Everywhere a Sign – Some U Signs From 2018 #AtoZChallenge

Its a unanimous understatement to say that I love traveling the back roads of America looking for the interesting and unique. It is ultimately my utmost passion (well, besides my family and my grandchildren).

I will also do something in this post. I will be posting some of the US Highway signs I have picked up, most specifically in 2018. I’ll explain down below.  I hope you enjoy some of the U Signs I discovered in my 2018 travels.  Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.

Uranus, Missouri

Welcome to Uranus Missouri
Uranus, Missouri water tower
Thanks for Picking Uranus
Sounds yummy
Help Keep Uranus Clean
The Best Fudge Comes from Uranus
Uranus Parks T-shirt

Might as well start this post on a humorously low point.  Yes indeed, there is a place in Missouri called Uranus. And yes, it is pronounced “Your Anus” (and by the way, I heard a question on Jeopardy recently and Alex Trebek pronounces it that way).  And yes, the main attraction is the Uranus Fudge Factory where all of the employees (affectionately referred to as Fudge Packers) all yell out “Welcome to Uranus” when you walk into the shop.  Indeed, the owners and creators made sure it was quite the attraction.  Rather than go into detail on this post (I think the pictures above give you enough hints), please go visit my detailed post about Uranus from last year.  You can see more about Uranus here.

US Highway Shields / Route Markers

US Route 61 in Mississippi, also known as The Blues Highway (taken in 2017)

OK.  You are probably thinking “How can looking at numbers on signs be interesting?”  And, I would give that to you.  To many they probably aren’t.  But look at the signs…they look like shields or badges.  And, to me, as a collector of road trip memories (via photos and memories), these are like Boy Scout merit badges.  I am always after yet another number for my collection.

For consistency, in my blog I refer to them as US Highways, though they are called Route XX in other places…ala Route 66.  But, they are definitely interchangeable.

US Highway 1 signs in Baltimore, Maryland. US Highway 1 actually goes along the east coast from Key West, Florida to Fort Kent, Maine… a total of 2,369 miles.

US Highway 1 is the easternmost route in the US and runs north-south (as do ALL odd numbered highways) along the Atlantic Coast.

The first highways were numbered with this universal system in 1925.  Nowadays,  the U.S. Numbered Highways (or Routes) are the original interstate highways, dating back to 1926. U.S. Highways are numbered in a grid: even numbered for east–west routes (with the lowest numbers along Canada) and odd numbered for north–south routes (with the lowest numbers along the Atlantic Ocean). Three-digit highways, also known as “child routes,” are branches off their main one- or two-digit “parents” (for example, U.S. Route 202 is a branch of U.S. Route 2). However, US 101, rather than a “child” of US 1, is considered a “mainline” U.S. Route.

US Highway 2 in Hurley, Wisconsin (taken in 2016)
US Highway 2 at Stevens Pass in Washington

US Highway 2 is the northernmost long highway in the United States.  Completely, it covers 2,571 miles from east to west, starting in Houlton, Maine and ending in Everett, Washington.   In 1926 it was intentionally split.  The eastern section ends in Rouses Point, New York, where it meets US Highway 11.  Then, the highway kicks in again in St. Ignace, Michigan and traverses across the northern US, ending in Everett, Washington.  I have actually driven (at different times) the entire length of US Highway 2 from Ironwood, Michigan to Everett, Washington.

US Highway 101 in Southern Washington

US Highway 101 was the only original highway to have a three digit number.  This is the westernmost north-south highway and runs from Port Angeles, Washington to Los Angeles, California for about 1,550 miles.  In some places it is nicknamed the Pacific Coast Highway and in California it is also called the El Camino Real (the Royal Road).  I have been on portions of this highway in Washington, Oregon and California.

US Highway 90 near Garwood, Texas

Like US Highway 2, US Highway 90 is the original southern route going east-west.   It basically begins in Jacksonville Beach, Florida and ends in Van Horn, Texas.   It has a length of about 1,633 miles and, in some places is called the Old Spanish Trail.  I have driven portions of this highway in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, most of it in 2018 when I drive to Houston via Mobile, Alabama, through Pascagoula and Biloxi, Mississippi, Lafayette, Louisiana and as far west as San Antonio.

Route 66 – Getting my kicks
Route 66 in Missouri … near Rolla, Missouri
Visiting Route 66 in White Oak, Oklahoma
Historic Route 66 in Staunton, Illinois

Though I have not even come close to gaining all of the “badges,” I have many.  Following are a few of the other US Highways I have been on.  Just for your interest…my favorites are (in order)…  US 2 (from Wisconsin to Washington), US 89 (from northern Montana to Southern Arizona), US 66 (naturally), US 61 (along the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Mississippi), US 50 (another cross-country east-west highway that cuts through the heart of America for over 300 miles from Ocean City, Maryland to Sacramento, California), US 101, US 60, which cuts across the heartland of the United States and sometimes joins with Route 66, and finally, US 31 (which runs from Northern Michigan to Mobile, Alabama including a long stretch through Kentucky).  But, I love many more of them!

Following are a few random photos I took in 2018 to add to my “badge collection” of US Highway Signs.

US Highway 68 taken in my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. This highway runs for 560 miles from Toledo, Ohio to Reidland, Kentucky
US Highway 177 taken near Byars, Oklahoma. This is a spur of US Hwy 77 and goes for 233 miles from South Haven, Kansas to Madill, Oklahoma
US Highway 81 in Ringgold, Oklahoma

US Highway 81  is a major north-south highway that extends for 1220 miles in the central United States and is one of the earliest United States Numbered Highways established in 1926 by the US Department of Agriculture Bureau of Public Roads.  It begins in the north near Pembina, North Dakota at the U.S./Canada border and ends in Fort Worth, Texas at Interstate 35W.

US Highway 287, also pictured above, is a north–south (physically northwest–southeast) United States highway that stretches for 1,791 miles.  It serves as the major truck route between Fort Worth and Amarillo, Texas, and between Fort Collins, Colorado, and Laramie, Wyoming. The highway is broken into two segments by Yellowstone National Park, where an unnumbered park road serves as a connector.  I have actually been on many portions of this road.

US Highway 271 near Arthur City, Texas. It is about 297 miles in length from Tyler, Texas through Oklahoma to Fort Smith, Arkansas
US Highway 183 near Florence, Texas. It was the last route to be completely paved (in 1967). It runs north-south for 1250 miles from Refugio, Texas to Presho, South Dakota. I have been on many sections of this highway over the years.
US Highway 51 near Dyersburg, Missouri.

US Highway 51 is another major south-north United States highway that extends 1,277 miles from Laplace, Louisiana, to Hurley, Wisconsin on the  Wisconsin–Michigan state line where it ends in a T interchange with US Highway 2 near Ironwood, Michigan.  I actually stood at that very corner for my US Highway 2 photo (see above).

US Highways 79 and 190 in Milano, Texas

US Highway 79 is officially considered and labeled as a north-south highway, but it is actually more of a diagonal northeast-southwest highway. The highway’s northern/eastern terminus is in Russellville, Kentucky, at an intersection with U.S. Highway 68 and KY 80.  I have driven US 79 from Russellville all the way through Clarksville and Paris, Tennessee and then on to Memphis (where I took US Highway 61 south into Mississippi).  On other trips, I have taken US 79 in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.  US Highway 79 covers about 855 miles.

US 190 has been around since 1926.  It covers about 875 miles as an auxiliary route to US Highway 90.  It starts in Slidell, Louisiana and ends in Iraan, Texas.  It passes through Baton Rouge as well as Huntsville and Temple, Texas.  I have driven a good portion of US Highway 190.

US Highway 58 near Damascus, Virginia

This is a beautiful stretch of highway starting at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee and heading about 508 miles across southern Virginia eventually to Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia.  At one time or another I have driven the entire length of this highway.

US Highway 89 and US Highway  2 meet up in northern Browning, Montana

US Highway begins in the northernmost region of Montana north of Babb on the Canada/Montana border. It goes south ending in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Over the course of my life I have traveled every inch of this 1,252 mile highway which was first established in 1926.  I would argue that this is one of the most scenic highways in the United States.  It passes seven National Parks (thus the nickname the National Park Highway.  These include, among others, Glacier National Park in Montana, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah and the Grand Canyon.  Along the route it also passes a number of scenic National Monuments as well.  In fact, National Geographic magazine has called this the “No. 1 Driver’s Drive in the World.”  I would concur.  You can experience mountains, high plains, deserts and canyons on this route.

US Highway 60 on Midland Trail in West Virginia

Last sign for this post is a biggie.  US Highway 60 is an east–west United States highway, traveling 2,670 miles from southwestern Arizona to the Atlantic coast in Virginia. Despite the final “0” in its number, indicating a transcontinental designation, the 1926 route formerly ended in Springfield, Missouri, at its intersection with Route 66.

US Highway 60 cuts through West Virginia as the Midland Trail and also passes through Central Kentucky and westward.  I have driven the entire length from Norfolk, Virginia through Lexington, Virginia and on through West Virginia, Kentucky into Cairo, Illinois.  This has been a major route for me for many years, especially since it extends out of Lexington both east and west.

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 Q Signs From 2018 #AtoZChallenge

It is a challenge to find signs and places that begin with Q.  This post only has one.  So, for fun, I am also adding a Quirky Quickies section to the post…a number of quirky or otherwise interesting photos from the road that didn’t really fit into any of my other A to Z Challenge posts.  It will be a quick read with quaint and quirky and maybe even quizzical signs.  I hope they quench your travel fancy.  Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.

The Queen City, Cincinnati, Ohio

The Queen City sign taken from way up high, Cincinnati, Ohio
Another view of the Queen City sign

Cincinnati is a beautiful city.  I really love taking trips up to this beautiful city on the Ohio River.   The city has been nicknamed The Queen City and the Queen of the West since around 1820, only a few short years after the city was incorporated in 1802 (the city was first settled in the 1780s).   One possible birth of this nickname likely came from writer Ed B. Cooke of the (then) Inquisitor and Cincinnati Advertiser wherein he wrote in the May 4, 1819 edition of the paper:

The City is, indeed, justly styled the fair Queen of the West: distinguished for order, enterprise, public spirit, and liberality, she stands the wonder of an admiring world.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow also mentioned it in his poem Catawba.

Quirky and Quick Signs From the Road

A fun little view of some of the more offbeat things I see while on the road

Unique We’re Open sign from Decatur, Texas
Social Vegan sign, seen in Houston, Texas
Boomerang Diner… I guess it’ll make you wanna come back? Taken in Shawnee, Oklahoma
The Local Wag, a dog place in Lexington, Kentucky
No Spitting sign , Doolittle, Missouri
Be-Sure In-Sure sign, Carmine, Texas
I’m Melting on an old movie marquis in Austin, Texas
BBQ Shit is one of many products by Special Shit products of Big Cock Ranch in Austin, Texas. Really!
Please Pick Up in Uranus, Missouri
Black Bear Motel Be Nice sign, at Belle Inn in Belle Fourche, South Dakota
Dr. Pierce’s Barn Sign – a magic potion! Taken in Waterville, Washington
Brothel sign at Black Bear Motel in Davenport, Washington
Old theater turned in Magic Mirror Beauty Salon in Wilbur, Washington
Chicken Plop in Brothers, Oregon
Antique Archaeology van, Le Claire, Iowa
Open sign in Uranus, Missouri
Fresh Shrimp, right off of the boat! Biloxi, Mississippi
Seen at a Walgreen’s in Cypress, Texas in mid-July 2018. Check out the temperature!
LOVE sign — all you need is LOVE. Walnut Ridge, Arkansas
Belcherville Cemetery, Belcherville, Texas…population 34
Bull Frog Brand Juice sign on a wall in Rayne, Louisiana — Frog Capital of the World
Found this sign at a place in Telephone, Texas
April 20 is coming…. In Colorado that means the 420 Fest, Taken in Manitou Springs, Colorado
We have all seen Attorney Billboards. How about THIS Attorney? David Komie, the Attorney that rocks! Austin, Texas
Always Carry Cash on a road trip. Some places don’t take credit cards. This sign was at Voodoo Doughnut, in Austin, Texas
You need to watch your children on road trips….or else…. Taken at Star Pizza in Houston, Texas

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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