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.
Brazos Bend State Park – Needville, TX
Bruce Windmill Farm – Woodstock, ON
Bison/Buffalo – Yellowstone National Park
Boring Post Office – Boring, Oregon
Bridges of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Remember Jed Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies??
Buffalo Bill Museum – LeClaire, Iowa
Beloit Smiley Water Tower – Beloit, WI
Two-State Sign – Bristol, TN and Bristol, VA
Beatles Tribute – Walnut Ridge, Arkansas
Big Fish Supper Club – Bena, Minnesota
Blue Heron Photos – Lexington, Kentucky & Uncertain, Texas
Booger Hollow, Arkansas
Barbed Wire Sculpture at Sod House Museum – Gothenburg, Nebraska
Bob Evans Headquarters – New Albany, Ohio
Blue Banana Espresso – Lostine, Oregon
Bessie the Cow – Janesville, Wisconsin
Blues Highway – US 61 in Mississippi
Beatles Statues – Houston, Texas
Hot Spring Shower in Hot Spring Capital of Japan – Beppu, Japan
Brown Pelicans in Formation – Galveston, Texas
Beartooth Pass – near Red Lodge, Montana
Big Stone Gap, Virginia
Boudreau’s Antiques and Collectibles – Ashland, Wisconsin
Big Jud’s Burgers – Rexburg, Idaho
Tersier Monkey in Bohol, Philippines
Badlands National Park
Big Apple – Medina, NY (Yes, the OTHER big apple in New York)
World’s Largest Buffalo – Jamestown, North Dakota
Big Bone Lick State Park – Union, Kentucky
Big Indian – Bemidji, Minnesota
Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum – Vicksburg, Mississippi
Big John – Great Falls, Montana
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.
Anyone who drives on a road, whether city street or an interstate highway, always depends on roadsigns and street signs to find their way. In this age of GPS, we sometimes miss the turns because we’re not looking for the roadsigns.
Well, on the back roads of America there are many fun and unique roadsigns. Perhaps they weren’t meant to be that way as places were named certain names sometimes as far back as the 1600s and 1700s. But, sometimes neighborhood designers throw in funny names for streets or neighborhoods.
In this post I want to take a look at some of the roadsigns I have come across in my travels. Indeed, that has been one of my fun challenges. As I have noted on one of my pages, I am a “Collector of Places.” I can collect roadsigns, street signs and directional signs with the snap of a camera shutter. And that is what I do.
To start off with, I want to look at a few street signs. Some of these can be pretty unique. Perhaps the most interesting story comes out of Lake Jackson, Texas. The main drag if you will is named “This Way.” And, as a matter of fact, when it gets into downtown Lake Jackson, it intersects with another road called That Way. To be sure, there is a story associated with that and I have included the plaque that sits on the street by that intersection which 16 complete explains why there is a This Way and That Way in Lake Jackson.
Now, if you prefer, there is The Udder Way in Yellow Springs, OH. It’s just actually a small private drive that goes into a large ice cream shop in the Little Miami River region of Ohio.
If you were more into a fantasy trip, then how about taking Wonderland Road near Upton, KY or the Yellow Brick Road near Dayton, OH.
If you don’t care about the name of the street, try No Name Street in Millersburg, OH.
If you happen to be driving in Austin, Texas, you can find an interesting intersection at the corner of Music and Academy. Or, and yet another town in Ohio, there is an intersection of Sugar and Water in Chillicothe, OH.
There is a Normal St. in Bowling Green, Kentucky. And there are a couple of Bugtussle street names including Bugtussle Road in Bugtussle, Kentucky and Bugtussle Blvd. in the middle of nowhereville Texas.
I got a chuckle when driving through Cary, NC and came across Ten-Ten Rd.
I also came upon a Bliss Rd. in Columbia, KY, but it did not seem to bring me any bliss, until I discovered Bliss Happens Lane and Easy Street!
Head to DeForest, WI and there is an Elephant Trail. Drive down that road and look carefully and you will find a giant pink elephant!
If you are not too picky, you can drive down Booger Hollow Rd. in Gray, KY.
For a drive with a bit of zing, trying to drive down Chile Capital Lane in Hatch, NM.
And for a real Jurassic adventure, how about visiting the corner of Gorgosaurus Ave and T. Rex Trail in Indianapolis.
One time I was driving on the back roads of Lexington, where I live, and came upon Real Quiet Lane. But shhhhh… keep it quiet OK?
Back in Ohio, in the Little Italy section of Cleveland, there is just a Random Road.
OK, yes, since you asked, I have been to Bourbon St. in New Orleans!
But, perhaps the best road to take is Only Rd. in Only, TN
Perhaps it’s not a road that you’re looking for, but rather a town or community. There are an abundance of fun road signs for these.
If somebody tells you to go to Hell, there is a sign for that in Michigan! If you are seeking Romance or Success, these signs will point the way for you in Missouri. And, you can also get directions to Prosperity in Pennsylvania. And you can find Talent in Oregon or Wisdom in Kentucky.
Along the way you may run into Normal, Peculiar, Odd or Oddville. You could even get stuck in Uncertain….it is one way in and one way out. Or maybe Boring.
Lonely? Head to Friendship or Friendly.
And these are cool places to visit…
Lost? Go this way to Earth.
If you prefer to go to Muleshoe, maybe you would like Donkey or some other assortment of critters.
Every April, bloggers from all over the world participate in the April A to Z blog challenge, and you can too. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great way to meet other bloggers. To play along, all you do is make a blog post for each letter of the alphabet during April, then visit as many other bloggers as you can.
Road trips would never be the same without the opportunity to stop at local diners, dives and drive-ins (OK…I gotta give credit to Guy Fieri). Food is such an important part of a road trip. Obviously, no matter where one drives they always come across the chain shops like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC, etc. With those places, the food you get is always the same.
But, for me, the real joy is stopping at a local Mom and Pop shop or local Drive-In and trying out the fare. Someplace well known in that little town or region, but maybe not known anywhere else.
My good friend, singer/songwriter/storyteller/artist Antsy McClain did a song a few years ago called “Mom and Pop Don’t Work Here No More” in respect for these places that are quickly becoming a dying breed. (see the video)
“There used to be more flavor in this country that I roam I feel like I’m a stranger, no place to call my home I can eat the same cheeseburger from New Mexico to Main The same darn cup of coffee, just to link in someone’s chain No, mom-and-pop don’t work here no more”
So, when I am on the road I really make an effort to find the local places to eat and I have found many of them across this wonderful country of ours. For example, there is “Cozy Drive-In” in Springfield, IL which supposedly is famous because of its creation of the corndog.
Then there’s the place in Missouri called Lambert’s Cafe that is famous for its “Throwed Rolls.” Or how about the diner outside of Natchez, Mississippi that looks like an old 1930s black woman servant on the outside and service homemade sandwiches on homemade bread with deserts of homemade pie and cake? And how can I forget “Hillbilly Hotdog” in West Virginia or the unique burger joint called Fat Smitty’s that is plastered with dollar bills in Washington. And what about The Shack Burger Resort in Cypress, Texas?
Along the road there are always the burger joints, the ice cream places, and the roadside cafés. One never knows what they will get in some of these places. But, chances are the food will be much better than what one will get at a fast food chain place.
And each of these local places has their “speciality,” such as the Ku-Ku burger at Waylan’s in Commerce, OK on Route 66.
I recall visiting the “Tightwad Café” in Tightwad, MO. Amazing breakfast made for a king and not a miserly tightwad. The only indication that it was a “tightwad” type of place was that they only took cash — no credit cards.
But check out the food. This giant breakfast was very affordable and kept me filled up for a good part of the day.
Of course, there are the barbecue places. Oh yes, the myriad barbecue places across this country. I have had barbecue in North Carolina, Texas, Kansas City, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama. In fact, one of my favorites was in Paris, Ontario in Canada!! And they’re all different and wonderful.
One such great barbecue place is Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City, Kansas. The café is inside a gas station and people are always waiting in line out the door to get their famous barbecue. And when I finished, my friend Brad Sweeten, and athletic director at one of the high schools in Kansas City, Missouri, took me to a local ice cream place that makes ice cream cones as tall is the Empire State building.
Honestly, I could write about the dozens and dozens of places I’ve visited over the years. Every single place has its own personality and tasty cuisine.
Following are a few of the photos of the diners, dives and drive-ins that I visited over the years. I have dozens that you can read about in my blog. I only have room to include a few. One piece of advice though… don’t go looking for a sandwich in Sandwich, NH. Been there…failed that. No sandwiches in Sandwich.