Everywhere a Sign – Some C 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!)

One of the challenges of doing the Bloggers A to Z Challenge is coming up with a reasonable theme.  As a traveler, I can actually think of numerous themes, but the signs from my 2018 travels seemed like an adventurous way to go this time around.  Here are some C signs I came across in my road trips across America in 2018.

Cloudy, Oklahoma

I had hoped for a sunny day in Cloudy, Oklahoma, but alas, as you can see, the place lived up to its name.
And a Cloudy Cemetery?
There is a Cloudy Baptist Church!! I wonder if there is sunshine in their soul?

While looking at my map and planning a return trip home from Keller, Texas, I saw the name Cloudy on a map of Oklahoma.  Always on the lookout for unique place names, I added this one to my route.  The small community is located in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, northeast of Antlers and Rattan. It is actually down a narrow and windy, and oftimes bumpy road…called Cloudy Road, which is accessible from Rattan on Oklahoma Hwy 3. Turned out to be a cloudy day (I was hoping for some sunshine in Cloudy).  And, I had to take the same road back to Rattan.  A long, but fun detour!!

Cutter’s Barber Shop, Olympia, Washington

Cutter’s Barber Shop in Olympia, Washington

OK, we have all seen the “Curl Up and Dye” or other unique barber shop names.  But, the owner of this place is really named Cutter! The name matches the job.  Cutter’s Barber Shop is located in downtown Olympia, Washington. Cutter is a second generation barber.  And no, I did not stop in for a haircut.  I had a breakfast appointment at the Spar Cafe down the street.

Cavenaugh Park, Walnut Ridge, Arkansas

Cavenaugh Park in Walnut Ridge, AR celebrates the “Rock and Roll Highway” – US 67

Traveling across the United States, it is not rare to see a sign with a guitar (think Rock and Roll Cafe).  But, to see a guitar and amp sign is something else.  Walnut Ridge, Arkansas celebrates their place on US Hwy 67, which, in Arkansas, is referred to as The Rock and Roll Highway 67.  It is a 111 mile stretch of highway that runs through Jackson, Lawrence and Randolph Counties, including Walnut Ridge, where they claim the moniker “Where Abbey Road Meets the Rock and Roll Highway” due to a brief pass through visit by the Beatles in 1964.  Cavenaugh Park has a a giant cement sidewalk shaped like a guitar that has numerous memorial signs celebrating the Rockabilly influences of the area. Thus the guitar and amp. By the way, Walnut Ridge actually has a huge Beatles memorial park and a street named Abbey Road with all sorts of Beatles-themed shops.

Crazy Head Springs, Lame Deer, Montana

Crazy Head Springs in Montana

Driving west on US Hwy 212 through the heart of Montana is a wonderful drive, unless you are going through a snowstorm…which I was.  But, despite the snow, I had to stop for a photo of this sign on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.  From what I could glean on the internet, it is apparently a great place to go fishing. But not in a mountain snowstorm…I just kept going.

Cuba, Missouri

Cuba, Missouri – a mural city
Cuba, MO Post Office
Cuba, MO

I have been to Cuba…not the island in the Caribbean, but the touristy Route 66 town in central Missouri.  Chock full of throwback murals and lots of Route 66 related things, it is a great place for nostalgia and a chance to stand under one of the world’s biggest rocking chairs.

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!!

My Travels in 2018

Life gets so busy. The first two months of 2019 have been exceptionally busy and so I am just now getting to my annual review posts for 2018.

Visiting Route 66 in Oklahoma

At the beginning of 2018 I didn’t have very high hopes for many travel opportunities. I had begun a new job in early October of the previous year and I didn’t have any definitive travel plans. But, I had also learned to roll with things and, as good fortune would have it, 2018 actually became a really good travel year.

Over the course of the year I was able to travel through 26 different states and drove nearly 12,000 miles. I was able to add a plethora of photos (I took over 15,000 travel photos in 2018) and content for use in future blogs and books. Though many of my travels were alone (which I love), I also was able to travel with family on some of the trips (which I also love!).

Morning sky taken between Bend, OR and Brothers, OR (near Millican, OR) on US Hwy 20 heading east.
A sunset scene taken from the Edmonds to Kingston Ferry in Washington
Lovely sunset after a windy day. Taken on a side road of Interstate 70 just east of Abilene, Kansas
Mt. Aetna as seen from US 50 near Monarch Pass, Colorado.
Desert and snow-covered peaks in Nevada

My major trips included:

  1. A trip to Nashville in January to visit with my new employer ComicBook.com. On this trip I also visited the cool and “off-beat” Paradise PointMarketplace
    Welcome to Paradise Point
  2. In late January I made a trip down to Barren River Lake State Park in southern Kentucky to view the sandhill cranes which had migrated down there.
    Sandhill Cranes take flight
  3. In February I was asked by son Seth to come down to Cypress, Texas to watch his two sons for a couple of weeks while he and his wife were off on a cruise. The trip south took me through Calvert City, KY where I visited the Apple Valley Toy Land and Hillbilly Gardens. I also found my way to Kenton, Arkansas, home of the white squirrels, then to historic Walnut Ridge, Arkansas to see some fun Beatle’s things. I then meandered my way into Louisiana and visited a few fun places. While in Cypress with the boys I also visited Austin and then took the boys venturing out on some of the back roads around the Houston area where we discovered some fun places. My return trip took me up to Keller, Texas to visit my sister and while there I found a few more fascinating places. I then made my way home through Oklahoma and Arkansas, traveling back roads all the way and discovering some fun places. I finally returned to Lexington at the end of February.                                                                                               
    Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden – Calvert City, Kentucky
    Sumoflam with the Beatles in Walnut Ridge, AR
    The Beatles in Houston, statues by Houston artist David Adickes
  4. March saw me again on the road for a quick trip up to Cleveland, Ohio. On this trip, with my wife, we visited sites in Cleveland and then on the way home stopped in Columbus to see the famed Topiary Garden Park. It was a quick, yet fun and interesting trip. 
    Topiary Garden Park of Columbus
  5. On April 2 I set off on one of the biggest road trips I have had in a couple of years. We had a family event taking place in Port Orchard, Washington. I drove while my wife flew (she had a tighter schedule and needed to take some PTO time). I set out heading west through Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. I had hoped to go up through Minnesota, but a major snowstorm diverted much of my initial plan. Nonetheless, I always find something. This trip allowed me to visit seven different Peter Toth “Whispering Giants” , which also took me to other unique places along the way. I ultimately made my way through Iowa Falls, Cedar Rapids, northern South Dakota and overnight in Belle Fourche. I then headed northwest into snowy southeastern Montana and crossed the state from there through Bozeman, Butte, Missoula and overnight in scenic and touristy Wallace, Idaho. From Wallace I made my way to Spokane and then east on US 2, to complete my travels on the western portion of that highway (other parts I had driven on in previous road trips. This took me through Washington’s high desert and then into the Cascades and back down into apple orchard country. I ultimately made my way into the Seattle area. The return trip went down through Olympia and then into Oregon on US 101 and then across Oregon’s high desert, through Winnemucca, Nevada and then into my old stomping grounds in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City. I then ventured to Colorado Springs to see my son Solomon and then across Colorado’s high deserts into western Kansas, and finally back home through St. Louis and Louisville. It was an amazing two week adventure! 
    Visiting the Whispering Giant at Starving Rock State Park in Illinois
    One of over 200 sculptures from around Raymond, Washington
    A stretch of Oregon Highway 205 south of Burns, Oregon
    Leavenworth, Washington
    Snow walls taller than me on both sides of the road at Stevens Pass in Washington
    Helper, Utah
    Dignity: Of Earth and Sky – 50 foot tall statue by Dale Lamphere near Chamberlain, South Dakota
    Men’s Room Door at a gas station in Ashland, Montana
    US Hwy 101 in southern Washington
    Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs, Colorado
    On the road somewhere in NW Nevada
  6. I didn’t really venture out on a road trip again until mid-June when my wife and I took a day long trip up to Cincinnati to see some things we hadn’t done before. It was a nice sightseeing adventure.
    A day trip to Cincinnati with my wife
    The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge as seen from Carew Tower in Cincinnati. When opened on December 1, 1866, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world at 1,057 feet main span.
  7. In late July I was joined by my oldest grandchild Autumn for a fun adventure to Cypress, Texas. I was again asked to babysit my two granddsons for about ten days. Autumn and I meandered our way down there through Tennessee and Alabama down to the gulf coast and into Biloxi, Mississippi. We traveled along the Gulf Coast into Louisiana and eventually into Texas. While in Texas, the four of us made a few trips as well, including a day-long adventure to the weird city of Austin. Autumn and I then returned home through central Texas and up to Keller to stay with my sister and allow Autumn to hang with her cousin, who is the same age. After a couple of days in Keller, Autumn and I returned home through Oklahoma, Kansas and into Missouri, where we visited the unique touristy place called Uranus and then finally home. It was an amazing fun trip.
    Sharkhead in Biloxi, Mississippi
    Decatur, Texas
    Welcome to Uranus Missouri
    Getting stabbed in Bowie, Texas
    One of hundreds of frog statues in Rayne, Louisiana
    Peach Water Tower in Clanton, Alabama
    One of a number of murals in a section of Houston
    Vulcan Statue, one of America’s tallest, in Birmingham, Alabama
    Woody Guthrie Water Towers in Okemah, Oklahoma

    Over the next few posts, I will try to catch up with content about different themes…road scenes, wood art, murals, roadside attractions and more.

    I hope you will enjoy the ride with me as I revisit these adventures.

Have you seen my most recent book yet? “Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions” is available on Amazon!

The book is 130 pages of FULL COLOR whimsy and kitsch as I tell stories of my visits to these places all over the U.S. and Canada. Definitely was fun taking these back roads trips to quirkville and I am excited to share them with you in words and photos.   I hope you will be able to check out the book or even get it on Kindle.

You can order the book here:   See Offbeat and Quirky Roadside Attractions

PRHBTN 2018: Five More Murals Now Decorate Lexington

Chalk up another successful year of artwork for John and Jessica Winters and the PRHBTN team of volunteers and donors.  This year brought in four artists from diverse places to add more color and variety to ever-growing mural collection in Lexington, Kentucky.  In fact, this year had some huge and lovely works completed.

More than most years, I was able to follow some of the artists and track their work from beginning to end to see how they do it.  It was fascinating.

Spencer Reinhard Panel Mural – near Lexington Transit Center

Reinhard Eagle

The first of the five works to be completed came from local Lexington artist Spencer Reinhard (who now currently resides in Cali, Colombia), who did a colorful four panel  piece next to the Lexington Transit Center on Vine Street.  Being the bird lover that I am, I instantly fell in love with these four panels.  Reinhard painted these earlier in the summer and then they were placed on the wall near the bus terminal where he touched them up.

The four panels are each separate paintings depicting different themes.

Four Panels by Spencer Reinhard

Panel One (from the Right) seems to depict a city, but I don’t have many details about it.

Spencer Reinhard Panel One

Green Heron

Reinhard, who paints a number of different themes, has a focus on animals and has done some very nice pieces about the lovely Green Heron, one of my favorite birds and a frequent visitor in the summer at Lexington’s Jacobson Park.

His other three panels depict a number of birds and some other animals.

Spencer Reinhard Panel 2

Chick-a-dee

Spencer Reinhard Panel 3

Not only does panel 3 include a couple of Green Herons, but a few other birds including a flamingo, a white pelican, a blue heron and a night heron, all of which (other than the flamingo) have been seen in Lexington.

White Pelican

Flamingo

Panel Four includes a number of other birds.

Spencer Reinhard Panel 4

Fintan Magee Mural – on side of School Sushi on Short Street

Fintan Magee

The next project to get going was by Australian artist Fintan Magee.  Fintan is well known around the world for giant works of art, which includes the large mural he completed in Lexington in early October 2018.  This untitled work is a an instant classic and has come to already be one of my favorites in town.  I got to speak with Fintan about his project and he designed it from a couple of photos that he had.  It shows what seems to be an exhausted couple.  In Fintan style he also included an “Easter Egg” in the upper left corner of the mural.  You must stand at a specific spot in the parking lot to see it properly.  This amazing work only took Fintan three days to complete.  Then he was off to the Middle East for another project.

Fintan Magee completed mural – October 2018

Fintan Magee at work

Magee Easter Egg….coolio

Fintan’s signature

Another view of the Fintan Magee Mural

Alice Mizrachi Mural – on side of CycleYou on Midland Avenue

Alice Mizrachi busy at work on her mural

While Fintan Magee was finishing up his mural, New York artist and art instructor Alice Mizrachi was working on her massive mural entitled “Letters of Gratitude: Dear Mom.”   Alice commissioned a few local artists to assist her on this nearly eighty foot wide mural dedicated to mothers.  This large work took nearly a week to complete but really makes a great addition to the art pieces dotting the city.

Alice Mizrachi Mural – Nov. 2018

I was impressed at the complex and intricate details in her work.  The butterflies, the flowing hair, the flowers.  All were very meticulously done.

Alice Mizrachi detail

Alice Mizrachi detail of butterfly

Alice Mizrachi butterly on flowers detail

Detail of head in Alice Mizrachi mural

Another detail from the far right end of her mural which does not appear in the photo above.

TRAP Murals – Whitaker Bank Ballpark and Distillery District

The street artist known as TRAP, also from New York, accompanied Alice Mizrachi to leave his mark in Lexington.  He was commissioned to do a piece at the Whitaker Bank Ballpark, home of the Lexington Legends minor league baseball team.  While in Lexington, he also left another mural hidden away in the depths of the Lexington Distillery District as part of his #trap50stateblockbustertour

TRAP Mural at Whitaker Bank Ballpark

TRAP hidden mural in Lexington Distillery District. He is adding a TRAP mural in each state

Patch Whisky Mural – New Cosmic Charlie’s on Loudon Avenue

Hanging with Patch Whisky

The last mural to be completed in Lexington was another massive and whimsical work by South Carolina street artist Patch Whisky.  A very busy artist, he focused on his mural entitled “Candy Kraken.”  Patch has done contract work for many companies as well commissioned works all over the United States and elsewhere.  You can’t miss his comic-style work.

Patch Whisky is very personable.  I visited with him a couple of times. He started in street art at a young age and enjoys the gypsy type of lifestyle that his art allows him to do.  This piece is lots of fun!

Patch Whisky’s Candy Kraken mural

Patch Whisky hard at work on his mural in Lexington

Candy Kraken detail

Patch Whisky Signature

Sumoflam and Candy Kraken

Have you seen my new book yet? “Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions” is now available on Amazon!

The book is 130 pages of FULL COLOR whimsy and kitsch as I tell stories of my visits to these places all over the U.S. and Canada. Definitely was fun taking these back roads trips to quirkville and I am excited to share them with you in words and photos.

I hope you will be able to check out the book or even get it on Kindle. You can order the book here:

SEE NEW BOOK