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
Hammering Man – Seattle, Washington
Ho-Hum Motel – West Yellowstone, Montana
Hillybilly Hot Dogs – Lesage, West Virginia
The Great Hodag – Rhinelander, Wisconsin
Himeji Castle – Himeji, Japan
Harlan Sanders Cafe – Corbin, Kentucky
Hipp Nursery – Haubstadt, Indiana
Harry Truman Mural – Independence, Missouri
Horsetail Falls – Multnomah County, Oregon
Hung Dong Supermarket – Houston, Texas
Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland – Calvert City, Kentucky
Henry’s Rabbit Ranch – Staunton, Illinois
Hiawatha Statue – Ironwood, Michigan
Heini’s Cheese Shop – Charm, Ohio
Home of Sliced Bread – Chillicothe, Missouri
Hell’s Half-Acre – Powder River, Wyoming
Sam Houston Statue – Huntsville, Texas
Horse Farm Country – Central Kentucky
Hurts Donut – Frisco, Texas
Hyak Ferry – Bremerton, Washington
Harvey Jackson Mural – Kemmerer, Wyoming
Hung Far Low Chinese – Portland, Oregon
Hurricane, West Virginia
Horse Capital of the World – Versailles, Kentucky
Hamtramck Disneyland – Hamtramck, Michigan
Hutch’s on the Beach – Hamilton, Ontario
Hopi Indian Reservation – Walpi, Arizona
Hippos of Hutto, Texas
Hells Canyon – Oregon
Hippie Joe’s Gas – Upper Lake, California
History of the Niagara Peninsula – Welland, Ontario
Hi-Line Theatre – Rudyard, Montana
Hatch, New Mexico
Hop Bottom, West Virginia
Hot Box Cafe – Toronto, Ontario
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.
After a long day of travel to Washington via Delta Airlines, first to Salt Lake City and then into Seattle-Tacoma Airport, and then a good nights rest, we had the opportunity to spend a day in Seattle with the family.
Since my daughter Amaree and her family live in Port Orchard, we had to take ferries across the Puget Sound to get to Seattle. We started with the Port Orchard Foot Ferry Service that took us from Port Orchard into Bremerton. Then we got on the Bremerton Ferry which is a much larger ferry that also carries automobile traffic and enjoyed the one hour boat ride to Seattle. We rode on the M/V Hyak, which can carry up to 2000 passengers and as many as 144 cars.
It was a beautiful day, probably in the 80s and sunny as can be. Prior to our trip Julianne and I had created T-shirts for all of the family so that we would be color coordinated and easy to find. These “safety green” T-shirts were very easy to see and it was fun throughout the day to get the comments from people.
I enjoyed sitting on the outside deck as we travel to cross the sound and loved watching the waves, the birds and other things. We got to a point where a couple of people and brought food to feed to the seagulls, who would swoop down and grab the food right out of these people’s hands. It was fun to see all of the seagulls up so close. I was able to grab some amazing photographs, some of which are posted below.
From the ferry deck we could not only see Seattle, but off in the distance we could see the beautiful cone shape of Mt. Rainier. Even in the heat of July it was covered with snow and glaciers.
As we approached Seattle, I could see the full expanse of the city and over to the south I could see the Space Needle clearly. The Seattle city scape is certainly a beautiful one.
Finally, we all arrived safely at the port and disembarked from the ferry into the crowded waterfront area of Seattle. This section of Seattle is certainly built to accommodate tourism. There is a giant Ferris wheel, called the “Seattle Great Wheel“, a couple of fun shops/museums, plenty of fun eateries, lemonade stands and much much more.
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Our first stop once we hit the sidewalk was Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Julianne and I had the opportunity to visit this place a few years ago when we were in Seattle prior to taking a cruise to Alaska. But, honestly, it was much more fun with all the grandkids being able to see all of the odd things in this museum/store.
Always the sucker for oddities, the store for that craving with some of the strange creatures that they have on display along with many of the unique items that were for sale in the store.
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop got its start when Joseph Edward Standley set up his curio and souvenir shop on the waterfront in 1899. Back then Seattle was a rough ‘n’ tumble town. Even at that time, Standley’s shop presented a jumbled mix of curiosities and significant art objects. He collected and sold what came his way, but also had local Native American artists make objects to his specifications. He sold genuine Tlingit totem poles, but also replicas by carvers descended from the Vancouver Island-based Nuu-chah-nulth tribe, who were living in Seattle, and even inexpensive souvenir totem poles made in Japan. A flair for the bizarre and grotesque led him to include items such as shrunken heads from the Amazon (some of them definitely genuine, others probably not). It is certainly a must visit location if you are in this part of Seattle!
We then continued to walk towards the area where the Pike Place Market is located. Along the way we passed eateries, shops and the Great Wheel. We skipped by most of these places but did take stops for a quick break. All down the path there are cornhole games and other things that are set up for people to just stop and play and we did so.
Another place of interest that we did not stop at but probably would’ve enjoyed was the Seattle aquarium. That will have to be on our agenda for the next trip. We had planned to visit the aquarium in Tacoma later in the week, so we skipped this particular venue.
The “Parking Squid”
At that point you can cross the street towards Pike Place Market, and visit the rather unique parking squid. This squid sculpture was made specifically for parking in attaching your bikes which makes it a rather unique item. As always, I am always looking for unique sculptures and so we stopped for a photo opportunity with the kids and I got another photo of this.
This unique utilitarian sculpture by Seattle artist Susan Robb, was commissioned by the Seattle Department of Transportation in 2009 and installed in 2012. It was originally installed on the north side of the EMP building in Seattle Center, but was eventually moved just outside of the Pike Place Market parking garage (the Pike Street Hill Climb) across the street from the Seattle Aquarium. The structure is made from galvanized steel and is a fun addition to a walking tour.
World Spice Market
On our way up to Pike Place Market (we took the elevator instead of the Pike Street Hill Climb), we just happened upon the World Spice Market. What a fabulous little shop! If you like spices this is the place to go because they have everything.
The shop is set up more like an apothecary with jars of spices along the walls and in bottles and jars throughout the store. You can open each one and take a whiff of the spice and then you request what spices you want and in some cases they actually grind them up for you fresh.
Pike Place Market
We finally made our way to the entrance of Pike Place market and took a quick stop with Rachel the Golden Pig, which is one of the famous pieces of artwork associated with this world renowned farmers market.
Naturally, since it was the end of July and everyone is on vacation and touring Seattle, the Pike Place market was packed to the gills! To go anywhere it was bump and grind all the way.
Despite the crowds, we were able to still enjoy some of the fun things of the market including the well-known fishmongers to throw the fish across the way yell out the customers name etc.
My grandkids, especially little Charlie, being smaller, were able to weasel their way up to the front and I soon saw Charlie playing with the crawfish, which were still alive. Fortunately, I was able to squeeze in and get close enough to grab a couple of good photos!
Here are a few more random photos I got at Pike Place Market. Such a unique and fun place (other than the crowds).
The Pike Place Market seems to go on forever and there is not a place to sit down anywhere along the way and so it got to be very tiring. We finally did get out of the market and walked down to a large park it did have plenty of seating.
After a brief rest, we decided that we would venture to the point where we can catch the large duck boats and Ride the Duck. even this was about a mile away and a good part of it was uphill, towards the terminus of the monorail station.
Along the way we walked by numerous shops including the origina Starbucks. Starbucks is now all over the place, but this was the first one and I have a picture showing I’ve been there! Here are a few more random scenes from our walk.
After the rather grueling walk up to the monorail station area, it was really nice to have a seat and relax for nearly an hour before our ride was to take place.
Throughout my travels, I have seen the “Ride the Ducks” boats in a few places over the years. I specifically recall seeing one Ketchikan, Alaska, but I’ve also seen them in San Francisco, Stone Mountain (Georgia) and Branson (Missouri). I had never ridden one, so I didn’t know what to expect.
After the wait, we finally were able to board our “Duck” adventure. We were in for a load of fun!!
First off, a little history about the “Ducks.” The DUKW (D-built in 1942, U-amphibious 2-ton truck, K-front wheel drive, W-rear wheel drive) was an amphibious landing craft developed by the United States Army during World War II. It was designed to deliver cargo from ships at sea directly to the shore. DUKWS are street legal to drive on the roads and are also legal to drive on water as recreational boats. (See more history here)
Our ride on the Duck was fun. We had a great driver – Captain Mandy Lifeboats. She was full of energy and pulled a few tricks out of her hat…or was it she pulled a few hats out of her tricks? She was both wacky (and even quacky!!)
Our Duck Tour took us from the Seattle Center, where the Monorail begins. We drove up along Lake Union and had some nice views from the Aurora Bridge. We then made our way INTO the lake and cruised around the lake. We saw the floating home from Sleepless in Seattle, and a few other ritzy lakeside homes, not to mention multi-million dollar yachts. We also had a great view of the skyline.
From the lake we drove back towards downtown past the Space Needle, the EMP Museum and then towards the downtown shopping area and along the waterfront. Overall the ride lasted about 90 minutes and we had a frolicking good time. There were times we all “quacked” at passersby, sang songs, had fun Disco Music and more.
What I enjoyed about this ride was the opportunity to see Seattle without all of the walking! And it gave a flavor of some of the places we can see on our next trip out there to see the family.
After the Duck Ride was over, we walked the mile or so back to the Ferry Dock to catch the ferry back to Port Orchard. We were all quite exhausted, but made it in time and enjoyed the ride back. And we were blessed with a wonderful sunset leaving its mark on Mt. Rainier. It was a splendid, though tiring, day.
After a good day of rest in Nebraska City, we were off the next morning. My daughter was to meet her friends at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha (which by many reports is one of the Top Ten Zoos in America) and I was going to visit some places in Council Bluffs while they were all at the zoo. I actually visited the Henry Doorly Zoo in 2012 during the U.S. Swimming Olympic Trials though I didn’t write any blog posts about the visit. So, I will include some of my photos from my visit as well as a couple of my daughter’s photos. After my visit to Council Bluffs we were then to make our way east into central Missouri with a planned overnight stay in Columbia. Following is a map of our adventures!
The early morning drive to Omaha from Nebraska City on Interstate 29 afforded us an opportunity to enjoy a Nebraska sunrise.
Before we hit the zoo, we had to make sure the kids got some breakfast. We saved up for a visit to the International Bakery in the Little Mexico part of Omaha. This is the ultimate in Mexican Panderias….the protocol consists of picking up a tray and tong by the entrance, and look around the large interior at the myriad choices and then get what you want. Pay the cashier in cash only, but items are either 50 cents or one dollar. Really cheap and ultra tasty.
Little Mexico not only has this tongue tantalizing bakery, but there is also plenty of eye-filling goodness in the district with beautiful architecture, amazing wall murals and some interesting artwork.
Then there are the pieces of art and tile work in the six block area
The tree and many of the pillars light up in the evening to add color. These have become a good drawing card in bringing people to this cultural district of Omaha.
After some pastries and a quick jaunt through the cultural district, it was off to the zoo. I had the opportunity to visit the Henry Doorly Zoo back in June 2012, so I opted out of this so Marissa could enjoy her friends. But, along with her photos, I am including some that I took last year.
Another great feature of this zoo is the penguins
During their visit to the zoo, Marissa and friends made their way to the tropical rainforest exhibit. I didn’t see this one on my visit. Here are a couple of pix.
The aquarium has a number of great things besides the penguins. The Jellyfish are always amazing….
Just outside of the zoo were too photo-ops – a giant burger clasping King Kong (for King Kong Burgers) and an old Zesto Ice Cream sign at a closed location. Zesto now only has three locations, all in southern Indiana, where they actually got their start. King Kong Burger has four locations in Nebraska. The two were kitty corner from each other at the entrance to the zoo.
As noted above, I didn’t visit the zoo with them, but made my way to Council Bluffs, Iowa, the twin city to Omaha. It is the county seat of Pottawattamie County (I love that County Name!!!) and is also considered the starting point for the historic Mormon Trail, which is also known as the Emigrant Trail since the Oregon Trail and the California Trail tend to follow the same route for much of the way west.
As is evidenced from the Welcome Sign above, Council Bluffs was and is a railroad town. With the completion of the Chicago and North Western Railway into Council Bluffs in 1867, the transcontinental railroad in 1869, and the opening of the Union Pacific Missouri River Bridge in 1872, Council Bluffs became a major railroad center. Other railroads operating in the city came to include the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, Chicago Great Western Railway, Wabash Railroad, Illinois Central Railroad, Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad and the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. Today there is a nice Railroad Museum and more.
Finally, as a tribute to the junction of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Rail Lines which were joined together in May 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah with a Golden Spike, the town of Council Bluffs has a commemorative Golden Spike Monument, which was erected in 1939 and stands 56 feet tall. It can be found at South 21st Street and 9th Avenue in Council Bluffs.
More than the railroad, the most striking aspect of Council Bluffs is its collection of outdoor modern art. That was the drawing card for me. Driving along Interstate 29/80 from the east and towards Omaha, one gets a real glimpse of the artwork. From a distance one can see what appears to be like 4 giant “Decepticons” from the Transformers movies. In fact, my 4 year old grandson even said so!! Actually, the four huge rusty works of steel, named Odyssey, are the handiwork of metal artist Albert Paley.
These huge weathering steel structures are from 46 feet tall to 60 feet tall and can be seen from a long ways away. Each of them is unique. These were assembled and added here in 2010.
The Odyssey pieces were just a small piece of a much larger set of projects carried out by the Public Art and Practice, LLC out of Indianapolis and St. Louis. In Council Bluffs they created Master Plans for three areas – Bayliss Park, the Haymarket District and the Mid-America Center. They also oversaw the 24th Street project (above) and the Broadway Viaduct. I made it a point to visit all of these places and got some great shots of the massive art works that were completed.
The Mid-America Center is right off of the 24th Street Bridge so it was my first stop. Three different artists were commissioned for work in this Convention Center, Shopping Center and Entertainment district. The first of these was Jun Kaneko, a Nagoya, Japan born artist and now based in Omaha (since 1986). His work at the Mid-America Center is in the form of a sculpture garden and is named Rhythm (see a slide show of the entire plan here). His commissioned sculpture garden includes 21 works of art on 400 feet of patterned granite. These 21 works include 11 columnar-shaped Dangos, 5 wedge-shaped Dangos, 3 bronze heads, and 2 large ceramic walls.
The second sculptor with works at the Mid-American Center is New York artist William King, who has three pieces at the center. His three works (Sunrise, Circus, and Interstate) are fabricated of 1″ thick plate aluminum and were installed in October 2007.
One of my favorites pieces from all of my travels, Sunrise memorializes the pioneers. I like how they have let grass grow around it to give the appearance of the pioneer couple walking through the prairie. This work is 24 feet tall.
Interstate gives the appearance of a driver in a convertible with his hair blowing in the wind. This work is almost 16 feet tall and sits at the corner of 24th Street and Mid-American Drive adjacent to Interstate 80.
The last William King piece is called Circus and is at the West Arena Entrance. This fun piece is 23 feet tall and brings to mind the acrobats of a circus.
Jonathan Borofsky is a sculptor who currently lives in Maine, but graduated in art from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. I have actually seen two other pieces of his:
Borofsky’s Molecule Man is immense with each of the three human figures standing 50 feet tall. The originals of this sculpture were done in Los Angeles and Berlin. Both are 100 feet tall.
Just outside of the Mid-America Center is another Sapp Brothers Truck Stop, the ones famous for the Coffee Pot Water Towers. The one in Council Bluffs is a bit smaller but I was able to get closer.
I left the Mid-America Center and then headed into town for a few more sites. My first stop along the way was to take the Broadway Viaduct and see one of the most unusual pieces of bridge art I have ever seen.
The Broadway Viaduct was completed in October 2012 by Portland, Oregon artist Ed Carpenter.
Bayliss Park is in downtown Council Bluffs and has been a focal point of the downtown Council Bluffs area since the mid-1800’s Since a renovation in 2007, the park is now filled with unique art, much of which was done by Providence , Rhode Island artist Brower Hatcher. The centerpiece of the park is the amazing Wellspring water fountain. It is not only unique during the day, but has LED lights at night for amazing color shows.
Oculus provides entertainment opportunities for the community such as large swing band concerts, and local ballet and theatre performances.
Broward Hatcher also designed six black squirrels which are “touchable art”. The children’s interactive water area includes the six cast black squirrels (in bronze) standing nearly 30″ tall. Integral to the design is a water feature that turns on when activated by children.
To the side of Bayliss Park is a nice Veteran’s Plaza with a wall that includes the names of all residents who gave their lives to war. Some unique statues are there, including one of a couple looking at the wall.
Just a couple of blocks from Bayliss Park is the Haymarket Square District of Council Bluffs. This is a historical shopping district with unique shops, antique stores and old storefronts. Like other parts of Council Bluffs, it has had some unique artwork installed in recent years.
The artwork of Omaha artist Deborah Masuoka has been placed in Haymarket. Masuoka is most recognized for her large-scale “Rabbit Head” sculptures, which are painted in stone-like colors such as cobalt blue, green, rust, burnt orange and yellow. These sculptures can weigh as much as 1200 pounds and are over seven feet in height. Three of these sculptures adorn the island flower beds of the district.
Just a couple more blocks away from Haymarket Square is the Council Bluffs Library. This site also has a couple of unique pieces of artwork. The most unique is the stack of books called Imagination Takes Flight by Omaha artist Matthew Placzek.
Council Bluffs is truly a wonderful, clean town to visit and see some of the great artwork. I am glad I had the opportunity to do so. But, I had to head back to Omaha to get the kids so that we could head east to Missouri. Along the way in to the zoo I ran across some slick Wall Art….
We finally got away from the zoo and commenced to head east to Council Bluffs and then south on I-29. Along the way we passed the Sapp Brothers BIG Coffee Pot Water tower….
And we also passed the small town of Hamburg, Iowa. I wanted to stop, but we didn’t have time. On a previous trip I did drive into town just to get a photo of this place. Since I have not included it in a blog in the past, I’ll add it here…
The drive down I-29 soon had us into the far northwestern corner of Missouri and through some scenic countryside, even for an interstate!!
After a fairly long drive we were at our next destination – Chillicothe, Missouri. I wanted to stop here specifically for this….
Yes, Chillicothe is officially the “Home of Sliced Bread” and they are proud of it. They even have a page dedicated to the making of the above mural. It is HERE. And there is also a page with a pictorial history. Basically, the story goes that sliced bread was first offered for sale in Chillicothe in 1928. A product of the Chillicothe Baking Company, it was sliced on a Rohwedder Bread Slicer which was invented by Iowa inventor Otto Rohwedder. The owner of the bakery, Frank Bench, became the first commercial baker to slice bread mechanically. Though I thought this would be the best thing since sliced bread, I was doubly happy to discover that there are many other murals in Chillicothe. As a “collector” of murals, this was a blast.
Chillicothe mural artist Kelly Poling is responsible for painting at least 17 of the more than 20 larger than life murals in Chillicothe. Here are a few more of the paintings we discovered while driving around the town. See more details about the murals HERE.
Apparently, the Midwest Glove Company was moved from Milwaukee to Chillicothe in 1962. By the 1970s there were three glove factories in Chillicothe, and it got the name of the Glove Capital of the World.
Silver Moon Plaza is a small park in downtown Chillicothe. We stopped here to let the kids run around. It was a wonderfully pleasant day and the kids needed the break. I did some research about the park and the entry gate, which in and of itself is a unique piece of art. The park was begun in 2007 as part of a revitalization program called DREAM (Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri). The town worked with PGAV Planners, an Urban Planning and Development Company out of St. Louis to work on this project. The focal point is an ornamental metalwork composition depicting local crops: corn, soybeans and wheat. An abstracted lunar cycle icon completes the arrangement and adds a sense of whimsy to the plaza.
After our brief stop n Chillicothe, we had two more stops along the way. The first was to book it to a place just north of Centralia to see something I really wanted to see. My plan was to visit Larry Vennard’s Metal Sculpture Park, which is actually in Wilson, MO on County Hwy T a bit north of Centralia. So, we headed east on US Hwy 35 towards Macon, south though Moberly on US 63 and then east on MO Hwy 22 near Sturgeon, MO. From there we eventually made our way to Larry’s Place.
Larry Vennard is one of those quiet types who loves what he does and loves seeing his work’s impact on others. In the same breath as Jurustic Park in Wisconsin, the Porter Sculpture Park in Montrose and a few others around the statesm Larry Vennard’s scrapa metal art would certainly need to be included. Recently I posted Yard Art: Creativity with Scrap Metal, Chain Saw Art and “stuff” collections about a number of these from around the US and Canada. I had not yet been to Larry’s and his most certainly fits in. As such, I am doing a dual post this time with a separate post on Larry Vennard and only a couple of photos here to finish off this post. See my complete Post HERE.
After our visit with Larry we were off to our overnight stay in Columbia, MO and planned on the last leg of the trip back to Kentucky…