AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – The F 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 F Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Friend, Nebraska

I am always looking for places with friendly names such as Friendly (in West Virginia), Friendship (in Arkansas) and others.  Nebraska has a Friend which resides along US Route 6 southwest of Lincoln.

Friend, Nebraska

Flying C Ranch  – Moriarty, New Mexico

I continue to share photos of Bowlin’s fun billboards.  This one advertises the Flying C Ranch, which is near Moriarty, New Mexico off of Interstate 40 and Route 66.  They apparently have a Ginormous Selection!!

Bowlin’s Flying C Ranch near Moriarty, New Mexico

Fun Fishing Signs – Uncertain, Texas

Fishing Pox sign as seen in Uncertain, Texas
Another Fisherman sign in Uncertain, Texas

Fire Engine – Matador, Texas

As we drive through Matador, Texas, we came across this cool old fire engine.  Couldn’t resist taking a few shots of it.

Old Fire Engine in Matador, Texas

Foothills Visitor Center – Sequoia National Park in California

Sequoia National Park is big and they have a few Visitor’s Centers.  We stopped at the Foothills Visitor Center for the kids to get their Junior Ranger Badges.

Foothills Visitor Center for Sequoia National Park

First United Methodist Church – Happy, Texas

I really had wanted to visit Happy, Texas and, while there, I saw this pretty cool sign that actually “Welcomes You to Happy.” This double play was a good one. Made my Happy.

First United Methodist in Happy, Texas

Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco, California

When you visit San Francisco, this is really one of the best places to visit in the city.  Lots of good seafood and some great sourdough bread!

Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

Fort Stevens State Park – Hammond, Oregon

Fort Stevens State Park is just off of US 101 in the northwest corner of Oregon.  Once you cross the Columbia River from Washington into Oregon, you are practically there.

One of the real draws is the old Peter Iredale Shipwreck, which I will go into detail about in my P Stories.

Fort Stevens State Park near Hammond, Oregon
Peter Iredale Shipwreck located in Fort Stevens State Park

Farwell, Texas

Not too far from Clovis, New Mexico you can drive through Texico, New Mexico and then across the tracks into Farwell, Texas.  The two towns share a road (Stateline – TX 348), much of which is actually a well-managed dirt road.

Welcome to Farwell, 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 A 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 A Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Alcatraz Island – San Francisco, CA

While in California in mid-February, we visited San Francisco and viewed Alcatraz Island, the famed island-prison, from afar.

Visit Alcatraz
Alcatraz Prison on an island in the bay.

Avenue of the Giants, near Pepperwood, CA and other northern locations

On this trip we drove US Highway 101 all the way from northern Washington, though Oregon and all the way to Santa Cruz, CA, where we took Highway 1.  Along the way, in northern California, in the Redwood Forest, we took Avenue of the Giants, a nice 31 mile drive through the giant redwoods. Following are few shots from this lovely drive through amazing giant redwood trees.

Avenue of the Giants, northern California
Sumoflam Selfie on the Avenue of the Giants
Avenue of the Giants near Scotia, CA
Avenue of the Giants near Scotia, CA

Anaconda, Montana

Our trip from Kentucky eventually took us through Montana on our way to Washington.  Taking back roads, we took a drive through the historic mining town of Anaconda, Montana.

Welcome to Anaconda, Montana
Anaconda, Montana

Alliance, Nebraska

Alliance, Nebraska is the home of the famed tourist attraction Carhenge.  I wrote about Carhenge in my third book and, as a result, I was invited to do a book signing at the Knight Museum and Sandhills Center in Alliance.

The Alliance Theater, Alliance, Nebraska
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska

Awesome Possum Flea Market – Hamburg, Iowa

Always fun to find unique store fronts.  We found the Awesome Possum Flea Market in Hamburg, Iowa. Despite being almost late January, they were still playing Christmas music on a loud speaker outside of the store.

Awesome Possum Flea Market

Aaron Applebaum – Swamp Tour Guide Extraordinaire – Caddo Lake in Uncertain, Texas

On our return trip home we stopped in Uncertain, Texas to take a swamp tour, our second one, with Aaron Applebaum, who runs Mystique Tours and gives boat rides year-round through the swamps of Caddo Lake.  Aaron is very friendly and knows the swamp well.  You are in very good hands with him.  My good friend and fellow travel writer Tui Snider and her husband Larry, joined us on this trip.

Taking a swamp ride with Aaron Applebaum of Mystique Tours. In this photo are Lyla, Joselyn, Marissa, and Landen Noe, Aaron Applebaum, Larry and Tui Snider and me.
Hanging with Aaron Applebaum

Animals Are Wild – Sequoia National Park, California

Be warned, when you are in the national parks and national forests, animals are wild and should not be fed or touched.  The sign below tells it all.

All Park Animals are Wild — Sequoia National Park, California

Alien Fresh Jerky and Crazy Giant Aliens – Baker, California

A drive through Baker, California offers the unwitting tourist a delightful mix of eye-candy and tasty treats.  Sadly, when we got to Baker, Alien Fresh Jerky was closed, but we still got to see the fun.  Watch out for Aliens!!

Alien Fresh Jerky, Baker, CA
Alien Fresh Jerky Shop, Baker, CA
Watch for the aliens. Look carefully and you might see a strange human reflection.
Alien Street Lamp… Peace Out
Try the Invisible Jerky

Arrowhead Motel – Hyannis, Nebraska

Another of the many unique signs discovered on the backroads of America.  This one was in the small town of Hyannis, Nebraska

Arrowhead Motel sign in Hyannis, Nebraska

Audubon Parkway – near Owensboro, Kentucky

We left from Kentucky and, on part of the trip form Lexington, we took the Audubon Parkway, which was named after John James Audubon, the famed bird artist, who was from Kentucky.

Audubon Parkway, Kentucky

Alibi Pub and Eatery – Wilbur, Washington

Wilbur, Washington is a small town on US Route 20 west of Spokane.  I liked the store front, so here it is.  Alibi Pub has a Facebook page.

Alibi Pub and Eatery in Wilbur, WA

Alioto’s Restaurant, 8 Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, California

I love unique signs.  Driving through the Fisherman’s Wharf district of San Francisco, I saw this fishy sign.  Sure wish we could have stopped to eat here.  Looks good.  Check out Alioto’s on their Website.

Aliotos Neon Sign, San Francisco

Ardmore, South Dakota

Drive across America and you will see many small towns, like the ghost town of Ardmore, South Dakota which sits on SD 71 just north of the Nebraska border in the Ogalala National Grassland.

Ardmore, South Dakota

Arkansas

One of the twenty states we drive through.  Welcome to Arkansas!

Welcome to Arkansas

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

 

Sunset Motel – Belle Fourche, South Dakota

Great little place in the geographic center of the continental US!
Always like places with these old keys!

Spider Volkswagen – Wolf Creek, Oregon

Spider Volkswagen – Wolf Creek, Oregon

Sandwich, New Hampshire

WARNING: They do not have a place to get a sandwich in Sandwich. No Joke!

Sandwich, New Hampshire – Cool little village as long as you don’t want to find a sandwich
Signposts in Sandwich, NH. No restaurants!

Story Inn – Story, Indiana

Sumoflam at the Story Inn in Story, IN
The nice old wooden floors of the Story Inn dining area
Antique Checkerboard on the Story Inn front porch. Checkers are actually old pop bottle caps

San Xavier del Bac – Tucson, Arizona

Old Church “San Xavier del Bac” in Tucson
Meditation – San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona

Success, Missouri

Finding Success in Missouri

Shoshoni, Wyoming

The seemingly run down business section of Shoshoni, WY
Old Motel Neon sign in Shoshoni, WY

Space Aliens Grill & Bar – Waite Park, Minnesota; Fargo, North Dakota

Space Aliens Grill & Bar – Waite Park, MN
Sumoflam with an Alienized Smile at Space Aliens
Space Aliens Grill & Bar, Fargo, ND

Screaming Heads – Burk’s Falls, Ontario

Screaming Heads. Canadian secondary school teacher Peter Camani created these spooky yet fascinating landscape artwork. Since the mid-1970s besides being a teacher, he has built these massive structures and amazing castle.
Sumoflam at Screaming Heads in Burk’s Falls, Ontario
Screaming Heads – Burk’s Falls, Ontario

Spud Drive-In – Teton Valley, Idaho

The Spud Drive-In – Teton Valley, Idaho
The Spud sign – Teton Valley, ID

Sandhill Cranes – Barren River Lake, Kentucky; Cecilia, Kentucky; Dell, Montana

Sandhill Cranes take flight
1000s of sandhill cranes converge on a field near Cecilia, KY
Sandhill Cranes near Red Rock Ranch in Dell, Montana
A pair of Sandhill Cranes at sunset near Cecilia, KY

Stone Mountain – Stone Mountain, Georgia

Stone Mountain, GA in 2015

Scary Creek, West Virginia

Scary Creek Church of God sign
Scary Creek Paintball billboard

Silver Saddle Motel – Manitou Springs, Colorado

Silver Saddle Motel – Manitou Springs, CO

Sapp Brothers – Nebraska City, Nebraska; Council Bluffs, Iowa

Sapp’s Coffee Pot Water Tower in Nebraska City
Sapp Brothers Water Tower in Council Bluffs, IA

Solomon, Kansas

US Post Office, Solomon, Kansas
Solomon Water Tower

Shipwrecked Brew Pub – Egg Harbor, Wisconsin

Ahoy matey…how about some lunch at the Shipwrecked Brew Pub in Egg Harbor, WI

Suizenji Park – Kumamoto, Japan

Enjoying a visit to the famed Suizenji Park in Kumamoto

Spar Cafe – Olympia, Washington

Spar Cafe – Olympia, WA
Inside the Spar Cafe in Olympia

Salida, Colorado

Salida, Colorado
Odd metal buffalo in Salida, Colorado

Seth, West Virginia

Seth, West Virginia

Sam Houston Statue – Huntsville, Texas

77 Foot Tall Sam Houston Statue in Huntsville, Texas
Sumoflam with Big Sam Houston towering behind him in Huntsville, TX

Star Trek Places – Vulcan, Alberta; Riverside, Iowa

Sol and Sumoflam live long and prosper with the Starship Enterprise in Vulcan, Alberta Sept 2007
Live Long and Prosper – Sumoflam and the Starship Riverside

Shiner, Texas

Shiner, Texas
Shiner Barbeque Company, Shiner, Texas

Sarris Candies – Canonsburg, Pennsylvania

Sarris Candy in Canonsburg. One of the world’s largest candy stores
Sarris Candy Castle weighs 1500 pounds

Sisters, Oregon

Welcome to Sisters, Oregon
Three Sisters – nicknamed Faith/Hope/Charity near Sisters Oregon

South Congress Cafe – Austin, Texas

South Congress Cafe in Austin
I had breakfast at the South Congress Cafe. It was truly an upscale cafe, if there is such a thing

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, May 2015
Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco
At Golden Gate Bridge in in San Francisco, CA May 2015

Skykomish, Washington

Welcome to Skykomish

Springfield, Illinois

Family at the Lincoln Home in Springfield, Illinois, Summer 2001
Cozy Drive In – Springfield, Illinois

Seagulls – Port Orchard, Washington; Puget Sound, Washington; Galveston, Texas; Ashland, Wisconsin

Seagull with clam in Port Orchard
A flock of seagulls on the deck of the Hyak in Puget Sound, WA
A couple of seagulls “converse” as they enjoy the view over a lake in Ashland, Wisconsin
Seagull in flight in Gulf of Mexico near Galveston, Texas
A closeup shot of a seagull taken on Bremerton Ferry while crossing the Puget Sound in Washington

Chief Standing Brave – Big Cabin, Oklahoma

Giant Indian Chief “Standing Brave” in Big Cabin, OK

Spindle (Cars on a Spike) – Cermak Plaza – Berwyn, Illinois

As seen in the movie Wayne’s World – sadly, no longer around

The famed “Spindle” sculpture as seen in the movie Wayne’s World. Apparently, it wasn’t worthy. This was taken in 2007 and in 2008 it was torn down…meh

Smiley Water Towers – Adair, Iowa; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Beloit, Wisconsin; Cedar Creek, Texas; Smiley, Texas

Smiley Water Tower in Adair, Iowa
Winking Smiley on backside of Water Tower in Grand Forks, ND
Beloit, WI Smiley Water Tower
Smiley Water Tower – Cedar Creek, Texas

And finally…one without a Smiley Face….

A Smiley Water Tower without a Smiley Face…Smiley, Texas

Stardust Motel – Wallace, Idaho

Stardust Motel – Wallace, Idaho
Stardust Motel Neon sign – Wallace, Idaho

Seattle, Washington

Seattle as seen from a boat in the Puget Sound
Welcome to the Seattle Waterfront
Seattle’s famed “Great Wheel”

Shenandoah National Park – Luray, Virginia

Visiting Shenandoah National Park on Easter Sunday 2017
Easter Sunrise as seen from Shenandoah National Park
Hills of Shenandoah Valley in presunrise hours on Easter 2017

Skeletons on the Highways – Port Orchard, Washington; San Francisco, California; Montrose, South Dakota; Murdo, South Dakota

Closeup of the Biker Skeleton at Bethel Saloon in Port Orchard, WA
A skeleton pirate guards the entrance to a shop in Fisherman’s Wharf
A skeleton keeping guard at Porter’s Sculpture Park in Montrose, SD
Skeleton Walking Dinosaur near Murdo, South Dakota
Closeup of Murdo Skeleton

Sorehead Cafe – Rudyard, Montana

The Sorehead Cafe – Rudyard, Montana

Stoneville Saloon – Alzada, Montana

Stoneville Saloon in Alzada, MT taken in June 2005
Stoneville Saloon – Cheap Drinks – Lousy Food
Canned Delicacies at Stoneville Saloon – Alzada, Montana

Saketumi Restaurant – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Japanese food at the Saketumi Asian Bistro in Rehoboth Beach, DE

Stoner Drug – Hamburg, Iowa

Stoner Drug in Hamburg, IA
The old fashioned soda fountain inside of Stoner Drug

Sawtooth Mountains – Stanley, Idaho

Sawtooth Scenic Byway in Idaho
Jagged Sawtooths near Stanley, ID
Sawtooth Range as seen from Galena Overlook

Sod House Museum – Gothenburg, Nebraska

Sod House Museum, Gothenburg, NE
Barbed Wire Indian Chief and Horse – Sod House Museum – Gothenburg, Nebraska

A bit of Superman – Metropolis, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio; Ashland, Wisconsin

Superman Mural in Metropolis, IL
At the house that used to be the home of Jerry Siegel, the Creator of the Superman stories. This is in Cleveland, Ohio
Superman is hung forever on the side of Boudreau’s antiques…saving a little doll?
Sumoflam and the 12 foot tall bronze Superman in Metropolis (not fiberglass, but a neighbor to Big John)

Sheep Capital of America – Newell, South Dakota

Livestock Sign – Newell, SD
Sign at the door of TJ’s Cafe in Newell, SD. Bear in mind this is sheep country.

Shelby, Montana

Shelby, MT Amtrak Station
Vista Motel – Shelby, Montana
Shelby, Montana

Shelby, Mississippi

Welcome to Shelby, MS
Colorful buildings of Shelby, MS
Daniel’s Snack Shack, Shelby, MS

Sedona, Arizona

Agave in Sedona, Arizona
Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, AZ
Oak Creek runs by the famed Cathedral Rock in Sedona, AZ

Stinky’s Country Well – Gilboa, Ohio

Stinky’s Sign – Gilboa, Ohio
Stinky’s Country Well – Gilboa, Ohio

Showmen’s Rest Cemetery – Hugo, Oklahoma

Showmen’s Rest in Hugo’s Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Sumoflam with an Elephant Headstone at Showmen’s Rest
A final view of Showmen’s Rest

Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus Welcome Sign
A Santa Selfie at Santa Claus Post Office
Santa Claus Police

Scandinavian Heritage Museum – Minot, North Dakota

The Gol Stave Church replica and museum at the Scandinavian Heritage Center in Minot, ND
The 30 foot tall Dala Horse at the Scandinavian Heritage Center in Minot

Sparta House – Sparta, Ontario

Sparta House Tearoom – Sparta, Ontario

Scotty’s Hamburgers – Idaho Falls, Idaho

Scotty’s Hamburgers – Idaho Falls, Idaho

Severed Head Trading Post – Perryville, Kentucky

Severed Head Trading Post – Perryville, Kentucky

Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway – Nebraska

Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway on Nebraska Hwy 2
Nebraska Highway 2 Sandhills Journey
Sunset over Beem Lake in the Sandhills of Nebraska…

Seabrook, New Hampshire

Sign Post in Seabrook, NH
Welcome to New Hampshire! US State #48 for me.

Schroeder’s Drive-In – Danville, Illinois

Schroeder’s Drive-In – Danville, Illinois

Shakespeare, Ontario

Welcome to Shakespeare
Antique Shops in Shakespeare

Steubenville, Ohio

Welcome to Steubenville, OH
Market Street by Michael Wojczuk. This was the first mural painted in Steubenville
Sumoflam and Dino in Steubenville

Swedesburg, Iowa

Welcome to Swedesburg
The famous Straw Goat from Swedesburg.
Caution – Swedish Crossing in Swedesburg, IA

Sam Black Church, West Virginia

Sam Black Church in Sam Black Church, WV
Sam Black Church historical Marker

Sunset Crater National Monument – Flagstaff, Arizona

Family at Sunset Crater National Monument north of Flagstaff in July 1993

Silver Dollar Saloon – Leadville, Colorado

Silver Dollar Saloon storefront – Leadville, Colorado

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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