have it yet. So I'd get home to find a few hundred e-mails waiting for me - in addition to quite a few answering machine messages.

One time back in 1997, I went on a roadtrip for a few days. When I got back, someone who had been harassing me on the Internet accused me of hacking his ISP and knocking it offline. But I couldn't have, because I had no Internet access on roadtrips back then.
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Rick Powell

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #95 on: February 18, 2019, 10:47:47 PM »

In the old days, radio was so much better, so travel often involved listening to radio through much of the trip.
WLS 890 AM in Chicago could be heard at night for 500 to 1000 miles, depending on atmospheric conditions. I remember listening to it on several road trips in the south as a kid. There were (are) several other "clear channel" stations that don't get interfered with by adjoining bands. Now most of the AM dial is sports, talk and news, not so much music. Satellite radio doesn't fade in and out like AM radio, but its line of sight capability can mean a dropped signal in heavily forested or mountainous terrain, or city skyscrapers...I remember the AM signal being as clear as a bell one minute, followed by barely audible static-y garbage, and waiting for the signal to come back in clear again.
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bzakharin

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #96 on: February 19, 2019, 12:47:04 PM »

The closest thing to a road trip we ever did was a week-long whirlwind tour of Canada with stops (not all overnight) at Beltzville Lake, PA (state park in the Poconos for swimming), Niagara Falls, Toronto, [some half-way place right on Lake Ontario], and Montreal, around the year 2000. All the hotel reservations (as well as most major activities) were researched online and/or done by phone in advance. Food/fuel/rest stops (on toll-free roads) were done based on LOGO signs (at least in the US. I don't recall whether we made any unplanned stops in Canada) I remember printing out lists of radio stations we were likely to be interested in (for both news and music) near various locations along the way. But we relied on the highway advisory radio for the PA Turnpike just as we did (back then) for our trips on the NJ Turnpike which were much more common. Once off the turnpike there weren't any highway advisory stations, but there were lists of radio stations with regular traffic reports posted on some of the welcome signs along I-81.

Although Philadelphia's news station (KYW 1060) is not a clear channel, it was quite clearly audible during the night portion of our travel east along Lake Ontario.
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bandit957

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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #97 on: February 19, 2019, 12:49:50 PM »

I remember printing out lists of radio stations we were likely to be interested in (for both news and music) near various locations along the way.

I used to buy the old M Street Radio Directories in the '90s, even after the 1996 Telecommunications Act ruined radio. These days, it just wouldn't be worth it.
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Re: How was travel back in the good old days?
« Reply #98 on: February 19, 2019, 10:43:25 PM »

In the old days, radio was so much better, so travel often involved listening to radio through much of the trip. I also remember that people would blow bubbles with bubble gum on long trips, because that was a big pastime back then.

Holiday Inn was by far the dominant motel chain, and they published a print directory. The first routing software I remember was Automap, which came in the early '90s. But it only showed major towns and roads.

When you were refueling, you could actually smell the gasoline fumes. Nowadays, this doesn't happen.

In the 1990s and 2000s, there was a book called 'Next Exit', which listed restaurants at every Interstate exit.

That book is still around. I think Books-a-Million still carries it. I remember some of the very first mapping software Sierra did in the late 90s (‘96-‘98), and it was separated into two discs, one for east of the Mississippi, one for west of the Mississippi.

For radio/TV there was a site called 100000watts.com that had really good listings of every market in the nation. That was in the 2001-2003 timeframe, then they went pay. Those listings were important especially in the era before ubiquitous internet.
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