Everywhere a Sign – Some XTRA Signs From 2018 #AtoZChallenge

Throughout my travels in 2018, I did not come across a single X sign.  In the past, I have been able to use Xenia, Ohio, but we didn’t go there last year.

So, I am Xcited to Xplain how I will post a number of fun XTRAs that I didn’t use in previous posts. There were some Xceptionally funny ones and a few Xtremely interesting ones. I hope you’ll enjoy my special edition of Xtra Signs from my travels over the years.  Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.

XTRA Fun For ALL — We are open

If We Are Here — Decatur, Texas
Love the “Sorry, We’re Open” sign!! At Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden Calvert City, Kentucky

At the X-Roads – Corssroads signs from 2018

Business Crossroads sign, Wallace, Idaho
Sign post in Broadus, Montana
I always love coming across direction markers that also give a mileage – Raymond, Washington
Route 66 Crossroads Sign in Bushyhead, Oklahoma
Go This Way — I need one of these!! Paradise Point, Scottsville, Kentucky

A Few Xceptionally Interesting Xtra Signs From 2018

Eat Me neon sign from Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken in Lexington, Kentucky
Howdy Sign from Doolittle, Missouri on Route 66
Wiener World, Home of the Cheese Dog – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Whatever Sign in West, Texas

A Few Real Oinkers!

Flying Pigs Cafe, Thomas, West Virginia
Taken in the Pigtown District of Baltimore, Maryland
When Pigs Fly sign at a shop called Uniques in Stratford, Oklahoma
Pig on car at Slap Ya Momma’s Barbeque in Biloxi, Mississippi

Now Back to More Xcellent Xtras

Signs at Hillbilly Garden in Calvert City, Kentucky
Welcome to Flatwoods, West Virginia. Home of the Green Monster
Is there such a thing as a Sanitary Sewer? Seen in Lexington, Kentucky
Social Vegan sign found in Austin, Texas
Walgreen’s Temperature sign in Cypress, Texas
Route 66 Gateway sign in Miami, Oklahoma
HipHop Fish and Chicken – a chain of at least 24 shops in Baltimore, Maryland
Peace Love & Little Donuts in the Strip District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – feed your inner hippie. Like other doughnut shops (Voodoo and Hurt’s, among others), they make unusual combinations, except these are smaller.
Stayed at the Silver Saddle Motel in Manitou Springs, Colorado – best view of Pikes Peak!  Really!
Roll On In Sushi Burritos sign in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sushi Burritos??
Route 66 in Chelsea, Oklahoma
I Got VD in Austin – Voodoo Doughnut, Austin, Texas
Bucky’s in Stratford, Oklahoma. Fresh and tasty Fried Pies
Not to be confused with Bucky’s above, Buc-ee’s in Waller, Texas
Buc-ee’s is one of the largest convenience store gas stations anywhere. Over 100 gas pumps!! HUGE store
Be Nice or Leave sign at Paradise Point in Scottsville, Kentucky
Missing Balls… Uranus, Missouri
One of Delta, Colorado’s many murals. They call themselves the City of Murals
The Skuller’s Clock with eyes in downtown Lexington, Kentucky
Comfort Station this way – West Side Market, Cleveland, Ohio
Cookin’ from Scratch chicken place in Doolittle, Missouri
Complaint Department sign at K’s Cafe in Clarkson, Kentucky
Olympia Film Society mural in Olympia, Washington
Old Orange Crush sign – Helper, Utah
Wall Drug Sign on I-90 in South Dakota Do Lunch or Be Lunch
Wonder if they take Running Backs? Or Forwards? Or Goalies? Or do they require certain types of positions? How about just a plain old sitting position?  Certainly don’t want to be a stander. Taken in Ferdinand, Indiana
Welcome to Raymond, Washington
Lots of cool stuff at the DFW Elite Toy Museum in Haltom City, Texas
Sign on the back of an old school bus at Paradise Point in Kentucky

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!!

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My Travels in 2018

Life gets so busy. The first two months of 2019 have been exceptionally busy and so I am just now getting to my annual review posts for 2018.

Visiting Route 66 in Oklahoma

At the beginning of 2018 I didn’t have very high hopes for many travel opportunities. I had begun a new job in early October of the previous year and I didn’t have any definitive travel plans. But, I had also learned to roll with things and, as good fortune would have it, 2018 actually became a really good travel year.

Over the course of the year I was able to travel through 26 different states and drove nearly 12,000 miles. I was able to add a plethora of photos (I took over 15,000 travel photos in 2018) and content for use in future blogs and books. Though many of my travels were alone (which I love), I also was able to travel with family on some of the trips (which I also love!).

Morning sky taken between Bend, OR and Brothers, OR (near Millican, OR) on US Hwy 20 heading east.
A sunset scene taken from the Edmonds to Kingston Ferry in Washington
Lovely sunset after a windy day. Taken on a side road of Interstate 70 just east of Abilene, Kansas
Mt. Aetna as seen from US 50 near Monarch Pass, Colorado.
Desert and snow-covered peaks in Nevada

My major trips included:

  1. A trip to Nashville in January to visit with my new employer ComicBook.com. On this trip I also visited the cool and “off-beat” Paradise PointMarketplace
    Welcome to Paradise Point
  2. In late January I made a trip down to Barren River Lake State Park in southern Kentucky to view the sandhill cranes which had migrated down there.
    Sandhill Cranes take flight
  3. In February I was asked by son Seth to come down to Cypress, Texas to watch his two sons for a couple of weeks while he and his wife were off on a cruise. The trip south took me through Calvert City, KY where I visited the Apple Valley Toy Land and Hillbilly Gardens. I also found my way to Kenton, Arkansas, home of the white squirrels, then to historic Walnut Ridge, Arkansas to see some fun Beatle’s things. I then meandered my way into Louisiana and visited a few fun places. While in Cypress with the boys I also visited Austin and then took the boys venturing out on some of the back roads around the Houston area where we discovered some fun places. My return trip took me up to Keller, Texas to visit my sister and while there I found a few more fascinating places. I then made my way home through Oklahoma and Arkansas, traveling back roads all the way and discovering some fun places. I finally returned to Lexington at the end of February.                                                                                               
    Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden – Calvert City, Kentucky
    Sumoflam with the Beatles in Walnut Ridge, AR
    The Beatles in Houston, statues by Houston artist David Adickes
  4. March saw me again on the road for a quick trip up to Cleveland, Ohio. On this trip, with my wife, we visited sites in Cleveland and then on the way home stopped in Columbus to see the famed Topiary Garden Park. It was a quick, yet fun and interesting trip. 
    Topiary Garden Park of Columbus
  5. On April 2 I set off on one of the biggest road trips I have had in a couple of years. We had a family event taking place in Port Orchard, Washington. I drove while my wife flew (she had a tighter schedule and needed to take some PTO time). I set out heading west through Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. I had hoped to go up through Minnesota, but a major snowstorm diverted much of my initial plan. Nonetheless, I always find something. This trip allowed me to visit seven different Peter Toth “Whispering Giants” , which also took me to other unique places along the way. I ultimately made my way through Iowa Falls, Cedar Rapids, northern South Dakota and overnight in Belle Fourche. I then headed northwest into snowy southeastern Montana and crossed the state from there through Bozeman, Butte, Missoula and overnight in scenic and touristy Wallace, Idaho. From Wallace I made my way to Spokane and then east on US 2, to complete my travels on the western portion of that highway (other parts I had driven on in previous road trips. This took me through Washington’s high desert and then into the Cascades and back down into apple orchard country. I ultimately made my way into the Seattle area. The return trip went down through Olympia and then into Oregon on US 101 and then across Oregon’s high desert, through Winnemucca, Nevada and then into my old stomping grounds in Murray, Utah, near Salt Lake City. I then ventured to Colorado Springs to see my son Solomon and then across Colorado’s high deserts into western Kansas, and finally back home through St. Louis and Louisville. It was an amazing two week adventure! 
    Visiting the Whispering Giant at Starving Rock State Park in Illinois
    One of over 200 sculptures from around Raymond, Washington
    A stretch of Oregon Highway 205 south of Burns, Oregon
    Leavenworth, Washington
    Snow walls taller than me on both sides of the road at Stevens Pass in Washington
    Helper, Utah
    Dignity: Of Earth and Sky – 50 foot tall statue by Dale Lamphere near Chamberlain, South Dakota
    Men’s Room Door at a gas station in Ashland, Montana
    US Hwy 101 in southern Washington
    Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs, Colorado
    On the road somewhere in NW Nevada
  6. I didn’t really venture out on a road trip again until mid-June when my wife and I took a day long trip up to Cincinnati to see some things we hadn’t done before. It was a nice sightseeing adventure.
    A day trip to Cincinnati with my wife
    The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge as seen from Carew Tower in Cincinnati. When opened on December 1, 1866, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world at 1,057 feet main span.
  7. In late July I was joined by my oldest grandchild Autumn for a fun adventure to Cypress, Texas. I was again asked to babysit my two granddsons for about ten days. Autumn and I meandered our way down there through Tennessee and Alabama down to the gulf coast and into Biloxi, Mississippi. We traveled along the Gulf Coast into Louisiana and eventually into Texas. While in Texas, the four of us made a few trips as well, including a day-long adventure to the weird city of Austin. Autumn and I then returned home through central Texas and up to Keller to stay with my sister and allow Autumn to hang with her cousin, who is the same age. After a couple of days in Keller, Autumn and I returned home through Oklahoma, Kansas and into Missouri, where we visited the unique touristy place called Uranus and then finally home. It was an amazing fun trip.
    Sharkhead in Biloxi, Mississippi
    Decatur, Texas
    Welcome to Uranus Missouri
    Getting stabbed in Bowie, Texas
    One of hundreds of frog statues in Rayne, Louisiana
    Peach Water Tower in Clanton, Alabama
    One of a number of murals in a section of Houston
    Vulcan Statue, one of America’s tallest, in Birmingham, Alabama
    Woody Guthrie Water Towers in Okemah, Oklahoma

    Over the next few posts, I will try to catch up with content about different themes…road scenes, wood art, murals, roadside attractions and more.

    I hope you will enjoy the ride with me as I revisit these adventures.

Have you seen my most recent book yet? “Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions” is available on Amazon!

The book is 130 pages of FULL COLOR whimsy and kitsch as I tell stories of my visits to these places all over the U.S. and Canada. Definitely was fun taking these back roads trips to quirkville and I am excited to share them with you in words and photos.   I hope you will be able to check out the book or even get it on Kindle.

You can order the book here:   See Offbeat and Quirky Roadside Attractions

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A Grab Bag from America’s Back Roads – The T Things #AtoZChallenge

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.

 

Talent, Oregon

Welcome to Talent, Oregon

Talent Mural

Talent Police

Tee Pee Motel – Wharton, Texas

Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX

Sumoflam at the Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX

Thoroughbred Park – Lexington, Kentucky

Thoroughbred Park, Lexington, KY

Horse and jockey racing down the track. Perhaps my favorite photo of all from Thoroughbred Park

Tightwad, Missouri

Tightwad, MO

Tightwad Bank – no longer in business, but was fun to see while there

Tornado, West Virginia

Tornado, WV

Tornado Church

Top of the World Store – Beartooth Pass – near Cody, Wyoming

Welcome to Top of the World Store on Beartooth Pass Highway north of Cody, Wyoming.

Sumoflam at Top of the World on the Beartooth Highway in Wyoming

Tulum, Mexico

Enjoying a visit to the Tulum Ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico

Tews Falls – Hamilton, Ontario

Tews Falls in Hamilton, Ontario

Tews Falls, Hamilton, Ontario

Trailer Park Eatery – Austin, Texas

Trailer Park Eatery in Austin — a hybrid “food truck” type of place comprised of trailers that are actually like food trucks

Trailer Park Eatery. Check out the Airstreams!

Teddy Rides Again – Enchanted Highway – Regent, North Dakota

Enchanted Highway Stop #6 – Teddy Rides Again

Sumoflam at Teddy Rides Again

Two Medicine Dinosaur Center – Bynum, Montana

Two Medicine Dinosaur Center, Bynum, Montana

Texas Instruments Sculpture – LSA Burger Co. – Denton, Texas

Texas Instruments, a unique sculpture at the LSA Burger Co., in Denton

A section of the Texas Instruments

Three Sisters – Sisters, Oregon

Three Sisters – nicknamed Faith/Hope/Charity near Sister’s Oregon

Toad Suck, Arkansas

Toad Suck, Arkansas

Sumoflam in Toad Suck, AR

Trillium Woods Provincial Park – Woodstock, Ontario

A walking trail at Trillium Woods Provincial Park

Torch, Ohio

Torch, Ohio

Tacoma Narrows Bridge – Tacoma, Washington

Sunset over Tacoma Narrows bridge

Mt. rainier as seen from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Turkey Vultures – McKee, Kentucky; Versailles, Kentucky; Taylorsville, Kentucky

Turkey Vultures guard their meal near McKee, KY

A Turkey Vulture, also called a buzzard, flying way overhead in Versailles, KY

Turkey vulture gathering on a road in central Kentucky

Thermopolis, Wyoming

Welcome to Thermopolis, WY

A sign about the Hot Springs of Thermopolis

Trail Town USA – Damascus, Virginia

Damascus calls itself Trail Town USA for a reason. The Appalachian Trail, the Virginia Creeper Trail and others come to a crossroads here.

At the Cross Roads of the Virginia Creeper and Appalachian Trails

Ten Sleep, Wyoming

Crazy Woman Cafe in Ten Sleep, Wyoming

Ten Sleep Canyon on US 16 near Ten Sleep, WY

Thronehenge – Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden – Calvert City, Kentucky

Thronehenge in the Hillbilly Garden

Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Tomahawk, WI

Big Bull Moose in Tomahawk, WI

Texan Motel – Raton, New Mexico

Texan Motel neon in Raton, New Mexico

Teton Drive In – Rexburg, Idaho

The old Teton Drive-In – Rexburg, Idaho

This Way and That Way – Lake Jackson, Texas

Corner of This Way and That Way in Lake Jackson, TX

This Way U Turn

Plaque describing the naming of the roads This Way and That Way in Lake Jackson, TX

Taughannock Falls – Ulysses, New York

Taughannock Falls in New York

Turtle Twist Ice Cream – Canonsburg, Pennsylvania

Turtle Twist Ice Cream in Canonsburg, PA

Theodore Roosevelt National Park – Medora, South Dakota

Some of the scenic and colorful hills of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Teepee Cafe – Bonesteel, South Dakota

TeePee Cafe – Bonesteel, South Dakota

Taisekiji – Fujinomiya, Japan

One of the huge buildings of Taisekiji in Fuji-no-miya (ca. 1978)

Towering pillars of Taisekiji. Notice the little dots at the bottom…those are people. (ca. 1978)

Tower Rock State Park – Cascade, Montana

Missouri River in Tower Rock State Park

Hardy Bridge in Tower Rock State Park

Tioga, Texas

Tioga, Texas – Birthplace of Gene Autry

Tioga Heritage Museum

Rustic shopping area of Tioga, Texas

Tallman Hotel – Upper Lake, California

The Tallman Hotel

Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, CA

Tersier (Actually called a Tarsius) – Bohol, Philippines

A Tersier on Bohol

Tunica, Mississippi

Gateway to the Blues, Tunica, Mississippi

The Tate Log House in Tunica, MS

Thorncrown Chapel – Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Tom Sawyer’s Fence – Hannibal, Missouri

My two sons, Seth and Solomon, at Tom Sawyer’s Fence in Hannibal, Missouri., Summer 2001

Threadgill’s – Austin, Texas

Threadgills in Austin

Janis Joplin painting at Threadgill’s

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Truth or Consequences, NM

NM 152 near Truth or Consequences, NM

Two-Tailed Walleye – Shell Lake, Wisconsin

Two Tailed Walleye Statue in Shell Lake

Sumoflam with the Shell Lake Two-Tailed Walleye

Train Murals – Gauley Bridge, West Virginia; Ravenna, Kentucky; Glasgow, Montana

Train Mural in Gauley Bridge painted by Nancy Lane to commemorate the rich rail heritage of the town.

A large mural of a train welcomes visitors to Ravenna, KY

Train mural in Glasgow Montana on the side of a building

Texas Pipe Supply – Houston, Texas

Giant Armadillo – Texas Pipe Company – Houston, Texas

Big Scrap Metal Stegosaurus – Texas Pipe Company – Houston, Texas

Twin Buttes – Atomic City, Idaho

Twin Buttes near Atomic City as seen heading west to Arco, ID

Three-Legged Willie – Georgetown, Texas

Statue of Three-Legged Willie in Georgetown, TX

Totem Poles – Neah Bay, Washington; Blueberry, Wisconsin; Ketchikan, Alaska; Superior, Wisconsin

A totem pole in Neah Bay, WA

Scrap Metal totem pole outside of Blueberry, WI Antique store

Sumoflam with a Totem Pole in Ketchikan

Wooden Bear Totem Pole – Gronk’s in Superior, Wisconsin

Troll City – Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Welcome to Mt. Horeb, WI

Ahhh..trolls

Another Mt. Horeb Troll (or two?)

One of dozens of HUGE trolls in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Grumpy Troll Brew Pub and Restaurant, Mt. Horeb, WI

Another Mt. Horeb Troll – for good measure

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.

Books 1 & 2

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