Everywhere a Sign – Some M Signs From 2018 #AtoZChallenge

(Editor’s Note:  For  my  2019  posts,  I will be posting photos from my travels in 2018.  I visited 26 states and drive over 13,000 miles in 2018.  These posts will feature of few of the road signs and business signs I came across, as well as some stories behind them. )

There are many road signs and store front signs to be seen across this magnificent country.  The endlessly marvelous variety of signs and places always has me camera ready.  Here are some of the Many signs I found along the way, including some that say Many!  Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.

Many, Louisiana

Welcome to Many. Not just a few here!

I am always on the lookout for a unique town name and its associated signs.  I have found many of them but, in 2018, I found Many! Many is a town in Louisiana.  The town was named after Colonel James B. Many in 1843.  He was an officer stationed in nearby Fort Jesup.

Milton’s Honda Shop, Theodore, Alabama

Milton’s Honda Shop – unique sign
Milton’s Honda Shop – Unique Sign 2

I stop for car art wherever I travel.  I am always amused at how businesses use cars for advertising and also impressed by the use of cars in art project.  Recycling at its best.   Theodore, Alabama is on US Route 90 southwest of Mobile and on the way to Pascagoula, which was my destination on this particular day.  I saw the cars/signs and had to turn around the block to grab shots. The green Honda with an airplane tail was hilarious.  Milton’s Honda Shop advertises “All We Do is Hondas.”

Mount Hood Scenic Byway,  Government Camp, Oregon

Mount Hood Scenic Byway near Government Camp, Oregon

Perhaps one of the most beautiful drives in Oregon, the Mount Hood Scenic Byway is a 105 mile stretch of highway running from Troutdale, Oregon, near Portland and on US Route 26 over and around Mt. Hood through Zigzag, Rhododendron, Government Camp and then back northwest to the Hood River Valley.  In the past I have driven most of this highway, but in 2018 I took US 26 to Government Camp and then continued Southwest to Madras and then on to Bend on US Route 97.   This drive is worthwhile any time of the year, unless you get stuck in a massive winter snow storm.

Mule Trading Post, Rolla, Missouri

Mule Trading Post, Route 66, Rolla, Missouri
Mule Trading Post, Rolla, Missouri

Missouri has a wonderful abundance of Route 66 kitsch.  One of the unique stops along the route is the Mule Trading Post in Rolla, Missouri.  It is home to a giant Hillbilly sign and the ship is filled with all sorts of Route 66 memorabilia as well as  a splendid variety of jerkies and meat sticks. Established in Rolla in 1957, it was one of the great stops along Route 66.  Though it has traded hands a few times, including a purchase by the current owners in early 2018, it is still a must stop if you are driving on Interstate 44 or Route 66 in Missouri.

Murray Cafe, Livingston, Montana

Murray Cafe Classic Neon sign in Livingston, Montana

Livingston, Montana is a classic old town loaded with old vintage neon signs.  I love driving through and feeling the nostalgia of neon.  One of the good ones is the Murray Cafe neon sign in downtown Livingston.  Neon lovers…there you go.

Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail, Biloxi, MIssissippi

Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail

You may all follow my blog because of my travel adventures, but you may not know that over the past decade, I have also become a birder…I photograph birds wherever I go in hopes of finding new ones.  Indeed, one good tern deserves another.  I found this sign in Biloxi, Mississippi and actually did some bird shots there.  But the actual Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail (MCBT) identifies and details over 40 sites that are used by local birders and are historically prime birding locations in the six southernmost counties of Mississippi.  This has to be on one of my next to do lists when I make a trip to Houston.

The Murray Theater, Murray, Utah

Murray Theater, Murray, Utah

I graduated high school from Murray High School in Murray, Utah in 1974.  I saw a number of movies at the Murray Theater back then.  Nowadays it is a business, but the classic neon sign still remains to beckon thoughts back to yesteryear.  It sits right there on State Street in downtown Murray, just south of Salt Lake City.

Like what you see here? Well, there is lots more!  I currently have two books about offbeat and quirky places to take on your road trips. You can see both of my books at http://amzn.to/2ks6fQZ. Working on Book 3, coming in late Spring 2019!!

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My Travels in 2018

Life gets so busy. The first two months of 2019 have been exceptionally busy and so I am just now getting to my annual review posts for 2018.

Visiting Route 66 in Oklahoma

At the beginning of 2018 I didn’t have very high hopes for many travel opportunities. I had begun a new job in early October of the previous year and I didn’t have any definitive travel plans. But, I had also learned to roll with things and, as good fortune would have it, 2018 actually became a really good travel year.

Over the course of the year I was able to travel through 26 different states and drove nearly 12,000 miles. I was able to add a plethora of photos (I took over 15,000 travel photos in 2018) and content for use in future blogs and books. Though many of my travels were alone (which I love), I also was able to travel with family on some of the trips (which I also love!).

Morning sky taken between Bend, OR and Brothers, OR (near Millican, OR) on US Hwy 20 heading east.
A sunset scene taken from the Edmonds to Kingston Ferry in Washington
Lovely sunset after a windy day. Taken on a side road of Interstate 70 just east of Abilene, Kansas
Mt. Aetna as seen from US 50 near Monarch Pass, Colorado.
Desert and snow-covered peaks in Nevada

My major trips included:

  1. A trip to Nashville in January to visit with my new employer ComicBook.com. On this trip I also visited the cool and “off-beat” Paradise PointMarketplace
    Welcome to Paradise Point
  2. In late January I made a trip down to Barren River Lake State Park in southern Kentucky to view the sandhill cranes which had migrated down there.
    Sandhill Cranes take flight
  3. In February I was asked by son Seth to come down to Cypress, Texas to watch his two sons for a couple of weeks while he and his wife were off on a cruise. The trip south took me through Calvert City, KY where I visited the Apple Valley Toy Land and Hillbilly Gardens. I also found my way to Kenton, Arkansas, home of the white squirrels, then to historic Walnut Ridge, Arkansas to see some fun Beatle’s things. I then meandered my way into Louisiana and visited a few fun places. While in Cypress with the boys I also visited Austin and then took the boys venturing out on some of the back roads around the Houston area where we discovered some fun places. My return trip took me up to Keller, Texas to visit my sister and while there I found a few more fascinating places. I then made my way home through Oklahoma and Arkansas, traveling back roads all the way and discovering some fun places. I finally returned to Lexington at the end of February.                                                                                               
    Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden – Calvert City, Kentucky
    Sumoflam with the Beatles in Walnut Ridge, AR
    The Beatles in Houston, statues by Houston artist David Adickes
  4. March saw me again on the road for a quick trip up to Cleveland, Ohio. On this trip, with my wife, we visited sites in Cleveland and then on the way home stopped in Columbus to see the famed Topiary Garden Park. It was a quick, yet fun and interesting trip. 
    Topiary Garden Park of Columbus
  5. On April 2 I set off on one of the biggest road trips I have had in a couple of years. We had a family event taking place in Port Orchard, Washington. I drove while my wife flew (she had a tighter schedule and needed to take some PTO time). I set out heading west through Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. I had hoped to go up through Minnesota, but a major snowstorm diverted much of my initial plan. Nonetheless, I always find something. This trip allowed me to visit seven different Peter Toth “Whispering Giants” , which also took me to other unique places along the way. I ultimately made my way through Iowa Falls, Cedar Rapids, northern South Dakota and overnight in Belle Fourche. I then headed northwest into snowy southeastern Montana and crossed the state from there through Bozeman, Butte, Missoula and overnight in scenic and touristy Wallace, Idaho. From Wallace I made my way to Spokane and then east on US 2, to complete my travels on the western portion of that highway (other parts I had driven on in previous road trips. This took me through Washington’s high desert and then into the Cascades and back down into apple orchard country. I ultimately made my way into the Seattle area. The return trip went down through Olympia and then into Oregon on US 101 and then across Oregon’s high desert, through Winnemucca, Nevada and then into my old stomping grounds in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City. I then ventured to Colorado Springs to see my son Solomon and then across Colorado’s high deserts into western Kansas, and finally back home through St. Louis and Louisville. It was an amazing two week adventure! 
    Visiting the Whispering Giant at Starving Rock State Park in Illinois
    One of over 200 sculptures from around Raymond, Washington
    A stretch of Oregon Highway 205 south of Burns, Oregon
    Leavenworth, Washington
    Snow walls taller than me on both sides of the road at Stevens Pass in Washington
    Helper, Utah
    Dignity: Of Earth and Sky – 50 foot tall statue by Dale Lamphere near Chamberlain, South Dakota
    Men’s Room Door at a gas station in Ashland, Montana
    US Hwy 101 in southern Washington
    Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs, Colorado
    On the road somewhere in NW Nevada
  6. I didn’t really venture out on a road trip again until mid-June when my wife and I took a day long trip up to Cincinnati to see some things we hadn’t done before. It was a nice sightseeing adventure.
    A day trip to Cincinnati with my wife
    The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge as seen from Carew Tower in Cincinnati. When opened on December 1, 1866, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world at 1,057 feet main span.
  7. In late July I was joined by my oldest grandchild Autumn for a fun adventure to Cypress, Texas. I was again asked to babysit my two granddsons for about ten days. Autumn and I meandered our way down there through Tennessee and Alabama down to the gulf coast and into Biloxi, Mississippi. We traveled along the Gulf Coast into Louisiana and eventually into Texas. While in Texas, the four of us made a few trips as well, including a day-long adventure to the weird city of Austin. Autumn and I then returned home through central Texas and up to Keller to stay with my sister and allow Autumn to hang with her cousin, who is the same age. After a couple of days in Keller, Autumn and I returned home through Oklahoma, Kansas and into Missouri, where we visited the unique touristy place called Uranus and then finally home. It was an amazing fun trip.
    Sharkhead in Biloxi, Mississippi
    Decatur, Texas
    Welcome to Uranus Missouri
    Getting stabbed in Bowie, Texas
    One of hundreds of frog statues in Rayne, Louisiana
    Peach Water Tower in Clanton, Alabama
    One of a number of murals in a section of Houston
    Vulcan Statue, one of America’s tallest, in Birmingham, Alabama
    Woody Guthrie Water Towers in Okemah, Oklahoma

    Over the next few posts, I will try to catch up with content about different themes…road scenes, wood art, murals, roadside attractions and more.

    I hope you will enjoy the ride with me as I revisit these adventures.

Have you seen my most recent book yet? “Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions” is 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 Offbeat and Quirky Roadside Attractions

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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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