AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – The E 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 E Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Egyptian Theatre – Coos Bay, Oregon

I love classic theatres and wish I had more time and opportunity to visit them on the insides and see their amazing architecture.  Coos Bay’s Egyptian Theatre is a wonderful old place.  It was built in 1925 and was added to Ntional Registry of Historic Places in 2010.  The inside was designed in Egyptian Revival style to celebrate the 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt.

Egyptian Theatre, Coos Bay, Oregon
Front decor of the historic Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay, Oregon

El Rancho Hotel – Gallup, New Mexico

In my original road trip travel plan, I had us scheduled to stay in the historic Route 66 El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, New Mexico, but our travel was delayed, so I had to change plans (which is not unusual for me).  Touted as the Home of the Movie Stars, the hotel was the definition of luxury and included many amenities that were lacking in other typical tourist hotels of the day.  The hotel was opened in 1937 and used as a base for movie productions and a comfortable place for the stars to stay during those productions.  Famous stars such as John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Spencer Tracy, Kirk Douglas, Jane Wyman and Katherine Hepburn are among the many famous actors and actresses to sleep in the beds of the El Rancho.  Maybe on my next trip it will work out for us.

Famous El Rancho Hotel, Gallup, New Mexico

Edna’s Drive-In – Davenport, Washington

Davenport, Washington is a small town on US Highway 2.  There are only about 1700 residents in this town located in the northern wheat belt of the Columbia Basin in eastern Washington.  Due to its size, there are not many chain businesses here.  But, there is what appears to be a fun place to eat.   It is the typical  1960s-style eatery and serves up burgers, fries and milkshakes.  Sadly, the day we drove through, it was still closed, so we didn’t get to try it out.  I have seen older photos of their sign and apparently the “Seven Days without Ednas Makes One Weak” on the marquis has been there for a long time.

Edna’s Drive-In, Davenport, WA

El Falcone – Winslow, Arizona

Winslow may be well known from the Eagles song Take It Easy, but it is also a famed Route 66 town.  Both in 2019 and then in early 2020,  I had the opportunity to visit Winslow and, in both instances, I ate at El Falcone (also just called Falcon Restaurant).  I have had breakfast and dinner there.   Breakfast was excellent.  Dinner was so so.  Service is good and the place has a historical feel to it.

El Falcone, Winslow, Arizona
Chorizo with eggs breakfast  at El Falcone in Winslow
El Falcone interior
Route 66 signs at El Falcone in Winslow, AZ

Equality, Illinois

Are you seeking Equality?  Me too.  And I found it in Illinois. The town of Equality is small.  Only about 600 residents on Illinois Hwy 13 in southeastern Illinois.  Though I am not sure how this small town got its name, it has an interesting back story that really reflects the total opposite of its name.  Apparently, in 1838, a local salt maker and illegal slave trader kidnapper and illegal slave breeder, John Hart Crenshaw, began building his manor house at Hickory Hill just five miles east of Equality; he used the house for his business of kidnapping free blacks and breeding slaves to sell into slavery as part of the Reverse Underground Railroad.  So much for Equality.

Equality, Illinois Water Tower
Equality, Illinois Post Office

Elk as seen in Seaview, Washington

As we drove through Seaview, Washington, we came across a small herd of elk.  Had to stop for pictures.

Elk in Seaview, Washington
You looking at me? An elk stares back in Seaview, Washington

Egret in Uncertain, Texas

Typically, in the swampy  areas of Louisiana and Texas it is not at all unusual to see the Great White Egret, a beautiful bird.  Such was the case as we drive the back roads of Uncertain, Texas in February.

Great White Egret – Uncertain, Texas
Great White Egret, Uncertain, Texas

Eric Seastrand Memorial Highway – CA 46 – Cambria, California

Cambria, California is a beautiful town on the Pacific Coast on the famous CA Hwy 1, just south of Big Sur.  In 1993, CA Hwy 46, from Cambria to US Hwy 101 near Paso Robles, California was named the Eric Seastrand Memorial Highway in honor of former California legislator and member of the U.S. House of Representatives Eric Seastrand, who died of cancer in 1990 at the age of 52.

This is a lovely drive that we took on our way from Cambria to head east to Sequoia National Park.

Eric Seastrand Memorial Highway, CA 46, near Cambria, CA
Sunshine as seen from the Eric Seastrand Memorial Highway.  Pacific Ocean and Cambria can be seen in the background.

Exeter, California

On or trip east from Cambria, we continued on CA Hwy 198 through Visalia and then into Exeter, California, which sits in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.  This drive presents some lovely views of the Sierras.

Exeter, CA and Highway 198 with the Sierra Nevadas up ahead.
Snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada range as seen from CA Hwy 198 near Exeter, CA
CA Hwy 198 near Exeter, California heading towards the Sierra Nevada mountain range


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



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)


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


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



Book 4 Cover Art Reveal – New Book is Titled “8154”

GREAT NEWS! Book 4 is now officially underway! Thanks to my friend Antsy McClain, the new cover for Book 4 has been setup and here it is. Titled “8154” after the number of miles we traveled for 23 days from late January to mid-February 2020, this book will detail my EPIC Roadtrip with my daughter Marissa and her three children. You’ll finally get to take a trip as seen from our eyes. Marissa will help write the book with me. We hope to have it ready for sale by the end of March 2020. We hope you’ll watch for it.

Some of the sights we visited were kindly suggested by our friends at Roadside America.  Visit them and get their app!!

Roadside America iPhone app