(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!)
Everywhere you drive you see signs…all kinds of them — road signs, directional signs, business signs, advertisements, and more. As I drive, with camera by my side, I am always on the look out for something unique, interesting and fun. Here are just a couple of “A” Signs that I came across in my road trips across America in 2018.
I drove through Alzada on a snowy April morning. Alzada is just barely a dot on the map. A couple of houses, a convenience store/gas station and a very unique Biker Bar known as the Stoneville Saloon with the famous slogan: “Cheap Drinks, Lousy Food.” I wrote about it in another blog of mine about 10 years ago – READ IT HERE
Al’s Oasis – Chamberlain, South Dakota
Driving west on Interstate 90 from Minnesota on, one will often see signs for Wall Drug. – A huge “tourist trap” in South Dakota. The signs boast “Wall Drig only 450 miles” (or other various things such as “Free Ice” and “Five Cent Coffee”). But, you also, on occasion, see signs for another fairly well known, but not quite as famous place known as Al’s Oasis, which is 200 miles east of Wall Drug, in the Chamberlain/Oacoma area of South Dakota. Established in the 1950s by Albert and Dena Mueller (and their son Alfred and his wife Vena), they created a stop for weary travelers, offering Vena’s apple pies, hamburgers and 5¢ coffee. Today it is a sprawling tourist trap (I say this with kindness…once you are drawn in, its hard to eave because it is so much fun.) So, next time, give Al a try on your I-90 drive.
Astoria is a city in Oregon, on the Columbia River and the border with Washington. Famous for the Astoria Column (which I was not able to visit the day I got there due to schedule). It is also home to one Peter Toth’s many “Whispering Giants,” which was the main reasons I stopped here. (See my May 2018 post about the Whispering Giants)
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!!
One thing that we all see when traveling America’s highways is signs. All kinds of them: road signs, exit signs, mile markers, billboards, “Welcome to Our Town” signs and the massive assortment of business signs from fast food places to local eateries. Indeed, our eyes and minds are deluges with them!
Over the course of my 6000 mile road trip to Washington State and back, I probably saw way more than a sign a mile (on average). Yes, there are many places with no signs, but then, there are others, such as going through small towns, where they are in abundance.
This post presents a variety of signs from the road. This “eye-candy” is just one more fun piece of the travel puzzle. Discovering new signs, whether they be unique neon signs advertising local burger joints to the unique town signs and water towers, these signs are the little “color fillers” on the grand expanse of two lane highways zig-zagging this nation.
Follow me along on this colorful journey (in no particular order) to see some of the signs I saw along the way. And watch for the occasional Wall Drug sign to pop up on the ride (just like they do on I-90).
ENJOY THE RIDE! CHOOSE HAPPY!
If you like what you see, you may want to check out my book: Less Beaten Paths of America: Unique Town Names, available on Amazon. My second book, Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions, is currently being worked on and I hope to make it available in late June 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.
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 what other bloggers will be posting about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016
The O Towns
I took a trip back in 2010 which took from Bugtussle, KY to Bugtussle, TX and mainly down backroads. Along the way in Tennessee I came across a small community called Only. The community is located on Tennessee State Route 229 near Tennessee State Route 50 and Interstate 40. I got a real kick out of the Baptist Church….the Only Baptist Church. I believe this is the only place named Only in the U.S. See original post HERE.
Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Travel up US Highway 1 north of Boston into Maine and you will drive through the town of Old Orchard Beach, which sits on the Atlantic Coast in southern Maine. Definitely a resort town, it has just about 10,000 residents, lots of hotels and restaurants and a long beach for walks. We stayed in the Normandie Motor Inn which is literally on the beach and it was fabulous! As it was later in the evening when we arrived there, we also had to find a kid friendly place to eat and the Bell Buoy Restaurant did the trick! See my post about our 2015 trip there HERE.
Okay…so you’re thinking there is really a town called Okay and it is in Oklahoma? That’s right! Okay, OK it is and I visited there in 2013 on a return trip home from Texas. They have an Okay Police Department, an Okay Fire Department, an Okay City Hall and even a couple of Okay churches. It is an Okay place. The town only has about 600 residents, but that’s ok. The town is a few miles north of Muskogee on Oklahoma Hwy 16.
Oil Springs, Ontario
On one of my many trips home from Ontario in 2008, I made my way through the town of Oil Springs as part of the route to Michigan and south. Oil Springs’ claim to fame is their first commercial Oil Well that was established in 1858. It is also home to the Oil Museum of Canada and a number of scrap metal sculptures depicting the oil well work from the 1800s. The artwork was by a local metal worker named Murray Watson, who owns Watson’s Machine Shop in Oil Springs. You can see a much deeper history and more photos in my 2008 post HERE.
Oak Creek, Colorado
On a 2013 road trip from Rexburg, Idaho to Dallas, Texas, I ventured through the back roads of Colorado into Oak Creek, a rustic little town of about 1000 people in the Yampa Valley on Colorado Highway 131, south of Steamboat Springs. It is in a lovely setting and seemed to be a place I would have liked to have lingered longer. See more about my trip HERE.
Oacoma, South Dakota
On a different trip home in 2013, we drove through South Dakota and spent the night in Oacoma. Though not a huge place, it does have some history, especially in relation to the Lakota tribe and also as a stop for Lewis and Clark. And it has Al’s Oasis, a uniquely South Dakota style touristy traveler’s rest area. You can read more about our trip HERE.
Odd, West Virginia
So, take a trip into West Virginia and you come across a road sign that says “Odd School Road.” You gotta go down that road to see what an “Odd School” looks like and you also find a community named Odd and even and Odd Post Office. Odd huh?
Onawa, Iowa (Honorable Mention)
On my return trip from Montana in 2013, we made our way through Iowa Along the way I saw a sign for Onawa, Iowa noting it as the home of the Eskimo Pie. I had to drive through the town of about 3000 and see if we could find where it was invented. Research shows me that someone named Christian Nelson invented it in 1920. Interestingly enough, he originally called it an I-Scream Bar. He later partnered with candy maker Russell Stover to patent the product. (See History here) They also claim to have the widest Main Street in the U.S.A. Though I drove around a bit, I couldn’t find a museum or anything…but, there were the hanging banners!! I wish I could have found an Eskimo Pie!!
Oddville, Kentucky (Honorable Mention)
OK….so I had a town named Odd in West Virginia. Why not include a town named Oddville in Kentucky? There is even an Oddville Church… HA!
Did You Miss My Other A to Z Challenge Posts? Click on a letter below to see the others.