Download BOTH of my books on Kindle for FREE: November 1 – November 5

As an After Halloween Treat, for a limited time you will be able to download both of my books – my newest — “Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions” and also “Less Beaten Paths of America: Unique Town Names.” TOTALLY FREE!!

This is part of the Trick-Or-Treat Book Blog Hop hosted by Author Patricia Lynne.

Both of these volumes are collections of my many travels across the United States and Canada. As you know, I have photographed well-known and not so well-known attractions along the way. In this book I share my experiences and occasional challenges, but always provide some fun and personal anecdotal stories of the quirky and offbeat places that the large and small communities offer.

My first book is all about Unique Town Names and is all in black and white.  My Second book features dozens of quirky and offbeat attractions from all over the U.S. and even in Canada.  ALL of the photos are in FULL COLOR.

If you like what you see, please kindly leave a review for the book/books on Amazon.  A certain author will deeply appreciate it!

Both books will be available for FREE and forever download from November 1 at 3 AM EST thru November 5 at midnight.

You can get the Quirky and Offbeat Attractions download here.

You can get the Unique Town Names download here.

I hope you’ll take advantage of the FREE download beginning Nov. 1.  Then, ENJOY THE READ and go forth and ENJOY THE RIDE!!

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Experiencing Old-Timey Decatur, Texas

Heading north out of Keller, Texas on US 287 you can enjoy a scenic ride and make your way into the town of Decatur, Texas.  Named after naval hero Stephen Decatur, the town was originally set up in 1856 and eventually was a stopover for ranchers and herders on the Chisholm Trail.

The old Eighter from Decatur Sign

By 1882, the railway came into Decatur from Fort Worth.  It was apparently at that time a gambling railway worker was talking about a female from Decatur and coined the phrase an “Eighter from Decatur,” which has stuck around ever since.

Welcome to Decatur sign

Today, the peaceful little town still draws traffic from ranchers and railway folk, but also from tourists trying to relive the olden days…like me.

The old Decatur Petrified Wood Gas Station with the Texas Cafe in the background
Sumoflam at the Petrified Wood Station

One of the really nostalgic points is the old Petrified Wood Gas Station as you come into town.  In 1927 a keen businessman named E.F. Boydston purchased a former feed lot in order to build a wooden shed and a gas station.   Boydston allowed people to stopover and camp there and eventually even built some cabins. As the highway was widened in the mid-1930s, Boydston added more cabins, a garage and other buildings and then made them sturdier by adding petrified wood as a facing on the buildings.    The entire complex was eventually named Texas Plaza.

Texas Plaza Neon Sign in Decatur, TX
No Gas
No Gas

He also built a one-room frame building next door in 1929 and called it the Texas Lunchroom.  In 1935 they renamed it the Texas Cafe and faced it with the same petrified wood to match the other buildings.  It is now called the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Whistle Stop Cafe in Decatur, Texas. Formerly the Texas Cafe
Texaco Gas Pumps at Petrified Wood Station
Here’s a sign you don’t see anymore in the U.S.
Another view of the Petrified Wood Station

Today the complex is a unique example of the early days of automobile tourism.  I recall the 1960s and going to gas stations similar to this.  I really enjoyed the nostalgia.  And Decatur has taken advantage of that as there are two other nostalgic gas stations in town.

Old Sinclair Station – Decatur, Texas
Old Gulf Station in Decatur, Texas
Old Gulf Pump – Decatur
Old Sinclair Pump in Decatur, TX

Have you seen my new book yet? “Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions” is now available on Amazon!

The book is 130 pages of FULL COLOR whimsy and kitsch as I tell stories of my visits to these places all over the U.S. and Canada. Definitely was fun taking these back roads trips to quirkville and I am excited to share them with you in words and photos.

 

I hope you will be able to check out the book or even get it on Kindle. You can order the book here:

SEE NEW BOOK

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Cincinnati: A View from the Top – Carew Tower

A view of downtown Cincinnati from atop the Carew Tower

Had a wonderful (but hot) Father’s Day 2018.  My wife asked me what I wanted to do, and I said I wanted to take a trip to Cincinnati and visit the downtown area for fun.  Cincinnati is one of those cities that has a great skyline to photograph.

So, before we went, I looked for places that we could get good views of Cincinnati.  In the past, I have taken shots from across the river in Newport, KY and a couple of other spots, but I wanted something more unique.

Cincinnati skyline as seen from Devou Park in Covington, KY. Carew Tower is tall brown building on the left
More expansive view of the Cincinnati Skyline from Devou

Our first stop was in Devou Park, east of Cincinnati and across the Ohio River in Covington, KY.  Devou Park sits up on a big hill and offers some wonderful views of the city.

Another view of Cincinnati from Devou Park
Cincinnati as seen from Devou Park

After Devou Park we headed downtown for another chance to see the city.

A Panorama View of Cincinnati from the top of Carew Tower.
The 49 story tall Carew Tower in Downtown Cincinnati
Great American Tower as seen from the top of Carew Tower.

Enter the Carew Tower. The Carew Tower is a 49-story, 574-foot Art Deco building completed in 1930 in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, overlooking the Ohio River waterfront.the city.  It overlooks the Cincinnati waterfront and offers a panoramic view of the city.   It is the second tallest building in the city, but was the tallest until 2010 when the Great American Tower was completed.  It is 86 ft higher than Carew Tower, but Carew Tower is actually still the highest elevated building in the city so viewers from the observation deck can look down on the Great American.

Welcome to Carew Tower Sign in Carew Tower Elevators
Art Deco Window on the 2nd floor of the Carew Building
Grand Hall in the Hilton section of the Carew Tower
Art Deco design in the elevators

Historically, the Carew Tower was built in 1929/1930 in an Art Deco style with the idea to have a hotel, a shopping area, etc.  Basically, a city within a city.  It was named after Joseph T. Carew, who founded the Mabley & Carew Department Store Chain.   We didn’t have the opportunity to look inside the Hilton Netherland Plaza Hotel, but probably should have as there are a number of massive murals inside the building as well as some immaculately ornate rooms.  This deserves a next trip!!

That said, the highlight was the view from the top.  Enter the hotel from the parking lot on the second floor and take the elevator, an express zoom up to the 45th floor.  Once off that elevator, its a short walk around a corner to a much smaller (and older) elevator which takes you to the 48th floor and then a few steps up to the 49th.  Pay your $4 fee and step out to a spectacular view, one that lets you look over the river to Kentucky and way west into Indiana.  Following are a few of the shots I got from the top:

The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge as seen from Carew Tower. When opened on December 1, 1866, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world at 1,057 feet main span.
The 4th and Vine Tower is 31 stories (495 feet) tall. It was formerly known as the Union Central Tower and Central Trust Bank Building. When completed in 1913, this was the fifth tallest building in the world.
The Daniel Carter Beard Bridge is 2099.5 feet long. The bridge was built in 1976. Also called the Big Mac bridge because of the “Golden Arches” reminiscent of McDonald’s.
Wife Julianne takes in the view
Downtown buildings of Cincinnati as seen from Carew Tower.
The top of the Great American Tower at Queen City Square. The tallest building in Cincinnati at 41 stories and 665 feet tall It was completed in January 2011.
A view of the Union Terminal in Cincinnati as seen from Carew Tower. Built in 1933, it is another great example of Art Deco architecture. It is now home to the Cincinnati Museum Center.
The Clay Wade Bailey Bridge over the Ohio River. Built in October 1974, the bridge is 2208 Feet long.  The bridge in the background is the Brent Spence Bridge which handles I-71/I-75. Built in 1960, it is 1736 feet long.
Mother of God Roman Catholic Church across the Ohio River in Covington, KY.  Built in 1869
The Queen City sign as seen from the top of Carew Tower
Happy at the Top (despite the 100 degree day)

ENJOY THE RIDE!  CHOOSE HAPPY!

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, is currently being worked on and I hope to make it available in late  June  or  mid -July 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.

Books 1 & 2

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