A Grab Bag from America’s Back Roads – The E 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.

 

Elk Bar and Good Food – Chinook, Montana

I love old neon signs!!

Elk Bar and Good Food – Chinook, Montana

End of Trail Motel – Broken Bow, OK

More good old neon

End of Trail Motel Neon sign in Broken Bow, OK

End of The Trail – Dawkins Rail Trail – Hager Hill, KY

End of Dawkins Line Rail Trail near Hager Hill, KY

Elvis Statue – Memphis, Tennessee

A shot with Elvis in Memphis

Earth, Texas

Welcome to Earth, Texas 
Yes, there is Earth Police

Eagles – The Living Kind – Lexington, Kentucky; Cave Run Lake, Kentucky; Lewistown, Montana

Eagle at Jacobson Park, Lexington, Kentucky
Eagle I saw when driving by Lewistown, Montana
Eagle taken at Minor E. Clark Fish Hatchery near Cave Run Lake, Kentucky

Eclipesville USA – Hopkinsville, Kentucky & Cadiz, Kentucky

Three of my grandchildren at the Eclipseville Photo Board (courtesy of Marissa Noe)
Catching the Solar Eclipse in Cadiz, KY
The “diamond ring” effect begins as seen from Cadiz, KY

Ehlenbach Cheese Chalet – DeForest, Wisconsin

One of the two murals that decorate the outside of Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Palace Hotel – Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Echo Lake – Mount Evans, Colorado

Sitting on top of the world at Echo Lake near the base of the summit of Mt. Evans near Denver, Colorado

Elephant Buttes – Tuba City, Arizona

Elephant Buttes east of Tuba City on US 180

Eskimo Pie – Onawa, Iowa

Onawa, Iowa, Home of the Eskimo Pie

Elbe, Washington

Small Elbe Church in Elbe, WA

El Kapp Motel – Raton, New Mexico

More great neon

El Kapp Motel in Raton, NM

Eiheiji Temple – Fukui, Japan

Main gate to Eiheiji. Note the monk walking across. He was barefoot. (ca 1976).

Easy Street – Port Orchard, Washington

Easy Street, Port Orchard

Eiffel Towers of Paris, Texas and Paris, Tennessee

These two compete for the tallest – Paris, Texas added a cowboy hat to make theirs tallest.

Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tennessee is 60 feet tall
The Paris, Texas Eiffel Tower with a Cowboy Hat on top

Erie Canal – Medina, New York

Culvert Road Tunnel under Erie Canal

Egg Harbor, Wisconsin

Welcome to Egg Harbor, WI

Lake Eufala, Oklahoma

Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma

Egrets – Lexington, Kentucky; Cave Run Lake, Kentucky; Uncertain, Texas

Egret flies off at Jacobson Park in Lexington, KY
A Great Egret relaxes in the swamp near Uncertain, Texas
Egret taking a walk along a pond at the Minor E. Clark Fish Hatchery near Cave Run Lake, KY

Empire State Building – New York City

Empire State Building – as seen from Hoboken, New Jersey

Enchanted Highway – Regent, North Dakota

Enchanted Highway in North Dakota
Sumoflam on the Enchanted Highway near Regent, ND

Everglades National Park – Florida

Sumoflam at the Everglades in Florida in July 1990

Enjoy the Ride

My Travel Theme!

Sumoflam – Enjoy the Ride

Eagle Art from All Over: Kingston, Washington; Cut Bank, Montana; Joseph, Oregon; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Oglesby, Illinois; 

Found this eagle in Kingston, Washington
Big mural in Cut Bank, Montana
Eagle statue in Joseph, Oregon
Large eagle sculpture in Idaho Falls, Idaho
Wooden carved eagle at Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby, Illinois
Eagle in Utica, Illinois
More eagles at Starved Rock State Park

Embro, Ontario

Embro, Ontario, home of the Highland Games

Eighty Four, Pennsylvania

Eighty Four, PA Post Office
Welcome to 84 Country – Eighty Four , PA

Elk Photos – Elkton, Oregon; Yellowstone National Park; Sugar City, Idaho

An Elk Bull near Elkton, Oregon
A solitary elk bull relaxes in the meadow at Yellowstone
Elk Bull in Sugar City, Idaho

Euclid, Ohio

Welcome to Euclid

Elliston Place Diner – Nashville, Tennessee

At Nashville’s oldest eatery – Elliston Place Diner – Featured in Antsy McClain’s video

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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E is for Enjoy the Ride – #atozchallenge

One of my themes in life is to “Enjoy the Ride.” This is how I live my life, but it is especially true when it comes to my wanderlust and desire to travel the back roads of America.

The thrill that I get as I get on the open road with the windows rolled down and the music playing while looking at the trees and fence posts and telephone poles flying by me is amazing. I enjoy the ride every single trip!

A lonely tree decorates US Hwy 2 east of Culbertson, MT
Pine trees along US Route 2 between Floodwood and Grand Rapids, MN
Antelope on the Run in Wyoming

To “Enjoy the Ride” means to look at the trees and the clouds on the horizon, to see the sunsets and the sunrises and to witness animals prancing in the fields. It means to see the birds overhead and sitting on fenceposts along the way.

Looks like a cloud monster ready to fly down and eat someone…
Unique Clouds at 6:30 AM heading east on I-74 in central Indiana

To “Enjoy the Ride” means to witness the grandeur and majesty of the lovely mountains in the west or the rush of the waves in the Atlantic or the Pacific or the Gulf of Mexico.

I had to stop and get this shot of the pretty male Mountain Bluebird in Montana
Mountains near the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone
Sagebrush and Mountains in Idaho

Some people get bored driving through the desert and seeing all of the tumbleweeds. What they miss out on is the life that is out there in the desert and the scenery. The giant red rocks or the cactus or even the tumbleweeds. To see these is to Enjoy the Ride.

A Century plant in bloom with the scenic Red Rock country of Sedona, Arizona below. This was taken at the top of Schnebly Hill Road in 1983
Sumoflam at Monument Valley on Utah/Arizona border

To me, the destination is not the reason for the trip. It is all in the trip itself. That is the true defining point of enjoying the ride.

Living the Dream – Enjoying the Ride

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Going To California: Fun at Woodflock VI

Happy Me at Woodflock
Happy Me at Woodflock
Floyd
Sumoflam and Floyd at Woodflock VI

What a fitting occasion…it has been a busy month since I got back from California and Woodflock.  But, today is National Pink Flamingo Day…shouldn’t it be a great time to write my final California report…all about the famed Woodflock event in Red Bluff, CA.

The Memorial Day weekend event celebrated its 6th year in 2015.  Known to Antsy McClain fans (aka Flamingoheads) as a Summer Camp for Flamingoheads, Woodflock has grown from 60 participants in its first year to well over 300.  It is held at the Red Bluff Recreation Area on the Sacramento River in an enclosed area, all under Flamingohead control!!

DSC_2860The event includes evening concerts around a campfire, music workshops, games, guided meditations, crafts, etc.  Lots of good food, prepared for and eaten by a variety of Antsy McClain fans from all over the country was also a given.

My trip to California culminated in a three day adventure at Woodflock.  In fact, the entire purpose of my end of May trip was to attend Woodflock and to schmooze with my Pine View Heights cousins.

Sumoflam singing with Antsy McClain at Woodflock
Sumoflam singing with Antsy McClain at Woodflock

Some people reading this may be wondering “What in the world is a Flamingohead?” or where the heck is “Pine View Heights?” All of these and more are borne out of Antsy McClain music over the past two decades.  Antsy began his adventure with the Trailer Park Troubadours back in 1993 and has continued to inspire and humor audiences all over the U.S., Canada and even in Europe.  Pine View Heights is a fictional small trailer park in a holler in Kentucky. Everybody lives in aluminum, has big hair and collects pink flamingos.   And Woodflock brings it all to life in a unique natural setting, right down to the skeeters and chigger bites.

My Kind host Carla Lockwood in her Trailer Park Best flamingo hat at Woodflock
My Kind host Carla Lockwood in her Trailer Park Best flamingo hat at Woodflock

Many of the “cuzzins” as all are affectionately called, are dressed up in their “Trailer Park Best” for the celebrations. There is big hair, pink hair, and sometimes no hair…but nobody cares as they are all there to enjoy the camaraderie that has grown out of a love of Antsy McClain’s unusual and meaningful lyrics and songs (not to mention his amazing artwork, poetry, storytelling and more).

Flamingos everywhere at Woodflock
Flamingos everywhere at Woodflock
Some of the kids made their own t-shirts at Woodflock
Some of the kids made their own t-shirts at Woodflock
Photo ops with trailers (and even a MARDUP license plate from Kentucky - Married Up folks!)
Photo ops with trailers (and even a MARDUP license plate from Kentucky – Married Up folks!)
Crafts abound at camp...we all had fun being creative in music and art
Crafts abound at camp…we all had fun being creative in music and art

IRV2014My days were spent with friends and my nights were spent with IRV…short nickname for Ione’s RV.  Ione Snyder made sure I had a place to sleep while at Woodflock.  It had a good large bed in a conversion van.  And thank goodness the nights were cool.

Ione (L) and Carla (R)...kissin cuzzins!!
Ione (L) and Carla (R)…kissin cuzzins!!

Like Carla Lockwood, Ione Snyder is a gem. She has probably been to more Antsy McClain shows than any other person I know of…well over 100 and counting.  She is the resident Trailer Park Princess and most certainly deserves the crown!!

Dress up time at Woodflock was ALL THE TIME
Dress up time at Woodflock was ALL THE TIME

Though Antsy and the Troubs and their music was the cause for the gathering, once all were there, all the “adults” were like kids again, frolicking around in dress up, blowing bubbles, making tie dye t-shirts, and having a Way Cool World fun time.  Following are a few shots of the fun…

Hats were everywhere...better than the Kentucky Derby!
Hats were everywhere…better than the Kentucky Derby!
Blue hair?
Blue hair?
Flamingo gear abounds...
Flamingo gear abounds…
Pittsburgh Steelers Tattoos... (yes, from lyrics of a song)
Pittsburgh Steelers Tattoos… (yes, from lyrics of a song)
Inasion of the flamingo snatchers!
Inasion of the flamingo snatchers!
Sumoflam and Twyla - BIG HAIR!
Sumoflam and Twyla – BIG HAIR!
Blowing bubbles!
Blowing bubbles!
Yes, even I got dressed up!!
Yes, even I got dressed up!!

And then there were the arts and crafts.  Yes, just like camp when were kids…here are a few samples

Metal crafts
Metal crafts
T-shirt making
T-shirt making
Living the Dream tags...there were also Enjoy the Ride tags and Woodflock tags
Living the Dream tags…there were also Enjoy the Ride tags and Woodflock tags

There was a trailer/cabin decorating contest too.  And somebody even won!!  Lots of fun stuff…and did I mention that TODAY (June 23, 2015) is Pink Flamingo Day?

Trailer full of Love sign...yes, another lyric
Trailer full of Love sign…yes, another lyric
Groundhog dead in the flowerbed... (more lyrics!)
Groundhog dead in the flowerbed… (more lyrics!)
World's Largest Underwear...somebody needed it!
World’s Largest Underwear…somebody needed it!
Flamingo Whirlygigs
Flamingo Whirlygigs
The Party's Here (actually, it was everywhere)
The Party’s Here (actually, it was everywhere)
Decorated cabin at Woodflock
Decorated cabin at Woodflock
Flamingo ornaments abound at Woodflock
Flamingo ornaments abound at Woodflock
Flamingo Lanterns decorated the dining area
Flamingo Lanterns decorated the dining area
Flamingo biking
Flamingo biking
Antsy Fans
Antsy Fans

I enjoyed mingling with the Flamingohead family and seeing all of the fun t-shirts.

Over the years Antsy has designed dozens of t-shirts and many were to be seen at Woodflock among the followers.  Here are a few fun ones.

 

Official Woodflock photographer Ed in his "We're All Gonna Dye" t-shirt
Official Woodflock photographer Ed in his “We’re All Gonna Dye” t-shirt
Donning a Flockstar t-shirt.  All of us were Flockstars at Woodflock
Donning a Flockstar t-shirt. All of us were Flockstars at Woodflock
An oldie but a goodie...the "Everything's a Dollar" t-shirt (and yes, another song)
An oldie but a goodie…the “Everything’s a Dollar” t-shirt (and yes, another song)
There are even hand motions to "Everything's a Dollar"
There are even hand motions to “Everything’s a Dollar”

And there are a goodly variety of wonderful folk….

The famed Sue Butler...coordinator extraordinaire and tireless Antsy McClain helper, supporter and priceless friend
The famed Sue Butler…coordinator extraordinaire and tireless Antsy McClain helper, supporter and priceless friend
"Harry"
“Harry”
Uncle Fred singing songs around the campfire...yes THOSE songs (Like Old McDonald...)
Uncle Fred singing songs around the campfire…yes THOSE songs (Like Old McDonald…)
The Ferreira...another tireless couple of Antsy fans.  Always there to support him
The Ferreira…another tireless couple of Antsy fans. Always there to support him
Kevin brought his harmonica and joined with the band.  Always lots of fun
Kevin brought his harmonica and joined with the band. Always lots of fun
Troy came down from Washington.  He has been an Antsy Traveler
Troy came down from Washington. He has been an Antsy Traveler
Bobby Jack Miller is the Croquet King...Bobby Jack Bobby Jack (yes...more lyrics)
Bobby Jack Miller is the Croquet King…Bobby Jack Bobby Jack (yes…more lyrics)
Kathy...well, she missed the snow... (inside joke)
Kathy…well, she missed the snow… (inside joke)
Bob was the Camp Cook and BOY OH BOY....even the vegan food tasted sinful
Bob was the Camp Cook and BOY OH BOY….even the vegan food tasted sinful
Sumoflam and Bill...twin sons from Different Mothers...and boy were the mothers happy!!
Sumoflam and Bill…twin sons from Different Mothers…and boy were the mothers happy!!
Donna and Linda...the GOOD SISTERS
Donna and Linda…the GOOD SISTERS
Yes...even Santa paid a visit...I think he was Santa...
Yes…even Santa paid a visit…I think he was Santa…

DSC_2845I don’t want to neglect Hilary and Bruce, who did a wonderful job of morning meditation each morning.  What a nice relaxing way to start the day…  Bruce Wandmeyer, of course, is the sax player and slide guitar artist of Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours.  Hilary, his lovely wife, provided the meditation and soothed our souls.

Bruce Wandmayer played some soothing sounds from his dobro.  Relax....
Bruce Wandmayer played some soothing sounds from his dobro. Relax….
Hillary brought comfort to the souls
Hillary brought comfort to the souls

AntsyTroubs1And, finally, we enjoyed the music of Antsy McClain, the Troubs and a menagerie of others who brought their t-bones, mouth harps, ukeleles, stringed thingies and more.

This was why we were all here. We all share a love for Antsy, his music and his antics.  And each of the band members in attendance were also a delight.

We sat around the amphitheater one evening to hear the stories behind Antsy’s upcoming new album, we requested songs, we sang along, we danced.  It was time to be happy and relaxed. And we were.

Singing around the campfire at Woodflock
Singing around the campfire at Woodflock
Flamingos....even on guitars
Flamingos….even on guitars
Everyone's a fan of Antsy McClain
Everyone’s a fan of Antsy McClain
Antsy serenades us in an afternoon session
Antsy serenades us in an afternoon session
Pondering the meaning of an Antsy song??
Pondering the meaning of an Antsy song??
Aunt Beulah and her roadkill overcoat
Aunt Beulah and her roadkill overcoat
Antsy's songbook....
Antsy’s songbook….

And here are just a few more fun shots from my three days at Woodflock…I enjoyed the ride and now I have fond memories….

"Loose Bruce"
“Loose Bruce”
Kevin
Kevin
'nuff said
’nuff said
Enjoying Antsy McClain
Enjoying Antsy McClain
Enjoy the Ride
Enjoy the Ride
Finally got to hang with Pam
Finally got to hang with Pam
Lovin' on Bruce
Lovin’ on Bruce
Antsy McClain signature geetar
Antsy McClain signature geetar (and that is Edgar Cruz’s signature there too)
Smiles everyday
Smiles everyday
Flamingo Hats!
Flamingo Hats!
Hmmm....what's that lyric again?
Hmmm….what’s that lyric again?
Men with Hats...we can dance if we want to...but only at Woodflock
Men with Hats…we can dance if we want to…but only at Woodflock
Yes, Antsy Was Here
Yes, Antsy Wuz Here
Goofing around with Antsy McClain
Goofing around with Antsy McClain
Hanging with my good pal Uncle Fred, who kindly took me back to the San Francisco airport after Woodflock (and early in the morning)
Hanging with my good pal Uncle Fred, who kindly took me back to the San Francisco airport after Woodflock (and early in the morning)
Sleeping in IRV...yes, I just woke up...
Sleeping in IRV…yes, I just woke up…but I was a Happy Camper (notice the flamingo pillow case!)
Max plays a mean ukelele and sings a mean tune
Max plays a mean ukelele and sings a mean tune
Mike was the mustache winner (of course)
Mike was the mustache winner (of course)
Sumoflam doing his selfie thing...(photo by Ed Townsend)
Sumoflam doing his selfie thing…(photo by Ed Townsend)

The trip to California was amazing.  I loved every minute of it.  I want to make sure to once again thank Carla and Ione for their kindness, generosity and amazing flamingo hospitality.  Thanks to Ed…my partner in Men with Hats and good friend and photographer. Thanks to the other Flamingoheads for their familial friendship. Thanks to the Troubs for being the best musicians in the world.  And biggest thanks to my dear friend, long time pal and practically a brother…that sweet guy known as Antsy McClain…without him, Woodflock wouldn’t be.

Seriously living the dream with Antsy McClain...at Woodflock and beyond (photo by Ed Townsend)
Seriously living the dream with Antsy McClain…at Woodflock and beyond (photo by Ed Townsend)

 

 

 

 

 

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