Everywhere a Sign – Some H Signs From 2018 #AtoZChallenge

(Editor’s Note:  For  my  2019  posts,  I will be posting photos from my travels in 2018.  I visited 26 states and drive over 13,000 miles in 2018.  These posts will feature of few of the road signs and business signs I came across, as well as some stories behind them.  Enjoy the Read and Enjoy the Ride!)

H is the beginning of Happy.  Being on a road trip always keeps me happy and healthy and hopping.  I saw many H signs during my travels across the states in 2018.  Here are a few of them.  Enjoy the Read.  Enjoy the Ride.

Happyville Rd., Greensburg, Kentucky

Happyville Rd., Greensburg, Kentucky

I was down in southern Kentucky early in 2018 to view the Sandhill Crane migrations, one of my passions. On the drive back to Lexington from the Barren River Lake State Park, I took a new route of off US 68 and cut north towards Hodgenville, through Greensburg and saw the sign.  Naturally, I had to stop and grab a shot!! So, I start this blog post with Happyville…why not get happy?

Holy Water Car Wash, Zwolle, Louisiana

Holy Water Car Wash, Zwolle, Louisiana

Every so often, some of my followers will come across places that make them think of me and will send me a photo asking if I had been there.  Such was the case with the Holy Water Car Wash in Zwolle, Louisiana.  After getting the photo from a friend, I added it to my to do list and when I took a trip to Houston, I routed it through Louisiana just so I could go to Zwolle (both for the car wash and for the Z named town).  I got my own version of the sign!  And Zwolle is a cool town too (as you will see in my Z Sign post in this series later this month).  How can anyone pass up a sign like this?  And no, I didn’t wash the hell out of my car on this trip.

Hurts Donut – Frisco, Texas and Katy, Texas

Wanna Hurts Donut?
Hurts Donut in Frisco, Texas
Hurts Donut Menu, Katy, Texas

If you grew up in America in the 1960s, chances are you were asked the questions:

“Would you like a hurts donut?” or “Would you like a nice Hawaiian Punch?”

In either case, if you answered “Yes,” you got a nice punch on your arm.  And with the donut one, came the question, “Hurts, don’t it?”

Bathroom Sign in Hurts Donut

Hurts Donut company was started in Springfield, Missouri by Tim and Cas Klegg, along with Scott Bussard sometime in 2014.  There are many donut places in this country and a few big chains.  There are fewer Donut places that make trendy specialty donuts. In all of my travels, I have only come across a very few, my favorites being Voodoo Doughnut (out of Portland, Oregon and now in a few other diverse places, including Austin, Texas) and the other being Hurts Donut.

Hurts Donut door in Frisco, Texas

Hurts Donut is a Destination.  It is a fun place.  They have many themes and each place even has their own Donut Ambulance, for Donut Emergencies! They have over 80 different donut varieties in 19 locations, as far west as Tempe, Arizona and through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Iowa and even stores in Colorado and Wisconsin.

Hippo Heaven, Hutto, Texas

Got Hippo? If not, try Hutto, Texas
Hutto Welcome Mural
Hutto, home to over 3,000 Concrete Hippos

Hutto, Texas is home of the Hippos.  Yes, that is the mascot of the High School Athletic Teams.  But, unlike other towns, this one has taken it to an extreme by having concrete hippos, large and small, dotting the town.  I have yet to do a blog post about Hutto, but I do have dozens of photos.  A blog post will be forthcoming.  But, if you like Hippos, then Hutto is an absolute must see!

Helper, Utah

Helper, Utah

Smack in the middle of Utah, down in a small canyon is an old historic community called Helper. An old coal mining and railroad town, the name is derived from the “helper engines” that help push the long coal trains up over the Soldier Summit.  It is a cool little town with some unique quirky attractions, old buildings and beautiful scenery.

Hochatown, Oklahoma

Hochatown, Oklahoma

Located about one mile west of Broken Bow Lake on US Hwy 259 in Oklahoma, Hochatown is definitely a tourist attraction town.  Being next to the lake, it is close to fishing and kayaking.  But, in town there are Sasquatch Tours, a cool putt-putt golf course with a golf club laden Muffler Man, and the “tourist trap” kind of shops with all sorts of souvenirs.  It is also in a pretty part of Oklahoma among pine trees and nice scenery.

Like what you see here? 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!!


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


Home on the Range, North Dakota

Home on the Range sign in North Dakota

Hammering Man – Seattle, Washington

The Hammering Man by Jonathan Borofsky

Ho-Hum Motel – West Yellowstone, Montana

Ho-Hum Motel in West Yellowstone, Montana

Hillybilly Hot Dogs – Lesage, West Virginia

Yes, they do have a Website!!
Order Rite Cheer at Hillbilly Hot Dogs in Lesage, WV

Happy, Kentucky

Happy in Happy, KY

Hell, Michigan

Direction to Hell from Pickney, MI
Welcome to Hell

The Great Hodag – Rhinelander, Wisconsin

With the famed Hodag in Rhinelander, WI

Himeji Castle – Himeji, Japan

Visiting the famed Himeji Castle in 1987

Harlan Sanders Cafe – Corbin, Kentucky

Sanders Cafe in Corbin, KY. Birthplace of the KFC Special Recipe
The Colonel and Me at Sanders Cafe

Hipp Nursery – Haubstadt, Indiana

Martini bearing pink and white elephant pair at Hipp Nursery in Haubstadt, IN

Harry Truman Mural – Independence, Missouri

A mural of Harry Truman on a Law Office in Independence, MO painted by David McClain. Truman was born in Independence

Horsetail Falls – Multnomah County, Oregon

Horsetail Falls in Oregon

Hung Dong Supermarket – Houston, Texas

Of course, you can always come across unique shop names, like this one in Houston. I hear they have great sausages!!

Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland – Calvert City, Kentucky

Hillbilly Garden Car – Calvert City, KY
Signs at Hillbilly Garden

Henry’s Rabbit Ranch – Staunton, Illinois

Henry’s Rabbit Ranch – Staunton, Illinois
Rich Henry and Sumoflam with their rabbit at Henry’s Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, IL

Hiawatha Statue – Ironwood, Michigan

Hiawatha Stands 50 feet tall in Ironwood, MI

Heini’s Cheese Shop – Charm, Ohio

Heini’s Cheese Shop – Charm, Ohio

Home of Sliced Bread – Chillicothe, Missouri

Chillicothe, Missouri – The Home of Sliced Bread

Hell’s Half-Acre – Powder River, Wyoming

Hell’s Half Acre Sign in Wyoming off of US Route 20/26
Hell’s Half Acre in Wyoming

Sam Houston Statue – Huntsville, Texas

77 Foot Tall Sam Houston Statue in Huntsville, Texas

Hope, Arkansas

Made it to Hope, AR

Horse Farm Country – Central Kentucky

Horses graze in the fall on a Woodford County farm near Versailles.
Mare and foal jaunt on a farm in Lexington, KY

Hurts Donut – Frisco, Texas

Hurts Donut in Frisco, Texas
Wanna Hurts Donut?

Hyak Ferry – Bremerton, Washington

Riding the Hyak from Bremerton Terminal in Washington
A flock of seagulls on the deck of the Hyak

Harvey Jackson Mural – Kemmerer, Wyoming

Harvey Jackson mural on a corner in Kemmerer, WY

Hershey, Pennsylvania

My children at Hershey Chocolate World in 1990s
Granddaughter Joselyn gives Grampz a Hershey Kiss at Hershey’s Chocolate World

Hung Far Low Chinese – Portland, Oregon

Hung Far Low – Famous Chop Suey and Famous name – Portland, Oregon

Hurricane, West Virginia

Hurricane, West Virginia
A Wall Mural in Hurricane, WV

Horse Capital of the World – Versailles, Kentucky

A mural on a water tower in Versailles, Kentucky

Hamtramck Disneyland – Hamtramck, Michigan

Windmills and Whirlygigs at Hamtramck Disneyland in Detroit
A menagerie of oddball and offbeat things all over the roof, side of the house and the yard – Hamtramck Disneyland

Hutch’s on the Beach – Hamilton, Ontario

Hutch’s on the Beach – Hamilton, Ontario

Hopi Indian Reservation – Walpi, Arizona

While working in Arizona I made over 100 trips to Walpi on the Hopi Indian Reservation in Northern Arizona

Hippos of Hutto, Texas

Greetings from Hutto, home of the Hippos
One of the many Hippos in Hutto, TX

Hells Canyon – Oregon

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, Oregon
Hells Canyon in northeast Oregon is actually wider and deeper than the Grand Canyon

Hippie Joe’s Gas – Upper Lake, California

Hippie Joe’s Gas in Upper Lake, CA

History of the Niagara Peninsula – Welland, Ontario

A portion of a massive mural on the side of a shopping mall. Entitled “History of the Niagara Peninsula” by Heinz Gaugel

Hi-Line Theatre – Rudyard, Montana

Hi-Line Theatre in Rudyard, Montana – operating since 1949

Hatch, New Mexico

A&W Family in Hatch, NM
A fiberglass Uncle Sam in Hatch, NM with a famous Hatch Green Chile in hand

Hop Bottom, West Virginia

Hop Bottom, WV

Hot Box Cafe – Toronto, Ontario

Hot Box Cafe – Toronto, Ontario

Hugo, Oklahoma

Welcome to Historic Hugo, OK
A building made of petrified wood in Hugo

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



Houston to Austin: The Scenic Route

IMG_7418This is the second part of my Galveston return trip journey (see first post if you missed it).  After a night in Houston with my Uncle, I was back on the road through Houston and on to Austin, the long and scenic route….

My route from Houston to Austin ... the long and scenic route
My route from Houston to Austin … the long and scenic route

I chose this roundabout way through the heart of Texas in order to enjoy the unique Texas scenery and perhaps run into some of those quirky things that little towns have.  Initially, I had a business meeting scheduled in Conroe, but it fell through, so I headed to Huntsville, but, as I checked the map I noticed that not too far from Conroe was a small town called Cut and Shoot, Texas.  Voila!!  An unexpected town name treat!

Cut and Shoot City Hall
Cut and Shoot City Hall

According to the history of Cut and Shoot, the town had its unusual beginning and acquired its peculiar name in July 1912.  It was all a result of a religious confrontation and comments made by an 8 year old boy.  Today the town is incorporated and has a post office and a city all (as shown above).

Cut and Shoot Post Office in Texas
Cut and Shoot Post Office in Texas
Cut and Shoot Police
Cut and Shoot Police

From Cut and Shoot it was on to Huntsville to see what some call “The World’s Largest Statue of an American Hero.”  This is the statue of Sam Houston, called “Tribute to Courage”, it stands 67 feet but also has a 10 foot pedestal, giving it a ground to top height of 77 feet.

Welcome to Huntsville
Welcome to Huntsville
Sam Houston Statue
Sam Houston Statue

According to the Huntsville Visitor’s Center, Houston Sculptor David Adickes needed 30 tons of concrete and two years to work on the project. The statue was dedicated on October 22, 1994. Every year, between 50,000 and 65,000 people visit the huge tribute.  Adickes was born in Huntsville, Texas. After graduating from Sam Houston State University with degrees in both math and physics in 1948, Adickes went to the Kansas City Art Institute. He studied painting there, and then went to Paris where he studied art for two years. In 1957, he lived for a year in Japan and then traveled extensively over the next 10 years in the Far East, Middle East, Europe, Russia and North Africa.

This is a full size replica of the head of Sam Houston that sits atop this giant statue
This is a full size replica of the head of Sam Houston that sits atop this giant statue
Sam Houston
Sam Houston

I was really amazed at the size of this one. Perhaps it was because I couldn’t see it from the same distance that I saw the Stephen Austin statue from a few days ago. Plus, when looking across the interstate, you really can get a sense of the size in relation to vehicles, as shown in the photo above. For those interested and with some time, Huntsville is also the home of the HEARTS Veterans Museum and the Texas Prison Museum. If you like Ghost Tours (and I know a couple of readers who do), then you’ll be interested in Huntsville’s Ghost Tours.

Texas Hwy 30
Texas Hwy 30

To cut through the heart of Texas, I took Texas Highway 30 west out of Huntsville towards College Station and Bryan, TX.  The first little town I passed through was Shiro.  The town was founded in 1902 by farm families in the vicinity. The settlement’s name, Shiro, was provided by postmaster Frances Marion Mayfield, who selected it from the botanical names in a nursery catalog.

Texas Hwy 30 between Huntsville and Shiro.
Texas Hwy 30 between Huntsville and Shiro.
Welcome to Shiro, TX
Welcome to Shiro, TX

There was not much to see in Shiro, but the joy of taking these back roads is seeing things like the old car below advertising a bar in Shiro.

Bare Bones Bar advertising car - Shiro, TX
Bare Bones Bar advertising car – Shiro, TX
Old Ghost Sign for Coca Cola on a wall in Shiro, TX
Old Ghost Sign for Coca Cola on a wall in Shiro, TX
Downtown Shiro, Texas
Downtown Shiro, Texas
Old Furniture Store in Shiro, TX
Old Furniture Store in Shiro, TX

From Shiro, it was westward on TX 30 towards Bryan, TX

TX Hwy 30 west of Shiro
TX Hwy 30 west of Shiro

The sky was beautiful that day. Couldn’t resist a shot…

Sky and clouds deep in the heart of Texas
Sky and clouds deep in the heart of Texas

After Bryan the highway turned into US 79/190 heading west towards Austin.  When I got to Hearne I followed 79 south towards Rockdale.

Shining sky above US 79/190 in central Texas
Shining sky above US 79/190 in central Texas
Rockdale, Texas
Rockdale, Texas
Thorndale, Texas
Thorndale, Texas

When I got into Thorndale, there was this huge pyramid-looking grain elevator.  It was an unusual site.

Huge unique grain elevator in Thorndale, Texas
Huge unique grain elevator in Thorndale, Texas

After Thorndale, it was on to Hutto, home of the Hippos and the into Round Rock.

Hutto, Texas
Hutto, Texas

I didn’t have time to stop in Hutto, but I did see something pretty funny to me….  Covert Auto has a less than Covert sign….

Covert Chevrolet in Hutto, TX
Covert Chevrolet in Hutto, TX

I had to push into Austin since I was meeting my cousin for dinner in Austin.  I finally got into Austin (the town that wants to stay weird) after a fun drive through the heart of Texas.  I joined my cousin for dinner at the world famous Threadgill’s.

Threadgills in Austin
Threadgill’s in Austin
Threadgill's Home Cooking
Threadgill’s Home Cooking

Threadgill’s started off as a gas station  just north of Austin by Kenneth Threadgill in 1933.  He soon made it a beer joint for musicians to drop in after their gigs.

Howdy from Threadgill's
Howdy from Threadgill’s
Threadgill's is Cool!
Threadgill’s is Cool!

Even though I have always been known to be a music trivia wiz, I learned something new here at Threadgill’s…this was where Janis Joplin got her start as she developed her brassy style that would propel her to become the first female rock and roll superstar.

Janis Joplin painting at Threadgill's
Janis Joplin painting at Threadgill’s
Threadgill's Diner Style
Threadgill’s Diner Style

And of course, they are famous for their food too….how about Texas style Chicken Fried Steak…

Threadgill's Chicken Fried Steak
Threadgill’s Chicken Fried Steak

After dinner, we took a ride for the night life of Austin.  A couple of shots to end the day and end this post.  Next post is all about Austin and the drive to Keller.

The "Owl" in downtown Austin
The “Owl” in downtown Austin – Frost Bank Tower
Stoplight over the capital
Stoplight over the Capital