It is a challenge to find signs and places that begin with Q. This post only has one. So, for fun, I am also adding a Quirky Quickies section to the post…a number of quirky or otherwise interesting photos from the road that didn’t really fit into any of my other A to Z Challenge posts. It will be a quick read with quaint and quirky and maybe even quizzical signs. I hope they quench your travel fancy. Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.
The Queen City, Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati is a beautiful city. I really love taking trips up to this beautiful city on the Ohio River. The city has been nicknamed The Queen City and the Queen of the West since around 1820, only a few short years after the city was incorporated in 1802 (the city was first settled in the 1780s). One possible birth of this nickname likely came from writer Ed B. Cooke of the (then) Inquisitor and Cincinnati Advertiser wherein he wrote in the May 4, 1819 edition of the paper:
“The City is, indeed, justly styled the fair Queen of the West: distinguished for order, enterprise, public spirit, and liberality, she stands the wonder of an admiring world.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow also mentioned it in his poem Catawba.
Quirky and Quick Signs From the Road
A fun little view of some of the more offbeat things I see while on the road
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!!
(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.
I am always on the lookout for a unique town name and its associated signs. I have found many of them but, in 2018, I found Many! Many is a town in Louisiana. The town was named after Colonel James B. Many in 1843. He was an officer stationed in nearby Fort Jesup.
Milton’s Honda Shop, Theodore, Alabama
I stop for car art wherever I travel. I am always amused at how businesses use cars for advertising and also impressed by the use of cars in art project. Recycling at its best. Theodore, Alabama is on US Route 90 southwest of Mobile and on the way to Pascagoula, which was my destination on this particular day. I saw the cars/signs and had to turn around the block to grab shots. The green Honda with an airplane tail was hilarious. Milton’s Honda Shop advertises “All We Do is Hondas.”
Mount Hood Scenic Byway, Government Camp, Oregon
Perhaps one of the most beautiful drives in Oregon, the Mount Hood Scenic Byway is a 105 mile stretch of highway running from Troutdale, Oregon, near Portland and on US Route 26 over and around Mt. Hood through Zigzag, Rhododendron, Government Camp and then back northwest to the Hood River Valley. In the past I have driven most of this highway, but in 2018 I took US 26 to Government Camp and then continued Southwest to Madras and then on to Bend on US Route 97. This drive is worthwhile any time of the year, unless you get stuck in a massive winter snow storm.
Mule Trading Post, Rolla, Missouri
Missouri has a wonderful abundance of Route 66 kitsch. One of the unique stops along the route is the Mule Trading Post in Rolla, Missouri. It is home to a giant Hillbilly sign and the ship is filled with all sorts of Route 66 memorabilia as well as a splendid variety of jerkies and meat sticks. Established in Rolla in 1957, it was one of the great stops along Route 66. Though it has traded hands a few times, including a purchase by the current owners in early 2018, it is still a must stop if you are driving on Interstate 44 or Route 66 in Missouri.
Murray Cafe, Livingston, Montana
Livingston, Montana is a classic old town loaded with old vintage neon signs. I love driving through and feeling the nostalgia of neon. One of the good ones is the Murray Cafe neon sign in downtown Livingston. Neon lovers…there you go.
You may all follow my blog because of my travel adventures, but you may not know that over the past decade, I have also become a birder…I photograph birds wherever I go in hopes of finding new ones. Indeed, one good tern deserves another. I found this sign in Biloxi, Mississippi and actually did some bird shots there. But the actual Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail (MCBT) identifies and details over 40 sites that are used by local birders and are historically prime birding locations in the six southernmost counties of Mississippi. This has to be on one of my next to do lists when I make a trip to Houston.
The Murray Theater, Murray, Utah
I graduated high school from Murray High School in Murray, Utah in 1974. I saw a number of movies at the Murray Theater back then. Nowadays it is a business, but the classic neon sign still remains to beckon thoughts back to yesteryear. It sits right there on State Street in downtown Murray, just south of Salt Lake City.
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!!
Obviously, one of my favorite things to do on road trips short or long is locate the fun, unique and offbeat roadside attractions. And, fortunately, 2018 provided me a plethora of these. I have already written about a few of them individually in past months, but this post will be a nice little “photo tour” of some of my favorites.
Having been through 26 different states in 2018, I had plenty of sites and loads of fun. I got to share many of these with grandchildren, which made it even better.
Perhaps my favorite from 2018 was the amazing giant Dignity: Of Earth and Sky statue in Chamberlain, South Dakota. This giant 50 foot tall steel statue honors the women of the Lakota and Dakota tribes. It was created by artist South Dakota Dale Lamphere. It sits in a rest area overlooking the Missouri River and can be seen from quite a distance.
The statue also features a Star Quilt that has more than 100 blue diamond shapes that move in the wind. Really a wonderful site and it is also one of America’s tallest statues (the 20th tallest according to Wikipedia listing).
Another giant is just down the road from Dignity. Wall Drug’s giant brontosaurus stretches 80 feet and sits 37 feet tall as it overlooks Interstate 90 at the Wall Exit. Even there is no time for a visit to Wall Drug, there is always time to stop for a photo-op with a giant friendly dino!
Dinosaurs seem to be all over the country and on my four big trips in 2018 I came across a few more of them. Always fun!
Dinosaurs are not the only giants that I came across on the road in 2018. One of my favorite “giants” was “Ms. Pearl” the giant squirrel in Cedar Creek, Texas at the Berdoll Pecan Candy factory. Created in 2011, it stands 14 feet tall and currently lays claim to be the tallest squirrel statue in the world. Like many “roadside” attractions, this one is very visible off of TX Hwy 71.
Nice thing about Berdoll’s is that you can get your picture with Ms. Pearl and even get some Pecan goodies from their 24/7 Pecan Vending Machine.
Other big things I came across in 2018
Then there are the big Muffler Men and Big John statues. There are dozens and dozens of these dotting the landscape. I came across a couple of fun ones in 2018. In Helper, Utah there is one that is painted totally black…to represent the Coal Miners.
These guys are about 15 feet tall and basically all look alike except for the additional things added to them by the local sites. Over the years I personally have photographed nearly 40 different versions of Big John, Muffler Men or Uniroyal Gals.
You can find them looking like Paul Bunyan, cowboys, Indians and other fun things.
I always like coming across these unique pieces of funky Americana.
I am working on Part 2 of this travel report with more big and unique things to see. Watch for it soon.