(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!)
From Kentucky to Kansas and all places around them east and west, there are killer signs that kan be found. And here are some of the K signs I found in 2018. Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.
Kingston, Washington is home to one of the large Puget Sound Ferry ports and I loved the colorful Welcome Sign. From the ferry you can drive inland on Washington Hwy 104 into the northern section of the beautiful Kitsap Peninsula area of Washington.
Kountry Korners Krazy Kreatures, Kingston, Washington
And while driving down WA 104, watch closely for some unique chainsaw-carved wooden Kreatures, better known as the Kountry Korners Krazy Kreatures. These unique carvings by local artist Terry Tessmer were moved to a new location in town in 2018 after the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe bought the Kountry Korners gas station where these carvings sat for about 30 years. The Krazy Kreatures can now be found in front of the Kingston Mercantile and Marine store which is up the road on WA 104
Kickapoo Joy Juice Sign, Trimble, Arkansas
OK. I admit it. I have never tried Kickapoo Joy Juice or any of the other three Kickapoo Soda Flavors (including Fruit Shine – Sangria Flavor, Fuzzy Navel – Peach Flavor and Malibu – Piña Colada Flavor.) According to the Kickapoo Website, the original Joy Juice drink was inspired by the Li’l Abner comic strip wherein Al Capp, the comic creator, referred to it as a “volatile brew.” In the comic it was brewed by Hairless Joe and Lonesome Polecat, a couple of backwoods poachers. The actual soda was introduced to the U.S. in 1965. Based on the description as a citrus flavored drink, I am assuming it is similar to Mountain Dew, which back in the day used a hillbilly on its packaging. The drink is touted to be “Weirdly Refreshing. Refreshingly Weird.” I suppose I ought to give it a try. Looks like you can get it at Cracker Barrels around the country, as well as other locations.
Kit Carson, Colorado
Another town named (with the full name) of a famed historical figure, Kit Carson, Colorado was established in the eastern plains of Colorado in 1838 as a trade and supply outpost. By 1872 it was a booming commercial center. The town still survives off of ranching, railroad, oil wells and tourists traveling on US Highways 287 and 40.
On a long windy and dusty stretch from Colorado Springs (about a 100 mile long straight road – has slight turn), taking Colorado Highway 94 through Ellicott, Yoder, Rush and Punkin Center, I eventually made my way into Kit Carson. I stopped at the Kit Carson Trading Post and Restaurant for restroom break and a hot meal. Good family restaurant with plenty of tasty food.
KY Head Hunters, Greensburg, Kentucky
Actually, the place is called Adolphus Ennis Lunch Room and is really famous for their Original Slawburger. The country rock band, the Kentucky Headhunters kind of referred to it in their song Dumas Walker. The Headhunters were from Wisdom, Kentucky and would frequent A. Ennis to get a “slawburger, fries and a bottle of Ski (a local soft drink). Like Kickapoo Joy Juice, Ski is a citrus flavored soft drink manufactured by the Excel Bottling Company of Breese, Illinois. As for the restaurant, I have not been inside, but it is apparently still like an old diner. Next trip down south requires a visit so I too can have a slawburger, fries and a Ski.
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!!
Just a week after a nice three-day visit to northern Ohio (see post HERE), Julianne and I made our way to Canonsburg, PA, which is south of Pittsburgh. Julianne’s sister Laura recently moved there from Idaho with her husband and daughter and wanted us to visit.
From Lexington, Canonsburg is about a 5 Hour drive. We loaded Julianne’s bicycle onto the bike rack and were off shortly after she got off of work. We also took our first trip with one of our grandchildren, our oldest named Autumn. She has traveled with her mother and me on a long trip to Wisconsin, but this is her first trip alone with Grampz and Grandma.
Most of the trip was fairly uneventful as we headed east on Interstate 64 into West Virginia and then north on Interstate 79 just outside of Charleston, West Virginia.
Along the way, we decided to stop for a couple of snacks and found a unique Amish market located in Flatwoods, WV. The shop is
located in the Flatwoods Factory Outlet. As is often the case when making an unknown stop, there’s always a surprise in store. We were looking for some interesting food items and/or snack items to enjoy, but while there, we found that they have a giant Amish-made chair to sit in. Always have to include the quirky things!
We also picked up some goodies to leave with her sister and we got some hot mustard that was absolutely amazing! The view from behind the store into the hilly farmlands of Pennsylvania was very nice and I’ve included a photo of that above. After our break and an ice cream cone for Autumn, we were back on the road heading towards Canonsburg.
After arriving in Canonsburg, and having a nice evening together, we spent the next day touring around Pittsburgh (that post will follow this one).
The next morning, Julianne and her sister decided to take a bike ride down the Montour Trail Bike Trail, a 46 mile trail from Moon Township (northwest of Pittsburgh) to Clairton. This is one of a number of Rail Trails that Julianne will take over the next few weeks (I’ll write about each of those in upcoming special “Bike Trail posts – watch for them!). This trail is actually part of a larger set of trails that stretch nearly 330 miles to Washington, D.C. (Known as the Great Allegheny Passage) Julianne and Laura hope to ride that complete trail in 2017 (And maybe I’ll be ready by then too!!)
While they were doing that, I arose early took a ride into the countryside nearby and captured a beautiful sunrise early in the morning. It was a beautiful drive up US Hwy 19 into Upper St. Clair, PA. There was a hint of fog in the air and the sun came up over the rolling hills and verdant farmland.
After breakfast, I took another ride to visit the small town of Prosperity, PA. The small unincorporated village is south of Washington, PA on PA Hwy 18. Obviously, I wanted to add this as another of those uniquely named towns that I like to visit. Prosperity really doesn’t look like it’s that prosperous of a town, but did have some unique old buildings and of course the Prosperity Post Office! (I have also found Success, Romance and Uncertain, among many others in my travels.)
On my way back from Prosperity, I made my way through the city of Washington, PA. The city is the County Seat of Washington County, which was the first county in the U.S. to be named Washington – done so in 1781. As the home of the old Washington and Jefferson College (the oldest college west of the Alleghenies), it is definitely a college style town but has some very old charm and many old historical buildings and some unique history.
Most impressive about Washington was the amazing looking historic courthouse with a large golden statue of George Washington on top. This is apparently the fifth version of the county courthouse, with this one being built in 1900.
Washington also gained notoriety in 1794 as a result of the Whiskey Rebellion, which was led by David Bradford. The Whiskey Rebellion, also known as the Whiskey Insurrection, was a tax protest in the United States beginning in 1791, during the presidency of George Washington. The so-called “whiskey tax” was the first tax imposed on a domestic product by the newly formed federal government. It became law in 1791, and was intended to generate revenue to help reduce the national debt.
Washington, is also the home of the PONY League, one of the well-known youth baseball and softball organizations that can be found throughout the world. They have a World Series event every August in Washington.
But, I would have to say that the small Borough of Canonsburg actually holds some merit as one of the more interesting places to see in the area. First off, it was the home to two famed singers from the 1960s – Perry Como and Bobby Vinton. And the local McDonald’s restaurant offers a rare glimpse of them and their lives with an in-restaurant little museum (the second such “Fast Food Museum” I had seen in as many weeks – the other being the Wendy’s/Dave Thomas Museum in Dublin, Ohio – see that one HERE). The museum display includes photos, albums, yearbooks, clothing and instruments, as well as the statues.
And then down the road from the McDonald’s is another statue honoring Perry Como. It is located in front of the bourough offices.
The statue of Como was unveiled in May 1999 and the city pipes his music 12 hours a day. (I must have missed it the day we were there).
A couple of historic pieces are also in the Canonsburg downtown area.
Canonsburg is also home to one of the quirky and iconic Turtle Twist Ice Cream Shop, shaped like an ice cream cone. The Ice Cream Shaped building was originally created by Twistee Treat Ice Cream out of Florida. The buildings are 28 feet tall and 20 feet wide and made of fiberglass. The original Twistee Treat company went out of business in 1990, but a new company was formed in 1996. Turtle Twist is a former Twistee Treat building. Their building was previously installed in 1992 at an amusement park in Lakewood, NY in 1992. It was then purchased and reassembled in Canonsburg in 2004. I have only seen one other of these in my travels (see M&M Twistee Treat in E. Peoria, IL)
Speaking of Ice Cream, there is another well known place in Canonsburg known for its ice cream and as well as its chocolate and chocolate art work. The Sarris Candies Factory and Ice Cream Parlour covers an area the size of a full city block, and carries over 100 yards of chocolate, penny candy, ice cream and life-like plush toys. Not sure what it is about Pennsylvania and chocolate. In other visits I have seen the huge Hershey’s facility in Hershey, PA and also Daffin’s Chocolate in Sharon, PA, known for its huge chocolate sculptures (see my post about Hershey HERE and my Daffin’s post HERE) . Both Daffin’s and Sarris claim to have the world’s largest candy stores. Sarris does also lay claim to an amazing 2600 pound Chocolate Castle (Daffin’s has a 400 pound chocolate turtle in their Chocolate Kingdom).
Some of the facts that Sarris notes about their castle:
Weighs 2600 pounds
It is 12 feet tall from floor to ceiling
It is 8 feet long and 3 feet long
It took 8 people three months and 2000 man hours to create
The whole confection room is also surrounded by 65 feet of beautiful hand-painted wall murals depicting a circus train ride through Candyland.
The shop has tons of candy products, massive plush toys including some life size ones and then there is the amazing Ice Cream shop.
Finally, some mention of a couple more places nearby that I visited. Not too many towns are named with a number, but Eighty Four, PA is one of the few numbered towns. There are a number of stories surrounding the name, but the town was actually founded in 1884 and the Post Office sought the name of Smithville, but it was already taken. So, apparently, the Postmaster H.F. Weir asked the post office be named after the year founded.
In 1957 a lumber company was created in town and was named 84 Lumber. It has grown dramatically with more than 250 stores, component manufacturing plants, custom door shops, custom millwork shops, and engineered wood products (EWP) centers in 30 states, representing the top 130 markets in the US.
Not too far from Washington is a place called Laboratory, PA, yet another strange name. But I also noticed an historic plaque with the name of Pancake. But there was already another Pancake in Pennsylvania. Some internet research warranted the following explanation (found on Jim’s Journey Website HERE):
Earle Forrest wrote about this area in his 1926 History of Washington County, Pennsylvania in the chapter on South Strabane Township. He discusses first George Pancake, then Jonathan Martin and adds this paragraph:
“About thirty years ago the late Dr. Byron Clark, who resided near the end of East Maiden Street, Washington, established a chemical laboratory for the manufacture of patent medicine, which he sold throughout the country. He had a post office established and named the place Laboratory, by which it is still known, although the original name of Pancake still sticks.
And finally, there was the Library Volunteer Fire Company in South Park, PA, near Washington. How did it get that name?? The Library Volunteer Fire Company was organized in October 1939 and was comprised of 21 firefighters and one truck housed at the corner of Brownsville and Library Road. Presently, the company is located at 6581 Library Road in South Park Township.
My next post will cover some of our visit to Pittsburgh
During the month of April I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge has each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays. My blog is number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts will take you across the back roads of America to many unique towns. To see what other bloggers will be posting about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016
The Z Towns
On a trip to New York to see the Hill Cumorah Pageant (see my P Towns for Palmyra), we returned home via Interstate 79. We eventually got off at Exit 88 as I wanted to visit the town of Zelienople, chiefly because I had not been to a town that started with the letter Z (as far as I could recall – turns out I had been to Zanesville, Ohio in the past and we passed through Zanesville all on our way back on this trip too!! – 2 Z Towns in one day). Taking the road to Zelienople, we passed a turn to Harmony, Pennsylvania. Harmony was a quaint little town and was worth the visit anyway. Zelienople and Harmony actually share a Chamber of Commerce and are practically one in the same place. The towns are located in the Connoquenessing Valley. You can see more photos and read more about the entire 2013 whirlwind trip from Kentucky to New York and back HERE.
I first visited Zanesville, OH in 2008 on one of my return trips to Canada. I wanted to see the famed Y Bridge of Zanesville (see the whole story of the bridge HERE). The Y Bridge is part of US Highway 40 and crosses the Muskingum and Licking Rivers in the middle of town. The town is an easy on/off from Interstate 70.
Zurich, Montana (Honorable Mention)
Finally, the LAST town to be included in my A to Z Challenge postings is the almost ghost town of Zurich, Montana. The town of Zurich (pronounced Zoo-rich by the locals) is like many small stations on the railroad of the Montana Hi-Line along US Highway 2, Zurich receives its name from an older, far more impressive city. Legend has it that to name many of their stations, railroad executives would open an atlas at random and point to a city. Although it may seem incongruous that a town on the plains be named after a noted European mountain city, from Zurich, westward bound visitors could catch their first glimpse of the Bear Paw Mountains. It is now basically a place for picnics along the Milk River. See my entire Montana Hi-Line Drive across the state on US Highway 2 HERE.
Did You Miss My Other A to Z Challenge Posts? Click on a letter below to see the others.