AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – Reflections #atozchallenge

In early 2020 I traveled across the country with  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 of my entries highlighted a few stories with photos based on the alphabet and not the order of the trip.  If you missed any of the posts, check out my page with all of the links HERE.  I will reflect back on this past month’s posts.  Enjoy the Read! Enjoy the Ride! (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

What a Whirlwind!

CA 198 in Sequoia National Park

Throughout the month of April I participated in the A to Z Challenge.  It was my fourth straight year, but this one was really my most interesting yet.  Beginning in March the Coronavirus hit the world.  I am amazed how a microscopic thing could have such a massive impact on the world.  The world was shut down effectively, but the internet and the opportunity to post content was not.

Patrick Amiot – “Crow Bar” in Sebastapol, CA

It has been a whirlwind.  What made it more so was knowing (in hindsight) that while the coronavirus was hitting the U.S. in Washington and California back in January and February while I was traveling out there with my daughter and her three children.  Many of the places we visited, including massive National Parks like the Grand Canyon, were eventually closed.  In fact, as of this writing, many are still closed.  Restaurants, hotels and other businesses are closed all over the country.  Interstate travel bans are in effect across most states.  As of this writing on May 5, 2020, nearly 70,000 Americans have died of this virus since mid-February…while we were still traveling!!

I am both amazed and grateful that we are all home and safe. And brought back a boat load of memories.

ENJOYING THE RIDE

Interstate 90 at the Montana / Idaho border in late January 2020

I really like to share my travels with the world and the A to Z Challenge provides a great platform to share these with many people of diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Family at the Grand Canyon

Over the course of the past month I posted my 26 posts and included over 300 photos and dozens of unique stories of the places we saw on our epic road trip.  Thus far I have had over 20 comments from readers and well over 200 views of the posts.  I am thrilled for the visits and the experience.

What did you miss?

If you haven’t visited any of my posts, I shared a link to a page that has all of the links at the top of this post.  Please visit it and click on any of the links.  In the mean time, what did you miss?

Montana Highway 1 near Opportunity, Montana
  • A road trip of 8154 miles across 20 states in 21 days
  • Lovely photos of wildlife like eagles, bison, prairie dogs, seagulls and more
  • Amazing scenery from all kinds of geography including mountains, deserts, oceans and massive forests
  • Visits to over a dozen National Parks and Monuments
  • Stories and photos of many unique and quirky road side attractions
  • Visits, photos and stories about towns with unique names
  • A few fun and unique places to eat
  • An opportunity to learn about a different perspective on the amazing diversity of these United States
Pacific Coast as seen from Long Beach, Washington
welcome to Happy, Texas
Bald Eagle, taken on US Highway 2 near Davenport, WA
Big guy at Rainbow Rock Shop in Holbrook, AZ
Mount Rushmore as seen from a tunnel on Iron Mountain Road. The tunnel was built intentionally to frame the monument
Joshua Trees near Baker, CA
Martian Soda anyone?
Sandhill Cranes in West Texas
Paul Bunyan in Klamath, California
San Francisco CA
Uranus Fudge Factory, St Robert, Missouri
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Caddo Lake bayou near Uncertain, 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 M 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 M Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Muleshoe, Texas

We made our from Clovis, New Mexico into Muleshoe to visit the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge and hopefully see some Sandhill Cranes (which we didn’t see at the refuge unfortunately). Getting there required some driving on dirt roads and other back roads, but it was worth the ride!

The town of Muleshoe is on U.S. Highway 84 and was named for the nearby Muleshoe Ranch. The town of about 4500 people was established in 1913 and incorporated in 1926. The National Wildlife Refuge is about twenty miles to south and was established in 1935, making it the oldest refuge in the state of Texas.

Muleshoe, Texas
Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge
Mule Deer seen on a back road to Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge

Montana

One of my favorite states in the country.  When I was a senior in high school in 1973/74 in Murray, Utah,  having moved from Montana in the summer of 1973, I talked about Montana so much that I was given the nickname of Monty Montana.

Welcome to Montana

Mobil Gas Station – Quitaque, Texas

Old Mobil Gas Station in Quitaque, Texas
Mobil Gas Station in Quitaque, Texas
The famous Mobil Pegasus

Missouri

Welcome to Missouri
Visiting Missouri with grandkids

Manchester, Washington

Manchester, Washington is a small unincorporated community in Kitsap County.  It is a short drive from Port Orchard. Manchester has a little port that has a spectacular view of Elliott Bay and the Puget Sound as well as a great view of Seattle across the Sound.

Welcome to Manchester, Washington
Sunrise on Puget Sound as seen from Manchester, WA
Seattle as seen from Manchester, WA

Matador, Texas

We drove south from Turkey, Texas on TX Hwy 70 and drove through the quaint town of Matador, Texas along the way.  Matador sits on US Highways 62 and 70.  The town was established in 1891 and was named for the nearby Matador Ranch.  It has a population of about 600 people.

Matador, Texas
Matador, Texas Water Tower
Main Street Cafe ghost sign in Matador, Texas

Martian Soda, Martian Poop Soda and Maple Syrup Soda – Nipton, California

I have already written about a couple of other unique sodas that we found at the Nipton Trading Post in Nipton, California.  These are also products made by Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop.  Not only do they have the Kumquat flavored Martian Soda, but they also sold a Martian Poop Soda with a marionberry flavor.  I actually drank one of those and it wasn’t too bad.   The Maple Syrup soda is one of a number Rocket Fizz’s Lester’s Fixins Sodas including a variety of Bacon sodas, Pickle Soda, Mustard Soda and more.

Martian Soda we found iat the Nipton Trading Post in Nipton, California
Martian Poop Soda with a Marionberry Flavor
Maple Syrup Soda as found at the Nipton Trading Post in Nipton, California

Mizu Japanese Steakhouse – Tukwila, Washington

After arriving in Port Orchard, Washington, we joined many other family members for dinner at the Mizu Japanese Steakhouse in Tukwila, Washington, outside of Seattle.  This is one of those fun Hibachi Grill places with the cooking acrobatics, grilled shrimp thrown into your mouth and onion volcanoes.  Lots of fun and fire.

Mizu Steakhouse in Tukwila, Washington
Fun and Fire at the Mizu Steakhouse
Family enjoying dinner at Mizu. There were about 18 of us there.

Moonview and Moonglow Cabins – Uncertain, Texas

During our visit to Caddo Lake, we took a drive around Uncertain to check out the accommodations, which are all so unique.  One place has a Moonglow Cabin and Moonview Cabin.

Moonview Cabin om Caddo Lake in Uncertain, Texas
Moonglow Cabin in Uncertain, Texas

Mt. Whitney and Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park in California 

Yo may think of giant trees when you think of Sequoia National Park, but there are some amazing mountain scenes as well.  High up in the Sierra Nevadas, these granite monoliths are lovely.

Mt. Whitney in Sequoia National Park
Another shot of Mt. Whitney
Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park

Moose Drool Brown Ale – Big Sky Brewing – Missoula, Montana

I don’t drink alcoholic beverages — never have.  But, I have friends that do and so I stopped at Big Sky Brewing in Missoula, Montana to grab a six-pack of Moose Drool Brown Ale for a friend here in Lexington. I love the name and my friend loved the taste (AND the poster I got him.)

Moose Drool Brown Ale

Mount Rushmore National Memorial – South Dakota

With grandchildren and driving across the United States, a stop at Mount Rushmore National Memorial is important.  The kids were able to get their Junior Ranger Badge there and I was able to to get some great photos.  We actually drove north from Custer State Park up US Highway 16A (Iron Mountain Road) and saw views of the iconic carvings through tunnels from way up high.  What an amazing experience.

Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson on Mount Rushmore
Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln on Mount Rushmore
Another view of Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore as seen from a tunnel on Iron Mountain Road. The tunnel was built intentionally to frame the monument

Moriarty, New Mexico

Another iconic Route 66 town.  The old road runs right through town.  The City of Moriarty was named for the first permanent family to settle in the community. Michael Timothy Moriarty, his wife and their three children arrived (at what is now Moriarty) in the fall of 1887, and homesteaded their land.  Though it is a Route 66 town, Moriarty also has two Interstate 40 interchanges.

Moriarty, New Mexico

Memorial Chapel – Happy, Texas

A Happy Church in Happy, Texas

The Memorial Chapel in Happy, Texas

Mesa Verde Ranch – Lemon Cove, California

Mesa Verde Ranch Big Orange fruit stand in Lemon Cove, California

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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