(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. )
Longing for something luscious and lighthearted? Today is your lucky day as I provide a luscious array of L signs in this post. Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.
Light is located at the junction of U.S. Route 412 and Arkansas Highway 228 and was named after original settler Daniel Light. Really out in the middle of nowhere.
Logger Restaurant, Knappa, Oregon
I ALWAYS have my camera with me, especially on road trips. You never know when a fun sign will pop up along the road. Such was the case with the Logger Restaurant sign. I did not stop to eat, but I did stop for a photo of this unique sign. According to its website, the restaurant, located in Knappa, Oregon (a small town on the Columbia River west of Astoria on US Route 30) celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015. They are known for their Logger Bacon Cheeseburger and their Logger Clubhouse Sandwich. They also make many homemade cream pies. Dang! I missed out….maybe next trip to the west coast.
Lucy’s Fried Chicken, Austin, Texas
I have mentioned this before. I am a sucker for a good neon sign. The sign for Lucy’s Fried Chicken in Austin, Texas is a doozie. The gal eating chicken and moving her leg up and down. And, the place also has a nice mural to boot! I will be heading to Austin in late June 2019 and will definitely be making an “eating” visit.
If the ant is lost, how do they know where it is? I saw the sign for Lostant while driving on Interstate 39 in Illinois. I took the exit to get this photo, but did not go into town. I should have. There is a Lost-Ant Cafe! Apparently the town name comes from Lostant Mercier, the wife of French diplomat Henri Mercier.
Lame Deer, Montana
Lame Deer is a unique name. Of course, the community is named after Miniconjou Lakota chief Lame Deer, who was killed by the U.S. Army in 1877 under a flag of truce south of the town. It is located in the Northern Cheyenne Reservation on US Highway 212, an extremely scenic drive through the central mountains of Montana.
Many have heard of Leavenworth Prison. It is NOT here (it is Kansas). Leavenworth, Washington is a unique little town high in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, off of US Route 20. As can be seen from the sign, it is designed like a Bavarian Village. The street signs are in German, all of the architecture is very Bavarian. Its a lovely little touristy town nestled in the mountains. I could have enjoyed a couple of hours there rather than my 30 minute swing through town. I look forward to my next trip to Washington to see family, and to visit Leavenworth again.
Livingston Bar & Grille, Livingston, Montana
Another classic vintage neon sign. The Livingston Bar & Grille is in downtown Livingston, Montana. The building is very historic, having been constructed in the 1800s. I have not stopped there to eat, but check out their website. If you are going to Yellowstone National Park, you should definitely think about stopping in here.
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!!
One thing that we all see when traveling America’s highways is signs. All kinds of them: road signs, exit signs, mile markers, billboards, “Welcome to Our Town” signs and the massive assortment of business signs from fast food places to local eateries. Indeed, our eyes and minds are deluges with them!
Over the course of my 6000 mile road trip to Washington State and back, I probably saw way more than a sign a mile (on average). Yes, there are many places with no signs, but then, there are others, such as going through small towns, where they are in abundance.
This post presents a variety of signs from the road. This “eye-candy” is just one more fun piece of the travel puzzle. Discovering new signs, whether they be unique neon signs advertising local burger joints to the unique town signs and water towers, these signs are the little “color fillers” on the grand expanse of two lane highways zig-zagging this nation.
Follow me along on this colorful journey (in no particular order) to see some of the signs I saw along the way. And watch for the occasional Wall Drug sign to pop up on the ride (just like they do on I-90).
ENJOY THE RIDE! CHOOSE HAPPY!
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, is currently being worked on and I hope to make it available in late June 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.
After spending a nice day with my children and grandchildren along US Highway 89 north of Great Falls, it was time to begin the long trip back to Kentucky the next day. I would begin the return trip with a quick jaunt south on I-15 to Great Falls and then south on US 87/89 towards Kings Hill Pass on the Kings Hill Scenic Byway, which runs along US 89 from the US 87 junction to the US 12 junction just north of White Sulphur Springs, Montana.
Before moving on, I should mention that on the previous day we made a quick stop in Conrad, Montana to see if there is anything interesting there. Conrad is south of Shelby and just off of I-15, so it is easy off and easy on. Conrad is just a bit smaller than Shelby. Not too much, but they still have a nice looking old theater and an old 70s style motel. A nice stop for the nostalgic-minded.
Since it was early morning, I didn’t stop in Conrad on the way to Great Falls. Rather, I was in town before sunrise and on to US 89 south, which joins with US 87. I had to head east through town past Malmstrom Air Force Base just as the sun came up. It was a beautiful Montana morning.
US 87/89 passes by Belt, Montana, but I didn’t drive through there on this trip as I wanted to get down US 89 and into Yellowstone and US 212 over Beartooth Pass. Just shortly after passing by Belt, US 87 continues east and US 89 breaks off southward toward Monarch, Montana and pretty much follows Belt Creek, which at the time I was driving the route, was a raging creek with all of the winter runoff in full force. This is the beginning of the Kings Hill Scenic Byway.
I reached Monarch, Montana at about 7:30 AM. Monarch was originally established to service the silver mines in the area. It is near the Sluice Boxes State Park.
The drive through the Lewis and Clark National Forest is very nice on a spring morning. Wildlife was in abundance and the raging Belt Creek could be heard, the smell of pine in the air. It was very refreshing (with the car windows down of course!) Soon enough, I was passing through the town of Neihart.
Neihart had a few unique things so it was well worth a short stop for a look/see.
I always like the unique shops on road trips, and Neihart offered one of those up in GJ’s Junkers Delight….fun signs, unique metal art
From Neihart, US 89 begins to offer a spectacular drive through the Rocky Mountains and gets you up to Kings Hill Pass which hits an altitude of 7,385 feet. Kings Hill Pass is part of the Kings Hill Scenic Byway which passes through the Little Belt Mountains in the Lewis and Clark National Forest in Montana, United States.
As the altitude climbed I could see that there were ski resorts and then I came across the Showdown, Montana sign near the summit of Kings Hill Pass. Created in 1936 and originally called King’s Hill Ski Area, Showdown is a small-scale ski area that caters mainly to weekend skiers. It also has nice summer activities for bikers, hikers and campers.
From Kings Hill Pass US 89 heads down hill towards White Sulphur Springs, Montana.
The end of the Kings Hill Scenic byway is about 3 miles north of White Sulphur Springs, which sits at the base of three mountain ranges. A truly beautiful setting.
From White Sulphur Springs US 89 continues south towards Livingston. This portion of the drive has some spectacular mountain views, especially of the Crazy Mountains (also known as the Crazies). I can envision the awe of pioneers as they realized they would have to get past them.
Wyoming lays claim to being the pronghorn capital of the world, but Montana has to be a close second. Some of my best pronghorn photos have come in Montana. I saw a small group by the road near Wilsall and stopped for a visit.
From the Wilsall area I continued south towards Livingston, Montana. The mountains scenes were breathtaking on this section of US 89 near Wilsall. I knew that on the other side of the mountains sits the city of Bozeman, where I lived from 1971-1973. I loved Bozeman.
Wilsall, along with Clyde Park, is in the Shields River Valley. The Shields River was named by Captain William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in honor of John Shields when they arrived here in July 1806. This area was also visited by the famous trapper, trader and scout Jim Bridger in the 1860s.
The above sculpture by local artist Gary Kerby was dedicated in 2006. Titled “Welcome to the Shields” it is nicknamed “Thunder Jack.”
And of course, I finally found a nice wall mural on this trip. This one on the side of the Mercantile building takes you back to the early 1900s in Wilsall. This was painted by Gary Kerby, the same artist that made the pioneer sculpture pictured above. Gary is a resident of Wilsall. Kerby has painted murals in Montana (I saw another of his works in Cut Bank last year), Oregon and Washington.
Continuing south on US 89, there are miles of open range ranchlands with the amazing mountains in the background.
Livingston, Montana is one of those wonderful communities nestled in the mountains (like Leadville, CO – see my post about Leadville). There are old buildings, old neon signs, and majestic mountains framing the buildings. I spent 30 or 40 minutes in Livingston to capture the feel of this town. The town is also touted as the “Original Gateway City to Yellowstone National Park.”
After a breather in Livingston it was on to Yellowstone National Park via US 89. From Livingston, the highway basically follows the Yellowstone River, which was running very heavy due to runoff from the mountains. The mountain scenery at this point is amazing.
Not too far south of Livingston I came across a small wayside chapel with a splendid view of the Yellowstone River and Emigrant Peak (10,915 feet) of the Absaroka Mountain Range. The chapel was built in 1968 and had once sat on a small hilltop overlooking Yellowstone River adjacent to the rest area on US Hwy 89. It’s been a landmark as well as a curiosity. The chapel is always open providing shelter and a resting place for weary travelers. The chapel is 12 foot tall including its steeple; the building is 10-by-14 foot with stained glass side windows. There are eight wooden seats facing a white cross on the pulpit.
I soon found myself in the touristy town of Gardiner, Montana. The town definitely caters to the tourists and adventurers. It is also home the entry point for the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park and the massive Roosevelt Arch. Constructed under the supervision of the U.S. Army at Fort Yellowstone, its cornerstone was laid down by President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. The top of the arch is inscribed with a quote from the Organic Act of 1872, the legislation which created Yellowstone, which reads “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People.”
And thus ends my journey on Montana’s US as I enter through the Roosevelt Arch into Yellowstone National Park and eventually into Wyoming.
From this point I entered Wyoming on my way to Mammoth Hot Springs and US 212 which will take me across the northern section of Yellowstone National Park and into the Beartooth Mountain Range. That will be the subject of my next post!