Everywhere a Sign – Some V Signs From 2018 #AtoZChallenge

Its a very exciting time when I can visualize a future trip on the back roads of America. I tackle all of my trips with Vim and Vigor.  I feel validated after even the most vexing of trips.

As I wind down the month of April and the 2019 blogging challenge, I can see the finish line and can tast victory.  Maybe I will celebrate with Voodoo Doughnuts!! I hope you enjoy some of the V Signs I discovered in my 2018 travels.  Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.

Voodoo Doughnut, Austin, Texas

Voodoo Doughnut, Austin, Texas
Voodoo Doughnut, Cash Only
Voodoo Doughnut emulating Wall Drug (see below)
Where the Heck is Wall Drug?

There are not many unique doughnut places.  But, in my opinion, of all of the unique ones, Voodoo Doughnut rides the Top of the list.   My first experience with Voodoo was in 2011 in Portland, Oregon.  I visited the mother ship in Old Town Portland and took my place in the never ending line of folks waiting to get their out of this world unique doughnut fix.  Portland is a strange and quirky town, especially in the Old Town area, so Voodoo fit right in.   The original shop opened in 2003.  After three shops in Oregon, in December 2013 they ventured out of the safety of Oregon to open in Denver, on Friday the 13th.   Well, Austin is another weird town and Sixth Street is the place to be.  Sometime in 2014 or 2015, Voodoo opened their fifth shop in Austin.  I got to visit there twice in 2018 with my grandchildren.  What a kick!  Just an FYI, the Universal CityWalks in Hollywood and Orlando now have a Voodoo Doughnut.  So, if you are out and about…make your way to Voodoo!

The Vulcan Center in Birmingham, Alabama

The Vulcan Center, Birmingham, Alabama
Vulcan Statue, one of America’s tallest, in Birmingham, Alabama

The Vulcan Center in Birmingham, Alabama is home to the Vulcan statue, which is the largest cast iron statue in the world.  It is the city symbol of Birmingham, reflecting its roots in the iron and steel industry. The 56-foot tall statue depicts the Roman god Vulcan and was created as Birmingham’s entry for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in the 1904 World’s Fair. The statue is one of the tallest statues in the United States.  I wrote about the Vulcan statue along with my other 2018 highlights in THIS POST.

Like what you see? 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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Everywhere a Sign – Some E 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.  Enjoy the Read and Enjoy the Ride!)

Every road is an adventure.  Every detour offers new entertainment.  In this post I am providing some of the E signs I came across during my travels across the country in 2018.  E means ENJOY!

Eighter From Decatur, Decatur, Texas

Eighter from Decatur sign in Decatur, Texas
Decatur, Texas – Home of the Eighter from Decatur

Decatur, Texas is a fun little town.  Home of the famed Petrified Wood Gas Station (and a few other vintage gas stations), it is also home to the “Eighter from Decatur.”  “Eighter from Decatur” is a slang phrase used by craps shooters who want to roll an eight as well as the title of a song by Western Swing legend Bob Wills.  In 1949, Decatur mayor Sly Hardwick added the phrase to two signs welcoming tourists to the town.

Empire Theater, Livingston, Montana

Empire Theater, Livingston, Montana

There are hundreds of movie theaters dotting this great country.  I love capturing images of many of the vintage marquees.  This one is from the lovely mountain town of Livingston, Montana.  The Empire Theater has two screens.

Edgewater Park, Cleveland, Ohio

Edgewater Park, Cleveland, Ohio

Edgewater Park is one of Cleveland’s premier parks.  On the edge of Lake Erie, the park offers so many wonderful things in its 147 acres.  It has over 9000 feet of shoreline offering some splendid views of the lake, a nice view of downtown Cleveland and more.  I love visiting there for the scenic views and for photos of the birds.

8th Wonder Brewery, Houston, Texas

8th Wonder Brewery, Houston, Texas

In 1965, the Houston Astrodome was opened and was one of the biggest sports venues of its type.  It was given the nickname “The 8th Wonder of the World.” The 8th Wonder Brewery took on this name in 2013 when they opened their brewery in the eastern part of downtown Houston.  If you like craft beer, then you would want to visit here.   But, the property also has a huge Houston sign, four 30 foot tall sculptures of the Beatles (see my post about them here), and the entire area for a few blocks has dozens of unique street art and murals.

EAT Signs – Vinita, Oklahoma, Houston, Texas and Uranus, Missouri

EAT Sign in Vinita, Oklahoma on Route 66
EAT Sign in Uranus, Missouri on Route 66
Eat Sign at Star Pizza in Houston, Texas

Over the years I have been building up my collection of EAT signs that I come across.  I think I have over a dozen.  I captured three of them in my 2018 travels as shown above.  Makes you hungry eh?

Looking for a unique and fun gift for yourself or  your traveler friends? How about a book 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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Travel in 2018: The Best of the Roadside Attractions – Part 1

Sharkheads in Biloxi, MS

Obviously, one of my favorite things to do on road trips short or long is locate the fun, unique and offbeat roadside attractions.  And, fortunately, 2018 provided me a plethora of these.  I have already written about a few of them individually in past months, but this post will be a nice little “photo tour” of some of my favorites.

Having been through 26 different states in 2018, I had plenty of sites and loads of fun.  I got to share many of these with grandchildren, which made it even better.

Dignity: Of Earth and Sky – 50 foot tall statue by Dale Lamphere

Sumoflam with Dignity near Chamberlain, SD

Perhaps my favorite from 2018 was the amazing giant Dignity: Of Earth and Sky statue in Chamberlain, South Dakota.  This giant 50 foot tall steel statue honors the women of the Lakota and Dakota tribes.  It was created by artist  South Dakota Dale Lamphere.  It sits in a rest area overlooking the Missouri River and can be seen from quite a distance.

The statue also features a Star Quilt that has more than 100 blue diamond shapes that move in the wind.  Really a wonderful site and it is also one of America’s tallest statues (the 20th tallest according to Wikipedia listing).

80 Foot Long and 37 Foot Tall Brontosaurus statue in Wall Drug created by Emmett Sullivan

Sumoflam takes a selfie with Wall’s giant Brontosaurus

Another giant is just down the road from Dignity. Wall Drug’s giant brontosaurus stretches 80 feet and sits 37 feet tall as it overlooks Interstate 90  at the Wall Exit.  Even there is no time for a visit to Wall Drug, there is always time to stop for a photo-op with a giant friendly dino!

 

Dinosaurs seem to be all over the country and on my four big trips in 2018 I came across a few more of them.  Always fun!

A Scary Dino in Uranus, Missouri

A colorful scrap metal dinosaur in Carmine, Texas

Skeleton Walking Dinosaur near Murdo, SD

Scary Dino in Price, Utah

Another Giant dino in Uranus

A T-Rex stands at the entrance to Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas

Grandson Rockwell and I hanging with Ms. Pearl

Dinosaurs are not the only giants that I came across on the road in 2018.  One of my favorite “giants” was “Ms. Pearl” the giant squirrel in Cedar Creek, Texas at the Berdoll Pecan Candy factory.   Created in 2011, it stands 14 feet tall and currently lays claim to be the tallest squirrel statue in the world.  Like many “roadside” attractions, this one is very visible off of TX Hwy 71.

Nice thing about Berdoll’s is that you can get your picture with Ms. Pearl and even get some Pecan goodies from their 24/7 Pecan Vending Machine.

Ms. Pearl, the 14 foot tall squirrel in Cedar Creek, Texas

Other big things I came across in 2018

A Big Bull and Bison at Chef Louie’s steakhouse in Mitchell, SD

There is a big pig (named Wilbur of course) and then a spider web, with Charlotte, in Wilbur, Washington

Giant Shark Head at Sharkheads in Biloxi, Mississippi

A Giant Metal Owl in southern Houston

Giant Spurs in Hico, Texas

The Giant Bowie knife in Bowie, Texas

The Big Black Muffler Man wielding a miner’s ax in Helper, Utah

Then there are the big Muffler Men and Big John statues.  There are dozens and dozens of these dotting the landscape.  I came across a couple of fun ones in 2018.  In Helper, Utah there is one that is painted totally black…to represent the Coal Miners.

These guys are about 15 feet tall and basically all look alike except for the additional things added to them by the local sites.  Over the years I personally have photographed nearly 40 different versions of Big John, Muffler Men or Uniroyal Gals.

You can find them looking like Paul Bunyan, cowboys, Indians and other fun things.

I always like coming across these unique pieces of funky Americana.

Another look at the big black muffler man in Helper, Utah

A Big John at Steppin’ Out Western Wear in Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma

Then there is the Big John in Hochatown, Oklahoma…with a golf club

I am working on Part 2 of this travel report with more big and unique things to see.  Watch for it soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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