A Grab Bag from America’s Back Roads – The S Things #AtoZChallenge

In 2018 I  will feature a random (yet alphabetical) selection of photos I have taken from my nearly 20 years of back roads travel in the United States and Canada.  I may even throw in a few random shots from other trips to Japan, Mexico and the Philippines. My theme is called America’s Back Roads: A Grab Bag of Places in Pictures.

 

Sunset Motel – Belle Fourche, South Dakota

Great little place in the geographic center of the continental US!
Always like places with these old keys!

Spider Volkswagen – Wolf Creek, Oregon

Spider Volkswagen – Wolf Creek, Oregon

Sandwich, New Hampshire

WARNING: They do not have a place to get a sandwich in Sandwich. No Joke!

Sandwich, New Hampshire – Cool little village as long as you don’t want to find a sandwich
Signposts in Sandwich, NH. No restaurants!

Story Inn – Story, Indiana

Sumoflam at the Story Inn in Story, IN
The nice old wooden floors of the Story Inn dining area
Antique Checkerboard on the Story Inn front porch. Checkers are actually old pop bottle caps

San Xavier del Bac – Tucson, Arizona

Old Church “San Xavier del Bac” in Tucson
Meditation – San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona

Success, Missouri

Finding Success in Missouri

Shoshoni, Wyoming

The seemingly run down business section of Shoshoni, WY
Old Motel Neon sign in Shoshoni, WY

Space Aliens Grill & Bar – Waite Park, Minnesota; Fargo, North Dakota

Space Aliens Grill & Bar – Waite Park, MN
Sumoflam with an Alienized Smile at Space Aliens
Space Aliens Grill & Bar, Fargo, ND

Screaming Heads – Burk’s Falls, Ontario

Screaming Heads. Canadian secondary school teacher Peter Camani created these spooky yet fascinating landscape artwork. Since the mid-1970s besides being a teacher, he has built these massive structures and amazing castle.
Sumoflam at Screaming Heads in Burk’s Falls, Ontario
Screaming Heads – Burk’s Falls, Ontario

Spud Drive-In – Teton Valley, Idaho

The Spud Drive-In – Teton Valley, Idaho
The Spud sign – Teton Valley, ID

Sandhill Cranes – Barren River Lake, Kentucky; Cecilia, Kentucky; Dell, Montana

Sandhill Cranes take flight
1000s of sandhill cranes converge on a field near Cecilia, KY
Sandhill Cranes near Red Rock Ranch in Dell, Montana
A pair of Sandhill Cranes at sunset near Cecilia, KY

Stone Mountain – Stone Mountain, Georgia

Stone Mountain, GA in 2015

Scary Creek, West Virginia

Scary Creek Church of God sign
Scary Creek Paintball billboard

Silver Saddle Motel – Manitou Springs, Colorado

Silver Saddle Motel – Manitou Springs, CO

Sapp Brothers – Nebraska City, Nebraska; Council Bluffs, Iowa

Sapp’s Coffee Pot Water Tower in Nebraska City
Sapp Brothers Water Tower in Council Bluffs, IA

Solomon, Kansas

US Post Office, Solomon, Kansas
Solomon Water Tower

Shipwrecked Brew Pub – Egg Harbor, Wisconsin

Ahoy matey…how about some lunch at the Shipwrecked Brew Pub in Egg Harbor, WI

Suizenji Park – Kumamoto, Japan

Enjoying a visit to the famed Suizenji Park in Kumamoto

Spar Cafe – Olympia, Washington

Spar Cafe – Olympia, WA
Inside the Spar Cafe in Olympia

Salida, Colorado

Salida, Colorado
Odd metal buffalo in Salida, Colorado

Seth, West Virginia

Seth, West Virginia

Sam Houston Statue – Huntsville, Texas

77 Foot Tall Sam Houston Statue in Huntsville, Texas
Sumoflam with Big Sam Houston towering behind him in Huntsville, TX

Star Trek Places – Vulcan, Alberta; Riverside, Iowa

Sol and Sumoflam live long and prosper with the Starship Enterprise in Vulcan, Alberta Sept 2007
Live Long and Prosper – Sumoflam and the Starship Riverside

Shiner, Texas

Shiner, Texas
Shiner Barbeque Company, Shiner, Texas

Sarris Candies – Canonsburg, Pennsylvania

Sarris Candy in Canonsburg. One of the world’s largest candy stores
Sarris Candy Castle weighs 1500 pounds

Sisters, Oregon

Welcome to Sisters, Oregon
Three Sisters – nicknamed Faith/Hope/Charity near Sisters Oregon

South Congress Cafe – Austin, Texas

South Congress Cafe in Austin
I had breakfast at the South Congress Cafe. It was truly an upscale cafe, if there is such a thing

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, May 2015
Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco
At Golden Gate Bridge in in San Francisco, CA May 2015

Skykomish, Washington

Welcome to Skykomish

Springfield, Illinois

Family at the Lincoln Home in Springfield, Illinois, Summer 2001
Cozy Drive In – Springfield, Illinois

Seagulls – Port Orchard, Washington; Puget Sound, Washington; Galveston, Texas; Ashland, Wisconsin

Seagull with clam in Port Orchard
A flock of seagulls on the deck of the Hyak in Puget Sound, WA
A couple of seagulls “converse” as they enjoy the view over a lake in Ashland, Wisconsin
Seagull in flight in Gulf of Mexico near Galveston, Texas
A closeup shot of a seagull taken on Bremerton Ferry while crossing the Puget Sound in Washington

Chief Standing Brave – Big Cabin, Oklahoma

Giant Indian Chief “Standing Brave” in Big Cabin, OK

Spindle (Cars on a Spike) – Cermak Plaza – Berwyn, Illinois

As seen in the movie Wayne’s World – sadly, no longer around

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

Smiley Water Towers – Adair, Iowa; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Beloit, Wisconsin; Cedar Creek, Texas; Smiley, Texas

Smiley Water Tower in Adair, Iowa
Winking Smiley on backside of Water Tower in Grand Forks, ND
Beloit, WI Smiley Water Tower
Smiley Water Tower – Cedar Creek, Texas

And finally…one without a Smiley Face….

A Smiley Water Tower without a Smiley Face…Smiley, Texas

Stardust Motel – Wallace, Idaho

Stardust Motel – Wallace, Idaho
Stardust Motel Neon sign – Wallace, Idaho

Seattle, Washington

Seattle as seen from a boat in the Puget Sound
Welcome to the Seattle Waterfront
Seattle’s famed “Great Wheel”

Shenandoah National Park – Luray, Virginia

Visiting Shenandoah National Park on Easter Sunday 2017
Easter Sunrise as seen from Shenandoah National Park
Hills of Shenandoah Valley in presunrise hours on Easter 2017

Skeletons on the Highways – Port Orchard, Washington; San Francisco, California; Montrose, South Dakota; Murdo, South Dakota

Closeup of the Biker Skeleton at Bethel Saloon in Port Orchard, WA
A skeleton pirate guards the entrance to a shop in Fisherman’s Wharf
A skeleton keeping guard at Porter’s Sculpture Park in Montrose, SD
Skeleton Walking Dinosaur near Murdo, South Dakota
Closeup of Murdo Skeleton

Sorehead Cafe – Rudyard, Montana

The Sorehead Cafe – Rudyard, Montana

Stoneville Saloon – Alzada, Montana

Stoneville Saloon in Alzada, MT taken in June 2005
Stoneville Saloon – Cheap Drinks – Lousy Food
Canned Delicacies at Stoneville Saloon – Alzada, Montana

Saketumi Restaurant – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Japanese food at the Saketumi Asian Bistro in Rehoboth Beach, DE

Stoner Drug – Hamburg, Iowa

Stoner Drug in Hamburg, IA
The old fashioned soda fountain inside of Stoner Drug

Sawtooth Mountains – Stanley, Idaho

Sawtooth Scenic Byway in Idaho
Jagged Sawtooths near Stanley, ID
Sawtooth Range as seen from Galena Overlook

Sod House Museum – Gothenburg, Nebraska

Sod House Museum, Gothenburg, NE
Barbed Wire Indian Chief and Horse – Sod House Museum – Gothenburg, Nebraska

A bit of Superman – Metropolis, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio; Ashland, Wisconsin

Superman Mural in Metropolis, IL
At the house that used to be the home of Jerry Siegel, the Creator of the Superman stories. This is in Cleveland, Ohio
Superman is hung forever on the side of Boudreau’s antiques…saving a little doll?
Sumoflam and the 12 foot tall bronze Superman in Metropolis (not fiberglass, but a neighbor to Big John)

Sheep Capital of America – Newell, South Dakota

Livestock Sign – Newell, SD
Sign at the door of TJ’s Cafe in Newell, SD. Bear in mind this is sheep country.

Shelby, Montana

Shelby, MT Amtrak Station
Vista Motel – Shelby, Montana
Shelby, Montana

Shelby, Mississippi

Welcome to Shelby, MS
Colorful buildings of Shelby, MS
Daniel’s Snack Shack, Shelby, MS

Sedona, Arizona

Agave in Sedona, Arizona
Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, AZ
Oak Creek runs by the famed Cathedral Rock in Sedona, AZ

Stinky’s Country Well – Gilboa, Ohio

Stinky’s Sign – Gilboa, Ohio
Stinky’s Country Well – Gilboa, Ohio

Showmen’s Rest Cemetery – Hugo, Oklahoma

Showmen’s Rest in Hugo’s Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Sumoflam with an Elephant Headstone at Showmen’s Rest
A final view of Showmen’s Rest

Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus Welcome Sign
A Santa Selfie at Santa Claus Post Office
Santa Claus Police

Scandinavian Heritage Museum – Minot, North Dakota

The Gol Stave Church replica and museum at the Scandinavian Heritage Center in Minot, ND
The 30 foot tall Dala Horse at the Scandinavian Heritage Center in Minot

Sparta House – Sparta, Ontario

Sparta House Tearoom – Sparta, Ontario

Scotty’s Hamburgers – Idaho Falls, Idaho

Scotty’s Hamburgers – Idaho Falls, Idaho

Severed Head Trading Post – Perryville, Kentucky

Severed Head Trading Post – Perryville, Kentucky

Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway – Nebraska

Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway on Nebraska Hwy 2
Nebraska Highway 2 Sandhills Journey
Sunset over Beem Lake in the Sandhills of Nebraska…

Seabrook, New Hampshire

Sign Post in Seabrook, NH
Welcome to New Hampshire! US State #48 for me.

Schroeder’s Drive-In – Danville, Illinois

Schroeder’s Drive-In – Danville, Illinois

Shakespeare, Ontario

Welcome to Shakespeare
Antique Shops in Shakespeare

Steubenville, Ohio

Welcome to Steubenville, OH
Market Street by Michael Wojczuk. This was the first mural painted in Steubenville
Sumoflam and Dino in Steubenville

Swedesburg, Iowa

Welcome to Swedesburg
The famous Straw Goat from Swedesburg.
Caution – Swedish Crossing in Swedesburg, IA

Sam Black Church, West Virginia

Sam Black Church in Sam Black Church, WV
Sam Black Church historical Marker

Sunset Crater National Monument – Flagstaff, Arizona

Family at Sunset Crater National Monument north of Flagstaff in July 1993

Silver Dollar Saloon – Leadville, Colorado

Silver Dollar Saloon storefront – Leadville, Colorado

If you like what you see, you may want to check out my book: Less Beaten Paths of America: Unique Town Names, available on Amazon.  My second book, Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions, will be available in late April or early May 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.

Books 1 & 2

Washington State: Point Defiance Zoo

All packed in and ready to head for the zoo.
All packed in and ready to head for the zoo.

On Day 4 of our visit to Washington we packed up the kids and a couple of cars and made our way south to Tacoma to visit the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.   Though not as huge as some of the zoos we have been to (such as San Diego, Louisville, Cincinnati), it is still a nice zoo with some great opportunities to see some good wildlife.  The thing I like about most zoos is that they not only have a lot of animals, but they also have an abundance of flowers and foliage that is always pleasant.  So, this trip on this day was about grandkidz, animals and flowers.

Point Defiance Zoo
Point Defiance Zoo entrance

The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is apparently the only combined facility in the Pacific Northwest.  It is a 29 acre park and a major tourist attraction in the Tacoma area.

I was actually pleased with it as it was much smaller, quite clean and seemed like you could get a bit more “intimate” with the animals, though there was less of a variety of them.

A tiger at the Point Defiance Zoo
A tiger at the Point Defiance Zoo

Following are a few photos of the animals that I took.  They had four or five tigers in a couple of places, an elephant and a few other critters.  They had a goodly amount of birds, including penguins and puffins.  I always enjoy photographing the animals.

An Asian Elephant playing in the dirt
An Asian Elephant playing in the dirt
A Tiger Cub
A Tiger Cub
A puffin on watch
A puffin on watch
Puffin in a nest
Puffin in a nest
A Polar Bear tries to stay cool in the water.
A Polar Bear tries to stay cool in the water.
A playful otter does the backstroke
A playful otter does the backstroke
A tiger relaxes
A tiger relaxes
The small penguins stand majestically at feeding time
The small penguins stand majestically at feeding time
A sealion underwater
A sealion underwater
A blue budgie
A blue budgie

The Budgie exhibit was lots of fun, especially since the grandkidz were there and could actually feed the colorful birds. The real name for a budgie is “Budgerigar” and these cute little guys are native to Australia and New Zealand.  This parrot species is very social and it was very apparent, just being in the exhibit with them.  They were not afraid of hanging around people.

Grandson Benson enjoys handling a budgie
Grandson Benson enjoys handling a budgie
Charles watches as he carefully feeds a budgie
Charles watches as he carefully feeds a budgie
A pair of budgies
A pair of budgies
No...he is only acting like a budgie.
No…he is only acting like a budgie.
White budgie
White budgie
Bald eagle
Bald eagle

We brought our lunch and enjoyed it while watching a stage which featured a number of animals from the zoo.  I was most enthralled with the bald eagle.

It was as close as I have ever been to these amazing (and quite large birds).   I saw a couple of them on our road trips in Washington, but could never capture any on camera until the zoo.

Winspan
Wingspan
Grandkidz
Grandkidz

Of course, watching the kids was also fun.  They had a variety of facial expressions at the various exhibits.  Here are some “grandkidz” shots from the zoo.

Their curiosity is always a joy to experience.  Going to the zoo with young children is fascinatingly fun!

Livvy points at the elephant
Livvy points at the elephant
Charles is bored?
Charles is bored?
Kade watches
Kade watches
Charles shows some excitement
Charles shows some excitement
Livvy flirts
Livvy flirts
Hanging with my sweetheart at Point Defiance Zoo
Hanging with my sweetheart at Point Defiance Zoo

DSC_5699Part of the joy at a zoo is the variety of plants and flowers.  I enjoyed a few closeup shots of these, including some varieties I have never seen before.

Following are a few of my shots:

A bee grabs a snack
A bee grabs a snack

DSC_5676DSC_5589

Amazing Lily 1
Amazing Lily 1
Julianne with bamboo
Julianne with bamboo
Amazing Lily 2
Amazing Lily 2

DSC_5674DSC_5778And finally, I have to say that the view of Mt. Rainier from the zoo was spectacular.  Could not have asked for a more beautiful day and beautiful views!

Mt. Rainier as seen from the Point Defiance Zoo
Mt. Rainier as seen from the Point Defiance Zoo
Mt. rainier as seen from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Mt. rainier as seen from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

After the zoo we headed back home, dropped the kids off, changed clothes and all of the adults headed for Seattle to go to the Mormon Temple there.  We took a ferry across the Sound.

Ferries are a way of life in the Seattle area.  Many live on one side of the Puget Sound and

On the Ferry to Seattle
On the Ferry to Seattle – Mt. Rainier in the background

work on the other side, including my son in law Aaron. The give you a brief respite from the hustle and bustle of the city job.  I really enjoyed sitting on the deck and taking in the views, smelling the fresh air and have the wind blow through my hair.

This particular ferry ride offered some amazing views of Mt. Rainier as well as some nice views of Seattle on the approach in. They were different views from those of a couple of days earlier.

View of Seattle from the Ferry
View of Seattle from the Ferry
A ferry passes by us in the sound with Mt. Rainier in the backround
A ferry passes by us in the sound with Mt. Rainier in the background
A shot of the Seattle skyline
A shot of the Seattle skyline
Another Seattle shot
Another Seattle shot
Thai food at Tangerine Thai
Thai food at Tangerine Thai

Once we crossed the Sound, it was back in the car and heading towards the lovely Seattle Temple. We stopped along the way to have some great Thai Food. Tangerine Thai was a classy little place with some amazing cuisine that I hadn’t seen (or tasted) before.

Grilled Eggplant at Tangerine Thai
Grilled Eggplant at Tangerine Thai
Grilled Salmon Curry at Tangerine
Grilled Salmon Curry at Tangerine

After dinner it was off to the temple.  Nice to visit another temple!

At Seattle Temple
At Seattle Temple
A symbol of LDS Temples - the Angel Moroni
A symbol of LDS Temples – the Angel Moroni
Sunset over Tacoma Narrows bridge
Sunset over Tacoma Narrows bridge

After doing some baptisms for the dead, we headed back to Port Orchard with the sunset.  It was a wonderful day with family!!