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 P Signs From 2018 #AtoZChallenge

Perfection is not something I seek on a road trip.  Play is the key word for me.  Driving from here to there on a back road is like playing.  The game of discovery is so much fun. And I am passionate about the places I venture into, whether it be a small country community on a narrow two-lane road or a big city amid the proud tall-standing buildings.  Pure passionate playfulness. And here are some of the interesting P signs I discovered in my 2018 travels. Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.

Putnam’s One-Stop Bait Shop Sign, Rogersville, Alabama

Putnam’s One stop Bait Shop, Rogersville, Alabama
Putnam’s Shad Guts
Putnam’s Fiddle Worms

Driving to Houston through Alabama brought plenty of surprises.  It was my first trip into this section of Northern Alabama.  We drove down Alabama 101 from Lexington, Alabama towards the Tennessee River crossing at Wheeler Dam.  Just before we got there, I came across this old bait shop just south of the intersection of AL 101 and US Highway 72.  The old faded mural on the side of the building is what grabbed me.  The Fiddle Worms and Shad Guts on the front of the building were the final clinchers.  What in the world is a fiddle worm?  What the heck are Shad Guts? (No, I am not a fisherman).

Petrified Wood Gas Station, Decatur, Texas

Petrified Wood Gas Station, Decatur, Texas
Sumoflam at the Petrified Wood Station

This place was on my MUST SEE bucket list for a number of years and I finally got to see it last summer on my way back to Kentucky from a visit to Texas with my granddaughter.  Sitting on the local business route of US Highways 81/287 is an old gas station and Tourist Camp faced with Petrified Wood. It is a nostalgic throwback to the early days of road travel.  It is no longer a functioning gas station, but it is a symbol for the town of Decatur.   According to a history of Wise County, Texas, this station was built in 1927 by E.F. Boydston, a local businessman in the county.   Initially, he built a wooden shed for travelers as well as a couple of cabins.  He allowed visitors to build campfires on the spot.  By 1931 he had built three wooden cabins with garages.  It was called the Texas Tourist Camp at the time. Then, for some reason, maybe looks, he faced his station and the three cabins with petrified wood in 1935 after the highway was widened.   The Boydston family ultimately sold the property in 1988.    On a side note, there is a legend that Bonnie and Clyde stayed at the tourist camp during their runs from the law.

Papa Joe’s Stop & Go, Crescent Junction, Utah

Papa Joe’s in Crescent Junction – fun “tourist trap”
Papa Joe’s Oasis, Crescent Junction, Utah

Crescent Junction, Utah is called such because it is the junction of US Highways 191, 50 and 6.  Traveling on Interstate 70 east from Green River, Utah towards Grand Junction, Colorado, Crescent Junction sends US 191 south towards Moab while US 50/6 continue east.  At the Junction, which really is in the middle of the eastern Utah desert, there is not much.  Need a restroom break, water, drinks, snacks?  Papa Joe’s offers all of this and more.

Like many other “tourist traps,” this place offers many goodies, Utah souvenirs, has alien cut outs, an old replica of the Scooby Doo Magic Van, and has recently opened a second building to carry Beef Jerky products.

Only recommendation…you may want to avoid buying gas.  Get your gas in Green River, Moab or Grand Junction.  Papa Joe likes to price gouge a bit on the car juice.

Powder River Lanes, Broadus, Montana

Powder River Lanes, Broadus, Montana

Old bowling alleys always provide some fun sign shots.  Back in the 1960s bowling was a big thing.  Many people enjoy the sport (my hand is raised as one of them), but you don’t see many new ones going up.  The old vintage signs are always a kick.  I saw this one in Broadus, Montana on my northwest from South Dakota towards Billings on US Highway 212. Nowadays, casinos are a big thing and Montana has hundreds of small casinos.  There is one in this old bowling alley.

Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, Cosmopolis, Washington

Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, US 101, Cosmopolis, Washington

Both Washington and Oregon have a Pacific Coast Scenic Byway.  I was able to drive part of Washington’s in 2018. The Washington version of the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway is a 350 mile drive starting in Olympia, Washington. From there it outlines the entire Olympic Peninsula, and then meanders through Olympic National Park and its lush rain forests.  It continues along ocean beaches beginning at Olympia’s Ruby Beach, then extends south to the border with Oregon, ending near Long Beach, Washington. Some of the route also goes along US Highway 101.  I would love to drive the entire route someday.

Portway Tavern, Astoria, Oregon

Portway Tavern, Astoria, Oregon

This is another of those places with a unique business sign. I didn’t stop into the Portway Tavern, located in the VERY scenic town of Astoria in northwest Oregon.  It is one of those places with a colorful history, dating back to the 1920s, when the place was established by Victor Jarvinen. It has a number of unique stories and myths and claims to be the oldest tavern/saloon west of the Rockies.

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 M 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. )

There are many road signs and store front signs to be seen across this magnificent country.  The endlessly marvelous variety of signs and places always has me camera ready.  Here are some of the Many signs I found along the way, including some that say Many!  Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.

Many, Louisiana

Welcome to Many. Not just a few here!

I am always on the lookout for a unique town name and its associated signs.  I have found many of them but, in 2018, I found Many! Many is a town in Louisiana.  The town was named after Colonel James B. Many in 1843.  He was an officer stationed in nearby Fort Jesup.

Milton’s Honda Shop, Theodore, Alabama

Milton’s Honda Shop – unique sign
Milton’s Honda Shop – Unique Sign 2

I stop for car art wherever I travel.  I am always amused at how businesses use cars for advertising and also impressed by the use of cars in art project.  Recycling at its best.   Theodore, Alabama is on US Route 90 southwest of Mobile and on the way to Pascagoula, which was my destination on this particular day.  I saw the cars/signs and had to turn around the block to grab shots. The green Honda with an airplane tail was hilarious.  Milton’s Honda Shop advertises “All We Do is Hondas.”

Mount Hood Scenic Byway,  Government Camp, Oregon

Mount Hood Scenic Byway near Government Camp, Oregon

Perhaps one of the most beautiful drives in Oregon, the Mount Hood Scenic Byway is a 105 mile stretch of highway running from Troutdale, Oregon, near Portland and on US Route 26 over and around Mt. Hood through Zigzag, Rhododendron, Government Camp and then back northwest to the Hood River Valley.  In the past I have driven most of this highway, but in 2018 I took US 26 to Government Camp and then continued Southwest to Madras and then on to Bend on US Route 97.   This drive is worthwhile any time of the year, unless you get stuck in a massive winter snow storm.

Mule Trading Post, Rolla, Missouri

Mule Trading Post, Route 66, Rolla, Missouri
Mule Trading Post, Rolla, Missouri

Missouri has a wonderful abundance of Route 66 kitsch.  One of the unique stops along the route is the Mule Trading Post in Rolla, Missouri.  It is home to a giant Hillbilly sign and the ship is filled with all sorts of Route 66 memorabilia as well as  a splendid variety of jerkies and meat sticks. Established in Rolla in 1957, it was one of the great stops along Route 66.  Though it has traded hands a few times, including a purchase by the current owners in early 2018, it is still a must stop if you are driving on Interstate 44 or Route 66 in Missouri.

Murray Cafe, Livingston, Montana

Murray Cafe Classic Neon sign in Livingston, Montana

Livingston, Montana is a classic old town loaded with old vintage neon signs.  I love driving through and feeling the nostalgia of neon.  One of the good ones is the Murray Cafe neon sign in downtown Livingston.  Neon lovers…there you go.

Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail, Biloxi, MIssissippi

Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail

You may all follow my blog because of my travel adventures, but you may not know that over the past decade, I have also become a birder…I photograph birds wherever I go in hopes of finding new ones.  Indeed, one good tern deserves another.  I found this sign in Biloxi, Mississippi and actually did some bird shots there.  But the actual Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail (MCBT) identifies and details over 40 sites that are used by local birders and are historically prime birding locations in the six southernmost counties of Mississippi.  This has to be on one of my next to do lists when I make a trip to Houston.

The Murray Theater, Murray, Utah

Murray Theater, Murray, Utah

I graduated high school from Murray High School in Murray, Utah in 1974.  I saw a number of movies at the Murray Theater back then.  Nowadays it is a business, but the classic neon sign still remains to beckon thoughts back to yesteryear.  It sits right there on State Street in downtown Murray, just south of Salt Lake City.

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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