AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – Reflections #atozchallenge

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with  the course of three weeks.  My A to Z posts this year will have the “8154” theme, which will also be the title of my forthcoming new book that will document the epic road trip.  Each of my entries highlighted a few stories with photos based on the alphabet and not the order of the trip.  If you missed any of the posts, check out my page with all of the links HERE.  I will reflect back on this past month’s posts.  Enjoy the Read! Enjoy the Ride! (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

What a Whirlwind!

CA 198 in Sequoia National Park

Throughout the month of April I participated in the A to Z Challenge.  It was my fourth straight year, but this one was really my most interesting yet.  Beginning in March the Coronavirus hit the world.  I am amazed how a microscopic thing could have such a massive impact on the world.  The world was shut down effectively, but the internet and the opportunity to post content was not.

Patrick Amiot – “Crow Bar” in Sebastapol, CA

It has been a whirlwind.  What made it more so was knowing (in hindsight) that while the coronavirus was hitting the U.S. in Washington and California back in January and February while I was traveling out there with my daughter and her three children.  Many of the places we visited, including massive National Parks like the Grand Canyon, were eventually closed.  In fact, as of this writing, many are still closed.  Restaurants, hotels and other businesses are closed all over the country.  Interstate travel bans are in effect across most states.  As of this writing on May 5, 2020, nearly 70,000 Americans have died of this virus since mid-February…while we were still traveling!!

I am both amazed and grateful that we are all home and safe. And brought back a boat load of memories.

ENJOYING THE RIDE

Interstate 90 at the Montana / Idaho border in late January 2020

I really like to share my travels with the world and the A to Z Challenge provides a great platform to share these with many people of diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Family at the Grand Canyon

Over the course of the past month I posted my 26 posts and included over 300 photos and dozens of unique stories of the places we saw on our epic road trip.  Thus far I have had over 20 comments from readers and well over 200 views of the posts.  I am thrilled for the visits and the experience.

What did you miss?

If you haven’t visited any of my posts, I shared a link to a page that has all of the links at the top of this post.  Please visit it and click on any of the links.  In the mean time, what did you miss?

Montana Highway 1 near Opportunity, Montana
  • A road trip of 8154 miles across 20 states in 21 days
  • Lovely photos of wildlife like eagles, bison, prairie dogs, seagulls and more
  • Amazing scenery from all kinds of geography including mountains, deserts, oceans and massive forests
  • Visits to over a dozen National Parks and Monuments
  • Stories and photos of many unique and quirky road side attractions
  • Visits, photos and stories about towns with unique names
  • A few fun and unique places to eat
  • An opportunity to learn about a different perspective on the amazing diversity of these United States
Pacific Coast as seen from Long Beach, Washington
welcome to Happy, Texas
Bald Eagle, taken on US Highway 2 near Davenport, WA
Big guy at Rainbow Rock Shop in Holbrook, AZ
Mount Rushmore as seen from a tunnel on Iron Mountain Road. The tunnel was built intentionally to frame the monument
Joshua Trees near Baker, CA
Martian Soda anyone?
Sandhill Cranes in West Texas
Paul Bunyan in Klamath, California
San Francisco CA
Uranus Fudge Factory, St Robert, Missouri
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Caddo Lake bayou near Uncertain, Texas

WATCH FOR MY NEW BOOK “8154” — COMING SOON TO AMAZON

I am currently working on my FOURTH book, titled “8154” to represent the mileage of my epic road trip with family.  You can visit my Amazon Author Page to see my other books at https://amzn.to/3azY36l

 

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AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – The S Stories #atozchallenge

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with  the course of three weeks.  My A to Z posts this year will have the “8154” theme, which will also be the title of my forthcoming new book that will document the epic road trip.  Each entry will highlight a few stories with photos based on the alphabet and not the order of the trip.  I hope you will enjoy this bouncy ride across the back roads of America.  Please enjoy the S Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Please note that this one is a fairly lengthy post. So, Enjoy the Read and Enjoy the Ride!

Sesame Street – Seabeck, Washington

While driving through Seabeck, Washington we came upon Sesame Street.  So now I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street!

I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street — Its in Seabeck, Washington

Santa Cruz Surfing Museum – Santa Cruz, California

Had a nice visit in Santa Cruz to see the beautiful ocean views.  Came upon the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, which was closed.  The building also has a nice lighthouse on top – the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse.

Santa Cruz Surfing Museum – Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz Lighthouse on top of the Surfing Museum

The Sweet Place – Philipsburg, Montana

When we drove through Philipsburg, Montana, off of Montana Highway 1, we were pleasantly surprised by the huge candy store called The Sweet Palace.  The place was huge and has an amazing variety of candy, chocolate and fudge.  There are also some unique varieties of soda.

The Sweet Place – Philipsburg, Montana
The Sweet Palace – World’s Greatest Candy Store
Sweet Palace – Lots of Goodies
Sweet Palace – use a basket
Sweet Palace – Chocolate

Sleeper Market – Sleeper, Missouri

Driving through Missouri and just off of Interstate 44 on Missouri Road F, we drove through the small community of Sleeper, Missouri.  It was named after a railroad employee in the 1880s.  Apparently the employee had gotten a nicname of “Sleeper.”  I loved the Sleeper Market sign.

Sleeper Market – Sleeper, Missouri
Sleeper, Missouri

Seaside, Oregon

Colorful sign, but lots of rain on this day as we drove the the community of Seaside, Oregon.  on US Hwy 101.

Welcome to Seaside, Oregon

Sandhills Journey Byway – Nebraska Highway 2 – Central Nebraska

As we drove west across Nebraska, we hopped on Nebraska Highway 2, which is also known as the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway.   This is a 272 mile journey through the Nebraska Sandhills, the Ogallala Aquifer, the Nebraska National Forest and more.  It runs from Grand Island, Nebraska to Alliance, Nebraska.

Sandhills Journey Byway – Central Nebraska

Sapp Brothers Water Tower – Nebraska City, Nebraska

There are many unique and iconic water towers along the back roads of America.  The Sapp Brothers truck stops all have nice coffee pot water towers.  The photo below is of the one in Nebraska City.

Sapp Brothers Water Tower – Nebraska City, Nebraska

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is a wonderful city on a lovely bay.  I have been there a few times.  On this trip we didn’t have a lot of time for the city, but got a nice skyline view from above the Golden Gate bridge and did a drive through some of the city. We drove by the Salesforce Tower, which is the second tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

San Francisco, California
Downtown San Francisco
Salesforce Tower in San Francisco – 970 feet tall. Tallest in San Francisco and 2nd tallest west of the Mississippi River.
Housing in San Francisco

Stateline Road – Farwell, Texas

I have written about it before.  The Stateline Road between Farwell, Texas and Texico, New Mexico is mainly a 20 mile long dirt road.  We took it to get over to the National Wildlife Refuges near Muleshoe, Texas.

State Line Road – Farwell, Texas
20 mile long dirt road Stateline Road in Farwell, Texas

Sun ‘n Sand Neon Sign – Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Santa Rosa, New Mexico is a treasure trove of vintage neon signage from the days of Route 66.  The Sun ‘n Sand Motel sign is a classic.  Though the motel has been closed for a few years, the historic iconical sign still remains.

Sun and Sand Motel old neon sign in Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Spotted Horse, Wyoming

Driving northeast on Route 16 in Wyoming, we came across the little place known as Spotted Horse, and famous for the big spotted horse in the front of the place.  It is a small store, an old Standard Gas Station and a bar.  We only stopped for pictures.

Spotted Horse, Wyoming
Spotted Horse, Wyoming, Population 2

Shawnee Chief Motel – Shawneetown, Illinois

I always like to get vintage motel signs and the Shawnee Chief Motel sign.  This is an old Mom and Pop motel near the Ohio River town of Shawneetown.

Shawnee Chief Motel – Shawneetown, Illinois

Seattle, Washington Skyline

Whenever I visit my daughter in Port Orchard, I have to take the short drive to Manchester to grab a skyline shot of Seattle.  On this trop it was cloudy and allowed for a unique shot.

Seattle Skyline

Sandhill Crane Migration – Dimmitt, Texas

One of the things I looked most forward to on the return trip home was seeing Sandhill Cranes.  We made the long trip from Clovis, New Mexico to Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge to see them, but only found disappointment.   But, as we continued west towards Fort Worth, I was overly delighted to see massive flocks of them migrating north near Dimmitt, Texas.  It is always an amazing sight and, of course, their eerie calls can be heard from far away.   We saw even more near Seymour, Texas.

Sandhill Cranes as seen near Dimmitt, Texas
Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill Cranes flyover
Massive numbers of Sandhill Cranes in west Texas
Sandhill Cranes fly by wind generators
Sandhill Cranes in west Texas
Sandhill Cranes in Seymour, Texas

Patrick Amiot, Junk-art Sculptures, Sebastopol, California

California is a huge state and I have only had rare occasions to visit.  On this trip we were close to the town of Sebastopol, a place highly recommended to me by my friends at RoadsideAmerica.com.  This town is home to junk-art creator Patrick Amiot who collects all sorts of junk and creates art.  The town of Sebastopol and neighboring areas are dotted with dozens and dozens of his works.  I took many photos and will feature more in my new 8154 Book, but here are a few shots from the visit.  His works are whimsical and fun.

Sebastopol, California -Patrick Amiot artist home
Patrick Amiot – “Crow Bar” in Sebastopol, CA
Drive junk-art in Sebastopol
Junk-art Mermaid – Sebastopol, California
Junk-art Sailor – Sebastopol, California
Junk-art Babe Ruth – Sebastopol, California
Batman and Robin in Sebastopol, California
Skeleton Rider – Sebastopol, California
Catcher – Sebastopol, California
Hanging with the T-Rex in Sebastopol

Seagulls from all over

Every time I am on the coast or near water, I am blessed to see seagulls.  I love watching these playful birds.  Here are few of the many shots I took on the road.

Seagull – Langlois, Oregon
Seagull – North Bend, Oregon
Seagull – Long Beach, Washington
Seagull – Cannon Beach, Oregon
Seagull – Manchester, Washington
Seagull – Santa Cruz, California
Seagull – Cambria, California

Slow Down for Wildlife Sign

Always a sucker for a fun sign.  Saw this one on the road up to Sequoia National Park.

Slow Down for Wildlife sign – Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park – California

As we traveled south from Washington, my daughter insisted that we find a way to get to Sequoia National Park.  It was way out of the way, but well worth it.  The drive from the park entrance up to the park is long and arduous, but so beautiful.

Sequoia National Park
Giant Sequoia Trees
Towering Trees
Sequoia Trees
Sunshine through the Sequoias

Shopping Cart Sculpture – Nipton, California

Nipton, California is such a whimsical and unique place.  I have written about it on a few other posts.  But, I wanted to include the really funky sculpture made from shopping carts outside of Nipton Trading Post.

Shopping Cart Sculpture – Nipton, California

Snow Geese Migration near Dimmitt, Texas

I had barely caught my breath from the excitement of the sandhill cranes on the road to Dimmitt, and then, just a couple of miles later we came across thousands of snow geese.

Snow Geese Migration – Dimmitt, Texas
1000s of Snow Geese
Snow Geese with one Canada Goose
Snow Geese and Canada Geese
Migrating Snow Geese

Sunrise, Sunset – California

Sunrise in Baker, California
Sunset over the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, California

Signs of Seabeck – Seabeck, Washington

Seabeck, Washington
Signs of Seabeck 1
Signs of Seabeck 2

San Francisco Peaks – Flagstaff, Arizona

San Francisco Peaks – Flagstaff, Arizona
San Francisco Peaks

Spaceship – Baker, California

Spaceship – Baker, California

WATCH FOR MY NEW BOOK “8154” — COMING SOON TO AMAZON

I am currently working on my FOURTH book, titled “8154” to represent the mileage of my epic road trip with family.  You can visit my Amazon Author Page to see my other books at https://amzn.to/3azY36l

 

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AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – The Q Stories #atozchallenge

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with  the course of three weeks.  My A to Z posts this year will have the “8154” theme, which will also be the title of my forthcoming new book that will document the epic road trip.  Each entry will highlight a few stories with photos based on the alphabet and not the order of the trip.  I hope you will enjoy this bouncy ride across the back roads of America.  Please enjoy the Q Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

There are not many places that fit within the Q Stories category.  But, we did have a nice visit to Quitaque, Texas.

Quitaque, Texas

Quitaque is a small community of a little over 400 near the Texas Panhandle.  The town is located along Texas State Highway 86.  The townspeople pronounce the name of the town “Kitty Quay.”

The town prides itself as the “Official Bison Capital of Texas” because of the large bison ranch nearby and includes the official Texas Bison Herd.

Welcome to Quitaque
Downtown Quitaque, Texas
Large Bison mural in Quitaque
Another large mural in Quitaque
The Quitaque Water Tower…well, water tank anyway

Some Quick Shots from our Trip (none of them with a Q)

I took over 2500 photos on this road trip.  Here are a few random “QUICK” shots from the trip that wouldn’t be included otherwise.

Old Coca-Cola Machine in White Horse, Wyoming
Davey, Nebraska
Menu Sign at Big Sky Brewing Tap House in Missoula, Montana
Getting In-N-Out Burgers in Novato, California
Interstate 90 Scene near Superior, Montana
Signs near Lost Hills, California on CA Hwy 41
Hot Baths sign in Davenport, Washington
Drooling Buffalo at Custer State Park in South Dakota
Bigfoot in Langlois, Oregon
Tightwad Bank sign in Tightwad, Missouri
Old Texas Border sign near Vivian, Louisiana
Norbeck Byway Sign on US Route 16A near Custer, South Dakota
Long Highway near Searchlight, Nevada
Be Happy License Frame in Santa Cruz, California
Motel Room Beds at Rainbow Motel in Alliance, Nebraska
Route 66 Sign in Moriarty, New Mexico
Fun sign in Philipsburg, Montana
Antelope Relaxing in Custer State Park, South Dakota
Big Whale Mural in San Francisco
Festive Horse in Leavenworth, Washington
Sign at a gas station in Coeur D’Alene Idaho
Mural in Worms, Nebraska
Bald Eagle near Gillette, Wyoming
Family at the Grand Canyon
Old Truck in Waterville, Washington
Snow Geese migration near Dimmitt, Texas
Sunset over the Pacific Ocean near Big Sur, California
Alien in Uranus, Missouri
Usually Open sign at Ohrmann’s near Drummond, Montana
Sheriff Art in Taylor, Nebraska
Yummy sushi at Mizu Hibachi Grill in Seattle
Montana Highway 1 near Opportunity, Montana
George Washington at Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota
Restroom Sign in Alliance, Nebraska
Enjoying the Ride!

WATCH FOR MY NEW BOOK “8154” — COMING SOON TO AMAZON

I am currently working on my FOURTH book, titled “8154” to represent the mileage of my epic road trip with family.  You can visit my Amazon Author Page to see my other books at https://amzn.to/3azY36l

 

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