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Camp Host US Newsletter: Happy Thanksgiving 2005 25th ed..

Camp Host US Newsletter

Happy Thanksgiving 2005 25th ed..

November 26, 2005

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In This Issue:

  1. Vintage Trailer Holiday Cards

  2. From Sixty To Sixtysix

  3. Gingerbread Cookies

1. Vintage Trailer Holiday Cards

The Vintage Airstream Podcast or theVAP, discusses Airstream travel trailer and motorhome repair, purchasing, restoration and travel. Join us each episode as we talk with the nets top Airstream enthusiasts for a fun and lively discussion. Find out more at!

William Hawley Bowlus made the first streamlined trailers, but a business associate of his, Wally Byram, was the one who made the "silver palace" an American icon.

Byram, a native of Baker, Ore., founded the Airstream Trailer Co. in 1936 in Southern California. He used aircraft construction methods to lessen wind resistance and improve the strength-to-weight ratio of his trailers. The first Airstream -- called the "Clipper" -- had a riveted aluminum body, an enclosed galley, slept four, carried its own water supply and was fitted with electric lights. It sold for $1,200, a hefty price in the midst of the Great Depression. Airstream had many competitors, but it was the only one to last through the Depression. However, when World War II began, leisure travel became unpopular because of gasoline rationing and difficulty in getting materials to build trailers.

Consequently, Byram closed the company and went to work in the aircraft industry. After the war, he resumed building Airstreams, and sales boomed.

Byram died in 1962, and for a while it was doubtful whether the company could survive without him. But it did.


2. From Sixty To Sixtysix

. How and Why US Route 66 got its number

The eastern section of the National Roosevelt Midland Trail figured in the most heated controversy facing the AASHO Executive Committee in 1926. The Joint Board on Interstate Highways had split the trail at Shoals, Indiana, instead of giving it a single multiple-of-ten designation, and had added insult to injury by not even giving the eastern portion a single number. Through West Virginia to Ashland, Kentucky, the trail was U.S. 52; from Ashland to Louisville - U.S. 62; and Louisville to Shoals, Indiana - U.S. 150.

Governor William J. Fields of Kentucky, a long-time good roads booster, was convinced that his State had been discriminated against, and he had no doubt why. On December 8, he announced that Kentucky would ignore the U.S. numbers:

I invite the scrutiny of every governor and every member of Congress to the U.S. Highway map drawn up by the federal bureau of highways working under the Federal Department of Agriculture. Chicago influence is written all over the map. All east and west traffic is routed north of the Ohio. I particularly object to the obliteration of my idol, my dream, the Midland Trail, running from Ashland to Lexington and to Louisville. I have worked hard for this great road. The north and south roads too are guaged [sic] for Chicago benefit and that of the northwest alone. The east, I am sure, will join in with me in my protest, likewise the south.

I will use every means in my power to fight this proposition of isolation.

As his reference to Chicago suggests, he had noticed U.S. 60 running from that city to Los Angeles. Scanning the map of the East Coast, he saw the "naught" routes numbered in sequence approaching Kentucky--20, 30,40, 50 from the north, 90, 80, and 70 from the south--but "60," which he could see should have gone through Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, was in Chicago.

The fate of the Dixie Highway did not help his mood. Two branches of the road from Michigan to Florida intersected the National Roosevelt Midland Trail in Kentucky. Under the Joint Board's plan, the western branch of the Dixie Highway in Kentucky was part of U.S. 31 (Mackinac, Michigan, to Mobile, Alabama), which at least had the distinction of ending in "1," indicating it was a principal north-south route. The eastern branch was part of U.S. 25 (Toledo, Ohio, to Augusta, Georgia), the "5" indicating secondary importance.

In short, Kentucky's view was that it had been cut off not only from transcontinental traffic but also from the north-south traffic to Florida.

The man on the hot seat was State Highway Engineer E. N. Todd. He had attended the group meeting in Chicago during which Kentucky's through routes were identified. He also had consented to the numbering plan during AASHO's annual meeting in Detroit and had not objected to the dismemberment of the National Roosevelt Midland Trail, which he considered "a thing of the past." In any event, he had little say in the matter. Because Kentucky had not paid its dues of $200 to AASHO, he could not have cast a vote if the matter had been decided in Detroit.

Backers of the National Roosevelt Midland Trail were aroused to protest. C. F. Underhill of the Southern West Virginia Automobile Club was outraged by the dismemberment of the trail:

This will be a big surprise to the people of West Virginia who have always understood that the Roosevelt Midland Trail was a great transcontinental route from either Washington, D.C., or Old Point Comfort to San Francisco.

A statement from the Eastern Division of the Midland Trail Association, noting the problem with the dues, complained:

As a pacifier, a secondary U.S. numbered road starting at Ashland and ending in the swamps of Arkansas, is offered Louisville. Comparing this meager offering of U.S. marked roads with our more fortunate sister cities is to blush with shame and humiliation. The policy of silence, concealment and secretiveness of this joint board is un-American and should be universally condemned. A fair and impartial hearing on all questions affecting the welfare of the citizens of the United States is their inalienable birthright and their bulwark is the National Government.

Taking direct action, Governor Fields arranged to meet with AASHO's Executive Committee in Chicago. In anticipation, the State prepared a five-page summary of its case and sent it to the State highway agencies that would be affected by the controversy. The Executive Committee would reject the proposed change in the numbers assigned to the Dixie Highway. The National Roosevelt Midland Trail was another matter.

Piepmeier of Missouri, one of the States that would be affected by Kentucky's protest, expressed his view of the matter to James early in January:

The fellows from Kentucky think we should change some of our main roads through Missouri. I will not agree with this as they have had their opportunity to be heard and are now trying to upset the plan that has been worked out by the Joint Board.

James was equally unimpressed by Kentucky's arguments:

[It] looks to me as if the trails organizations in that State are controlling the whole situation so far as the present complaint is concerned.

Piepmeier could not attend the conference in Chicago, but Avery, who did attend, indicated he was less concerned with whether his route would be "60" or "62," as long as it had a single number from Chicago to Los Angeles. The Executive Committee decided to retain "60" for the route from Chicago to Los Angeles, but assign a single number, "62," to the route from Newport News, Virginia, to Springfield, Missouri. The fallback position was to shift "60" to the route through Kentucky and assign "62" to the Chicago-to-Los Angeles route if Kentucky still objected.

Kentucky did. Governor Fields went to Washington where he joined with the State's congressional delegation to present his case in stronger terms to Chief MacDonald and James on January 25. As MacDonald later recalled, Governor Fields presented "the one logical argument to support their appeal." He simply displayed the Joint Board's map, noting that Kentucky was the only Mississippi Valley State without a number ending in zero.

They called attention to this condition with much emphasis, and it was an argument that could not be fairly met.

All participants agreed to shift "60" to the Newport News-to-Springfield highway. The Chicago to Los Angeles route, formerly U.S. 60, would be assigned "62." These changes, while satisfactory to Kentucky, were contingent on the expected agreement from the other States involved and approval by the Executive Committee.

When Executive Secretary Markham sought agreement in early February, he was met with outraged opposition from Missouri and Oklahoma. Piepmeier sent a telegram to "bitterly protest" the change. It was impossible, he said, because Missouri had already printed and distributed 600,000 maps showing the original numbers.

Oklahoma's Cyrus Avery was equally incensed, particularly because the change had been made after the Executive Committee's meeting in Chicago without notice to the committee's members. His telegram to Markham said:

If routes are to be changed this way without any notice to States or to Executive Committee, you are making a joke of the interstate highway.
I can think of nothing more unfair to the original marking committee or to the members of the Executive Committee.

Avery noted that Oklahoma had also prepared literature showing U.S. 60 and had prepared U.S. 60 signs for the route. He concluded:

We shall insist on Route Sixty from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Markham was offended. He replied to Avery that, "I have been in this work too long and have been too careful in my management of affairs to deserve the telegram which you sent." As Avery knew, the work of the Executive Committee "has been handled by Mr. James... although the letters of recent date have been handled over my signature." The decision on "60" had been made by Chief MacDonald and James during the meeting with Kentucky based on Avery's assurance in Chicago that he was not so much concerned with the number "60" or "62," but with securing a single number for the entire route from Chicago to Los Angeles. Markham also was surprised that Missouri and Oklahoma had gone ahead with the maps, signs, and publicity before the Executive Committee had given the word. In closing, Markham expressed his overall frustration with the many cases "under contention":

The selection of the interstate system of highways, while it was more or less contentious, was nothing in comparison to the contention that is going on between the States in reference to this numbering system.

On February 10, in a telegram to Chief MacDonald, Avery "strenuously objected" to the change. MacDonald replied that same day. The change, he said by telegram, had been made consistent with Avery's statements in Chicago, but the change was a "more logical use of numbers than reverse." Kentucky was, he said, "entitled to consideration." If "62" was not satisfactory, Kentucky would agree to U.S. 60 North for the route from Chicago to Los Angeles. Although the decision was "immaterial to me," MacDonald made clear how he felt:

We have been endeavoring to compose situations all over country in order to prevent attempt to upset whole plan. Stop. Expect your cooperation.

Neither idea, "62" or "60 North," was acceptable to Piepmeier. He told Avery:

We should use one of the zero numbers, this is one of the biggest roads.

As for U.S. 60 North:

I would rather accept anything than this.

Faced with this opposition, MacDonald, James, Markham and other members of the Executive Committee suggested an alternative. The route from Newport News to Springfield would become U.S. 60 East; from Chicago to Springfield would become U.S. 60 North; and Springfield to Los Angeles would be U.S. 60. James conveyed the proposal to Avery, Piepmeier, and Sheets of Illinois.

This proposal, too, was unacceptable to Piepmeier. During the Joint Board's meetings, he had objected to adding such designations as "north" to the routes. Since then, he had observed that the use of such additions in Kansas was "not making a big hit." He repeated that he would prefer any exclusive number rather than a split number.

Kentucky also rejected the plan. Todd wrote that Governor Fields and the State Highway Commission consider it would be an injustice to Kentucky not to have one route ending in '0' without its being marked 'E.' MacDonald tried one more appeal to Avery.

Personally I think that more time has been spent on this matter than it deserves.

He thought the "East/North" option was more favorable to Oklahoma than the other options:

I understand your desire to hold for Oklahoma all the advantage possible, but it seems to me that Route 60 with an outlet to Chicago and to the east coast is a greater advantage to Oklahoma than either one alone.

By April, the Route 60 issue was the last major matter to be decided before the BPR could respond to the public demand for a map of the U.S. numbered highways. Complicating the matter was a resolution proposed by Senator Park Trammell of Florida assailing the BPR to make no change in the marking and designation of interstate highways that would end the marking of highways by names. Chief MacDonald advised Avery that the resolution had been made as a result of a "determined effort" by commercial organizations to defeat the U.S. numbering plan. Upon discussing the matter with Chief MacDonald, Senator Trammell had withheld the resolution, but MacDonald was still concerned that the numbering plan might be defeated by what he described as "a great deal of false and mischievous propaganda."

The solution to the confusing puzzle came on April 30 when Avery met with Piepmeier in Springfield. Oklahoma's Chief Highway Engineer, John M. Page, noticed that the number "66" had not been assigned to any route. Avery and Piepmeier immediately sent a telegram to Chief MacDonald:

We prefer sixty-six to sixty-two.

In July, Kentucky agreed to this arrangement -- U.S. 60 from Newport News to Springfield, U.S. 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. When James informed Avery of this news, Avery wrote to thank James for his interest in finding a solution.

As for the Chicago to Los Angeles highway, we assure you that it will be a road through Oklahoma that the U.S. Government will be proud of. As for the U.S. 60 shields, we will have to junk them. *

Although Route 66 would, indeed, become a road America could be proud of; neither Avery nor Piepmeier would be around to make it happen. Piepmeier submitted his resignation in December 1926 and left the following month to accept a private business opportunity. In Oklahoma, a newly elected Governor dismissed Avery in January 1927. John Page also was dismissed. As for Fields, his term as Governor of Kentucky ended in 1927.

Reprinted from an Article in the Spring 1997 AASHTO Quarterly - "From Names to Numbers: The Origins of the U.S. Numbered Highway System" by Richard F. Weingroff, Information Specialist, FHWA. Minor revisions by R.V. Droz.

Back to "Route 66 - In the Beginning"

* US 60 did reach Oklahoma in 1930, a scant four years later. Those shields would have been useful.- RVD

3. Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Men Cookies

6 cups flour

1 Tbs. baking powder

1 Tbs. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup shortening, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup molasses

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix together the flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together the shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg and vanilla until smooth.

Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until completely mixed. Divide dough into 3 pieces, pat down to 1 1/2 inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart onto a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When the cookies are done they will be soft to the touch. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks. When cool, the cookies can be frosted with the icing of your choice.

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