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

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with one of my daughters and three grandchildren.  We traveled 8154 miles through 20 states over 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 G Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Gold Beach, Oregon

Driving along US Highway 101 (The Oregon Coast Highway in Oregon) you can drive into Gold Beach, Oregon, a very beautiful stop that’s about 40 miles north of the California border.  The town of about 1500 derived its name from gold prospectors that began arriving in the area around 1853. We didn’t see any gold, but we did see some beautiful coastal scenery.

Gold Beach, Oregon
Welcome to Gold Beach, Oregon
Ocean waves at Gold Beach
Large coastal islands in the Pacific Ocean as seen from Gold Beach
Ocean scene from Gold Beach, Oregon

Great River Road – Southern Illinois

The Great River Road stretches 3000 miles alongside the great Mississippi River north to south from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.  Much of it goes along the borders of 10 U.S. states. From Minnesota the drive takes you south between Wisconsin and Minnesota, then between Iowa and Illinois, then Missouri and Illinois (and the tip of Kentucky).  Further south you travel between Arkansas and Tennessee and then finally between Louisiana and Mississippi.  Over the years I have had the good fortune of driving most of this National Scenic Byway.  On this trip we drove along the Great River Road while in Illinois.

Great River Road in southern Illinois

General’s Highway and the Giant Forest – Sequoia National Park, California

If you are planning on visiting the amazing Sequoia National Park, be prepared to drive the Generals Highway, a 32 mile stretch of highway that connects CA Hwy 180 to CA Hwy 198.  The section we drove climbed from about 1500 feet altitude all the way to over 8000 feet.  This winding road pretty much begins in Three Rivers, California and then to the Foothills Visitor Center for Sequoia where you enter the National Park.  We drove the first 10 miles from the Visitor Center to the General Sherman Tree deep in the Sequoia forest.  This road is steep, narrow, winding and full of switch backs, but offers some spectacular views.  The speed limit along the first 10-15 miles is only 10 MPH, so it is really slow going.  Typically, in January and February and even into March, snow chains are required.  Fortunately for us, the week we visited there had been no snow and the roads were clear.

General’s Highway – Sequoia National Park
Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park
Giants Highway – CA 198
Lovely vista of the landscape as seen from high up on the Generals Highway
Giant sequoia trees as seen from the Generals Highway

Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco, California

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of America’s most famous bridges.  You can’t go to San Francisco and not visit this amazing structure.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA
A scene of the Golden Gate bridge from above on the hill. San Francisco in the background
Driving on the Golden Gate Bridge
Looking up at one of the two bridge towers. These are 746 feet tall

Glenn’s Bakery Neon Sign – Gallup, New Mexico

Gallup, New Mexico has loads of wonderful neon signs as part of its Route 66 heritage.  Many are motels, but the Glenn’s Bakery sign is also a good one.

Glenn’s Bakery unique neon sign in Gallup, New Mexico

Golden Rule Sign – Philipsburg, Montana

As we drove north from Butte thru Opportunity and Anaconda, we found our way to the lovely little community of Philipsburg.  By this time my three grandchildren had gotten really cranky and we had to do something.  So, we pulled on a side road and I gave them a lecture.  I told them that they needed to live the Golden Rule (Do unto others, as you would have others do to you).  I used that sign to remind them.  I then told them if they would promise, I would get them a treat.  (What I had already seen was that this “Golden Rule” sign was on the side of The Sweet Palace, a giant candy store. I’ll cover it in my S Stories post)  So, I drove up to the front, gave each of the kids a few dollars and let them go to town in this store but also told them that they couldn’t buy anything unless they told the cashier that they were going to live the “Golden Rule.”  I even keyed the cashier in on it and she asked each of them what they promise to do.

Golden Rule wall sign on the side of the Sweet Palace in Philipsburg, Montana

Grulla National Wildlife Refuge – near Arch, New Mexico

I am a huge Sandhill Crane lover and, in my research for our epic road trip, I found that during February thousands of Sandhill Cranes winter in the Grulla National Wildlife Refuge in eastern New Mexico (near the ghost town of Arch) and the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge in western Texas.  Grulla is the Spanish word for crane.  Sadly, after driving nearly 20 miles on a dirt road to get to Grulla, we saw no cranes.  Even after driving from Grulla to Muleshoe, we saw none over there either.  It wasn’t until we got near Dimmitt, Texas (nearly 60 miles northeast of Muleshoe) before we saw any Sandhill Cranes…and there we saw thousands of them migrating north in an amazing scene.

Grulla National Wildlife Refuge, near the Ghost Town of Arch, New Mexico

Gem Theatre – Turkey, Texas

We drove through the uniquely named town of Turkey, Texas on our northeast from Muleshoe and Dimmitt.  This old theatre was on the main drag so I nabbed a shot of it.  This theater opened in 1928 and showed its first “talkie” move in 1931.  Country singer Bob Wills, a Turkey resident, was a frequent visitor to this old theater and the building has two old movie posters featuring Bob Wills adorning the front.

Gem Theatre, Turkey, Texas
Gem Theatre sign

Grants, New Mexico

Grants, New Mexico is another iconic Route 66 town and features a unique Route 66 drive-thru sign.

Grants, New Mexico famous Route 66 Drive Thru sign
Back side of the Grants sign

Gallup, New Mexico

Gallup is a great place to celebrate Route 66, but is also a very scenic area.  Located on the Navajo Reservation, there are plenty of places to get Navajo crafts and food.

Gallup, New Mexico
Red Rocks surrounding Gallup, New Mexico

Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona

To close out my G Stories, I am including a few photos of the amazing Grand Canyon in northern Arizona.  In the 1980s I was a tour guide / bus driver in Flagstaff and visited the Grand Canyon numerous times.  Though I have been there over 100 times, I never tire of this amazing world wonder.  I want to mention herein that as I write this post during the historic Coronavirus pandemic, the entire Grand Canyon National Park is currently closed as a result.  That amazes me.  I am so grateful to have been able to take my grandchildren to this lovely national park.

Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon at sunset
Grand Canyon at sunset
Grand Canyon

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

 

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

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with one of my daughters and three grandchildren.  We traveled 8154 miles through 20 states over 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 F Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Friend, Nebraska

I am always looking for places with friendly names such as Friendly (in West Virginia), Friendship (in Arkansas) and others.  Nebraska has a Friend which resides along US Route 6 southwest of Lincoln.

Friend, Nebraska

Flying C Ranch  – Moriarty, New Mexico

I continue to share photos of Bowlin’s fun billboards.  This one advertises the Flying C Ranch, which is near Moriarty, New Mexico off of Interstate 40 and Route 66.  They apparently have a Ginormous Selection!!

Bowlin’s Flying C Ranch near Moriarty, New Mexico

Fun Fishing Signs – Uncertain, Texas

Fishing Pox sign as seen in Uncertain, Texas
Another Fisherman sign in Uncertain, Texas

Fire Engine – Matador, Texas

As we drive through Matador, Texas, we came across this cool old fire engine.  Couldn’t resist taking a few shots of it.

Old Fire Engine in Matador, Texas

Foothills Visitor Center – Sequoia National Park in California

Sequoia National Park is big and they have a few Visitor’s Centers.  We stopped at the Foothills Visitor Center for the kids to get their Junior Ranger Badges.

Foothills Visitor Center for Sequoia National Park

First United Methodist Church – Happy, Texas

I really had wanted to visit Happy, Texas and, while there, I saw this pretty cool sign that actually “Welcomes You to Happy.” This double play was a good one. Made my Happy.

First United Methodist in Happy, Texas

Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco, California

When you visit San Francisco, this is really one of the best places to visit in the city.  Lots of good seafood and some great sourdough bread!

Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

Fort Stevens State Park – Hammond, Oregon

Fort Stevens State Park is just off of US 101 in the northwest corner of Oregon.  Once you cross the Columbia River from Washington into Oregon, you are practically there.

One of the real draws is the old Peter Iredale Shipwreck, which I will go into detail about in my P Stories.

Fort Stevens State Park near Hammond, Oregon
Peter Iredale Shipwreck located in Fort Stevens State Park

Farwell, Texas

Not too far from Clovis, New Mexico you can drive through Texico, New Mexico and then across the tracks into Farwell, Texas.  The two towns share a road (Stateline – TX 348), much of which is actually a well-managed dirt road.

Welcome to Farwell, 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

 

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

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with one of my daughters and three grandchildren.  We traveled 8154 miles through 20 states over 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 E Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Egyptian Theatre – Coos Bay, Oregon

I love classic theatres and wish I had more time and opportunity to visit them on the insides and see their amazing architecture.  Coos Bay’s Egyptian Theatre is a wonderful old place.  It was built in 1925 and was added to Ntional Registry of Historic Places in 2010.  The inside was designed in Egyptian Revival style to celebrate the 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt.

Egyptian Theatre, Coos Bay, Oregon
Front decor of the historic Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay, Oregon

El Rancho Hotel – Gallup, New Mexico

In my original road trip travel plan, I had us scheduled to stay in the historic Route 66 El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, New Mexico, but our travel was delayed, so I had to change plans (which is not unusual for me).  Touted as the Home of the Movie Stars, the hotel was the definition of luxury and included many amenities that were lacking in other typical tourist hotels of the day.  The hotel was opened in 1937 and used as a base for movie productions and a comfortable place for the stars to stay during those productions.  Famous stars such as John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Spencer Tracy, Kirk Douglas, Jane Wyman and Katherine Hepburn are among the many famous actors and actresses to sleep in the beds of the El Rancho.  Maybe on my next trip it will work out for us.

Famous El Rancho Hotel, Gallup, New Mexico

Edna’s Drive-In – Davenport, Washington

Davenport, Washington is a small town on US Highway 2.  There are only about 1700 residents in this town located in the northern wheat belt of the Columbia Basin in eastern Washington.  Due to its size, there are not many chain businesses here.  But, there is what appears to be a fun place to eat.   It is the typical  1960s-style eatery and serves up burgers, fries and milkshakes.  Sadly, the day we drove through, it was still closed, so we didn’t get to try it out.  I have seen older photos of their sign and apparently the “Seven Days without Ednas Makes One Weak” on the marquis has been there for a long time.

Edna’s Drive-In, Davenport, WA

El Falcone – Winslow, Arizona

Winslow may be well known from the Eagles song Take It Easy, but it is also a famed Route 66 town.  Both in 2019 and then in early 2020,  I had the opportunity to visit Winslow and, in both instances, I ate at El Falcone (also just called Falcon Restaurant).  I have had breakfast and dinner there.   Breakfast was excellent.  Dinner was so so.  Service is good and the place has a historical feel to it.

El Falcone, Winslow, Arizona
Chorizo with eggs breakfast  at El Falcone in Winslow
El Falcone interior
Route 66 signs at El Falcone in Winslow, AZ

Equality, Illinois

Are you seeking Equality?  Me too.  And I found it in Illinois. The town of Equality is small.  Only about 600 residents on Illinois Hwy 13 in southeastern Illinois.  Though I am not sure how this small town got its name, it has an interesting back story that really reflects the total opposite of its name.  Apparently, in 1838, a local salt maker and illegal slave trader kidnapper and illegal slave breeder, John Hart Crenshaw, began building his manor house at Hickory Hill just five miles east of Equality; he used the house for his business of kidnapping free blacks and breeding slaves to sell into slavery as part of the Reverse Underground Railroad.  So much for Equality.

Equality, Illinois Water Tower
Equality, Illinois Post Office

Elk as seen in Seaview, Washington

As we drove through Seaview, Washington, we came across a small herd of elk.  Had to stop for pictures.

Elk in Seaview, Washington
You looking at me? An elk stares back in Seaview, Washington

Egret in Uncertain, Texas

Typically, in the swampy  areas of Louisiana and Texas it is not at all unusual to see the Great White Egret, a beautiful bird.  Such was the case as we drive the back roads of Uncertain, Texas in February.

Great White Egret – Uncertain, Texas
Great White Egret, Uncertain, Texas

Eric Seastrand Memorial Highway – CA 46 – Cambria, California

Cambria, California is a beautiful town on the Pacific Coast on the famous CA Hwy 1, just south of Big Sur.  In 1993, CA Hwy 46, from Cambria to US Hwy 101 near Paso Robles, California was named the Eric Seastrand Memorial Highway in honor of former California legislator and member of the U.S. House of Representatives Eric Seastrand, who died of cancer in 1990 at the age of 52.

This is a lovely drive that we took on our way from Cambria to head east to Sequoia National Park.

Eric Seastrand Memorial Highway, CA 46, near Cambria, CA
Sunshine as seen from the Eric Seastrand Memorial Highway.  Pacific Ocean and Cambria can be seen in the background.

Exeter, California

On or trip east from Cambria, we continued on CA Hwy 198 through Visalia and then into Exeter, California, which sits in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.  This drive presents some lovely views of the Sierras.

Exeter, CA and Highway 198 with the Sierra Nevadas up ahead.
Snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada range as seen from CA Hwy 198 near Exeter, CA
CA Hwy 198 near Exeter, California heading towards the Sierra Nevada mountain range

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

 

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