June 2019 Road Trip: Fun, Quirky and Offbeat Things

With any road trip I take, I look for a lot of different things.  I can find the offbeat and quirky, the beautiful, the unique, the magical, the historical, the fun and more…all in one trip.  I am focused…on the big picture.

My June 2019 road trip took me over the road for nearly 6000 miles and through nine states.  I tried to stick to back roads wherever possible because that is where the greatest discoveries can be found.

In this post, I present to you some of the more unique, fun and, in some cases quirky things that I discovered along the way.  There is always something out there.

Here are few fun things…

Place Names

Welcome to Delight, Arkansas

I am always looking for fun names.  How about Delight, Turkey, Jolly, Greasy Corner?

Wildorado, Texas
That way to Turkey, Texas (I didn’t have time to take a Turkey trek.)
Greasy Corner, Arkansas. I did mosey on over to Greasy Corner only to find the corner, but no signs
Jolly, Texas. We didn’t stop, but I have been there before. Not much Jolly there but a truck stop

Business Names

Well Lookee Shop in Jemez Springs, NM

Well lookee here, there are some fun business signs to found on the road, including one of my (now) all-time favorites below.

Ever had a BBQ Sno-Cone? They have them in Dover, Tennessee
Or maybe you wanna getcha some of this instead? (BBQ that is) Naaman’s BBQ in Texarkana, Texas
A motel in Winslow, Arizona taking full advantage….
We all know what NEED to be done on a road trip. This place between Winslow and Holbrook can fulfill the need
Would you stay in a place called “It’ll Do Motel”? Can you do better? Its in Clarendon, Texas

Other Unique Signs and Things

I guess this is one place where people are delighted, even when dead? Delight, Texas

I often come across signs around towns, in shops, restaurants and such that make me want to snap a shot.

Ya Can’t Fix Stupid…especially the ones who try to take their cars where they shouldn’t go.  This sign was in a shop window in Winslow, Arizona.  Weaver’s is actually in Water Valley, Mississippi
I guess aliens need to park somewhere – at The Thing in Dragoon, Arizona
Circle N takes the No Shirt No Shoes concept to a whole new level Forrest City, Arkansas
Texans apparently don’t call 911. Saw these in a shop near El Paso, Texas
Now, this is a good spin on Desserts! Saw this at a restaurant on the top of Mt. Lemmon, near Tucson, AZ
And then you should mind your own biscuits. Found in a cafe in Clarkson, Kentucky
Speaking of restrooms, The Thing in Arizona apparently has some good uns….

Then there is the unique…

Big Pink Elephant with glasses in Clarksville, TN

Then there are the unique things out there.  The Glass-wearing elephant has a bovine friend just north of it in Kentucky

Big Cow with pink glasses in Guthrie, KY
And the cow’s pal Pink Elephant around the corner from it in Guthrie as well.
What’s a road trip without coming across a big ol’ Muffler Man?  This one is on a rooftop in downtown Gallup, New Mexico
I came face to face with this dinosaur at The Thing in Dragoon, Arizona
And saw this big metal chomper in Sedona, Arizona
Holbrook, Arizona has dozens of dinos hanging around. Here are a couple of biggies
Absurd…saw this replica of the Ghostbusters car in Bogata, Texas.  I guess in Texas they are Ghostboosters?  “Boost’n Makes Me Feel Good”
On the timezone in Clarkson, Kentucky. You decide what time it is.
You can sleep in a Wigwam in Holbrook, Arizona
You must stay within 31 MPH in Trenton, Tennessee
Watch out for the big bugs
I never take a trip without trying to see if a Peter Toth Whispering Giant can be seen. This one was in Winslow, Arizona
And this Whispering Giant was in Las Cruces, New Mexico
A church built into the rock? Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona
I can’t say I’ve been everywhere until I have been to the birthplace of Johnny Cash in Kingsland, Arkansas

And what a fine sight I was when I jumped in and photo-bombed a motocycle club standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona

Couldn’t resist jumping in with this nice Motorcycle Club from Phoenix at the famed corned in Winslow, AZ

And the Chart Topper (or should I say the Tram Topper?) is….

Watched this guy climb up on the top of the Sandia Peaks Tram in Albuquerque, NM to ride 1200′ above ground on a couple of wires for about 2 miles and 15 minutes. I was scared to death just taking his picture.

Like what you see? Well, there is lots more!  I now have three books available about offbeat and quirky places to take on your road trips. You can see all of them at http://amzn.to/2ks6fQZ. Book 3 was published and available on August 24, 2019.

Book Cover for Book 3 – Cover Art and design by Antsy McClain

 

 

 

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The Back Road to Memphis: US Route 79

Bozo's Hot Pit BBQ - Mason, TN
Bozo’s Hot Pit BBQ – Mason, TN

With this post I continue blogging about some of our wonderful US Highways as I strive to avoid the interstates in my travels. In June, I took a trip to Galveston, Texas for a family reunion. The entire length of the trip was predominantly US Highways or State Highways as I made my way to Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and then southern Texas.

Route to Memphis from Lexington via Russellville, KY and US Route 79
Route to Memphis from Lexington via Russellville, KY and US Route 79

The first leg of this trip would take me from Lexington to Russellville, KY where US Highway 79 begins.  Following that highway, I would make my way into downtown Memphis, TN. From there I would catch US Highway 61 (The Blues Highway) down through Mississippi (the next post in this series). Though I have been throughout a good part of Kentucky and also have taken trips into Tennessee numerous times, this was my first venture on US Highway 79 in over 12 years.

Roadtrip
Getting ready to leave on my road trip…early morning start at 4 AM

My objective was to make sure I was on US Highway 79 by about sunrise, so I was on the the road heading west very early in the morning out of Lexington and then to the Bluegrass Parkway and onto I-65 south. I then took the Western Parkway heading west towards Central City, Kentucky, the birthplace of the Everly Brothers. Along the way, I experienced a beautiful sun rise which is in the photo below.

Sunrise as seen from the Western Kentucky Parkway near Leitchfield, KY
Sunrise as seen from the Western Kentucky Parkway near Leitchfield, KY
Watercolor Skies near Leitchfield, KY
Watercolor Skies near Leitchfield, KY

At Caneyville, KY I took State Highway 79 south to Russellville. It was a nice drive through mist covered farmland.

Kentucky Highway 79 south of Caneyville, KY
Kentucky Highway 79 south of Caneyville, KY
Mist covered farmland as seen from Kentucky Highway 79
Mist covered farmland as seen from Kentucky Highway 79
Kentucky Highway 79 just north of Russellville, KY
Kentucky Highway 79 just north of Russellville, KY

As noted above, my main objective for going to Russellville was being able to travel south along US Highway 79 all the way into Memphis.  I didn’t see much in Russellville, but there was a fun sign for Ray Bones BBQ, which is apparently now out of business…at least the sign was still there!

The former Ray Bones BBQ in Russellville, now closed, did have a fun sign
The former Ray Bones BBQ in Russellville, now closed, did have a fun sign
Downtown Russellville, KY
Downtown Russellville, KY
This is where US 79 starts in Russellville, KY
This is where US 79 starts in Russellville, KY
A nice red barn in a corn field south of Russellville on US Route 79
A nice red barn in a corn field south of Russellville on US Route 79

The first real excitement along the way was as I approached the Tennessee border near Guthrie, Kentucky. Mind you, Guthrie is way out of the way for most things but they do have a wonderful large pink elephant and a giant cow with sunglasses!

Ghost sign on a the side of a building in Guthrie, KY
Ghost sign on a the side of a building in Guthrie, KY
Welcome to Guthrie, KY
Welcome to Guthrie, KY
The American Cafe in Guthrie, KY... old sign
The American Cafe in Guthrie, KY… old sign, but still in business

The big pink elephant can be seen from US Highway 79 just before the function with US Highway 41.  I turned left on US 79 and a couple of blocks later came across the huge cow with glasses. The cow with glasses is reminiscent of the Pink Elephant with glasses in DeForest, WI (see my post about that from earlier this year).

Pink Elephant in front of a convenience store in Guthrie, KY
Pink Elephant in front of a convenience store in Guthrie, KY
Sumoflam with Pink Elephant in Guthrie, KY
Sumoflam with Pink Elephant in Guthrie, KY
Cow with Glasses in Guthrie, KY
Cow with Glasses in Guthrie, KY
Sumoflam with the cow that wears pink glasses
Sumoflam with the cow that wears pink glasses

Just after Guthrie, I crossed into Tennessee and headed towards the small town of Paris, Tennessee.

Heading South on US 79
Heading South on US 79
Welcome to Tennessee
Welcome to Tennessee

I made a brief stop in Clarksville to visit a couple of friends and then from Clarksville, it was on to Paris to some beautiful lake country including a drive over the Kentucky lake which is part of the Tennessee River.

Welcome to Clarksville, TN
Welcome to Clarksville, TN
Classic Neon Sign in Clarksville, even called a Motor Hotel, before the days of Motels...
Classic Neon Sign in Clarksville, even called a Motor Hotel, before the days of Motels…
Land Between the Lakes in Tennessee
Land Between the Lakes in Tennessee
Dover, Tennessee
Dover, Tennessee

The drive from Dover, Tennessee south on US 79 is also called the Tennessee River Trail.  It is a scenic drive through pine trees and then eventually over the Tennessee River and Kentucky Lake.

Tennessee River Trail south of Dover, TN
Tennessee River Trail south of Dover, TN
US 79 south of Dover, TN -- pine-walled highway
US 79 south of Dover, TN — pine-walled highway
US 79 just north of the Tennessee River
US 79 just north of the Tennessee River
Lots of signs just before crossing the Tennessee River near Paris Landing State Park
Lots of signs just before crossing the Tennessee River near Paris Landing State Park

Paris, TN is a nice little town, perhaps best well-known for its replica of the Eiffel Tower. They have competed with Paris, TX for the “biggest” replica of the Eiffel Tower in a town named Paris (I wrote a complete blog post about that). But here are a couple of photos from Paris, including the Tower.

Welcome to Paris, Tennessee
Welcome to Paris, Tennessee
The Paris, TN watertower, which has an Eiffel Tower  painted on it.
The Paris, TN water tower, which has an Eiffel Tower painted on it.
Paris, TN Eiffel Tower
Paris, TN Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tennessee is 60 feet tall
Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tennessee is 60 feet tall

Paris, TN also lays claim to a big catfish statue atop of another welcome to Paris sign. Actually, the Catfish is meant to be the sign to the other famous Paris attraction: “The World’s Biggest Fish Fry.” Held annually on the last full week of April, the festival revolves around the “Fish Tent” where more than 12,500 pounds of catfish is served with all the trimmings.  This event has been held since 1953.

Welcome to Paris Catfish
Welcome to Paris Catfish – heralds the “World’s Biggest Fish Fry”

From Paris, US 79 headed south west towards Memphis through a number of small towns. One of these small towns is named Bells, Tennessee. It was funny for I pulled into town right at noon and there were church bells ringing from a couple of locations.  Bells…matched the name indeed.

Bells, Tennessee water tower
Bells, Tennessee water tower
Downtown Bells, Tennessee
Downtown Bells, Tennessee

Bells is also the home of the Pictsweet Company, a family-owned vegetable company (for four generations). Many in the south enjoy their selection of frozen vegetable products.

Pictsweet_RGB

From Bells I followed US Highway 70A/79 and drove on to the town of Brownsville, Tennessee, apparently “A Good Place To Live.”

Brownsville, TN water tower
Brownsville, TN water tower

When arriving in Brownsville, my eyes beheld a massive structure made of steel pipes and steel pieces and a large painted water tower that says “Mindfield Cemetery.” This large piece of art work is the work of one Billy Tripp, who in 1989 began creating a monument to his parents.

Mindfield Cemetery, Brownsville, Tennessee
Mindfield Cemetery, Brownsville, Tennessee

Tripp used salvaged metal to construct what is considered to be the largest outdoor sculpture in the United States. This strange art monument covers about an acre and, at the tallest point, reaches a height of 125 feet.

Tripp's Mindfield Cemetery
Tripp’s Mindfield Cemetery in Brownsville, TN
Billy Tripp's Mindfield in Brownsville, TN
Billy Tripp’s Mindfield in Brownsville, TN

According to Tripp, the sculpture is intended to represent various events in his life including the death of his father, Rev. Charles Tripp. And on top of this, Billy trip as requested that upon his death, he be interred into the same location.

A section shot of Billy Tripp's Mindfield
A section shot of Billy Tripp’s Mindfield
A funny sign at the Mindfield
A funny sign at the Mindfield
A solitary chair way up high on the Mindfield
A solitary chair way up high on the Mindfield
One of many sculptures in the Mindfield
One of many sculptures in the Mindfield
Well, a Flamingo fits this perfectly!!
Well, a Flamingo fits this perfectly!!
A kind of Totem pole at the Mindfield
A kind of Totem pole at the Mindfield

After this unique visit I was back on US 79 and continuing into Memphis.  There were no stops in Memphis as I was heading towards the “Blues Highway” (US Route 61) for the second leg of my trip.  That will be my next blog post.

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