#TBT – Oh the Places I’ve Been: Some Odds and Ends

“You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go!” – Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go

Sumoflam at the White House - July 1990
Sumoflam at the White House – July 1990

As a Throwback Thursday menagerie, I thought I would throw in some of my odds and ends from the past…some going way back and some not so long ago.  I have been blessed to travel so many places and many of my travels happened long before I began writing about them.  So, here they are, a potpourri of places diverse.  ENJOY THE RIDE!

Mt. Fuji, Japan as seen from my airplane seat in 1990 as I flew to Tokyo from Oita.
Mt. Fuji, Japan as seen from my airplane seat in 1990 as I flew to Tokyo from Oita.  Indeed, I soared to high heights!!

“You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.” – Dr. Seuss, Oh The Places You’ll Go

Visiting Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1979.  I have always enjoyed visiting old Indian ruins.
Visiting Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1979. I have always enjoyed visiting old Indian ruins.

Most of my early life was spent in the western U.S. and, as such, I got to see deserts, mountains, Indian ruins and more.

Visiting Montezuma Castle National Monument in Cottonwood, AZ in 1983.  I was a tour guide at the time
Visiting Montezuma Castle National Monument in Cottonwood, AZ in 1983. I was a tour guide at the time
Enjoying the splendor of Monument Valley in southern Utah and Northern Arizona around 1983
Enjoying the splendor of Monument Valley in southern Utah and Northern Arizona around 1983
The red rocks near Tuba City, AZ look like someone stacked them.  This was taken in 1983
The red rocks near Tuba City, AZ look like someone stacked them. This was taken in 1983 (and no, I was not really pushing)

Growing a love for antiquities and old things, I had many opportunities to visit old places during my many visits to Japan.  I am especially fond of the awesome castles and amazing old shrines, many of which I have had the opportunity to visit.  Here are a couple.

Himeji Castle in Himeji, Japan...visited in 1987
Himeji Castle in Himeji, Japan…visited in 1987
One of Japan's smallest castles, the Hikone Castle, supposedly has tiles of gold on top.  I visited here in 1990
One of Japan’s smallest castles, the Hikone Castle, supposedly has tiles of gold on top. I visited here in 1990
Perhaps the best "old shrine" in Japan, Nikko has been around for centuries.  This is north of Tokyo.  I visited Nikko in 1990.
Perhaps the best “old shrine” in Japan, Nikko has been around for centuries. This is north of Tokyo. I visited Nikko in 1990.
The colorful pagoda in Nikko
The colorful pagoda in Nikko

While living in Japan, I also visited Kyoto on a couple of occasions.  Kyoto has wonderful old historic shrines and temples, and colorful Geisha…

Hanging with a Geisha in Kyoto, Japan 1987
Hanging with a Geisha in Kyoto, Japan 1987
Visiting the Gold Pavilion "Kinkaku Ji" in Kyoto in 1987
Visiting the Gold Pavilion “Kinkaku Ji” in Kyoto in 1987

Back in the U.S., I have been to both coasts and to the north and south and most points in between.  Here are some of the places I have visited…

In New York City in 1990 before the World Trade Center Twin Towers met their demise
In New York City in 1990 before the World Trade Center Twin Towers met their demise
I was in the US in 1990 for the first cross-country solar car race, called the GM Sunrayce.  During that visit I also made a trip to Washington D.C. and visited the Smithsonian
I was in the US in 1990 for the first cross-country solar car race, called the GM Sunrayce. During that visit I also made a trip to Washington D.C. and visited the Smithsonian
While working on my Masters Degree at Arizona State University, I was afforded the opportunity to represent ASU at West Point and do a paper presentation.  It was a neat experience to visit this amazing institution in 1986
While working on my Masters Degree at Arizona State University, I was afforded the opportunity to represent ASU at West Point and do a paper presentation. It was a neat experience to visit this amazing institution in 1986
Then, there was the visit to Graceland, home of Elvis back a few years ago
Then, there was the visit to Graceland, home of Elvis back a few years ago
And let's not forget Nashville.  I have been there a dozen times since.
And let’s not forget Nashville. I have been there a dozen times since.
I got to visit the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco as part of Antsy McClain's tour team.  Great music hall
I got to visit the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco as part of Antsy McClain’s tour team. Great music hall

I have discovered that the world abounds with natural beauty.  I have been blessed to see this beauty in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, the Philippines and other places.

Coal Mine Canyon in Northern Arizona, 1990
Coal Mine Canyon in Northern Arizona, 1990
Island Hopping in the Philippines in 2006
Island Hopping in the Philippines in 2006
Visiting the Matsushima Islands near Sendai, Japan in 1990
Visiting the Matsushima Islands near Sendai, Japan in 1990
Visiting the Matsushima Islands near Sendai, Japan in 1990
Visiting the Matsushima Islands near Sendai, Japan in 1990
On a cruise ship enjoying the splendor of Alaska's beautiful mountains
On a cruise ship enjoying the splendor of Alaska’s beautiful mountains
Sitting on top of the world at Echo Lake near the base of the summit of Mt. Evans near Denver, Colorado
Sitting on top of the world at Echo Lake near the base of the summit of Mt. Evans near Denver, Colorado
Enjoying wintertime at a resort at the base of Mt. Fuji, near Fujinomiya, Japan in 1987
Enjoying wintertime at a resort at the base of Mt. Fuji, near Fujinomiya, Japan in 1987
Down in Japan's version of Mammoth Cave in 1988
Down in Japan’s version of Mammoth Cave in 1988
Enjoying Fall Colors in Algonquin National Park in Ontario, Canada in 2008
Enjoying Fall Colors in Algonquin National Park in Ontario, Canada in 2008
Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines in 2007
Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines in 2007
Visiting the Everglades in Florida in July 1990
Visiting the Everglades in Florida in July 1990

Of course, when taking trips there are always fun things to try.  When in Japan I tried quite a few new adventures.  Perhaps my favorites were taking hot springs baths and going to the Sumo Wrestling events.

Enjoying an outdoor bath in Amagase, Japan.  This was actually part of TV series I was hosting in 1988
Enjoying an outdoor bath in Amagase, Japan. This was actually part of TV series I was hosting in 1988

Beppu is probably the most famous of the hot springs resort towns in Japan.  Located in Oita Prefecture, I had the opportunity to visit often and for different kinds of “baths”

A hot spring shower in Beppu...and yes, the towel was necessary.  1990
A hot spring shower in Beppu…and yes, the towel was necessary. 1990
Relaxing on one of the cozy hot pools in Beppu in 1987.  You are required to be totally disrobed...this is the least revealing photo.
Relaxing on one of the cozy hot pools in Beppu in 1987. You are required to be totally disrobed…this is the least revealing photo.
Then there are the Sand Baths, the Sawdust Baths and more.  I was buried in hot sand and it felt great.  Beppu in 1989
Then there are the Sand Baths, the Sawdust Baths and more. I was buried in hot sand and it felt great. Beppu in 1989

Then there are the Sumos…I got to go to two of their tournaments and see the giant Konishiki wrestle.  I will always be a fan of Sumo wrestling.

Visiting the Fukuoka Sumo Basho in 1991 with my wife.
Visiting the Fukuoka Sumo Basho in 1991 with my wife.
I took this shot of Konishiki from my seat in Fukuoka in 1991.  He made me look small!!
I took this shot of Konishiki from my seat in Fukuoka in 1991. He made me look small!!

Of course, as a history major, I have always had an interest in things historical.  One of my classes at Northern Arizona University was on Japanese literature and we studied Kunikida Doppo, who was considered one of Meiji Japan’s most well traveled writers.   While living in Oita, I was able to visit his studio in Saiki.  Ironically, my professor at NAU, Dr. Atkins, was a Kunikida Doppo expert, so it was a special trip for me.

Visiting the Kunikida Doppo monument in Saiki, Japan
Visiting the Kunikida Doppo monument in Saiki, Japan in 1988
Some of Japan's oldest stone carved Buddhas can be seen at Kumano Magaibutsu park in Oita
Some of Japan’s oldest stone carved Buddhas can be seen at Kumano Magaibutsu park in Oita
The village of Usuki, also in Oita, is home of a famous Buddha statue.  It is also the original landing place of the Dutch when they first arrived in Japan in the 1600s.
The village of Usuki, also in Oita, is home of a famous Buddha statue. It is also the original landing place of the Dutch when they first arrived in Japan in the 1600s. (That is my oldest daughter Amaree popping behind me in the photo)

One cannot study Japanese history without learning about the atrocities of World War II.  The Americans dropped two atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  I have been able to visit both places.  Ironically, in 1979 I also visited the Los Alamos museum where the bombs were initially built.  So, I have seen both sides of the story.

Nagasaki Peace Park in Sept 1988
Nagasaki Peace Park in Sept 1988
Remains from A-Bomb in Nagasaki in 1988
Remains from A-Bomb in Nagasaki in 1988

And now, for a few other odds and ends, just for fun…

Old Christian Church in Nagasaki 1988
Old Christian Church in Nagasaki 1988
Visiting JFK The Twine Ball man in Lake Nebagamon, WI in 2007
Visiting JFK The Twine Ball man in Lake Nebagamon, WI in 2007
Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, NY 1990
Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, NY 1990
Visiting the shopping area in Carbon, Cebu, Philippines
Visiting the shopping area in Carbon, Cebu, Philippines
Beale Street in Memphis, TN late 1990s
Beale Street in Memphis, TN late 1990s with my high school pal Russ Graves
Photo bear in Gatlinburg, TN
Photo bear in Gatlinburg, TN
Enjoying a visit to the Tulum Ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico
Enjoying a visit to the Tulum Ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico
At Lake Erie on the Ontario, Canada side with sign pointing to Cleveland, OH, my birthplace
At Lake Erie on the Ontario, Canada side with sign pointing to Cleveland, OH, my birthplace
The famed "Spindle" sculpture as seen in the movie Wayne's World.  Apparently, it wasn't worthy.  This was taken in 2007 and in 2008 it was torn down...meh
The famed “Spindle” sculpture as seen in the movie Wayne’s World. Apparently, it wasn’t worthy. This was taken in 2007 and in 2008 it was torn down…meh
Fort San Pedro on Cebu Island in the Philippines
Fort San Pedro on Cebu Island in the Philippines
Giant fish attacking me in Japan in 1976, in Kanazawa
Giant fish attacking me in Japan in 1976, in Kanazawa
Sumoflam and Big Fish in Bena, MN
Sumoflam and Big Fish in Bena, MN
On Glacier Bay in Alaska
On Glacier Bay in Alaska
At the Starship Enterprise in Vulcan, Alberta 2007
At the Starship Enterprise in Vulcan, Alberta 2007 – with my Canadian pal Crafty Jack

Enjoying the view of the Gulf of Mexico from the Yucatan Peninsula
Enjoying the view of the Gulf of Mexico from the Yucatan Peninsula
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More Wall Art in Lexington: New Discoveries of Old Art

Dronex Wall Art as seen on a wall behind CD Central
Dronex Inc. Wall Art as seen on a wall behind CD Central

Recently, I was driving around in Lexington and came across a few more pieces of Wall Art on some walls around the University of Kentucky.  Most of these apparently have been around for a while, but they were new to me.  So, to add to my growing collection of Lexington outdoor wall art, I present you with a few more goodies.

More Dronex wall art at CD Central
More Dronex Inc. wall art at CD Central

Dronex Inc. always does a good job of parodies.  They really did a good job on their work on a wall behind CD Central.  Titled “Records Reimagined“, this work was completed in June 2012.  These walls feature the work of over 25 Central Kentucky artists, illustrators and designers, all of whom have created new interpretations of LP covers, both famous and obscure.

Dronex Inc
Records Reimagined – Dronex Inc.

Just down the street from CD Central is the Two Keys Tavern, one of many drinking establishments near the University campus. They have a back wall that has painted with beer advertising hot air balloons.

Two Keys Tavern
Beer Balloons adorn the side of a back wall of Two Keys Tavern in Lexington

As I was waiting for my wife to get done with her job one day (she works at UK), i took a drive into a nearby neighborhood and came across a huge mural on the side wall if the Martina Brothers building at 300 Scott Street in Lexington.

Newtown Crossing wall mural, Lexington, KY
A portion of Newtown Crossing wall mural, Lexington, KY
The left side of the huge Newtown Crossing wall mural in a neighborhood just off  of the UK Campus
The left side of the huge Newtown Crossing wall mural in a neighborhood just off of the UK Campus

I am not sure about the age or history of this mural or the significance.  Newtown Crossing is the name of a fairly new apartment complex off Broadway, but not sure if this has anything to do with it.

Art on side of UK Parking Garage on South Limestone
Art on side of UK Parking Garage on South Limestone

A couple of years ago there was a new parking structure built on S. Limestone,  just across the street from the Two Keys Tavern.  A nice art project added some building art along the side of the garage.  I think it adds some nice ambiance to the area.

Wall art on UK Parking Structure
Wall art on UK Parking Structure

Detail of Parking Structure Wall Art at University of Kentucky
Detail of Parking Structure Wall Art at University of Kentucky
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Fiberglass Giants Part II: Giant Cows, Pink Elephants and More

Around the country one can find a number of fun and large Fiberglass Giants. Though most of what I touch on in this post is fiberglass, I do mention so HUGE giants made of other materials due to their fame and as a comparison to the sizes.

Salem Sue - New Salem, ND
Salem Sue – New Salem, ND

GIANT COWS AND BULLS

The fiberglass giant makers have had fun over the years as they have created some real huge and udderly mooooving creations.  The giant shown above Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein Cow.  This monstrous mooer was built in 1974 at the cost of $40,000.  The project was sponsored by the New Salem Lions Club in honor of the local dairy farming industry. The statue stands 38 feet high and is 50 feet long. It stands proudly on School Hill near Interstate 94 off exit 127 S and can be viewed for several miles.

Salem Sue as seen about five miles east of School Hill on I-94
Salem Sue as seen about five miles east of School Hill on I-94 (taken in 2005)
Salem Sue Sign in New Salem, ND
Salem Sue Sign in New Salem, ND
Salem Sue as seen from I-94.
Salem Sue as seen from I-94.

Though Salem Sue is the Giant, there are many more cows out there strutting their stuff, from smaller than life to much larger than life…..here are a few from past road trips:

Giant Steer in Gilboa, OH.  I have seen many similar ones in other places
Giant Steer in Gilboa, OH. I have seen many similar ones in other places

Another big steer can be found outside of the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, TX

Big Bull outside of Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, TX
Big Bull outside of Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, TX
Cow with Pink Sunglasses in Russellville, KY (around the corner from a big pink elephant - see below)
Cow with Pink Sunglasses in Russellville, KY (around the corner from a big pink elephant – see below)

Perhaps the second largest cows can be found in Wisconsin.  Not nearly as big as Salem Sue, these huge heifers still provide some awe. Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet is home to Sissy the Cow (below).

Sissy the Cow is at Ehlenbach's Cheese Factory in DeForest, WI
Sissy the Cow is at Ehlenbach’s Cheese Factory but striking a royal post at Burger King to promote Spicy Chicken Sandwiches in DeForest, WI

Just down the road from DeForest, in Janesville, WI is Bessie the Cow, who is likely about the same size.  These two Cowlossus girls are both about 19 feet tall and 20 feet long.  Both were manufactured by F.A.S.T Corp in Sparta, WI (as were many of those in this post)

Bessie the Cow in Janesville, WI
Bessie the Cow in Janesville, WI

Of course, there are many “lesser bovines” out there and here are a few of the fun ones I have come across over the years….

The first of these if the Springbank Snow Countess Monument in Woodstock, Ontario.  She was a, champion milk producer (she became the World Champion Lifetime Butterfat Producer with a total of 9,062 pounds of butterfat and 207,000 pounds of milk), was born, raised, and died on the Springbank Farm, in Oxford County, Ontario.  Her record held until 1954. She was designed by local artist Ross Butler.  I include her for the honor even though she is actually made of cast iron and not fiberglass.

Springbank Snow Countess in Woodstock, Ontario
Springbank Snow Countess in Woodstock, Ontario

F.A.S.T. Corp is well known for their mass manufacture of fiberglass animals for local art projects.  Dozens of these events have popped up around the country, including two in Lexington that featured horses.  Some have features art on cows and here are a couple of fun examples:

A colorful cow in sunglasses seen in Normal, IL
A colorful cow in sunglasses seen in Normal, IL

The JELL-O Gallery in LeRoy, NY is a fun offbeat place to visit and they have a colorful cow!

The JELLO Cow at the JELLO Museum in Leroy, NY
The JELL-O Cow at the JELLO Gallery in LeRoy, NY
Head shot of JELLO Cow in Leroy, NY
Head shot of JELL-O Cow in LeRoy, NY
The Blues Cow in Kansas City, MO
The Blues Cow in Kansas City, MO

GIANT BISON/BUFFALO

White Bison in Atoka, OK
White Bison in Atoka, OK

A close cousin to the bovine is the bison (which many mistakenly call buffalo).  There are a few of these around too.  By far the biggest of these in Jamestown, ND.  The “World’s Largest Buffalo” was built in 1959 and is actually made from cement.  It is 26 feet tall, 46 feet long and weighs a mere 60 tons.  Despite it being made of cement, I had to include it…

World's Largest Buffalo in Jamestown, ND
World’s Largest Buffalo in Jamestown, ND

There are other “lesser bison” to be found on the back roads of America. As an iconic plains animal known specifically to the Americas, it is no doubt that it is honored in many places.

Fiberglass Buffalo Statue - Driggs, ID
Fiberglass Buffalo Statue – Driggs, ID
Bison statue outside of Loretta Lynn's Restaurant in Buffalo, Tennessee
Bison statue outside of Loretta Lynn’s Restaurant in Buffalo, Tennessee
A White Buffalo Guards the Gate at Christman's Studio in St. Louis, MO
A White Buffalo Guards the Gate at Christman’s Studio in St. Louis, MO
One Artsy Buffalo in Buffalo, NY, part of a city arts project.
One Artsy Buffalo in Buffalo, NY, part of a city arts project.
Bison in Great Falls, MT
Another artsy “Bison” in Great Falls, Montana, also part of a city arts project

GIANT MOOSE STATUES

Orange Moose in Black River Falls, WI
Orange Moose in Black River Falls, WI at Orange Moose Bar & Grill

Another of the big American animals that can be seen around the country are moose.  By far, thee world’s biggest moose is up in Canada and is not fiberglass.  But, it should be shown here anyway.

Mac the Moose in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Mac the Moose in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Mac the Moose was put up in 1984 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  Mac stands 32 feet tall and weighs in at 10 tons. He was constructed by Saskatoon artist, Don Foulds using a steel frame, covered with metal mesh and completed with 4 coats of cement.

Lucky Moose on Dundas Street in Chinatown, Toronto
Lucky Moose on Dundas Street in Chinatown, Toronto

The Lucky Moose, located atop the Lucky Moose Food Mart on Dundas Street in Toronto’s Chinatown, is a colorful moose and one of a 326 originally scattered across Toronto as a fund raiser for the Olympics.  Very few can be seen in and around Toronto.

Big Bull Moose in Tomahawk, WI
Big Bull Moose in Tomahawk, WI

Tomahawk, WI is home to a fifteen foot tall Big Bull Moose which sits in front of the Road Lake Pub and Grill.

PINK ELEPHANTS AND MORE

Pinkie the Pink Elephant in DeForest, WI
Pinkie the Pink Elephant in DeForest, WI

Another common sight on roads around the states are Pink Elephants and other elephants.

Jumbo the Elephant, St. Thomas, Ontario
Jumbo the Elephant, St. Thomas, Ontario

Jumbo the Elephant was a real elephant from the Barnum and Bailey Circus.  He died in St. Thomas, Ontario after being hit by a train.  100 years later, in 1985, the town built this 38 ton cement life sized statue, that is well over 15 feet tall.

Sumoflam with Jumbo in 2008
Sumoflam with Jumbo in 2008

But there are many other fiberglass behemoths, and many are pink.  Not sure what started the Pink Elephant craze, but it is fun.

Pinkie in DeForest, WI
Pinkie in DeForest, WI

Perhaps one of the most famous of all of the pink elephants is Pinkie.  Located in DeForest, WI this dude is sharp in his glasses.

Pinkie the Elephant, DeForest, WI
Pinkie the Elephant, DeForest, WI

Not to be confused with Pinky the Elephant, a 1963 creation now residing in Marquette, IA (and one I have yet to visit).

But wait, there are more….

This pink elephant is in the Huntington, WV suburb of Barboursville on US 60
This pink elephant is in the Huntington, WV suburb of Barboursville on US 60
Martini bearing pink and white elephant pair at Hipp Nursery in Haubstadt, IN
Martini bearing pink and white elephant pair at Hipp Nursery in Haubstadt, IN
Big pink elephant in Russellville, KY, just around the corner from the big cow with pink sungalsses
Big pink elephant in Russellville, KY, just around the corner from the big cow with pink sunglasses

I am not certain, but it appears that most of these come from the same mold from the company in Sparta, WI.

SOME DOGS, MICE AND FRIENDS

Big Bulldog in Beloit, WI
Big Bulldog in Beloit, WI

Among all of the others is a menagerie of animals like dogs, mice, giraffes.  Here are a few more animals (birds and fish will be in Part 3 with the dinosaurs and oddities).

A seven foot tall mouse holding cheese and a wiener in Beloit, WI
A seven foot tall mouse holding cheese and a wiener in Beloit, WI
Cheesey Mouse looks over DeForest, WI
Cheesey Mouse looks over DeForest, WI
Big happy giraffe in Cincinnati, OH
Big happy giraffe in Cincinnati, OH
A colorful giraffe (with granddaughter) in Covington, IN
A colorful giraffe (with granddaughter) in Covington, IN

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Enjoying the Ride on the Back Roads of America

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