Everywhere a Sign – Some U Signs From 2018 #AtoZChallenge

Its a unanimous understatement to say that I love traveling the back roads of America looking for the interesting and unique. It is ultimately my utmost passion (well, besides my family and my grandchildren).

I will also do something in this post. I will be posting some of the US Highway signs I have picked up, most specifically in 2018. I’ll explain down below.  I hope you enjoy some of the U Signs I discovered in my 2018 travels.  Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.

Uranus, Missouri

Welcome to Uranus Missouri
Uranus, Missouri water tower
Thanks for Picking Uranus
Sounds yummy
Help Keep Uranus Clean
The Best Fudge Comes from Uranus
Uranus Parks T-shirt

Might as well start this post on a humorously low point.  Yes indeed, there is a place in Missouri called Uranus. And yes, it is pronounced “Your Anus” (and by the way, I heard a question on Jeopardy recently and Alex Trebek pronounces it that way).  And yes, the main attraction is the Uranus Fudge Factory where all of the employees (affectionately referred to as Fudge Packers) all yell out “Welcome to Uranus” when you walk into the shop.  Indeed, the owners and creators made sure it was quite the attraction.  Rather than go into detail on this post (I think the pictures above give you enough hints), please go visit my detailed post about Uranus from last year.  You can see more about Uranus here.

US Highway Shields / Route Markers

US Route 61 in Mississippi, also known as The Blues Highway (taken in 2017)

OK.  You are probably thinking “How can looking at numbers on signs be interesting?”  And, I would give that to you.  To many they probably aren’t.  But look at the signs…they look like shields or badges.  And, to me, as a collector of road trip memories (via photos and memories), these are like Boy Scout merit badges.  I am always after yet another number for my collection.

For consistency, in my blog I refer to them as US Highways, though they are called Route XX in other places…ala Route 66.  But, they are definitely interchangeable.

US Highway 1 signs in Baltimore, Maryland. US Highway 1 actually goes along the east coast from Key West, Florida to Fort Kent, Maine… a total of 2,369 miles.

US Highway 1 is the easternmost route in the US and runs north-south (as do ALL odd numbered highways) along the Atlantic Coast.

The first highways were numbered with this universal system in 1925.  Nowadays,  the U.S. Numbered Highways (or Routes) are the original interstate highways, dating back to 1926. U.S. Highways are numbered in a grid: even numbered for east–west routes (with the lowest numbers along Canada) and odd numbered for north–south routes (with the lowest numbers along the Atlantic Ocean). Three-digit highways, also known as “child routes,” are branches off their main one- or two-digit “parents” (for example, U.S. Route 202 is a branch of U.S. Route 2). However, US 101, rather than a “child” of US 1, is considered a “mainline” U.S. Route.

US Highway 2 in Hurley, Wisconsin (taken in 2016)
US Highway 2 at Stevens Pass in Washington

US Highway 2 is the northernmost long highway in the United States.  Completely, it covers 2,571 miles from east to west, starting in Houlton, Maine and ending in Everett, Washington.   In 1926 it was intentionally split.  The eastern section ends in Rouses Point, New York, where it meets US Highway 11.  Then, the highway kicks in again in St. Ignace, Michigan and traverses across the northern US, ending in Everett, Washington.  I have actually driven (at different times) the entire length of US Highway 2 from Ironwood, Michigan to Everett, Washington.

US Highway 101 in Southern Washington

US Highway 101 was the only original highway to have a three digit number.  This is the westernmost north-south highway and runs from Port Angeles, Washington to Los Angeles, California for about 1,550 miles.  In some places it is nicknamed the Pacific Coast Highway and in California it is also called the El Camino Real (the Royal Road).  I have been on portions of this highway in Washington, Oregon and California.

US Highway 90 near Garwood, Texas

Like US Highway 2, US Highway 90 is the original southern route going east-west.   It basically begins in Jacksonville Beach, Florida and ends in Van Horn, Texas.   It has a length of about 1,633 miles and, in some places is called the Old Spanish Trail.  I have driven portions of this highway in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, most of it in 2018 when I drive to Houston via Mobile, Alabama, through Pascagoula and Biloxi, Mississippi, Lafayette, Louisiana and as far west as San Antonio.

Route 66 – Getting my kicks
Route 66 in Missouri … near Rolla, Missouri
Visiting Route 66 in White Oak, Oklahoma
Historic Route 66 in Staunton, Illinois

Though I have not even come close to gaining all of the “badges,” I have many.  Following are a few of the other US Highways I have been on.  Just for your interest…my favorites are (in order)…  US 2 (from Wisconsin to Washington), US 89 (from northern Montana to Southern Arizona), US 66 (naturally), US 61 (along the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Mississippi), US 50 (another cross-country east-west highway that cuts through the heart of America for over 300 miles from Ocean City, Maryland to Sacramento, California), US 101, US 60, which cuts across the heartland of the United States and sometimes joins with Route 66, and finally, US 31 (which runs from Northern Michigan to Mobile, Alabama including a long stretch through Kentucky).  But, I love many more of them!

Following are a few random photos I took in 2018 to add to my “badge collection” of US Highway Signs.

US Highway 68 taken in my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. This highway runs for 560 miles from Toledo, Ohio to Reidland, Kentucky
US Highway 177 taken near Byars, Oklahoma. This is a spur of US Hwy 77 and goes for 233 miles from South Haven, Kansas to Madill, Oklahoma
US Highway 81 in Ringgold, Oklahoma

US Highway 81  is a major north-south highway that extends for 1220 miles in the central United States and is one of the earliest United States Numbered Highways established in 1926 by the US Department of Agriculture Bureau of Public Roads.  It begins in the north near Pembina, North Dakota at the U.S./Canada border and ends in Fort Worth, Texas at Interstate 35W.

US Highway 287, also pictured above, is a north–south (physically northwest–southeast) United States highway that stretches for 1,791 miles.  It serves as the major truck route between Fort Worth and Amarillo, Texas, and between Fort Collins, Colorado, and Laramie, Wyoming. The highway is broken into two segments by Yellowstone National Park, where an unnumbered park road serves as a connector.  I have actually been on many portions of this road.

US Highway 271 near Arthur City, Texas. It is about 297 miles in length from Tyler, Texas through Oklahoma to Fort Smith, Arkansas
US Highway 183 near Florence, Texas. It was the last route to be completely paved (in 1967). It runs north-south for 1250 miles from Refugio, Texas to Presho, South Dakota. I have been on many sections of this highway over the years.
US Highway 51 near Dyersburg, Missouri.

US Highway 51 is another major south-north United States highway that extends 1,277 miles from Laplace, Louisiana, to Hurley, Wisconsin on the  Wisconsin–Michigan state line where it ends in a T interchange with US Highway 2 near Ironwood, Michigan.  I actually stood at that very corner for my US Highway 2 photo (see above).

US Highways 79 and 190 in Milano, Texas

US Highway 79 is officially considered and labeled as a north-south highway, but it is actually more of a diagonal northeast-southwest highway. The highway’s northern/eastern terminus is in Russellville, Kentucky, at an intersection with U.S. Highway 68 and KY 80.  I have driven US 79 from Russellville all the way through Clarksville and Paris, Tennessee and then on to Memphis (where I took US Highway 61 south into Mississippi).  On other trips, I have taken US 79 in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.  US Highway 79 covers about 855 miles.

US 190 has been around since 1926.  It covers about 875 miles as an auxiliary route to US Highway 90.  It starts in Slidell, Louisiana and ends in Iraan, Texas.  It passes through Baton Rouge as well as Huntsville and Temple, Texas.  I have driven a good portion of US Highway 190.

US Highway 58 near Damascus, Virginia

This is a beautiful stretch of highway starting at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee and heading about 508 miles across southern Virginia eventually to Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia.  At one time or another I have driven the entire length of this highway.

US Highway 89 and US Highway  2 meet up in northern Browning, Montana

US Highway begins in the northernmost region of Montana north of Babb on the Canada/Montana border. It goes south ending in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Over the course of my life I have traveled every inch of this 1,252 mile highway which was first established in 1926.  I would argue that this is one of the most scenic highways in the United States.  It passes seven National Parks (thus the nickname the National Park Highway.  These include, among others, Glacier National Park in Montana, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah and the Grand Canyon.  Along the route it also passes a number of scenic National Monuments as well.  In fact, National Geographic magazine has called this the “No. 1 Driver’s Drive in the World.”  I would concur.  You can experience mountains, high plains, deserts and canyons on this route.

US Highway 60 on Midland Trail in West Virginia

Last sign for this post is a biggie.  US Highway 60 is an east–west United States highway, traveling 2,670 miles from southwestern Arizona to the Atlantic coast in Virginia. Despite the final “0” in its number, indicating a transcontinental designation, the 1926 route formerly ended in Springfield, Missouri, at its intersection with Route 66.

US Highway 60 cuts through West Virginia as the Midland Trail and also passes through Central Kentucky and westward.  I have driven the entire length from Norfolk, Virginia through Lexington, Virginia and on through West Virginia, Kentucky into Cairo, Illinois.  This has been a major route for me for many years, especially since it extends out of Lexington both east and west.

Like what you see? 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!!

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Everywhere a Sign – Some T Signs From 2018 #AtoZChallenge

Travel is my passion.  It is a terrific passion that tantalizes every nerve in my soul.

Needless to say, I am a tenacious traveler. I try to track down every nook and cranny on the back roads of this terrific country. From the twisted and tortuous mountain roads to the tall tree-lined highways, I am always tempted to go yet another mile.  I hope you will enjoy some of the T Signs I discovered in my 2018 travels. Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.

Telephone, Texas

Telephone, Texas
I was so thrilled for this place. It had a laundromat and a restroom!!
There are so many unique places in Texas. I just accidentally came across this one….

Telephone, Texas was a surprise for me.  Didn’t know this town was here, but it was on my way north to Oklahoma from Fort Worth (on country back roads of course!)  When I got to the small community of about 200, I was thrilled to see the “Telephone Travel Stop.”  It was a small motel with an attached laundry room + rest room (much needed!).

Timberline Motel, Peshastin, Washington

Timberline Motel, Peshashtin, Washington

Saw this classic motel sign in Peshashtin, Washington on US Hwy 2, just east of Leavenworth, Washington.  The motel is now closed, but the lovely vintage sign remains.

Totem Pole Trading Post, Rolla, Missouri

Totem Pole Trading Post, Missouri’s Oldest on Route 66
Old Totem Pole Trading Post Sign, Rolla, Missouri

Route 66 has many Trading Posts and tourist stops. The Totem Pole Trading Post is apparently the oldest one in Missouri and sits in Rolla, Missouri on US Highway 66.  Great old sign!  The history of the place says that in 1933 Harry Cochrane opened up the first Totem Pole Trading Post on Arlington Hill just 10 miles to the west of the existing location.  The location included both a gift shop and a tourist camp. It changed hands around 1950.  It is still in business today.  Fun fun fun

Tonica, Illinois

Welcome to Tonica, Illinois

In my S post I mentioned Starved Rock State Park.  Tonica, Illinois is on the south end of the region.  Nothing special.  Just a nice sign.  Tonica is located just off of Interstate 39 and US Highway 51.

Texas Plaza, Decatur, Texas

Texas Plaza, Decatur, Texas

In my P post for this series, I mentioned the Petrified Wood Gas Station. The Texas Plaza sign is for the entire complex, including the old tourist camp, the cafe and the station

Like what you see? 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!!

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Everywhere a Sign – Some M 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. )

There are many road signs and store front signs to be seen across this magnificent country.  The endlessly marvelous variety of signs and places always has me camera ready.  Here are some of the Many signs I found along the way, including some that say Many!  Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.

Many, Louisiana

Welcome to Many. Not just a few here!

I am always on the lookout for a unique town name and its associated signs.  I have found many of them but, in 2018, I found Many! Many is a town in Louisiana.  The town was named after Colonel James B. Many in 1843.  He was an officer stationed in nearby Fort Jesup.

Milton’s Honda Shop, Theodore, Alabama

Milton’s Honda Shop – unique sign
Milton’s Honda Shop – Unique Sign 2

I stop for car art wherever I travel.  I am always amused at how businesses use cars for advertising and also impressed by the use of cars in art project.  Recycling at its best.   Theodore, Alabama is on US Route 90 southwest of Mobile and on the way to Pascagoula, which was my destination on this particular day.  I saw the cars/signs and had to turn around the block to grab shots. The green Honda with an airplane tail was hilarious.  Milton’s Honda Shop advertises “All We Do is Hondas.”

Mount Hood Scenic Byway,  Government Camp, Oregon

Mount Hood Scenic Byway near Government Camp, Oregon

Perhaps one of the most beautiful drives in Oregon, the Mount Hood Scenic Byway is a 105 mile stretch of highway running from Troutdale, Oregon, near Portland and on US Route 26 over and around Mt. Hood through Zigzag, Rhododendron, Government Camp and then back northwest to the Hood River Valley.  In the past I have driven most of this highway, but in 2018 I took US 26 to Government Camp and then continued Southwest to Madras and then on to Bend on US Route 97.   This drive is worthwhile any time of the year, unless you get stuck in a massive winter snow storm.

Mule Trading Post, Rolla, Missouri

Mule Trading Post, Route 66, Rolla, Missouri
Mule Trading Post, Rolla, Missouri

Missouri has a wonderful abundance of Route 66 kitsch.  One of the unique stops along the route is the Mule Trading Post in Rolla, Missouri.  It is home to a giant Hillbilly sign and the ship is filled with all sorts of Route 66 memorabilia as well as  a splendid variety of jerkies and meat sticks. Established in Rolla in 1957, it was one of the great stops along Route 66.  Though it has traded hands a few times, including a purchase by the current owners in early 2018, it is still a must stop if you are driving on Interstate 44 or Route 66 in Missouri.

Murray Cafe, Livingston, Montana

Murray Cafe Classic Neon sign in Livingston, Montana

Livingston, Montana is a classic old town loaded with old vintage neon signs.  I love driving through and feeling the nostalgia of neon.  One of the good ones is the Murray Cafe neon sign in downtown Livingston.  Neon lovers…there you go.

Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail, Biloxi, MIssissippi

Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail

You may all follow my blog because of my travel adventures, but you may not know that over the past decade, I have also become a birder…I photograph birds wherever I go in hopes of finding new ones.  Indeed, one good tern deserves another.  I found this sign in Biloxi, Mississippi and actually did some bird shots there.  But the actual Mississippi Coastal Birding Trail (MCBT) identifies and details over 40 sites that are used by local birders and are historically prime birding locations in the six southernmost counties of Mississippi.  This has to be on one of my next to do lists when I make a trip to Houston.

The Murray Theater, Murray, Utah

Murray Theater, Murray, Utah

I graduated high school from Murray High School in Murray, Utah in 1974.  I saw a number of movies at the Murray Theater back then.  Nowadays it is a business, but the classic neon sign still remains to beckon thoughts back to yesteryear.  It sits right there on State Street in downtown Murray, just south of Salt Lake City.

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!!

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