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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
After Devou Park we headed downtown for another chance to see the city.
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.
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:
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.
One thing that we all see when traveling America’s highways is signs. All kinds of them: road signs, exit signs, mile markers, billboards, “Welcome to Our Town” signs and the massive assortment of business signs from fast food places to local eateries. Indeed, our eyes and minds are deluges with them!
Over the course of my 6000 mile road trip to Washington State and back, I probably saw way more than a sign a mile (on average). Yes, there are many places with no signs, but then, there are others, such as going through small towns, where they are in abundance.
This post presents a variety of signs from the road. This “eye-candy” is just one more fun piece of the travel puzzle. Discovering new signs, whether they be unique neon signs advertising local burger joints to the unique town signs and water towers, these signs are the little “color fillers” on the grand expanse of two lane highways zig-zagging this nation.
Follow me along on this colorful journey (in no particular order) to see some of the signs I saw along the way. And watch for the occasional Wall Drug sign to pop up on the ride (just like they do on I-90).
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 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.