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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A Grab Bag from America’s Back Roads – The X Things #AtoZChallenge

In 2018 I  will feature a random (yet alphabetical) selection of photos I have taken from my nearly 20 years of back roads travel in the United States and Canada.  I may even throw in a few random shots from other trips to Japan, Mexico and the Philippines. My theme is called America’s Back Roads: A Grab Bag of Places in Pictures.

 

Since there are so few places or sites that begin with X, I am throwing a few eXtra items into the miX.

TeXas Signs

Visiting Texas in 2014
Welcome to Texas
Big Texan Steak House – home of the FREE 72 OZ Steak (if you can eat it all) – Amarillo, Texas
Texline, Texas

Xenia, Ohio

Welcome to Xenia, OH
Julianne and David at Xenia Station on the Little Miami Scenic Trail
McColly Covered Bridge built in 1876 near Xenia, OH

Little MeXico – Omaha, Nebraska

Giant Wall Mural in Little Mexico district of Omaha
Mexican Pottery shop in Little Mexico
Colorful Buildings in Little Mexico district of Omaha make you feel like you are in Mexico

TeXan Motel – Raton, New MeXico

I know. I know.  Used this one in an earlier post…but hey…it has an X in it!

Texan Motel – Raton, New Mexico

El FeniX Restaurant – Dallas, TeXas

El Fenix Mexican Food – Dallas, Texas

TeXas Wildflowers

Texas Wildflowers
Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush
Texas Bluebonnet

Gulf of MeXico – Galveston, TeXas

Seagull in flight in Gulf of Mexico
Brown pelicans fly in synchronized formation over the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston, TX
Sumoflam with the Disaster Memorial in Galveston and the Gulf of Mexico in the background
Surrey riding along the beach of the Gulf of Mexico

Hard Rock Cafe – Cozumel, MeXico

Apparently the world’s smallest Hard Rock Cafe in Cozumel, Mexico

TeXarkana, Arkansas and TeXarkana, TeXas

Texarkana Water Tower
In Texarkana, AR in 2009

TaXi Dogs – Pike Place Market – Seattle, Washington

A unique Hot Dog Eatery in Seattle’s Pike Place Market

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, will be available in late April or early May 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.

Books 1 & 2

 

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A Grab Bag from America’s Back Roads – The F Things #AtoZChallenge

In 2018 I  will feature a random (yet alphabetical) selection of photos I have taken from my nearly 20 years of back roads travel in the United States and Canada.  I may even throw in a few random shots from other trips to Japan, Mexico and the Philippines. My theme is called America’s Back Roads: A Grab Bag of Places in Pictures.

 

Feely, Montana

Feely, Montana

Fiberglass Snowman – Lewisburg, West Virginia

Huge snowman in Lewisburg, WV

Fireplace of States – Bemidji, Minnesota

Fireplace of States in Bemidji, MN

Fat Smitty’s – Port Townsend, Washington

Fat Smitty’s, a burger joint near Port Townsend, WA.
Fat Smitty’s ceiling covered with money.

Futuro Flying Saucer House – Covington, Kentucky

The Futuro House in Covington, KY

Four Corners – Teec Nos Pos, Arizona

Four Corners – July 15, 1993

Frank L. White Grave Marker (The Cream of Wheat Guy) – Leslie, Michigan

Grave Marker of Frank L. White, the man featured on Cream of Wheat boxes.  In Woodlawn Cemetery, Leslie, MI

Frostop Root Beer – Ashton, Idaho

Frostop Drive-in – Ashton, ID

Fair Play, South Carolina

Fair Play SC
Fair Play, SC

Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco, California

Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

Fayetteville, West Virginia

The Hobbit Hole – a unique and quirky shop in Fayetteville, WV

Fisherman’s Dream – Enchanted Highway – Regent, North Dakota

Fisherman’s Dream, one of the many Ginormous scrap metal sculptures on the Enchanted Highway
Sumoflam at “Fisherman’s Dream” on Enchanted Highway in North Dakota

First Church of Peculiar – Peculiar, Missouri

First Church of Peculiar – A Peculiar Church in Peculiar, MO

Fox in the Snow – Grand Teton National Park

Fox on Snow in Grand Teton National Park

Flippin, Arkansas

Flippin, Arkansas
Flippin Police
Flippin Christian Church

Fallasburg Covered Bridge – Fallasburg, MI

Fallasburg Covered Bridge, Fallasburg, MI

Fourway, Texas

Buffalo Mural in Fourway, Texas
Sign to Fourway, Texas

Forest Fire Department – Forest, Mississippi

Forest Fire Department, Forest, MS

Flatrock Coffee – Nashville, Tennessee

Had lunch at Flatrock Coffee in Nashville. Great food and a large collection of one of a kind Antsy McClain art on coffee cups
Antsy McClain art on Coffee Cups — one of dozens of original pieces on display at Flatrock Coffee in Nashville

Flying Saucer Monument – Mars, Pennsylvania

Flying Saucer in main town square in Mars, PA

Friendship, Arkansas

Found Friendship in Arkansas
Friendship Police Department

Frank Sinatra Park – Hoboken, New Jersey

Blue Eyes Pizza and Gelato in Frank Sinatra Park

Flower Man House – Houston, Texas

Flower Man House – Houston, Texas

Fly, Ohio

Fly, Ohio

Future City, Illinois

Sign to Future City, Illinois…I guess it is not there yet??

Fox Theatre – Detroit, Michigan

Fox Theatre – Detroit, Michigan

Frog Pond Bar-B-Que – Frog Pond, Tennessee

Frog Pond Bar-B-Que – Frog Pond, Tennessee

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center – Glen Rose, Texas

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas
Angry Ostrich at Fossil Rim

Flood Wall Murals – Paducah, Kentucky; Jeffersonville, Indiana; Point Pleasant, West Virginia; Portsmouth, Ohio

Part of Flood Wall Murals in Paducah
One of the many flood wall murals of Jeffersonville, Indiana
Dafford’s History Mural on flood wall in Point Pleasant, WV
Chillicothe Street 1940s by Robert Dafford in Portsmouth, OH

Fort Worth Stockyards – Fort Worth, Texas

Pecos Bill, the giant longhorn for photo ops at the Fort Worth Stockyards
Cowboys – Fort Worth, Texas

Floodwood Catfish – Floodwood, Minnesota

A Catfish monument in Floodwood, MN where they claim to be the Catfish Capital of the World

Friendly, West Virginia

Meeting a Friendly guy outside the Friendly, WV Post Office

Fort Steuben – Steubenville, Ohio

Fort Steuben Historical Site, Steubenville, OH
Historic Fort Steuben

Findlay Market – Cincinnati, Ohio

Findlay Market, Cincinnati
Sumoflam at Findlay Market in the Over-the-Rhine District of Cincinnati

Frontier Bar & Supper Club – Dunkirk, Montana

Frontier Bar and Supper Club – Dunkirk, Montana
Sumoflam and the Mailbox Guy at Frontier Bar and Supper Club

Mount Fuji – Fuji City, Japan

Mt. Fuji framed by Japanese flag, ca. 1978
Mt. Fuji in the trees and clouds (ca. 1978)

Flower Bed Art – What Cheer, Iowa

A “Flower Bed” in What Cheer, Iowa

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, will be available in late April or early May 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.

Books 1 & 2

 

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