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 O 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. )

Obviously, there are many outstanding places to visit in this outrageously wonderful country. Whether you are an occasional traveler or you take every opportunity to wander, there is always something to see. Here are some of the odd O signs I discovered in my 2018 travels. Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.

Old Potter, Arkansas

Old Potter, Arkansas

A few miles south of Mena, Arkansas, on US Routes 59/71, is a small unincorporated community called Old Potter.  It is also referred to as Potter Junction.  One can take AR Hwy 375 west from there a couple of miles, to Potter, Arkansas.  I have no idea how the name Potter cam about.  But I like the name Old Potter.  Kind of fun.

Okie Noodling Tournament Sign, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma

Okie Noodling Tournament Sign, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma

I first learned about the sport of Noodling on a documentary television program by Bradley Beesley titled Okie Noodling, which came out in 2001.  If you are not sure what noodling is, well here is the scoop…(or the grab is probably better) — it is the practice of wading in murky water and sticking your hand into dark holes hoping a 30-pound plus catfish will latch onto your hand and arm. Missing fingers and toes on some noodlers attest to the danger and excitement of the sport. The film emphasizes how noodling is believed to have originated with white settlers, with at least one reference known to have dated from 1775.

From that documentary, a tournament was developed at Bob’s Pig Shop in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.  This year (2019), on June 14/15, the Okie Noodling Tournament will celebrate its 20th anniversary.  There is an “O’FISH’Al” Okie Noodling website with all of the details, if you are interested.  I will be returning from Texas on that weekend and may just drop by for a looksee and maybe a visit to Bob’s Pig Shop on June 15!

Check out the trailer for the movie here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8E83pzt_MU

By the way, the rock band, The Flaming Lips, did the original music for the 2001 documentary.

Octagon Hall, Franklin, Kentucky

Octagon Hall, Franklin, Kentucky
Octagon Hall, Franklin, Kentucky

Driving south on US 31W near Franklin, Kentucky, I came across a sign to Octagon Hall Museum. This is one of the joys of traveling back roads.  I have come across so many unique places that were unplanned on my trips.  Though we were early and couldn’t visit this Antebellum eight-sided Civil War home built by Andrew Jackson Caldwell, it was still a unique place to see, especially from the outside. Octagon Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was used during the Civil War by both Confederate and Federal troops and served as a Civil War hospital.

Orlinda, Tennessee

Orllinda, Tennessee

I always like town signs, but this may be in my favorites list.  I love the “Sunniest Spot in Tennessee” catch phrase.  The town of Orlinda is located off of US Hwy 31W, just south of the Kentucky border (and not too far from Octagon Hall).   There are about 1000 sunshiny folks living in this community.

Okemah, Oklahoma

Okemah, Oklahoma
Okemah Hot, Cold and Woody Guthrie Water Towers

Okemah, Oklahoma was named after a Kickapoo  Indian Chief and is the home to the Creek Nation and specifically the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, a group that speaks the Mvskoke language (thus Muscogee).  Even though there is a great Native American Heritage here, it is also the birthplace of the famous Folk Singer Woody Guthrie who wrote such well-known songs as This Land is Your LandMule Skinner Blues, and hundreds of other songs.  Okemah is just off of Interstate 40 and US Highway 62 passes through the town.

Olive Hill, Kentucky

Olive Hill, Kentucky

Last on my O list is one closer to home.  Olive Hill, Kentucky is in eastern Kentucky on US Highway 60.   It is an old railroad town established in 1861.  I especially like the town because of its layout and the many murals that can be found along a wall in town.  The main street of town is Railroad Street.  Just a cool little town.

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 N 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.

Nashboro Motel, Goodlettsville, Tennessee

Nashboro Motel, Goodlettsville, Tennessee

It probably ain’t fancy and maybe even a place you won’t want to stay.  But the name is great!  For years I have referred to Nashville as “Nashvegas,” but got a kick out of this sign when heading into Nashville on US Highway 41.  I turned around to go get this shot of a uniquely named motel.   I don’t offer any recommendations…unless you want a fun photo.

Nevada Sign, Denio, Nevada

Welcome to Nevada — Denio, NV

Prior to this stop in Denio, Nevada in April 2018, I hadn’t been in Nevada since my days as a driver for Nava-Hopi Tours in Flagstaff in 1983.  Yep…it had been 35 years since visiting the great state of Nevada. I crossed this state from Denio on NV 140, through into Winnemucca on US Route 95 and then traveled on Interstate 80 through Elko and Wendover on my way to my old hometown of Murray, Utah.  As for Denio, Nevada, it sits in the high desert on the border with Oregon.  There are a couple of places there and a store, a couple of miles away at Denio Junction.

Napoleon Scenic Byway to Space, Napoleon, Mississippi

Napoleon Scenic Byway to Space

On my way west on US 90 in southern Mississippi, I came across this sign.  It was so interesting …  a scenic byway to space.  Just north of US 90 and a few miles east of the Louisiana Border is the John C. Stennis Space Center, a NASA Rocket Testing Facility.  In association with the surrounding areas of the Stennis Space Center, Hancock County, Mississippi created a number of scenic routes through the wildlife rich wetlands (in the Spirit of the Old Spanish Trail, which was the shortest route from St. Augustine, Florida to San Diego, California).  US 90 is designated as the Old Spanish Trail.  The county has designated eight scenic byways in the area around the space center, including six of which have the “Scenic Byway to Space” name. Napoleon is now unpopulated and never really had a population of more than 100 since its founding in the early 1800s.  As for the highway, I never made it to space…still earthbound.

Nixon, Texas

Nixon, Texas
Welcome to Nixon, Texas

I grew up watching Richard Nixon on TV as youth.  I remember him as a President.  Nixon, Texas has nothing to do with him…  Nixon was founded in 1906 as Nixonville, when the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway built its lines through the John T. Nixon Ranch. The town sits in the counties of Wilson and Gonzales, and can be found at the intersection of US Highway 87, TX Highway 80 and Farm Road 1117.

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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