AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – Reflections #atozchallenge

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with  the course of three weeks.  My A to Z posts this year will have the “8154” theme, which will also be the title of my forthcoming new book that will document the epic road trip.  Each of my entries highlighted a few stories with photos based on the alphabet and not the order of the trip.  If you missed any of the posts, check out my page with all of the links HERE.  I will reflect back on this past month’s posts.  Enjoy the Read! Enjoy the Ride! (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

What a Whirlwind!

CA 198 in Sequoia National Park

Throughout the month of April I participated in the A to Z Challenge.  It was my fourth straight year, but this one was really my most interesting yet.  Beginning in March the Coronavirus hit the world.  I am amazed how a microscopic thing could have such a massive impact on the world.  The world was shut down effectively, but the internet and the opportunity to post content was not.

Patrick Amiot – “Crow Bar” in Sebastapol, CA

It has been a whirlwind.  What made it more so was knowing (in hindsight) that while the coronavirus was hitting the U.S. in Washington and California back in January and February while I was traveling out there with my daughter and her three children.  Many of the places we visited, including massive National Parks like the Grand Canyon, were eventually closed.  In fact, as of this writing, many are still closed.  Restaurants, hotels and other businesses are closed all over the country.  Interstate travel bans are in effect across most states.  As of this writing on May 5, 2020, nearly 70,000 Americans have died of this virus since mid-February…while we were still traveling!!

I am both amazed and grateful that we are all home and safe. And brought back a boat load of memories.

ENJOYING THE RIDE

Interstate 90 at the Montana / Idaho border in late January 2020

I really like to share my travels with the world and the A to Z Challenge provides a great platform to share these with many people of diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Family at the Grand Canyon

Over the course of the past month I posted my 26 posts and included over 300 photos and dozens of unique stories of the places we saw on our epic road trip.  Thus far I have had over 20 comments from readers and well over 200 views of the posts.  I am thrilled for the visits and the experience.

What did you miss?

If you haven’t visited any of my posts, I shared a link to a page that has all of the links at the top of this post.  Please visit it and click on any of the links.  In the mean time, what did you miss?

Montana Highway 1 near Opportunity, Montana
  • A road trip of 8154 miles across 20 states in 21 days
  • Lovely photos of wildlife like eagles, bison, prairie dogs, seagulls and more
  • Amazing scenery from all kinds of geography including mountains, deserts, oceans and massive forests
  • Visits to over a dozen National Parks and Monuments
  • Stories and photos of many unique and quirky road side attractions
  • Visits, photos and stories about towns with unique names
  • A few fun and unique places to eat
  • An opportunity to learn about a different perspective on the amazing diversity of these United States
Pacific Coast as seen from Long Beach, Washington
welcome to Happy, Texas
Bald Eagle, taken on US Highway 2 near Davenport, WA
Big guy at Rainbow Rock Shop in Holbrook, AZ
Mount Rushmore as seen from a tunnel on Iron Mountain Road. The tunnel was built intentionally to frame the monument
Joshua Trees near Baker, CA
Martian Soda anyone?
Sandhill Cranes in West Texas
Paul Bunyan in Klamath, California
San Francisco CA
Uranus Fudge Factory, St Robert, Missouri
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Caddo Lake bayou near Uncertain, Texas

WATCH FOR MY NEW BOOK “8154” — COMING SOON TO AMAZON

I am currently working on my FOURTH book, titled “8154” to represent the mileage of my epic road trip with family.  You can visit my Amazon Author Page to see my other books at https://amzn.to/3azY36l

 

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AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – The O Stories #atozchallenge

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with  the course of three weeks.  My A to Z posts this year will have the “8154” theme, which will also be the title of my forthcoming new book that will document the epic road trip.  Each entry will highlight a few stories with photos based on the alphabet and not the order of the trip.  I hope you will enjoy this bouncy ride across the back roads of America.  Please enjoy the O Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Oil City, Louisiana

After visiting Caddo Lake and taking a nice swamp cruise with Aaron Applebaum of Mystique Tours, we drove around the lake over to Oil City, Louisiana.

Welcome to Oil City, Louisiana
Oil City Historic Oil Rigging and Equipment
Oil City, Louisiana

Old Farm Vintage Antiques – Tulia, Texas

My daughter Marissa likes to visit unique antique stores.  We stopped at the Old Farm Vintage Antiques.  She found some nice stuff there.  Tulia, Texas is at the junction of U.S. Route 87 and Texas Highway 86.

Old Farm Vintage Antiques – Tulia, Texas

Old Shawneetown, Illinois

Old Shawneetown was actually on our stop list because of hits history.  The Shawneetown Bank State Historic Site is quite unique.

Old Shawneetown, Illinois

Oyster Capital of the World – South Bend, Washington

A drive down U.S. Highway 101 in Washington will take you through South Bend, Washington on Willapa Bay.  They claim to be the Oyster Capital of the World.  According to willapaharbor.org, one out of every six oysters consumed in the United States is harvested in Willapa Bay.  No, we did not try any oysters.

Oyster Capital of the World – South Bend, Washington
Welcome to the Oyster Capital of the World

Giant Octopus – Nipton, California

I have written about Nipton on a couple of posts.  Today, I bring you the giant octopus in Nipton.  It will grab ya!

Big Octopus as seen in Nipton, California

Ord, Nebraska

Ord, Nebraska is in the eastern edge of the Nebraska Sandhills.  The town of about 2000 is in the North Loup Valley and is a scenic area. My drive through the town has a lovely old theatre marquis.

Welcome to Ord, Nebraska
Ord Theatre – Ord, Nebraska

Ortega’s Indian Market – Gallup, New Mexico

Driving on Interstate 40 east or west, you will see dozens of signs advertising Ortega’s Indian Market in Gallup, New Mexico.  You can’t miss the shop on the drive down Route 66 through Gallup.

Ortega’s Indian Market – Gallup, New Mexico

Opportunity, Montana

Back in 2019 I had seen a post on Facebook with a sign to Opportunity.  I looked it up and decided that it was to be on my bucket list so it can go along with my visits to Success, Prosperity, Romance and others.  On my trip in late January, we had the chance so I took it…  well, we had the opportunity to visit Opportunity.

The small 500 person community of Opportunity is right off of Montana Highway 1, also known as the Pintler Scenic Route.  It is just down the road from the old smelting town of Anaconda and its infamously pollution-belching Washoe Stack.

Opportunity, Montana
Opportunity Fire Department, Opportunity, Montana

Oregon

We took this sign while on US 101 entering Astoria, Oregon after crossing the amazing Astoria-Megler Bridge that spans the Columbia River.  It is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America.  The bridge is 4.067 miles long and was the final segment of U.S. Route 101 to be completed between Olympia, Washington and Los Angeles, California.

Welcome to Oregon
The Astoria-Megler Bridge as seen from Astoria, Oregon
Driving over the Columbia River from Washington and approach to the Astoria-Megler Bridge

Old Truck and Gas Station – Lemon Cove, California

An old deco-style Richfield Gas Station in Lemon Cove, California.  This was likely built around 1942.

Old Truck and gas station in Lemon Cove, California

Owensboro, Kentucky

Owensboro, Kentucky Water Tower

Oglala National Grassland – Nebraska

Driving north from Alliance, Nebraska to South Dakota, we drive through the Oglala National Grassland, near Crawford, Nebraska.  The Oglala Grassland is the best place in Nebraska to view pronghorns and a popular place to view prairie dog colonies along the site’s northern border.

Oglala National Grassland – Nebraska

Ohrmann Museum and Gallery – Drummond, Montana

The Ohrmann Museum near Drummond, Montana
Ohrmann Museum and Gallery – Drummond, Montana
Fun sign at Ohrmann Museum
Go ahead and sit on the turtle
Lovely scrap metal eagle and not so lovely selfie

Ohio River Scenic Byway – Old Shawneetown, Illinois

The Ohio River Scenic Byway is probably one of my most favorite drives in the United States.  It covers nearly 950 miles as it meanders along the banks of the Ohio River through Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.  The drive begins at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers near Cairo, Illinois and then up the river to Indiana. It then weaves its way near Cincinnati and then across the state to East Liverpool, Ohio.  We grabbed this photo near Old Shawneetown, Illinois, not far from Cairo.

Ohio River Scenic Byway – Old Shawneetown, Illinois

WATCH FOR MY NEW BOOK “8154” — COMING SOON TO AMAZON

I am currently working on my FOURTH book, titled “8154” to represent the mileage of my epic road trip with family.  You can visit my Amazon Author Page to see my other books at https://amzn.to/3azY36l

 

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AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – The K Stories #atozchallenge

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with one of my daughters and three grandchildren.  We traveled 8154 miles through 20 states over the course of three weeks.  My A to Z posts this year will have the “8154” theme, which will also be the title of my forthcoming new book that will document the epic road trip.  Each entry will highlight a few stories with photos based on the alphabet and not the order of the trip.  I hope you will enjoy this bouncy ride across the back roads of America.  Please enjoy the K Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Kamilche Trading Post – Shelton, Washington

The Kamilche Trading Post is in Shelton, Washington, right off of US 101.  We stopped there because I wanted to get a nice shot of the large Totem Pole on the side of the place.

Kamilche Trading Post is associated with the Squaxin Island Tribe, a community of over 400 people.

Kamilche Trading Post
Kamilche Totem Pole
Totem Pole at Kamilche Trading Post on the Squaxin Island Reservation.

Knuckles Bar & Grill – San Francisco, California

I got a kick out of this sign in San Francisco.   Don’t know anything else about Knuckles.  But its a great sign.

Knuckles in San Francisco

Kopey’s Steaks Cafe – Waterville, Washington

As we drive through the nice little town of Waterville, Washington, I caught this sign.  Once again, I don’t know much about Kopey’s Straks Cafe, but they apparently offer meals for breakfast, lunch and even steak for dinner.

Another old sign. Kopey’s Steak Cafe in Waterville, Washington

Karnack, Texas

OK…this one is stretch.  Nothing to indicate Karnack, Texas but these signs.  Karnack is the main community closest to Uncertain, Texas and Caddo Lake.

Roadsigns in Karnack, Texas

Knight Museum & Sandhills Center – Alliance, Nebraska

One of the main scheduled stops for us on this trip was the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center in Alliance, Nebraska.  I was scheduled to give a presentation about my book Less Beaten Paths of America: Beyond Description – More of the Strange and Unique as well as a book signing.

The Knight Museum features five areas of local history: Life in the Sandhills, Native American Life, Life in the Country, Life in the Town, and The Railroad which is the last piece of the puzzle to tie these wildly different lifestyles together.

Selfie at the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center in Alliance, Nebraska

Krampus Kave – Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth is a fun little town with a Bavarian theme and a lovely mountain setting.  I’ll have more about the town in my L Stories post.  But, one of the unique shops I saw from the outside was Krampus Kave, a comic / game / oddity shop on Front Street.

Krampus Kave in Leavenworth, Washington

WATCH FOR MY NEW BOOK “8154” — COMING SOON TO AMAZON

I am currently working on my FOURTH book, titled “8154” to represent the mileage of my epic road trip with family.  You can visit my Amazon Author Page to see my other books at https://amzn.to/3azY36l

 

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