June 2019 Road Trip: Fun, Quirky and Offbeat Things

With any road trip I take, I look for a lot of different things.  I can find the offbeat and quirky, the beautiful, the unique, the magical, the historical, the fun and more…all in one trip.  I am focused…on the big picture.

My June 2019 road trip took me over the road for nearly 6000 miles and through nine states.  I tried to stick to back roads wherever possible because that is where the greatest discoveries can be found.

In this post, I present to you some of the more unique, fun and, in some cases quirky things that I discovered along the way.  There is always something out there.

Here are few fun things…

Place Names

Welcome to Delight, Arkansas

I am always looking for fun names.  How about Delight, Turkey, Jolly, Greasy Corner?

Wildorado, Texas
That way to Turkey, Texas (I didn’t have time to take a Turkey trek.)
Greasy Corner, Arkansas. I did mosey on over to Greasy Corner only to find the corner, but no signs
Jolly, Texas. We didn’t stop, but I have been there before. Not much Jolly there but a truck stop

Business Names

Well Lookee Shop in Jemez Springs, NM

Well lookee here, there are some fun business signs to found on the road, including one of my (now) all-time favorites below.

Ever had a BBQ Sno-Cone? They have them in Dover, Tennessee
Or maybe you wanna getcha some of this instead? (BBQ that is) Naaman’s BBQ in Texarkana, Texas
A motel in Winslow, Arizona taking full advantage….
We all know what NEED to be done on a road trip. This place between Winslow and Holbrook can fulfill the need
Would you stay in a place called “It’ll Do Motel”? Can you do better? Its in Clarendon, Texas

Other Unique Signs and Things

I guess this is one place where people are delighted, even when dead? Delight, Texas

I often come across signs around towns, in shops, restaurants and such that make me want to snap a shot.

Ya Can’t Fix Stupid…especially the ones who try to take their cars where they shouldn’t go.  This sign was in a shop window in Winslow, Arizona.  Weaver’s is actually in Water Valley, Mississippi
I guess aliens need to park somewhere – at The Thing in Dragoon, Arizona
Circle N takes the No Shirt No Shoes concept to a whole new level Forrest City, Arkansas
Texans apparently don’t call 911. Saw these in a shop near El Paso, Texas
Now, this is a good spin on Desserts! Saw this at a restaurant on the top of Mt. Lemmon, near Tucson, AZ
And then you should mind your own biscuits. Found in a cafe in Clarkson, Kentucky
Speaking of restrooms, The Thing in Arizona apparently has some good uns….

Then there is the unique…

Big Pink Elephant with glasses in Clarksville, TN

Then there are the unique things out there.  The Glass-wearing elephant has a bovine friend just north of it in Kentucky

Big Cow with pink glasses in Guthrie, KY
And the cow’s pal Pink Elephant around the corner from it in Guthrie as well.
What’s a road trip without coming across a big ol’ Muffler Man?  This one is on a rooftop in downtown Gallup, New Mexico
I came face to face with this dinosaur at The Thing in Dragoon, Arizona
And saw this big metal chomper in Sedona, Arizona
Holbrook, Arizona has dozens of dinos hanging around. Here are a couple of biggies
Absurd…saw this replica of the Ghostbusters car in Bogata, Texas.  I guess in Texas they are Ghostboosters?  “Boost’n Makes Me Feel Good”
On the timezone in Clarkson, Kentucky. You decide what time it is.
You can sleep in a Wigwam in Holbrook, Arizona
You must stay within 31 MPH in Trenton, Tennessee
Watch out for the big bugs
I never take a trip without trying to see if a Peter Toth Whispering Giant can be seen. This one was in Winslow, Arizona
And this Whispering Giant was in Las Cruces, New Mexico
A church built into the rock? Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona
I can’t say I’ve been everywhere until I have been to the birthplace of Johnny Cash in Kingsland, Arkansas

And what a fine sight I was when I jumped in and photo-bombed a motocycle club standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona

Couldn’t resist jumping in with this nice Motorcycle Club from Phoenix at the famed corned in Winslow, AZ

And the Chart Topper (or should I say the Tram Topper?) is….

Watched this guy climb up on the top of the Sandia Peaks Tram in Albuquerque, NM to ride 1200′ above ground on a couple of wires for about 2 miles and 15 minutes. I was scared to death just taking his picture.

Like what you see? Well, there is lots more!  I now have three books available about offbeat and quirky places to take on your road trips. You can see all of them at http://amzn.to/2ks6fQZ. Book 3 was published and available on August 24, 2019.

Book Cover for Book 3 – Cover Art and design by Antsy McClain

 

 

 

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Everywhere a Sign – Some H 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!)

H is the beginning of Happy.  Being on a road trip always keeps me happy and healthy and hopping.  I saw many H signs during my travels across the states in 2018.  Here are a few of them.  Enjoy the Read.  Enjoy the Ride.

Happyville Rd., Greensburg, Kentucky

Happyville Rd., Greensburg, Kentucky

I was down in southern Kentucky early in 2018 to view the Sandhill Crane migrations, one of my passions. On the drive back to Lexington from the Barren River Lake State Park, I took a new route of off US 68 and cut north towards Hodgenville, through Greensburg and saw the sign.  Naturally, I had to stop and grab a shot!! So, I start this blog post with Happyville…why not get happy?

Holy Water Car Wash, Zwolle, Louisiana

Holy Water Car Wash, Zwolle, Louisiana

Every so often, some of my followers will come across places that make them think of me and will send me a photo asking if I had been there.  Such was the case with the Holy Water Car Wash in Zwolle, Louisiana.  After getting the photo from a friend, I added it to my to do list and when I took a trip to Houston, I routed it through Louisiana just so I could go to Zwolle (both for the car wash and for the Z named town).  I got my own version of the sign!  And Zwolle is a cool town too (as you will see in my Z Sign post in this series later this month).  How can anyone pass up a sign like this?  And no, I didn’t wash the hell out of my car on this trip.

Hurts Donut – Frisco, Texas and Katy, Texas

Wanna Hurts Donut?
Hurts Donut in Frisco, Texas
Hurts Donut Menu, Katy, Texas

If you grew up in America in the 1960s, chances are you were asked the questions:

“Would you like a hurts donut?” or “Would you like a nice Hawaiian Punch?”

In either case, if you answered “Yes,” you got a nice punch on your arm.  And with the donut one, came the question, “Hurts, don’t it?”

Bathroom Sign in Hurts Donut

Hurts Donut company was started in Springfield, Missouri by Tim and Cas Klegg, along with Scott Bussard sometime in 2014.  There are many donut places in this country and a few big chains.  There are fewer Donut places that make trendy specialty donuts. In all of my travels, I have only come across a very few, my favorites being Voodoo Doughnut (out of Portland, Oregon and now in a few other diverse places, including Austin, Texas) and the other being Hurts Donut.

Hurts Donut door in Frisco, Texas

Hurts Donut is a Destination.  It is a fun place.  They have many themes and each place even has their own Donut Ambulance, for Donut Emergencies! They have over 80 different donut varieties in 19 locations, as far west as Tempe, Arizona and through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Iowa and even stores in Colorado and Wisconsin.

Hippo Heaven, Hutto, Texas

Got Hippo? If not, try Hutto, Texas
Hutto Welcome Mural
Hutto, home to over 3,000 Concrete Hippos

Hutto, Texas is home of the Hippos.  Yes, that is the mascot of the High School Athletic Teams.  But, unlike other towns, this one has taken it to an extreme by having concrete hippos, large and small, dotting the town.  I have yet to do a blog post about Hutto, but I do have dozens of photos.  A blog post will be forthcoming.  But, if you like Hippos, then Hutto is an absolute must see!

Helper, Utah

Helper, Utah

Smack in the middle of Utah, down in a small canyon is an old historic community called Helper. An old coal mining and railroad town, the name is derived from the “helper engines” that help push the long coal trains up over the Soldier Summit.  It is a cool little town with some unique quirky attractions, old buildings and beautiful scenery.

Hochatown, Oklahoma

Hochatown, Oklahoma

Located about one mile west of Broken Bow Lake on US Hwy 259 in Oklahoma, Hochatown is definitely a tourist attraction town.  Being next to the lake, it is close to fishing and kayaking.  But, in town there are Sasquatch Tours, a cool putt-putt golf course with a golf club laden Muffler Man, and the “tourist trap” kind of shops with all sorts of souvenirs.  It is also in a pretty part of Oklahoma among pine trees and nice scenery.

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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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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