In 2018 I will feature a random (yet alphabetical) selection of photos I have taken from my nearly 20 years of back roads travel in the United States and Canada. I may even throw in a few random shots from other trips to Japan, Mexico and the Philippines. My theme is called America’s Back Roads: A Grab Bag of Places in Pictures.
Oak Creek Canyon – Sedona, Arizona
Ostriches – Fossil Rim Wildlife Center – Glen Rose, Texas
Otterville Falls – Otterville, Ontario
Owl Heads Grocery – South Irvine, Kentucky
Oculus – Council Bluffs, Iowa
Family Home For 4 Years – Oita, Japan
Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Odd, West Virginia
Orca Art – Seattle, Washington & Port Orchard, Washington
Dignity: Of Earth & Sky: Oacoma/Chamberlain, South Dakota
Over-the-Rhine District – Cincinnati, Ohio
Orange Moose Bar & Grill – Black River Falls, Wisconsin
Oldest Lake in America – Clear Lake, California
Once in a Millennium Moon – America’s tallest wall mural – Shreveport, Louisiana
Olde Heidelberg Restaurant – Heidelberg, Ontario
Our Lady of the Rockies – Butte, Montana
Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ – Kansas City, Kansas & Kansas City, Missouri
Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath – Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
Oil Springs, Ontario
Off the Beaten Path Ice Cream – Damascus, Virginia
Annual Oshawa Rib Fest – Oshawa, Ontario
Ocean City, Maryland
Olympic National Park – Washington
Ole’s Big Game Steakhouse – Paxton, Nebraska
Ohio Valley Steelworkers Statue – Steubenville, Ohio
Ore Dock Mural – Ashland, Wisconsin
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, will be available in late April or early May 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.
Around the country one can find a number of fun and large Fiberglass Giants. Though most of what I touch on in this post is fiberglass, I do mention so HUGE giants made of other materials due to their fame and as a comparison to the sizes.
GIANT COWS AND BULLS
The fiberglass giant makers have had fun over the years as they have created some real huge and udderly mooooving creations. The giant shown above Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein Cow. This monstrous mooer was built in 1974 at the cost of $40,000. The project was sponsored by the New Salem Lions Club in honor of the local dairy farming industry. The statue stands 38 feet high and is 50 feet long. It stands proudly on School Hill near Interstate 94 off exit 127 S and can be viewed for several miles.
Though Salem Sue is the Giant, there are many more cows out there strutting their stuff, from smaller than life to much larger than life…..here are a few from past road trips:
Perhaps the second largest cows can be found in Wisconsin. Not nearly as big as Salem Sue, these huge heifers still provide some awe. Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet is home to Sissy the Cow (below).
Just down the road from DeForest, in Janesville, WI is Bessie the Cow, who is likely about the same size. These two Cowlossus girls are both about 19 feet tall and 20 feet long. Both were manufactured by F.A.S.T Corp in Sparta, WI (as were many of those in this post)
Of course, there are many “lesser bovines” out there and here are a few of the fun ones I have come across over the years….
The first of these if the Springbank Snow Countess Monument in Woodstock, Ontario. She was a, champion milk producer (she became the World Champion Lifetime Butterfat Producer with a total of 9,062 pounds of butterfat and 207,000 pounds of milk), was born, raised, and died on the Springbank Farm, in Oxford County, Ontario. Her record held until 1954. She was designed by local artist Ross Butler. I include her for the honor even though she is actually made of cast iron and not fiberglass.
F.A.S.T. Corp is well known for their mass manufacture of fiberglass animals for local art projects. Dozens of these events have popped up around the country, including two in Lexington that featured horses. Some have features art on cows and here are a couple of fun examples:
The JELL-O Gallery in LeRoy, NY is a fun offbeat place to visit and they have a colorful cow!
A close cousin to the bovine is the bison (which many mistakenly call buffalo). There are a few of these around too. By far the biggest of these in Jamestown, ND. The “World’s Largest Buffalo” was built in 1959 and is actually made from cement. It is 26 feet tall, 46 feet long and weighs a mere 60 tons. Despite it being made of cement, I had to include it…
There are other “lesser bison” to be found on the back roads of America. As an iconic plains animal known specifically to the Americas, it is no doubt that it is honored in many places.
GIANT MOOSE STATUES
Another of the big American animals that can be seen around the country are moose. By far, thee world’s biggest moose is up in Canada and is not fiberglass. But, it should be shown here anyway.
Mac the Moose was put up in 1984 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Mac stands 32 feet tall and weighs in at 10 tons. He was constructed by Saskatoon artist, Don Foulds using a steel frame, covered with metal mesh and completed with 4 coats of cement.
Another common sight on roads around the states are Pink Elephants and other elephants.
Jumbo the Elephant was a real elephant from the Barnum and Bailey Circus. He died in St. Thomas, Ontario after being hit by a train. 100 years later, in 1985, the town built this 38 ton cement life sized statue, that is well over 15 feet tall.
But there are many other fiberglass behemoths, and many are pink. Not sure what started the Pink Elephant craze, but it is fun.
Perhaps one of the most famous of all of the pink elephants is Pinkie. Located in DeForest, WI this dude is sharp in his glasses.
Not to be confused with Pinky the Elephant, a 1963 creation now residing in Marquette, IA (and one I have yet to visit).
But wait, there are more….
I am not certain, but it appears that most of these come from the same mold from the company in Sparta, WI.
SOME DOGS, MICE AND FRIENDS
Among all of the others is a menagerie of animals like dogs, mice, giraffes. Here are a few more animals (birds and fish will be in Part 3 with the dinosaurs and oddities).
This is the last in my 3 part series on “Creating the Wanderlust” through family travel adventures. (see the other two Part 1Part 2 )
After three weddings in 2005 I was fried…and, to top things off I had knee surgery later in the year, so there was no travel the rest of that year. In fact, I didn’t take any trips until 2007 when I had a couple of big ones. These were with Solomon as Seth was off serving a Mormon mission in Utah. Then, since that time many of the trips from 2008 thru 2013 have included grandchildren in one way or another. It is wonderful to share these precious moments with my grandchildren as well as my now adult children….
In June 2007 my sister in Texas had an old car she wanted to give to my son Solomon as a reward for his obtaining an Eagle Scout (which my son Seth also completed). So, we took a ride down to Keller to pick up the car and then the two of us drove back to Lexington. Both ways we found fun on the backroads of America with the following route:
This would be a quick trip down and back, but we were determined to have a fun time. We made our way to Memphis and into Arkansas and continued the drive all the way to Keller, about 1100 miles one way via the route we took. Along the way we saw a few fun things…
After an evening in Keller we joined my sister and her family for a day trip to Dublin, Granbury and Forth Worth for fun.
After our trips we then headed back home via Paris, Texas and then through Arkansas, Missouri and home.
The Texas trip was a fun short trip, but later in the year we took a second trip together. This would be perhaps the biggest trip I had ever taken and it was going to be a fun with Solomon, who was 18 at the time. My daughter Amaree had her second child, my grandson Charlie. As well, my good friend and musician Antsy McClain had shows in southeastern Washington state and I was heading out there to manage those as well. Overall, the trip would take Solomon and me over about 6000 miles through fourteen states and three Canadian provinces and dozens of sites. We used almost 500 gallons of gasoline and I took over 2000 photos during the trip. (See entire trip post here)
The main purpose of this trip was to get to Montana to see my new grandson, but it was also a great opportunity to travel with my youngest son and truly Enjoy the Ride. We started off early for the Chicago area with the first goal to see the famed “Spindle” sculpture by Dustin Shuler, better known as Cars on a Spike. This was at the retro Cermak Shopping Plaza in Berwyn, IL. It is a good thing we visited and got it captured on both photo and video. In May 2008 it was demolished so a new drug store could go in.
From Chicago we headed north into Wisconsin and then on to Minnesota. We found lots of quirky offbeat things along the way!!
Speaking of BIG FISH – we found the world’s largest Walleye in Baudette, MN
From Minnesota we ventured into Canada and dove along the Trans-Canada Highway westward towards Alberta. It continued to be a fun adventure for both of us….
I had friends in Alberta and we got to spend a night with Crafty Jack, a guitar maker and joint friend with Antsy McClain. We got to look at his custom-made trailer shaped guitars…
We also spent some time with Crafty Jack visiting some of the more “unique” sites in Alberta…venturing to go where no man has gone before…
We proceeded to make our way down to Great Falls to see my daughter Amaree and her family, including the newest grandchild Charlie. During our visit we made our way into the mountains southeast of Great Falls to Kings Hill Pass. We got a nice family photo high up in the mountains…
We also made our way north on US 89 to a nice waterfalls called Memorial Falls. Solomon climbed way up on a cliff…
During the time in Great Falls we also visited museums and other fun places with Amaree, Aaron, their two boys and Julianne (who flew out). But soon Solomon were continuing west to Idaho and Washington. Along the way we stopped in Couer D’Alene to visit with legendary rock music radio pioneer John Rook. John was a close family friend of rock guitarist Bobby Cochran (Steppenwolf, Flying Burrito Brothers, Trailer Park Troubadours, Bobby and the Midnites), who was also the nephew of the famous Eddie Cochran (The Summertime Blues and C’mon Everybody). Bobby is a close friend of mine as well. John Rook was practically family with Eddie. So, on the encouragement of Bobby we stopped by to say hello to John, see much of his rock and roll memorabilia, including photos with the Rolling Stones and Beatles (see article about his work with the Beatles), groups that he had a major influence in bringing to the U.S. in the 1960s while the Program Director at KQV in Pittsburgh. It should be noted that Rush Limbaugh and David Letterman count John Rook as a mentor in their careers.
This was a fun and interesting experience for rock afficianados like Solomon and me. We ventured further westward to Washington to carry out my work for Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours, which included some road management and logistics management. After four days of performances in the Tri-Cities and Dayton, Solomon and I headed south into Oregon and a visit to the amazing Hell’s Canyon.
From there we went south to Salt Lake City to drop in on my son Seth who was serving a Mormon mission there (yes, there are even Mormon missionaries called to Salt Lake City!!). It was a great chance for us to visit and have a quick lunch with “Elder Kravetz.”
We then finally made our way home through Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and finally into Kentucky. More unique stops were made along the way…
After a long trip, we finally made it home. This was to be the last of my trips with just my children. All trips with family (other than with my wife), typically included grandchildren and I even had a few opportunities to be with the grandchildren on solo Grampz/Grandkidz trips. I now had (and continue to have) the blessing of Creating the Wanderlust in the next generation of my posterity.
Following are a few shots of my grandchildren as they accompanied me and, in most cases, their parents, on road trips over the last six years…places and dates included…
In August 2012 I joined my daughter Chelsea and my oldest grandchild Autumn on a quick three day trip to Wisconsin. We planned out the trip for a number of fun adventures in Illinois and Wisconsin. (see my Trip Journal posts beginning here)
On that trip we also visited the famed Jurustic Park, a chainsaw totem pole forest, the birthplace of the hamburger, Egg Harbor and the peninsula, and more. See more here.
We have also taken Autumn to the Cincinnati Zoo, on a riverboat ride down the Kentucky River and to the Louisville Children’s Museum.
I have four grandchildren living in Shelby, Montana and have not had as many opportunities to travel much with them. However, their parents (my daughter Amaree and her husband Aaron) have taken my liking to travel and have introduce the wanderlust to their children through visits to California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Nevada, Idaho and even across the country on visits to Kentucky to see us. I have visited Shelby on three occasions and each time take the kids collectively or individually on small road trips. Here are a few scenes…
My little granddaughter Joselyn is really quite the traveler and, even at age 6 she is always up for another long drive adventure, especially with Grampz, who she thinks is “funny.” This little girl has probably traveled more in this United States than most kids do by the time they are 18. Jos has been to Niagara Falls in Canada, Tucson, Omaha, Hilton Head and a gazillion places in between. Her little brother Landen has accompanied on a couple of trips as well. Here are a few shots from the last couple of years, including some recent ones.
Of course, Landen is not totally exempt from all of this either…he is catching the bug!!
Jos and Landen have a little sister Lyla who has also turned out to be a good traveler having gone to South Carolina and Georgia on one trip and then on a trip to Nebraska in September.
Only one grandchild has not really traveled much with us though he has traveled with his father Seth and his mother Holly. That is little Rockwell, our blonde cutie….
Of course, as time goes on I will continue to Enjoy the Ride on trips on the backroads and will do it, not just as a good father, but also as a helluva grandfather!!