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Gas stations and food


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Well, I'm 37, and I recall gas stations in rural North Dakota that sold mainly gas, but which also had dusty racks of candy bars next to the dusty and greasy racks of oil, v-belts, windshield wipers and Heet. If it was a high class joint, there would be a Bunn coffeemaker with a pot of coffee so black it looked like oil sludge. You took a chance on the candy bars because usually the station wasn't air conditioned and the chocolate was bloomed, melted or both. All of these were service stations, and you could usually count on an old Chevrolet or Ford pickup truck to be parked in one of the stalls. Gas was pumped for you. If I was with my grandpa, I would get a dime to get a glass bottle of pop from the machine that looked like a chest freezer and had a labryinth you had to work the bottle through to get it out.

Two of those service stations still exist in my hometown but now offer lottery tickets and 12-packs of pop in addition to the items mentioned above. One also offers bait and DVD rentals.

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Recall that when they were called "service stations", cars definitely didn't have the long lives that modern cars have.  Cars from that era have more in common with a push lawn mower motor than modern, fuel-injected, cup-holder laden comfo-cages.

Yep, the good old days of "planned obsolescence," when the annual model changeover was a Really Big Deal.

It probably doesn't help matters any now that your auto mechanic also needs to know Linux and C++ in order to fix your car.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Yep, the good old days of "planned obsolescence," when the annual model changeover was a Really Big Deal.

It probably doesn't help matters any now that your auto mechanic also needs to know Linux and C++ in order to fix your car.

That wasn't planned obsolescence so much as slow design and changes due to hand-drafting and slide-ruling nearly everything.

Metallurgy has come a long, long way since then. Ditto engine design and crafting.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Fond memories of stopping at a gas station near Dime Box, TX en route from Austin to Caldwell where they did have food. It was a choice of Spanish peanuts dispensed from a machine for a penny. You had to catch them as they poured out of the slot. Or you could for a nickle buy a little package of Lance's (Don't go around hungry) orange colored peanut butter cracker sandwiches. Yum. Wash it down with a Dr. Pepper.

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Yep, the good old days of "planned obsolescence," when the annual model changeover was a Really Big Deal.

It probably doesn't help matters any now that your auto mechanic also needs to know Linux and C++ in order to fix your car.

I think older cars have the capability to last a lot longer with less maintenance than modern cars, mainly because they were much, much, much simpler. I don't remember the name of the law, but there is one that states that every time you add a component that has a certain percentage failure rate, the chances for the total unit's failure increase by a certain amount. With enough components, the failure rate gets pretty close to 100%. Think about how many components are in a modern car with OBD III!

My husband taught Automotive Technologies until he started his motorcycle business two years ago. He would separate the wheat from the chaff by starting with the chapter on Electrical Systems. I think this is another reason service stations changed to gasoline pumps attached to convenience stores. It's becoming nearly impossible for independent stations to have enough diagnostic equipment to repair new cars. Actually, you can't repair much of anything on new cars, you just replace the defective part. And as sophisticated as the diagnostic software is, it still doesn't quite tell you which part is bad (except in a few circumstances). It tells you the general area of the problem. It's still up to the competence of the mechanic to determine which part is broken.

Metallurgy has come a long, long way since then.  Ditto engine design and crafting.

Yep, and the advent of and improvements on radial tires have made a big difference in the quality of automobile travel too.

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I don't buy that. Automotive engineering has improved a great deal, and continues to do so. They've learned, refined, and perfected a great deal from earlier cars. Cars today can be expected to last 100K, 200K, 300K miles and even more (approaching 200K myself). Even oil change intervals are longer. I have a car that's about ten years old and I've replaced many standard things that have been around for years - brake pads, alternator, belts, battery, thermostat, oil, etc. Never had a "black box" go out. I've also had and driven many older cars (60's - 80's) and with most of them, the likelihood of breaking down somewhere was definitely increased.

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I don't buy that. Automotive engineering has improved a great deal, and continues to do so. They've learned, refined, and perfected a great deal from earlier cars. Cars today can be expected to last 100K, 200K, 300K miles and even more (approaching 200K myself). Even oil change intervals are longer. I have a car that's about ten years old and I've replaced many standard things that have been around for years - brake pads, alternator, belts, battery, thermostat, oil, etc. Never had a "black box" go out. I've also had and driven many older cars (60's - 80's) and with most of them, the likelihood of breaking down somewhere was definitely increased.

Of this, there is no doubt. While I love the American cars of the 50's and 60's, they pale in comparsion to modern vehicles in every respect, save perhaps "character".

To use a food analogy, simpler might mean better, but it might also just mean cruder.

In this regard, the evolution of the old corner grocery store with a gas pump out front, and gas stations with pop machines, melted chocolate and stale potato chips into today's convenience stores is a good example of concurrent social and commercial change.

SB (is "good old" days an oxymoron?) :wink:

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SB (is "good old" days an oxymoron?) :wink:

No, it's just overused. Very similar to raspberries.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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My husband taught Automotive Technologies until he started his motorcycle business two years ago. He would separate the wheat from the chaff by starting with the chapter on Electrical Systems. I think this is another reason service stations changed to gasoline pumps attached to convenience stores. It's becoming nearly impossible for independent stations to have enough diagnostic equipment to repair new cars. Actually, you can't repair much of anything on new cars, you just replace the defective part. And as sophisticated as the diagnostic software is, it still doesn't quite tell you which part is bad (except in a few circumstances). It tells you the general area of the problem. It's still up to the competence of the mechanic to determine which part is broken.

You mean to tell me that "If Microsoft made cars..." isn't a joke?

:shock::wink:

Free-associating: What would "If Microsoft were a grocer..." or "If Microsoft ran a restaurant..." read like?

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I don't buy that. Automotive engineering has improved a great deal, and continues to do so. They've learned, refined, and perfected a great deal from earlier cars. Cars today can be expected to last 100K, 200K, 300K miles and even more (approaching 200K myself). Even oil change intervals are longer. I have a car that's about ten years old and I've replaced many standard things that have been around for years - brake pads, alternator, belts, battery, thermostat, oil, etc. Never had a "black box" go out. I've also had and driven many older cars (60's - 80's) and with most of them, the likelihood of breaking down somewhere was definitely increased.

The biggest advances in reliability have been in the fuel delivery and ignition systems, which is probably the most likely thing to cause a "break down" in older cars, so I see your point. I wasn't thinking of 60s to 80s cars when I was talking about "older cars", I was thinking 30s to 60s...the 80s was probably the worse decade for automobiles, especially for U.S. models.

Most "modern" engineering has been around since the 30s and 40s (i.e. overhead cam, disc brakes, forged rods, insert bearings, etc.). Much of it didn't hit domestic production here until the late 60s or 70s though. As far as durability, there is no reason that an older car cannot get more than 200k or 300k miles. We have had some older Mercedes and Volvos that have passed the 500,000 mile mark (50s and 60s models). Our '71 Datsun 510 has so many miles on it we're not even sure how many. Older cars may require more maintenance, but can be just as durable or more so than modern cars. Now that I think about it, we are confusing reliability and durability in this discussion. I am referring to durability. So I will agree with you that modern cars are more reliable, but I beg to differ that they are more durable. The items you mention replacing aren't either reliability or durability issues in my mind, they are just regular maintenance for a car from any era.

Oil change intervals are longer mainly because of the improvements in oil, not improvements in the engine.

My husband is a mechanic and will attest that there are many electrical or "black box" problems. I'm glad you haven't experienced any. Of course, if your vehicle is nearly 10 years old it doesn't have the more sophisticated control modules that are now required with OBD III (OnStar...where someone can remotely turn off your car...that scares me). I think we will soon reach a tradeoff point for diagnostic capability/engine control vs. reliability with the ever increasing complexity.

Since this is all terribly off topic, that is all I will say on the subject. Please forgive me, moderator, but this subject is near to my heart (I used to race cars and built my own engines, made my own performance mods, etc.)

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I keep wondering when a manufacturer is going to offer an on-board microwave or infrared/radiant food cooker as an option on fullsized trucks and SUVs. I spend a lot of time in my car, and often eat in it. Did you know that if you wrap a burrito in aluminum foil, and place it on the tray you've hose-clamped to your exhaust headers, it only about half an hour of highway driving for a yummy snack? :trueontheinternet:

Maybe I could rig up something for low-pressure steam. Mmmmm; road mochas!

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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I keep wondering when a manufacturer is going to offer an on-board microwave or infrared/radiant food cooker as an option on fullsized trucks and SUVs.  I spend a lot of time in my car, and often eat in it.  Did you know that if you wrap a burrito in aluminum foil, and place it on the tray you've hose-clamped to your exhaust headers, it only about half an hour of highway driving for a yummy snack?  :trueontheinternet:

Maybe I could rig up something for low-pressure steam.  Mmmmm; road mochas!

Are we getting close to a :"how to cook road kill" thread?

:wink:

Milagai

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Are we getting close to a :"how to cook road kill" thread?

That's easy.

On your exhaust manifold. Anything else would be uncivilised.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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M-M-M!! Chicken grease and PineSol--the odor of an age, hitting the nose like a blanket when you open the door of a below-the-M/D 7-11. And that's what they're mostly called, where I come from, those smoky, munchie-laden rooms with the window grime obliterated by cigarette ads and gospel-singing posters. The place could be held hostage for days, with more people just wandering in, with no hint of the proceedings inside to be seen through the double-covered glass.

The keepers are invariably a BIG guy whose apron is stretched to capacity, his feed cap worn 24/7, exceptions maybe bed and funerals, and the tiny, quick, mall-haired little woman in the Chic jeans, her doll-sized hips and little cricketlegs dashing to and from the fryer, the lottery counter, the too-high cigarette dispenser which she lunges at whilst she squints through the fumes of her own.

There's a hot counter, with its tumbles of drumsticks and potato logs, its Saran-wrapped ham 'n' cheese, its torture rack of endlessly-rolling hotdogs, their sweaty skins turning from red to mauve to ashen brown as they trundle ceaselessly to nowhere. There's also coffee, but the old Bunns with their leftover brew turned to battery acid, a caffeine reduction to glaze the eyes and jangle the nerves past bearing, have been replaced by the new stuff, the mochas and caps and lattes and espressos, all flowing from the same tap, all going into the same fancy cups with their little paper hotpads.

Newspapers, magazines leaning heavily to trucking, wrestling, and C/W music, little farmish publications in which you can find lily bulbs, hound pups, tractor parts, and your future beloved (I know; I did) abound, alongside every flavor of Dorito, chip, pretzel, jerky, and Hostess product known to man.

If I may join Fresser in betraying my age, in MY day our local "filling station" had a little cafe' in the side, behind smartly-polished windows. The owner's nephew was quite an artist, and could write ANYTHING from the inside out, so you drove up and were entertained as you pumped. There might be poetry, a limerick, a bit of Scripture, and surrounding that would be pictures---his hand with one of those bottles of white shoe polish (the kind with the little wand with the applicator doohickey) was legendary. He tinted several bottles with food color, and always had the appropriate hue on hand for any season---Autumn was his best, I think, with leaves and pumpkins and scores of little animals romping mongst the shocks and sheaves. Mahlon was a genius, and quite possibly the only backwards-writing, inside-drawing shoepolish artist in existence. We loved the show, and I hope he's still going strong.

The owner was a nice maiden lady who had "cooked for the public" all her life, in the school cafeteria (when they really COOKED, and the fragrance of northern beans and ham and cornbread would greet you in the hall between Geometry and PE. She had also owned the "Dairy Bar" on a busy, dusty, hot corner, open year round, with enough flat-mashed, bread-added burgers in their flimsy waxed paper wrappers passed through that flappy little screen window to sink a barge. She built and rented houses, and probably had twenty of them, built a nickel at a time. In the station caffay, she served good honest homecooked food, and even a "haafe-lunch" of meat, two, bread and a meager slice of pie...for seventy-five cents.

And that's how old I am.

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Are we getting close to a :"how to cook road kill" thread?

That's easy.

On your exhaust manifold. Anything else would be uncivilised.

Well, I used to live in rural Wisconsin. The last two times I hit deer with my truck, I was out the door in a flash to get the backstraps and whatever primals I could get off the undamaged side... Before Johnny Law came around. The last one still had spots on its side, but MAN was it ever tender. I took it home first, though.

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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I don't buy that. Automotive engineering has improved a great deal, and continues to do so. They've learned, refined, and perfected a great deal from earlier cars. Cars today can be expected to last 100K, 200K, 300K miles and even more (approaching 200K myself). Even oil change intervals are longer. I have a car that's about ten years old and I've replaced many standard things that have been around for years - brake pads, alternator, belts, battery, thermostat, oil, etc. Never had a "black box" go out. I've also had and driven many older cars (60's - 80's) and with most of them, the likelihood of breaking down somewhere was definitely increased.

The biggest advances in reliability have been in the fuel delivery and ignition systems, which is probably the most likely thing to cause a "break down" in older cars, so I see your point. I wasn't thinking of 60s to 80s cars when I was talking about "older cars", I was thinking 30s to 60s...the 80s was probably the worse decade for automobiles, especially for U.S. models.

Most "modern" engineering has been around since the 30s and 40s (i.e. overhead cam, disc brakes, forged rods, insert bearings, etc.). Much of it didn't hit domestic production here until the late 60s or 70s though. As far as durability, there is no reason that an older car cannot get more than 200k or 300k miles. We have had some older Mercedes and Volvos that have passed the 500,000 mile mark (50s and 60s models). Our '71 Datsun 510 has so many miles on it we're not even sure how many. Older cars may require more maintenance, but can be just as durable or more so than modern cars. Now that I think about it, we are confusing reliability and durability in this discussion. I am referring to durability. So I will agree with you that modern cars are more reliable, but I beg to differ that they are more durable. The items you mention replacing aren't either reliability or durability issues in my mind, they are just regular maintenance for a car from any era.

Oil change intervals are longer mainly because of the improvements in oil, not improvements in the engine.

My husband is a mechanic and will attest that there are many electrical or "black box" problems. I'm glad you haven't experienced any. Of course, if your vehicle is nearly 10 years old it doesn't have the more sophisticated control modules that are now required with OBD III (OnStar...where someone can remotely turn off your car...that scares me). I think we will soon reach a tradeoff point for diagnostic capability/engine control vs. reliability with the ever increasing complexity.

Since this is all terribly off topic, that is all I will say on the subject. Please forgive me, moderator, but this subject is near to my heart (I used to race cars and built my own engines, made my own performance mods, etc.)

Based on my own experience, I disagree ;). Growing up, my friends and I, and our parents all had older cars (60's - 70's) and none of them were expected to last longer than 100K miles or so. Beyond that, you'd pretty much need a new engine. I can't remember any of us having many fuel/ignition problems either, except for coils going out and a ruptured diaphram in one of my side-draft carbs. Cooling system problems seemed to be more common. And just general mechanical failures - like timing gears disintegrating. That's not to say SOME older cars can't last a very long time - Toyota trucks are famous for 300K, 400K, 500K miles.

As for longer oil change intervals, I think it's also due to improvements in metalurgy resulting in much more durable metals. I do think newer cars are more reliable AND durable than older cars. Everything seems to hold up better, and last longer.

The basic concepts of car engineering hasn't changed much, but the improvements to all the components has. Similar to computers - still using the Von Neumann architecture, but computers today are vastly better than those even twenty years ago.

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What about Stuckey's? I can't recall for certain but I believe there was a gas station attached to the Stuckey's in the outskirts of Yuma (which, frankly, used to be all outskirts :laugh: ). We'd always stop at Stuckey's on our way to Phoenix to visit relatives.

With their gift shops they were a lot more touristy than what you get with today's AM/PM's or 7-Elevens. But then they don't sell a nice pecan nut log like Stuckey's does. :wink:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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What about Stuckey's? I can't recall for certain but I believe there was a gas station attached to the Stuckey's in the outskirts of Yuma (which, frankly, used to be all outskirts  :laugh: ). We'd always stop at Stuckey's on our way to Phoenix to visit relatives.

With their gift shops they were a lot more touristy than what you get with today's AM/PM's or 7-Elevens.  But then they don't sell a nice pecan nut log like Stuckey's does.  :wink:

Was there a Stuckey's that didn't have a gas station attached to it?

I remember a Stuckey's in (I believe) Kingdom City, Mo. (US 54/Mexico/Jeff City exit off I-70) that had billboards with this promotional offer:

"Free Trivet with every fill-up. (What is a trivet?)"

Of course, we all know the answer to that question, but I'll wager that enough motorists passing through eastern Missouri in the 1970s didn't that they did get curious travelers coming in to ask.

Those trivets must have gotten expensive, for by 1975, the sign had been altered to eliminate almost all evidence that they ever existed:

"Free ICE with every fill-up. (What is a trivet?)"

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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racheld...thanks for that post...wonderful desciption...

Some one give me a peacan log!!!! I have not thought of Stuckeys in years! I think there still is one on I-10 that is acoss the border of Texas as you are going into Louisana.

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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Some one give me a peacan log!!!!  I have not thought of Stuckeys in years! I think there still is one on I-10 that is acoss the border of Texas as you are going into Louisana.

Get yer pecan logs at Stuckey's Online.

Fair warning...if you explore the Stuckey's web site some of the pages have audio (for those of you at work :wink: ). You can shut it off by clicking in the little audio box in the lower right corner of the page.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Free-associating:  What would "If Microsoft were a grocer..." or "If Microsoft ran a restaurant..." read like?

well, let's see...

1) they would bundle the lettuce, tomato, carrots, dressing and croutons. don't want croutons? too bad. they're out to win the crouton war. coincidentally, the lettuce spoils really easily, and sometimes the dressing won't leave the packet. a few fixes are released to help this, but people still get nasty lettuce. it's simply dismissed as part of the experience. besides, if the lettuce was so bad, why is it in 90% of kitchens???

2) when it came time to introduce a new salad, they would come up with some codeword like "wedge" to get some buzz going in the produce world. after a few years of people wondering where wedge was, they'd say "you must be thinking of iceberg, the new salad we have coming out." of course it will sound like the greatest thing ever, yet somehow remind you of salads that competitors brought out a few years ago. oh and that release date? don't worry. it will get pushed back. they have to make the croutons especially delicious for you. oh wait, they dropped croutons. and carrots. and a bunch of other neato feature that were originally part of both wedge and iceberg.

meanwhile, people migrate over to see what the competition has. look at that - they have designed salads that are paired with meals! how's that for an integrated meal. the lettuce is of much higher quality and doesn't spoil nearly as easily. they also come out with innovative things like spork, knork, and the knoon. they also work with 3rd party companies to bring out nifty looking salad storage transportation devices. you can even download recipes off their online grocery store.

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I was pushing my teen years before I realized that you could purchase drinking tumblers at stores. I thought they were available only at gas stations and came free w/a fill up.

At one time I think all of our dining utensils were courtesy of various service stations. One gave away drinking glasses. Another offered flatware and still another gave away place settings (if memory serves you got a card and after "X" number of fill ups you got a place setting). Throw in the dish towels you got fr/ Breeze & Duz detergents and you never had to pay for any thing in the kitchen but the food.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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I was pushing my teen years before I realized that you could purchase drinking tumblers at stores.  I thought they were available only at gas stations and came free w/a  fill up. 

At one time I think all of our dining utensils were courtesy of various service stations.  One gave away drinking glasses.  Another offered flatware and still another gave away place settings (if memory serves you got a card and after "X" number of fill ups you got a place setting).  Throw in the dish towels you got fr/ Breeze & Duz detergents and you never had to pay for any thing in the kitchen but the food.

You just reminded me of:

Welch's Howdy Doody jelly jar tumblers!

SB (there must be some for sale on eBay?)(YES!) :biggrin:

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