AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – Reflections #atozchallenge

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with  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 of my entries highlighted a few stories with photos based on the alphabet and not the order of the trip.  If you missed any of the posts, check out my page with all of the links HERE.  I will reflect back on this past month’s posts.  Enjoy the Read! Enjoy the Ride! (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

What a Whirlwind!

CA 198 in Sequoia National Park

Throughout the month of April I participated in the A to Z Challenge.  It was my fourth straight year, but this one was really my most interesting yet.  Beginning in March the Coronavirus hit the world.  I am amazed how a microscopic thing could have such a massive impact on the world.  The world was shut down effectively, but the internet and the opportunity to post content was not.

Patrick Amiot – “Crow Bar” in Sebastapol, CA

It has been a whirlwind.  What made it more so was knowing (in hindsight) that while the coronavirus was hitting the U.S. in Washington and California back in January and February while I was traveling out there with my daughter and her three children.  Many of the places we visited, including massive National Parks like the Grand Canyon, were eventually closed.  In fact, as of this writing, many are still closed.  Restaurants, hotels and other businesses are closed all over the country.  Interstate travel bans are in effect across most states.  As of this writing on May 5, 2020, nearly 70,000 Americans have died of this virus since mid-February…while we were still traveling!!

I am both amazed and grateful that we are all home and safe. And brought back a boat load of memories.

ENJOYING THE RIDE

Interstate 90 at the Montana / Idaho border in late January 2020

I really like to share my travels with the world and the A to Z Challenge provides a great platform to share these with many people of diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Family at the Grand Canyon

Over the course of the past month I posted my 26 posts and included over 300 photos and dozens of unique stories of the places we saw on our epic road trip.  Thus far I have had over 20 comments from readers and well over 200 views of the posts.  I am thrilled for the visits and the experience.

What did you miss?

If you haven’t visited any of my posts, I shared a link to a page that has all of the links at the top of this post.  Please visit it and click on any of the links.  In the mean time, what did you miss?

Montana Highway 1 near Opportunity, Montana
  • A road trip of 8154 miles across 20 states in 21 days
  • Lovely photos of wildlife like eagles, bison, prairie dogs, seagulls and more
  • Amazing scenery from all kinds of geography including mountains, deserts, oceans and massive forests
  • Visits to over a dozen National Parks and Monuments
  • Stories and photos of many unique and quirky road side attractions
  • Visits, photos and stories about towns with unique names
  • A few fun and unique places to eat
  • An opportunity to learn about a different perspective on the amazing diversity of these United States
Pacific Coast as seen from Long Beach, Washington
welcome to Happy, Texas
Bald Eagle, taken on US Highway 2 near Davenport, WA
Big guy at Rainbow Rock Shop in Holbrook, AZ
Mount Rushmore as seen from a tunnel on Iron Mountain Road. The tunnel was built intentionally to frame the monument
Joshua Trees near Baker, CA
Martian Soda anyone?
Sandhill Cranes in West Texas
Paul Bunyan in Klamath, California
San Francisco CA
Uranus Fudge Factory, St Robert, Missouri
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Caddo Lake bayou near Uncertain, Texas

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

 

(13)

AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – The Y Stories #atozchallenge

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with  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 Y Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

EnjoY the rYde  as we drYve Across America – Part Two

Throughout the course of our 8154 Road Trip, there was not anything with an X or a Y in it.  So, I thought I would take readers on a Virtual Road Trip along the highways of America as seen from our eyes. Part One took readers from Kentucky to Idaho. Part Two today will hit the remainder of our trip.  So, travel along with us and check out the scenery from our 23 day trip from Kentucky to Washington, down the Pacific Coast and east through the southwest and Texas. Enjoy the Ride!

Washington Highways

US Highway 2 near Reardan, Washington
Downtown Davenport, Washington
US Highway 2 west of Davenport, Washington
Downtown Hartline, Washington on US Highway 2
US Highway 2 east of Waterville, Washington
US Highway 2 west of Waterville, Washington
Approaching the Cascades on US Highway 2 near Orondo, Washington
US Highway 2 along Lake Wenatchee in East Wenatchee, Washington
Lake Wenatchee as seen from US Highway 2 in East Wenatchee, Washington
Driving on US Highway 2 in Leavenworth, Washington
Downtown Leavenworth, Washington
US Highway 2 west of Leavenworth, Washington on the way to Stevens Pass
US Highway 2 west of Leavenworth, Washington on the way to Stevens Pass
Snow-covered roadside on US Highway 2 at Stevens Pass in Washington
Heading downhill from Stevens Pass on US Highway 2 in Washington
WA Hwy 522 near Monroe, Washington
Tall tree lined Long Lake Road in Port Orchard, Washington
View of Hood Canal from Scenic Beach State Park in Seabeck, Washington
Downtown Shelton, Washington
Tree-lined WA Hwy 3 south of Shelton, Washington
Bridges over the Chehalis River on Washington Hwy 107 in Montesano, Washington
US Hwy 101 north of South Bend, Washington
Forested US Highway 101 near South Bend, Washington
Crossing the Astoria – Megler Bridge on US 101 from Chinook, Washington into Oregon

Oregon Highways

US 101 crossing the wide Columbia River from Washington into Oregon
Astoria-Megler Bridge just north of Astoria, Oregon on US Highway 101 crossing over the Columbia River
The drive through Fort Stevens State Park near Hammond, Oregon
US Highway 101 north of Bandon, Oregon
Downtown Bandon, Oregon
A Pacific Coast scene from US Highway 101 near Gold Beach, Oregon

California Highways

US 101 Trinidad, California
US 101 near Scotia, California on the approach to Redwoods National Park
CA Hwy 254 – Avenue of the Giants – in Redwoods National Park near Scotia, California
CA Hwy 254 through the Redwoods near Redcrest, California
Looking up at the Redwoods on CA Hwy 254 near Redcrest, California
US Highway 101 near Penngrove, California
The Golden Gate Bridge and US Highway 101 as seen from Mill Valley, California
Crossing Golden Gate Bridge on US Hwy 101 into San Francisco
Crossing the Bay Bridge on Interstate 80 from San Francisco, California
Driving on the California Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) near Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
A lovely view of Big Sur as seen from CA Hwy 1
CA Highway 46 east of Cambria, California
California Hwy 46 through Paso Robles, California
CA Hwy 41 near Shandon, California
California Hwy 41 near Avenal, California
California Hwy 41 near Stratford, California
CA Hwy 198 heading east towards the Sierra Nevadas near Visalia, California
CA Hwy 198 heading to the Sierra Nevada range near Exeter, California
Another view of the Sierra Nevada range from CA Hwy 198 near Exeter, California
CA Hwy 198 in Lemon Cove, California
California Hwy 198 near Three Rivers, California
After entering Sequoia National Park on CA Hwy 198.
Climbing altitude in Sequoia National Park on CA Hwy 198.
Driving through the giants in Sequoia National Park on CA Hwy 198.
Driving through the giants in Sequoia National Park on CA Hwy 198.
Amazing giant trees in Sequoia National Park on CA Hwy 198.
Up high in Sequoia National Park on CA Hwy 198.
Driving through the giants in Sequoia National Park on CA Hwy 198.
Heading back down the road in Sequoia National Park on CA Hwy 198.
Driving into sunset on California Hwy 65 near Terra Bella, California
Sunrise on Interstate 15 heading east near Yermo, California
Interstate 15 heading into Baker, California
Interstate 15 near Baker , California
Interstate 15 east of Baker, California
Interstate 15 heading east just south of Nipton, California
Nipton Road heading to Nevada near Nipton, California
Nipton Road heading towards Searchlight, Nevada

Nevada Highways

Driving the Joshua Tree Highway, Nevada Highway 164 west of Searchlight, Nevada
Nevada Highway 164 near Searchlight, Nevada
Nevada Highway 163 near Laughlin, Nevada

Arizona Highways

Arizona Highway 68 near Bullhead City, Arizona
Welcome to Williams, Arizona on US Route 66
Arizona Highway 64 from Williams, Arizona
US Route 66 in downtown Holbrook, Arizona
Interstate 40 near Chambers, Arizona
Interstate 40 heading east into Ganado, Arizona
Interstate 40 in Ganado, Arizona

New Mexico Highways

Interstate 40 eastbound near Continental Divide, New Mexico
US Route 66 / Interstate 40 near Casa Blanca, New Mexico
Interstate eastbound heading into Albuquerque, New Mexico with the Sandia Mountains in the background
Interstate 40 heading east into Moriarty, New Mexico
Stateline Road (NM 348) between Texico, New Mexico and Farwell, Texas

Texas Highways

Texas FM 1075 near Happy, Texas
Downtown Quitaque, Texas
Downtown Turkey, Texas
Downtown Matador, Texas
Downtown Crowell, Texas
Texas FM 1919 near Seymour, Texas
Texas Highway 70 near Flomot, Texas
Interstate 20 heading east near Longview, Texas
Heading north on Texas FM 2198 near Karnack, Texas

Louisiana Highways

Louisiana Highway 2 near Vivian, Louisiana
Louisiana Hwy 170 in Vivian, Louisiana
Interstate 49 heading north of Vivian, Louisiana

Arkansas Highway

Interstate 30 near Donaldson, Arkansas

Tennessee Highways

Crossing the Mississippi River and entering Tennessee on Interstate 40 near Memphis, TN

Kentucky Highway

The Bluegrass Parkway heading towards Lexington on the final leg. This is near Elizabethtown, KY

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

 

(13)

AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – The S Stories #atozchallenge

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with  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 S Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Please note that this one is a fairly lengthy post. So, Enjoy the Read and Enjoy the Ride!

Sesame Street – Seabeck, Washington

While driving through Seabeck, Washington we came upon Sesame Street.  So now I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street!

I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street — Its in Seabeck, Washington

Santa Cruz Surfing Museum – Santa Cruz, California

Had a nice visit in Santa Cruz to see the beautiful ocean views.  Came upon the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, which was closed.  The building also has a nice lighthouse on top – the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse.

Santa Cruz Surfing Museum – Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz Lighthouse on top of the Surfing Museum

The Sweet Place – Philipsburg, Montana

When we drove through Philipsburg, Montana, off of Montana Highway 1, we were pleasantly surprised by the huge candy store called The Sweet Palace.  The place was huge and has an amazing variety of candy, chocolate and fudge.  There are also some unique varieties of soda.

The Sweet Place – Philipsburg, Montana
The Sweet Palace – World’s Greatest Candy Store
Sweet Palace – Lots of Goodies
Sweet Palace – use a basket
Sweet Palace – Chocolate

Sleeper Market – Sleeper, Missouri

Driving through Missouri and just off of Interstate 44 on Missouri Road F, we drove through the small community of Sleeper, Missouri.  It was named after a railroad employee in the 1880s.  Apparently the employee had gotten a nicname of “Sleeper.”  I loved the Sleeper Market sign.

Sleeper Market – Sleeper, Missouri
Sleeper, Missouri

Seaside, Oregon

Colorful sign, but lots of rain on this day as we drove the the community of Seaside, Oregon.  on US Hwy 101.

Welcome to Seaside, Oregon

Sandhills Journey Byway – Nebraska Highway 2 – Central Nebraska

As we drove west across Nebraska, we hopped on Nebraska Highway 2, which is also known as the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway.   This is a 272 mile journey through the Nebraska Sandhills, the Ogallala Aquifer, the Nebraska National Forest and more.  It runs from Grand Island, Nebraska to Alliance, Nebraska.

Sandhills Journey Byway – Central Nebraska

Sapp Brothers Water Tower – Nebraska City, Nebraska

There are many unique and iconic water towers along the back roads of America.  The Sapp Brothers truck stops all have nice coffee pot water towers.  The photo below is of the one in Nebraska City.

Sapp Brothers Water Tower – Nebraska City, Nebraska

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is a wonderful city on a lovely bay.  I have been there a few times.  On this trip we didn’t have a lot of time for the city, but got a nice skyline view from above the Golden Gate bridge and did a drive through some of the city. We drove by the Salesforce Tower, which is the second tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

San Francisco, California
Downtown San Francisco
Salesforce Tower in San Francisco – 970 feet tall. Tallest in San Francisco and 2nd tallest west of the Mississippi River.
Housing in San Francisco

Stateline Road – Farwell, Texas

I have written about it before.  The Stateline Road between Farwell, Texas and Texico, New Mexico is mainly a 20 mile long dirt road.  We took it to get over to the National Wildlife Refuges near Muleshoe, Texas.

State Line Road – Farwell, Texas
20 mile long dirt road Stateline Road in Farwell, Texas

Sun ‘n Sand Neon Sign – Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Santa Rosa, New Mexico is a treasure trove of vintage neon signage from the days of Route 66.  The Sun ‘n Sand Motel sign is a classic.  Though the motel has been closed for a few years, the historic iconical sign still remains.

Sun and Sand Motel old neon sign in Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Spotted Horse, Wyoming

Driving northeast on Route 16 in Wyoming, we came across the little place known as Spotted Horse, and famous for the big spotted horse in the front of the place.  It is a small store, an old Standard Gas Station and a bar.  We only stopped for pictures.

Spotted Horse, Wyoming
Spotted Horse, Wyoming, Population 2

Shawnee Chief Motel – Shawneetown, Illinois

I always like to get vintage motel signs and the Shawnee Chief Motel sign.  This is an old Mom and Pop motel near the Ohio River town of Shawneetown.

Shawnee Chief Motel – Shawneetown, Illinois

Seattle, Washington Skyline

Whenever I visit my daughter in Port Orchard, I have to take the short drive to Manchester to grab a skyline shot of Seattle.  On this trop it was cloudy and allowed for a unique shot.

Seattle Skyline

Sandhill Crane Migration – Dimmitt, Texas

One of the things I looked most forward to on the return trip home was seeing Sandhill Cranes.  We made the long trip from Clovis, New Mexico to Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge to see them, but only found disappointment.   But, as we continued west towards Fort Worth, I was overly delighted to see massive flocks of them migrating north near Dimmitt, Texas.  It is always an amazing sight and, of course, their eerie calls can be heard from far away.   We saw even more near Seymour, Texas.

Sandhill Cranes as seen near Dimmitt, Texas
Sandhill Cranes
Sandhill Cranes flyover
Massive numbers of Sandhill Cranes in west Texas
Sandhill Cranes fly by wind generators
Sandhill Cranes in west Texas
Sandhill Cranes in Seymour, Texas

Patrick Amiot, Junk-art Sculptures, Sebastopol, California

California is a huge state and I have only had rare occasions to visit.  On this trip we were close to the town of Sebastopol, a place highly recommended to me by my friends at RoadsideAmerica.com.  This town is home to junk-art creator Patrick Amiot who collects all sorts of junk and creates art.  The town of Sebastopol and neighboring areas are dotted with dozens and dozens of his works.  I took many photos and will feature more in my new 8154 Book, but here are a few shots from the visit.  His works are whimsical and fun.

Sebastopol, California -Patrick Amiot artist home
Patrick Amiot – “Crow Bar” in Sebastopol, CA
Drive junk-art in Sebastopol
Junk-art Mermaid – Sebastopol, California
Junk-art Sailor – Sebastopol, California
Junk-art Babe Ruth – Sebastopol, California
Batman and Robin in Sebastopol, California
Skeleton Rider – Sebastopol, California
Catcher – Sebastopol, California
Hanging with the T-Rex in Sebastopol

Seagulls from all over

Every time I am on the coast or near water, I am blessed to see seagulls.  I love watching these playful birds.  Here are few of the many shots I took on the road.

Seagull – Langlois, Oregon
Seagull – North Bend, Oregon
Seagull – Long Beach, Washington
Seagull – Cannon Beach, Oregon
Seagull – Manchester, Washington
Seagull – Santa Cruz, California
Seagull – Cambria, California

Slow Down for Wildlife Sign

Always a sucker for a fun sign.  Saw this one on the road up to Sequoia National Park.

Slow Down for Wildlife sign – Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park – California

As we traveled south from Washington, my daughter insisted that we find a way to get to Sequoia National Park.  It was way out of the way, but well worth it.  The drive from the park entrance up to the park is long and arduous, but so beautiful.

Sequoia National Park
Giant Sequoia Trees
Towering Trees
Sequoia Trees
Sunshine through the Sequoias

Shopping Cart Sculpture – Nipton, California

Nipton, California is such a whimsical and unique place.  I have written about it on a few other posts.  But, I wanted to include the really funky sculpture made from shopping carts outside of Nipton Trading Post.

Shopping Cart Sculpture – Nipton, California

Snow Geese Migration near Dimmitt, Texas

I had barely caught my breath from the excitement of the sandhill cranes on the road to Dimmitt, and then, just a couple of miles later we came across thousands of snow geese.

Snow Geese Migration – Dimmitt, Texas
1000s of Snow Geese
Snow Geese with one Canada Goose
Snow Geese and Canada Geese
Migrating Snow Geese

Sunrise, Sunset – California

Sunrise in Baker, California
Sunset over the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, California

Signs of Seabeck – Seabeck, Washington

Seabeck, Washington
Signs of Seabeck 1
Signs of Seabeck 2

San Francisco Peaks – Flagstaff, Arizona

San Francisco Peaks – Flagstaff, Arizona
San Francisco Peaks

Spaceship – Baker, California

Spaceship – Baker, California

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

 

(11)