During the month of April 2016 I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge had each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays.
This was my first opportunity to really participate in this annual event, which just completed its 6th year. It was not easy!! I had to not only post something daily, but also create a theme and stick with it. And, in my perfectionist way, I wanted to make sure there were plenty of photos and commentary. I wrote in such a way to draw people to the more detailed posts, where ever possible.
It was a load of fun and I completed the challenge. Not sure how many actually did, but it was certainly tough, yet fulfilling.
What I really loved about the event was being able to communicate and link up with others doing the same thing. I have made some new friends on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I have found some interesting blogs to follow and also have a few new followers.
I most certainly look forward to participating again next year. Now to start thinking of a good theme for next year. May actually take a long time!!!
A BIG Thanks to Arlee Bird and her wonderful team!!
My blog was number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts took readers across the back roads of America to many unique towns. See what other bloggers posted about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016
Following is a complete listing of each with the banners associated with each post’s link. Click on the Lettered Banner to go to the specific post.
The A Towns: Amarillo, TX – Adair, IA – Alzada, MT – Alamogordo, NM – Alligator, MS – Alliance, NE – Ada, MI – Akela Flats, NM
The B Towns: Bemidji, MN – Boring, OR – Blackfoot, ID – Burk’s Falls, ON – Booger Holler, AR – Brownsville, TN – Babb, MT – Blackwater, MO – Bena, MN – Bucksnort, TN – Bugtussle, KY – Bugtussle, TX
The C Towns: Cactus Flat, SD – Centralia, MO – Cape Elizabeth, ME – Climax, NC – Climax, KY – Choteau, MT – Cave City, KY – Charm, OH – Chelsea, MI – Champaign, IL – Cut Bank, MT – Caledonia, ON – Cut and Shoot, TX – China Grove, TX – Cool, TX – Coolville, OH
The D Towns: Douglas, WY – DeForest, WI – Discovery Bay, WA – Dublin, OH – Dublin, TX – Dragoon, AZ – Denton, TX – Durant, OK – Danville, IL – Dallas, SD – Denver, NC – Damon, TX
The E Towns: Earth, TX – Eureka Springs, AR – Elbe, WA – Easton, PA – Eldon, IA – Egg Harbor, WI – East Peoria, IL – Embro, ON – Eagle, CO – Endeavor, WI
The F Towns: Flagstaff, AZ – Friendly, WV – Friendship, AR – Flippin, AR – Fair Play, SC – Fergus Falls, MN – Feely, MT – Flippin, KY – Fly, OH – Four Way, TX – Future City, IL
The G Towns: Gainesville, TX – Gothenburg, NE – Guthrie, KY – Gregory, SD – Galata, MT – Glasgow, MT – Glasgow, KY – Gardiner, MT – Gillette, WY – Granbury, TX – Grand Forks, ND – Gravel Switch, KY – Gilboa, OH – Georgetown, TX
The H Towns: Hell, MI – Hamtramck, MI – Hamilton, ON – Hatch, NM – Hico, TX – Hopland, CA – Hoboken, NJ – Hugo, OK – Hershey, PA – Home on the Range, ND – Hamburg, IA
The I Towns: Indian Head, SK – Intercourse, PA – Ironwood, MI – Independence, MO – Idaho Falls, ID – Iona, ID – Inverness, MT – Iron River, WI
The J Towns: Jamestown, ND – Joseph, OR – Jeffersonville, IN – Juneau, AK – Jackson Hole, WY – Janesville, WI – Jackson Center, OH – Jamaica Beach, TX – Jamestown, NY
The K Towns: Kemmerer, WY – Keystone, SD – Ketchikan, AK – Kensington District, ON – Kadoka, SD – Kremlin, MT – Kirkwood, MO
The L Towns: LeClaire, IA – Lake Nebagamon, WI – Lesage, WV – LeRoy, NY – Lizard Lick, NC – Lake Jackson, TX – Lost Springs, WY – Langdon, ND
The M Towns: Mt. Horeb, WI – Meadville, PA – Metropolis, IL – Marshfield, WI – Moenave, AZ – Mystic, CT – Montrose, SD – Minot, ND – Mitchell, SD – Mapleton, ON – Medina, NY – Moose Jaw, SK – Mars, PA
The N Towns: Nicholson, PA – Nekoma, ND – Natchez, MS – Neah Bay, WA – Nauvoo, IL – Newport, OR – Newark, OH – Normal, IL – Nice, CA – New Salem, ND
The O Towns: Only, TN – Old Orchard Beach, ME – Okay, OK – Oil Springs, ON – Oak Creek, CO – Oacoma, SD – Odd, WV – Onawa, IA – Oddville, KY
The P Towns: Pella, IA – Peculiar, MO – Pierre Part, LA – Point Pleasant, WV – Paris, KY – Paris, TX – Paris, TN – Paris, ON – Port Orchard, WA – Powder River, WY – Paducah, KY – Port Gibson, MS – Palmyra, NY – Perryville, KY – Paxton, NE – Pembroke, NY – Penn Yan, NY – Ponder, TX
The Q Towns: Quincy, IL – Quartzsite, AZ – Queen City, OH (Cincinnati) – Quicksand, KY
The R Towns: Roswell, NM – Regent, ND – Rhinelander, WI – Rabbit Hash, KY – Raton, NM – Red Lodge, MT – Riverside, IA – Rugby, ND – Rudyard, MT
The S Towns: Steubenville, OH – Stanley, ID – Sedona, AZ – Santa Rosa, CA – Staunton, IL – Sisters, OR – Seymour, WI – Santa Claus, IN – Sandwich, NH – Sweet Grass, MT – Shakespeare, ON – Stratford, ON – Sikeston, MO – Success, MO – Soda Springs, ID
The T Towns: Tightwad, MO – Talent, OR – Toad Suck, AR – Thermopolis, WY – Teton Valley, ID – Tetonia, ID – Tuba City, AZ – Tornado, WV – Tavistock, ON – Tomahawk, WI – Tripp, SD – Tunica, MS – Tioga, TX – Ten Sleep, WY – Torch, OH
The U Towns: Uncertain, TX – Uncasville, CT – Upper Lake, CA – Ukiah, CA – Upton, KY
The V Towns: Vulcan, AB – Valier, MT – Vernal, UT – Vandalia, IL – Vicksburg, MS – Versailles, KY – Vincennes, IN
The W Towns: Wharton, TX – Welland, ON – Wapiti, WY – Wall, SD – Winterset, IA – Winner, SD – Walla Wall, WA – Worland, WY – Walcott, IA – Waldo, AR – West Montrose, ON
The X Towns: Xenia, OH – Lexington, KY – Cotopaxi, CO – Oxford County, ON – Texarkana, AR – Texline, TX – Rexburg, ID – Exie, KY
The Y Towns: Yampa, CO – West Yellowstone, MT – Yellville, AR – York, NE
The Z Towns: Zanesville, OH – Zelienople, PA – Zurich, MT
During the month of April I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge has each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays. My blog is number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts will take you across the back roads of America to many unique what other bloggers will be posting about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016
The K Towns
Kemmerer, Wyoming and Diamondville, Wyoming are basically twin cities that reside in what is called “The Fossil Basin” due to the abundant fish fossils in the area. On the way into Kemmerer I passed Fossil Butte National Monument, but did not have time to stop there. Some of the world’s best preserved fossils are found here including fossilized fish, insects, plants, reptiles, birds, and mammals. They are apparently exceptional for their abundance, variety, and detail of preservation. There are also “Dig-your-own” fossil quarries located in the hills surrounding ancient Fossil Lake, just west of Kemmerer and Diamondville. So, this is a haven for fossil enthusiasts. Also, In 1902 James Cash Penney came to Kemmerer to open a business. He set up the “Golden Rule Store” and opened its doors on April 14, 1902 in partnership with two other individuals. The partnership later dissolved, and, in 1909 Penney moved his headquarters to Salt Lake City to be closer to banks and railroads. The “Mother Store” still operates in Kemmerer. You can see more about my visit to Kemmerer and other Wyoming spots HERE.
Keystone, South Dakota
Keystone, South Dakota is the Gateway to Mt. Rushmore National Monument. The town has a number of touristy shops, lots of hotels and motels and a few little resort types of things, typical of a “Gateway” town. The real point is that you need to go through Keystone to get to Mt. Rushmore National Monument. A wonderful place to visit. Check out my post about my 2013 roadtrip from Glendive through the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota and into Keystone HERE.
In my last post I wrote about Juneau and our cruise in 2004. After our visit to Juneau we then went on to Ketchikan, Alaska. The town is dotted with totem poles and lots of souvenir shops. It really was a fun place to visit.
Kensington District in Toronto, Ontario
OK, I admit it…Kensington is just a district of Toronto, Canada’s biggest city. But, in many respects it is like a little enclave of a town in the midst of the city. The smells and aromas of the food and markets are wonderful, but even better is the eye candy in the form of colorful store fronts, wall art, street art and shop signs. I was always a fan of wall murals and art, but it was in Kensington that I fell in love with “graffiti” and Street Art, which has continued to this day. I visited Kensington in 2008 on part of an all day trip to Toronto. See the full story with a ton of photos HERE.
Kadoka, South Dakota
Kadoka, South Dakota is the Gateway to the Badlands National Park. A great little rustic town with a couple of Trading Posts, and a few interesting statues, etc. Scrappy, the scrap metal deer made from auto parts was fascinating to me. See my full post about Kadoka and the Badlands HERE and HERE.
Kremlin, Montana (Honorable Mention)
Kremlin, Montana is another of the interesting small communities on US Highway 2, the Hi-Line, in Montana. The town of Kremlin apparently got its name from a Russian immigrant who was laying railroad track in the area around 1890. He saw the Bears Paws mountains in the distance and they reminded him of home.
Kirkwood, Missouri (Honorable Mention)
Kirkwood, Missouri is a suburb of St. Louis and is known for its massive collection of outdoor artwork, especially the pieces located in the Laumeier Sculpture Park. I am always a fan of creativity and outdoor art and the large number of huge pieces at the Sculpture Park was fascinating. You can see photos of many of them on my post about a visit to St. Louis and Kirkwood in 2010. The post can be seen HERE.
Did You Miss My Other A to Z Challenge Posts? Click on a letter below to see the others.
A weekend in St. Louis/Kansas City – Jan. 14-17, 2010
January 14, 2010: ROADTRIP!! After quite a hiatus on road trips, I finally took one. Nowthat I am working for iHigh.com(was until 2012)I do have occasion to take a trip or two for support. In this instance Iwas to travel to Kirkwood High School in St. Louis to Live Stream a basketballtournament on January 15, and then travel to Kansas City to Live Stream a largewrestling tournament at Center High School. Naturally, along the way boththere and back I made some side trips, as is always my custom, but in this case I did not veer too far off the beaten path.
My first stop along the way was in Santa Claus, Indiana. Yes, there really is a Santa Claus, Indiana and I believe it is the only town named Santa Claus anywhere. According to the Wikipedia article about Santa Claus, the town was established in 1854. In 1856, when the town (then known as Santa Fe, pronounced “fee”) was working to
establish a Post Office, the US Postal Service refused their first application as there was already another Santa Fe, Indiana. Several town meetings were held, during which the name Santa Claus was selected. Currently the town claims to have the world’s only post office to bear the name of Santa Claus.
Santa Claus is a small town, but does have an amusement park a unique shopping center and Santa Claus statues everywhere.
After filling my eyes with Santa Claus and filling the car’s tank with fuel, I was back on I-64 heading west to St. Louis. The drive was fairly
uneventful. I had to be at Kirkwood High School in time for an evening basketball game which was part of the Denver Miller
Tournament, in honor of the former Kirkwood basketball coach. The
funny part of the story is that one of my college roommates from BYU back in 1978 had graduated from here and also had been a kicker. I searched the high school for any sign of Ray Heyman’s name and actually found it on a plaque of football lettermen from 1973. Ray is now an attorney in Arizona and doing very well.
After the game, I headed off to the hotel for the night.
January 15, 2010: I was up early the next morningto head to St. Louis to meet one of my friends who had moved from Lexington. We headed out to a diner in St. Louis known asGoody Goody Diner. As with all other adventures I take, I look for interesting locations to chowdown and this one was a doozy!! Located on Natural Bridge Rd., it appearsto be in the industrial part of town. The Diner has been around since 1948and has gone through numerous hands. It is purportedly in the samelocation as the original A & W Root Beer stand in St. Louis, which was opened in1931. The A & W had car hops and the tradition continued with Goody Goody dineruntil the early 1970s. Currently the diner is owned by Richard and LauraConnelly. Richard’s father purchased the diner in 1954 and it has been in the family ever since.
The diner has typical diner fare, but they also have their own specialties. They are famous for their “Wilbur” omelet, which is filled with hash brown potatoes, green peppers, onions and tomatoes. Then it is covered with chili and Cheddar cheese. It also comes with sides…I ordered the grits and an English muffin. The omelet was FABULOUS and really not too costly either. My friend Steve tried the fried chicken and waffles. That looked pretty good as well.
After a good meal and some time with my friend Steve, I was back on my way Kirkwood for another game. Along the way I visited the quaint town of Kirkwood and drove to the Laumeier Sculpture Park which had some large art. It was a pleasant diversion. The Laumeier Park was established in 1972 and over the years has grown to over 105 acres. It was one of just a few open air art museums in the world. I took numerous photos of the art work. Following are just a few samples. There is a map of the entire outdoor park/museum
After the little drive I then went and videoed the basketball games and then drove most of the evening to Kansas City, arriving there shortly after midnight.
January 16, 2010: It was another early day forme…to bed at 1 AM and up at 6 AM. This entire day would be spent atCenter High SchoolinKansas City to coordinate and manage live streaming a 16 team wrestlingtournament on 6 mats. We would be trying something not done before byiHigh…basically run6 Live Streams from one locationsimultaneously for nearly 9 hours. After wegot all set up and cleared up a few glitches, we were rolling. Center HShad provided some football players to assist in manning the cameras. Athletic Director Brad Sweeten worked with me most of the day in thecoordination and monitoring. It was a great success. We had somegreat stories, like the father in Afghanistan who got to watch or thegrandfather in Ohio who saw his grandson wrestle (and win the championship inhis weight class) for the first time ever. This is why I love my job!!
After the tournament was over, Coach Sweeten and I headed to a local restaurant to enjoy what Kansas City is famous for…Barbecue. It was great and so was the company. Finally, by 11 PM I was back in bed at the hotel. The next day would be an early departure to head back home via a few more places.
January 17, 2010: I would head back home toLexington today, but once again would hit a few back roads and catch a few morebits of America as I like to see it. My first stop was heading north into Kansas City for a drive by the art museums there. Like St. Louis, there issome interesting out door artwork…more specifically giant shuttlecocks (orbadminton birdies). In July 1994, Shuttlecocks, the first outdoorsculpture commissioned for the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, was installed in theKansas City Sculpture Park, which is part of theNelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The shuttlecocks were created by internationally known Dutch artistsClaes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggenand were a gift to the Museum. Altogether there are four shuttlecocks, each 17 ft. 11 in. high x 15 ft. 1 in. crown diameter and 4 ft. nose diameter, located in different positions on the grounds of the museum. Oldenburg and vanBruggen have done all sorts of large and whimsical works around the world. I sure hope to see more in the future!!
There were a number of other unique works of art surrounding the old and new sections of the art museum. I did not venture in as it was still fairly early on a Sunday morning, but I did see a couple more interesting pieces. The first of the pieces to catch anyone’s eye is the gigantic “Spider” sculpture by French artist Louis Bourgeois. This eerie bronze sculpture was built in 1996 and sits at the entrance of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City. It stands over 11 feet tall and really is spooky.
After seeing just a few of the works of art at the sculpture parks in St. Louis and Kansas City, I am determined to get to others in the U.S. on my travels in the future. I hope to see the Franconica Sculpture Park
in Franconica, MN and the Porter Sculpture Park near Montrose, SD (which I did see in 2012), among others.
After the interesting venture into art, I headed north to Independence, MO, site of some Mormon Church History. Along the way I came across the somewhat famous and unique Leila’s Hair
Museum. I have seen this place noted in Roadside America and also on Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Well, I found the place, but it is closed on
Sundays. The only sign is the one below…it was in a plastic folder taped on the door.
Also on my drive thru Independence I came across this all painting.
Independence is the home of President Harry Truman and this wall painting depicts the famous Chicago Tribune article that mistakenly proclaimed that Dewey had defeated Truman. The mural sits on the side of the Welch, Martin and Albano law office in downtown Independence.
From Independence I then drove to Liberty, MO. My main objective there was to see the Liberty Jail Historic Site, where Mormon prophet Joseph Smith was held. Unfortunately, I pulled into Liberty at 8:30 AM and the Visitor’s Center didn’t open until 9, so I didn’t get the chance to go in. But, it was nice to finally get there. Joseph Smith spent almost 5 months in this jail while awaiting trial and received three revelations (Sections 121, 122 and 123) which are included in the Church’s Doctrine and Covenants. One of the scriptures has always been inspirational to me: in D&C 121:7-8 “. . . if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” Joseph Smith suffered some tortuous times in his life and this was definitely one of them.
Not too far from the Liberty Jail are some interesting murals on the Clay County Offices. On one corner is a painting that appears to depict Lewis and Clark. Then there are some unique ceramic murals that adorn the walls of the office building. Each ceramic mural, originally installed in 1984, depicts figures and events from Clay County’s past.
After the visit to Liberty, my next stop was in Lexington, Missouri, famed for the Civil War Battle of Lexington. I drove by the visitor’s center but did not have time to go in. That’ll have to be on another trip.
Click here for a brief of history of this battle. The town of Lexington had a few other notable things, including a small replica of the Statue of Liberty.
Perhaps the most delightful thing about driving the less beaten paths of America are the rustic and natural sites along the way. As we speed by on the freeways we miss so much. Here are just a few of the things I saw along the way home from Lexington, MO to Lexington, KY.
And finally, along the road I came across a flock of Flamingos. As a true Trailer Park Troubadour Flamingohead, I could not pass up the opportunity to capture a few shots of these silly pink birds at what appeared to be a Biker Joint.