8154: The Whimsical Wonders of Sebastopol, California

Hanging in Sebastopol with A Sumoflam Fan

In early 2020 I traveled across the country over the course of three weeks.    During this trip we traveled 8154 miles across 20 states and visited over 100 destinations, saw all sorts of animals, all sorts of geography, 15 National Parks and Monuments, various state parks, oceans, deserts, mountains, beaches, grasslands, canyons and more. Over the next few weeks I will be posting about some of the fun from the EPIC Road Trip with my daughter and three grandchildren.  Enjoy the Read! Enjoy the Ride! (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Patrick Amiot’s house on Florence Street in Sebastopol, CA
There are a couple of finely painted cars in front of the Amiot house.
This T-Rex (or is it Godzilla?) stands proudly in front of Patrick Amiot’s home on Florence Ave.

Our road trip took us to many places, but none was more whimsical and fun and, honestly, down my alley, than the small California town of Sebastopol, home to perhaps hundreds of junk-sculptures by artist Patrick Amiot and his wife and sculpture painter Brigitte Laurent.

Please visit Roadside America and make sure to get their app for 1000s of America’s fun and quirky attractions.

Our venture to Sebastopol was not in my original plan, but my friends at Roadside America strongly recommended that since I was coming in that direction, I should definitely swing by and take a drive down Florence Avenue.  (Thanks Doug!!!)

Crow Bar… totally whimsical PUNishment

Amiot is all about recycling.  Everything he has created is from junk that others had either thrown out or donated to him and then also used other “found items” for his projects.  Supposedly his first art piece was placed in his front yard on Florence Ave. in 2001 and a drive down the three blocks Florence Ave. in 2020 saw almost all of the houses with at least one piece of his work in every yard.

Skeleton Biker on Florence Ave.
Firefighters on Florence Ave.
The full truck

While cruising down Florence Ave. I talked to a couple of people and found out that in many cases Amiot would create a piece for someone’s yard that would represent that person in some way.  Obviously, I didn’t have the time to survey residents, but I could imagine the firefighter, the postal worked, the baseball fan, the bus driver and more.

A Babe Ruth stands in front of a house. Could this person be a Babe Ruth fan? A Yankee Fan?
This Batman adorns someone else’s front yard.
A different Batman at a different house (with Robin of course!)
Here are a couple of Happy Campers
A lovely mermaid floats quietly in front of someone’s house on Florence Ave.
The Man

The variety of art is amazing and the creativity is even more amazing.  Patrick and Brigitte have turned a rather ordinary neighborhood into a fantastically whimsical outdoor art gallery.

Chick-Fil-A must be jealous!
This guy must love his VW
Who knows? An OK Car Dealer for sure!
The Catcher
Something?? A flying machine?
An Oakland A’s Pitcher… This guy must be a baseball fan
In a Hurry – Busy Waitress

Florence Avenue is not the only place that Patrick’s art can be found.  A drive into downtown Sebastopol provided many other views.  And even drives into town had some huge works out in the fields and farms.

This Tin Man (or is it a Space Alien?) was in a parking lot in downtown Sebastopol
Whatever floats your boat – Aye Aye Captain

I really had a good time on my visit to Sebastopol.  My grandkids love it as well.  Just wish I would have had more time to drive around town and find more gems.  And it is all so much more fun when I run into fans of my travel blogs and photos.

Some fan who just happened to be in Sebastopol the same time as me. Never got the guy’s name…but he said he loved my work!

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 D Stories #atozchallenge

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with one of my daughters and three grandchildren.  We traveled 8154 miles through 20 states over 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 D Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Dinosaurs

Seems like whenever you get near a trading post a fun place, there always seems to be a dinosaur or two hanging around.  I have dozens and dozens from previous road trips. Here are a few I got on our 8154 Trip.

Clean up your Dog Poop (or should it be Dino Poop?) at Nipton Trading Post, Nipton, CA
Scary dinosaur as seen in Holbrook, AZ
A bunch of Dinosaurs at the Rainbow Rock Shop in Holbrook, AZ
Big guy at Rainbow Rock Shop in Holbrook, AZ
A Gnarly Dino hanging around Uranus, Missouri
Scrap Metal T-Rex in Sebastapol, California
Dinosaurs at Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Company in Holbrook, Arizona

Dr. Pierce’s Barn Sign — Waterville, Washington

Barn signs are very common in the eastern United States (think Mail Pouch Tobacco or Rock City or Meramec Caverns).  In all of my travels in the western United States, I rarely see them.  However, on this trip I saw two barns with the Dr. Pierce’s Golden Medical Discovery painted on them.  One is in bad shape and hard to get to for a photo, but this one in Waterville, Washington is a classic.

So, Dr. Ray Vaughn Pierce (1840-1914) was one of the more successful 19th century Snake Oil Quacks.  He first started his pharmaceutical entrepreneurship in Buffalo N.Y. pushing his own “blood purifier” known as Dr. Pierce’s Golden Medical Discovery.  He, and his son, Valentine Motts Pierce (1865 -1942)  successfully sold the elixir for 90+ years.  You can still find old bottles and boxes of this in some antique stores and museums.

Dr. Pierces Golden Medical Discovery Barn Sign in Waterville, Washington

Devil’s Elbow, Missouri

Route 66 has many iconic stops along the route from Chicago to California.  In Missouri, one of the more famous ones is Devil’s Elbow, which is also famous as a quirky town name.  Situated on the Big Piney River, a few miles east of St. Robert, Missouri, on Route 66,  the small unincorporated community was named for the big “devil of an elbow” bend in the river.

The place has a post office, though it was destroyed during the flood of May 2017.  It has since been added to Shelden’s Market which also serves as a souvenir shop and local gathering spot.

Obviously, as close as I was, I couldn’t resist a stop, though the market and post office were closed on the Sunday morning we came by.

Devil’s Elbow, Missouri
Devil’s Elbow Post Office

Dutch Mill Diner – Tillamook, Oregon

We were in Tillamook late and had made a stop at the world famous Tillamook Creamery.  But, we also had to drive through town.  I was excited to see the Dutch Mill Diner and its classic neon sign. What a bummer that they were closed the evening we drove by.  This is one of those classic 1950s-style diners with the black and white checkerboard tiled floors, cushy booth seats and soda fountain stools.  Would have been a fun stop.

A fun name and a classic neon sign at the Dutch Mill Diner in Tillamook, Oregon

Dick and Charlie’s Tea Room – Caddo Lake, Texas

I have already mentioned in a couple of this years’ posts that we took a fun swamp cruise with my friend Aaron Applebaum of Mystique Tours in Uncertain, Texas.   During that ride in mid-February, one of the more unique places we saw on the swamp ride was Dick and Charlie’s Tea Room, an old run down shack on stilts in the middle of the swamp.  I think the only way to even get there is by boat.

The story of the place says that the building was originally built in the 1800s but became a popular place during the days of Prohibition (from about 1919-1933) . Back then, Marion County (where Uncertain is located) was a dry county, so this place was built across the water in Harrison County, where people could get a drink.

On closer inspection, you can also see their “House Rules” on a sign next to the place.  See the photos below.

Dick and Charlie’s Tea Room, Caddo Lake, Texas
Dick and Charlie’s Tea Room
Dick and Charlie’s House Rules

Direction / Mileage Sign Posts

I always get a kick out of the sign posts that point in the direction of a place and provide the mileage.  In some cases, they are just made for directional purposes.  Here are a few I ran across on this trip.

Direction Sign found in Nipton, California
Direction Sign Post in Raymond, Washington
Neighborhood signs in Seabeck, Washington
More Seabeck Signs

Desert Skies Motel – Classic Route 66 Neon Sign –  Gallup, New Mexico

Desert Skies Motel Classic Neon Sign, Gallup, NM

Davey, Nebraska

We were on the third day of our long trip when we came upon the small community of Davey, Nebraska.  What a place for a Selfie (since my name is David…duh).  And with a number 1 on it to boot!

The small community apparently has about 150 people, but they do have a classic old Post Office. The town was founded in 1886 and was named after one of the local pioneers, Michael Davey.

I was thrilled to come across Davey, Nebraska
Davey, Nebraska Post Office

Danger Sign – Santa Cruz, California

Danger Sign – Santa Cruz, California

Dallas Railway & Terminal Co. – San Francisco, California

Lots of rail cars in San Francisco.  This was on the side of one of them.

Dallas and Railway Terminal on side of rail car in San Francisco

Diner Sign – Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Diner sign in Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Dairy Queen Sign – Williams, Arizona

I was kind of excited to run across this classic old Dairy Queen sign in Williams, Arizona on the trip.

Dairy Queen Sign in Williams, Arizona

Dirt Roads

While in Western Texas I had wanted to visit the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge and the neighboring Grulla National Wildlife Refuge in eastern New Mexico (which is administered by the Muleshoe NWR).  There were supposedly large numbers of Sandhill Cranes in the area and I hoped to get some photos.

As we left our overnight stay in Clovis, New Mexico and made our way to Texico, New Mexico, we found that the road to Grulla was along a nearly twenty mile long, well-maintained dirt road aptly named Stateline Road as it went down the Texas – New Mexico border.  The road was nearly 20 miles from Texico / Farwell to Grulla.

Stateline Road between Farwell, Texas and Texico, New Mexico
Stateline Road
Stateline Road between Texas and New Mexico

Deer as seen near Muleshoe, Texas

We saw this buck while driving on the Stateline Road dirt road
A second buck was just down the road

Dimmitt, Texas

Welcome to Dimmitt, Texas.  I mention Dimmitt because it was near here that we crossed the MAJOR migration paths of both Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese.   As well, the town is located on the old Ozark Trail which ran from St. Louis, Missouri to El Paso, Texas.

Dimmitt, Texas
Migrating Sandhill Cranes as seen near Dimmitt, Texas on TX Hwy 86
Migrating Snow Geese as seen near Dimmitt, Texas on TX Hwy 86

Daffodil Sculpture – Nipton, California

For the small community of Nipton, California, which is literally in the middle of nowhere, there is really a lot to be seen.  I am always in favor of some fun metal sculptures, especially when they are colorful.

Daffodil Sculpture – Nipton, CA

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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