A to Z Challenge: Reflections #atozchallenge

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]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.

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The A Towns: Amarillo, TX – Adair, IA – Alzada, MT – Alamogordo, NM – Alligator, MS – Alliance, NE – Ada, MI – Akela Flats, NM

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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The I Towns: Indian Head, SK – Intercourse, PA – Ironwood, MI – Independence, MO – Idaho Falls, ID – Iona, ID – Inverness, MT – Iron River, WI

 

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The J Towns: Jamestown, ND – Joseph, OR – Jeffersonville, IN – Juneau, AK – Jackson Hole, WY – Janesville, WI – Jackson Center, OH – Jamaica Beach, TX – Jamestown, NY

 

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The K Towns: Kemmerer, WY – Keystone, SD – Ketchikan, AK – Kensington District, ON – Kadoka, SD – Kremlin, MT – Kirkwood, MO

 

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The L Towns: LeClaire, IA – Lake Nebagamon, WI – Lesage, WV – LeRoy, NY – Lizard Lick, NC – Lake Jackson, TX – Lost Springs, WY – Langdon, ND

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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The Q Towns: Quincy, IL – Quartzsite, AZ – Queen City, OH (Cincinnati) – Quicksand, KY

 

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The R Towns: Roswell, NM – Regent, ND – Rhinelander, WI – Rabbit Hash, KY – Raton, NM – Red Lodge, MT – Riverside, IA – Rugby, ND – Rudyard, MT

 

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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

 

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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

 

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The U Towns: Uncertain, TX – Uncasville, CT – Upper Lake, CA – Ukiah, CA – Upton, KY

 

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The V Towns: Vulcan, AB – Valier, MT – Vernal, UT – Vandalia, IL – Vicksburg, MS – Versailles, KY – Vincennes, IN

 

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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

 

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The X Towns: Xenia, OH – Lexington, KY – Cotopaxi, CO – Oxford County, ON – Texarkana, AR – Texline, TX – Rexburg, ID – Exie, KY

 

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The Y Towns: Yampa, CO – West Yellowstone, MT –  Yellville, AR – York, NE

 

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The Z Towns: Zanesville, OH – Zelienople, PA – Zurich, MT

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A to Z Challenge: The O Towns #atozchallenge

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

OThe O Towns

Only, Tennessee

OnlyTN
Only, Tennessee
This way to the Only Baptist Church
This way to the Only Baptist Church
The one and only Only Baptist Church
The one and only Only Baptist Church

I took a trip back in 2010 which took from Bugtussle, KY to Bugtussle, TX and mainly down backroads.  Along the way in Tennessee I came across a small community called Only.  The community is located on Tennessee State Route 229 near Tennessee State Route 50 and Interstate 40.  I got a real kick out of the Baptist Church….the Only Baptist Church. I believe this is the only place named Only in the U.S. See original post HERE.

Old Orchard Beach, Maine

View of Old Orchard Beach and the Atlantic Ocean from the Normandie Motor Inn
View of Old Orchard Beach and the Atlantic Ocean from the Normandie Motor Inn
Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean as seen from Old Orchard Beach, ME
Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean as seen from Old Orchard Beach, ME
Watching grandkidz play on Atlantic coast at Old Orchard Beach in Maine
Watching grandkidz play on Atlantic coast at Old Orchard Beach in Maine
Outside of the Bell Buoy Restaurant in Old Orchard Beach for the required Selfie
Outside of the Bell Buoy Restaurant in Old Orchard Beach for the required Selfie

Travel up US Highway 1 north of Boston into Maine and you will drive through the town of Old Orchard Beach, which sits on the Atlantic Coast in southern Maine.  Definitely a resort town, it has just about 10,000 residents, lots of hotels and restaurants and a long beach for walks.  We stayed in the Normandie Motor Inn which is literally on the beach and it was fabulous! As it was later in the evening when we arrived there, we also had to find a kid friendly place to eat and the Bell Buoy Restaurant did the trick! See my post about our 2015 trip there HERE.

Okay, Oklahoma

Sumoflam - An Okay Parent
Sumoflam in an Okay Place
This church caters to Okay followers
This church caters to Okay followers
This is an Okay Police Department
This is an Okay Police Department
Even the Fire Department is Okay
Even the Fire Department is Okay

Okay…so you’re thinking there is really a town called Okay and it is in Oklahoma?  That’s right! Okay, OK it is and I visited there in 2013 on a return trip home from Texas.  They have an Okay Police Department, an Okay Fire Department, an Okay City Hall and even a couple of Okay churches.  It is an Okay place.  The town only has about 600 residents, but that’s ok. The town is a few miles north of Muskogee on Oklahoma Hwy 16.

Oil Springs, Ontario

Oil Springs, Ontario - The location of the First Commercial Oil Well in North America
Oil Springs, Ontario – The location of the First Commercial Oil Well in North America
Replica of Oil Well in Oil Springs, Ontario
Replica of Oil Well in Oil Springs, Ontario
Scrap Metal Art in Oil Springs, Ontario
Scrap Metal Art in Oil Springs, Ontario
Oil Springs Scrap Metal Art
Oil Springs Scrap Metal Art
Oil Springs Scrap Metal Art
Oil Springs Scrap Metal Art

On one of my many trips home from Ontario in 2008, I made my way through the town of Oil Springs as part of the route to Michigan and south. Oil Springs’ claim to fame is their first commercial Oil Well that was established in 1858.  It is also home to the Oil Museum of Canada and a number of scrap metal sculptures depicting the oil well work from the 1800s.  The artwork was by a local metal worker named Murray Watson, who owns Watson’s Machine Shop in Oil Springs.  You can see a much deeper history and more photos in my 2008 post HERE.

Oak Creek, Colorado

Downtown Oak Creek Colorado
Downtown Oak Creek Colorado
Train coming out of Peabody Coal Mine near Oak Creek, CO
Train coming out of Peabody Coal Mine near Oak Creek, CO
Impressive Dragon mural on a Chinese Restaurant in Oak Creek, Colorado
Impressive Dragon mural on a Chinese Restaurant in Oak Creek, Colorado
A mystic mural in Oak Creek, CO
A mystic mural in Oak Creek, CO

On a 2013 road trip from Rexburg, Idaho to Dallas, Texas, I ventured through the back roads of Colorado into Oak Creek, a rustic little town of about 1000 people in the Yampa Valley on Colorado Highway 131, south of Steamboat Springs.   It is in a lovely setting and seemed to be a place I would have liked to have lingered longer.  See more about my trip HERE.

Oacoma, South Dakota

Welcome to Oacoma
Welcome to Oacoma
Bridge into Oacoma, South Dakota
Bridge into Oacoma, South Dakota
Al's Oasis in Oacoma, SD
Al’s Oasis in Oacoma, SD

On a different trip home in 2013, we drove through South Dakota and spent the night in Oacoma. Though not a huge place, it does have some history, especially in relation to the Lakota tribe and also as a stop for Lewis and Clark. And it has Al’s Oasis, a uniquely South Dakota style touristy traveler’s rest area. You can read more about our trip HERE.

Odd, West Virginia

Odd, West Virginia Post Office
Odd, West Virginia Post Office
Odd School Road takes you into the town of Odd, WV
Odd School Road takes you into the town of Odd, WV

So, take a trip into West Virginia and you come across a road sign that says “Odd School Road.”  You gotta go down that road to see what an “Odd School” looks like and you also find a community named Odd and even and Odd Post Office.  Odd huh?

Onawa, Iowa (Honorable Mention)

Onawa1
Onawa – Home of the Widest Main Street in the United States
Onawa, Iowa, Home of the Eskimo Pie
Onawa, Iowa, Home of the Eskimo Pie

On my return trip from Montana in 2013, we made our way through Iowa Along the way I saw a sign for Onawa, Iowa noting it as the home of the Eskimo Pie. I had to drive through the town of about 3000 and see if we could find where it was invented.  Research shows me that someone named Christian Nelson invented it in 1920.  Interestingly enough, he originally called it an I-Scream Bar.  He later partnered with candy maker Russell Stover to patent the product. (See History here) They also claim to have the widest Main Street in the U.S.A. Though I drove around a bit, I couldn’t find a museum or anything…but, there were the hanging banners!!  I wish I could have found an Eskimo Pie!!

Oddville, Kentucky (Honorable Mention)

Oddville, Kentucky
Oddville, Kentucky
Oddville United Methodist Church, Oddville, KY
Oddville United Methodist Church, Oddville, KY
Oddville Sunrise Road
Oddville Sunrise Road

OK….so I had a town named Odd in West Virginia.  Why not include a town named Oddville in Kentucky?  There is even an Oddville Church… HA!

Did You Miss My Other A to Z Challenge Posts? Click on a letter below to see the others.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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A2Z-BADGE [2016]

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A Trip to New England: Part III – September 2015

Catching the sunrise with Jos and Rockwell at Old Orchard Beach
Catching the sunrise with Jos and Rockwell at Old Orchard Beach

After a pleasant night stay in Old Orchard, ME, I got up early in the morning with my grandchildren Joselyn and Rockwell to hopefully catch a sunrise and boy did we get a royal treat!!

The skies were colorful with shades of pink, purple, blue and orange and then the ball of the sun rose up over the Atlantic Ocean.  One of the most amazing I have ever seen!!

Presunrise sky was filled with color
Presunrise sky was filled with color
Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean as seen from Old Orchard Beach, ME
Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean as seen from Old Orchard Beach, ME
Someone on the beach also trying to catch the sunrise
Someone on the beach also trying to catch the sunrise
Jos and Rockwell enjoy the amazing sunrise
Jos and Rockwell enjoy the amazing sunrise
A seagull flies by at sunrise
A seagull flies by at sunrise
Sumoflam at sunrise in Old Orchard, ME
Sumoflam at sunrise in Old Orchard, ME

This was going to be a long day for us as we would drive up to Portland to see a famous lighthouse and then into New Hampshire, onto Vermont and then back to Connecticut to drop Rockwell off.  From there we would return back to Lexington…a good 20 hour day from start to finish. Following is the route map for the day.

Day 3 in Connecticut and return trip to Lexington.
Day 3 in Connecticut and return trip to Lexington.
Left my print on the beach in Old Orchard, ME
Left my print on the beach in Old Orchard, ME

The rest of the family was up soon and we were ready to get packed and head north to Portland to see the famed Portland Head Light. Of course, we needed breakfast, so we stopped at The Cookie Jar in Cape Elizabeth, ME.  They offered a wonderful selection of fresh baked goods so we grabbed a few donuts and a fresh loaf of whole grain bread.  We would eat the donuts at the lighthouse.  The RED VELVET donuts were to die for!!

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Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, ME

The Portland Head Light was only a few minutes from the bakery in Port Elizabeth.  Situated along the spectacular shores of Fort Williams Park, at 1000 Shore Road, the popular landmark is owned and managed by the Town of Cape Elizabeth, ME.  Construction on the original lighthouse was begun in 1787. The original tower measured 72′ from base to lantern deck and was lit with 16 whale oil lamps. It was first lit on January 10, 1791.

Stopping at the Cookie Jar in Port Elizabeth, ME
Stopping at the Cookie Jar in Port Elizabeth, ME
Amazing Red Velvet Cake donuts from The Cookie Jar
Amazing Red Velvet Cake donuts from The Cookie Jar

When we got to the park we enjoyed donuts, orange juice and an amazing few of the rugged and rocky shores of Cape Elizabeth with a backdrop of the historic lighthouse.  Julianne , Marissa and the kids took a nice hike along the shores while I protected the table and the food.

The rocky shores of Port Elizabeth, ME (photo by Marissa Noe)
The rocky shores of Cape Elizabeth, ME (photo by Marissa Noe)
Grandkidz look out at the Portland Light House
Grandkidz look out at the Portland Head Light (photo by Marissa Noe)
Grandson Landen makes a rock pile on the rocky shores of the Atlantic
Grandson Landen makes a rock pile on the rocky shores of the Atlantic (photo by Marissa Noe)
Another view of the Portland Head Light
Another view of the Portland Head Light
The beach left a heart for all of us as we left Maine. (photo by Marissa Noe)
The beach left a heart for all of us as we left Maine. (photo by Marissa Noe)

This little visit was one of the highlights of the trip for us.  This old lighthouse and the scenic surroundings were absolutely splendid. But we had to move on.

The next leg of the trip was my “selfish pleasure” I must admit.  Over the years of my life I had, to this very day, visited 49 of the US states (having visited New Hampshire and Maine in the past two days).  That left ONE state remaining on the list – Vermont.  And the other thing I wanted to do on this visit, since I discovered the place in my research, was to visit Sandwich, NH and get a sandwich in Sandwich.

Welcome-to-Freedom-SignSo, westward ho to New Hampshire we went, driving along Maine Highway 25 through Cornish and Porter and into Freedom, NH. When we arrived in Freedom I searched diligently for the Post Office.  You see, my friend Antsy McClain has a song titled “Living in Aluminum” and there is a lyric in the song that says “I’ll send you a Post Card from Freedom sometime.”   I wanted to actually send Antsy and a few my other Flamingohead friends a postcard.  But alas, we didn’t find one so we moved on, continuing west on Hwy 25 into Sandwich, NH, with our timing fairly close to noon.

Signposts in Sandwich, NH. No restaurants!
Signposts in Sandwich, NH. No restaurants!

SandwichHistoricalSocietySandwich, NH is the perfect example of what I imagined an old New England town would be like.  We drove around looking for a cafe or a restaurant….JUST so I could say that I ate a sandwich in Sandwich.  I even stopped in the town hall and asked and was told there was no place!!  So, as you can see, this was an absolute Sandwich Fail and I will likely never hear the end of it from my wife!  Turns out that the closest place for a sandwich near Sandwich is about 22 minutes away on Hwy 113 in Holderness, NH at the Squam Lake MarketPlace.  So, off we we went.

Visiting Squam Lake MarketPlace, Holderness, NH
Visiting Squam Lake MarketPlace, Holderness, NH
Inside of Squam Lake MarketPlace (photo by Marissa Noe)
Inside of Squam Lake MarketPlace (photo by Marissa Noe)

The Squam Lake MarketPlace is like an upscale convenience store located on the western shore of Squam Lake at the intersection of US Hwy 3 and NH 113. It has a meat market, some locally made goods and a place to get sandwiches.  But note, there is NOT a restroom on the site.  You have to drive down the road to the library and use the Porta-Potty.

Outside of Squam Lake MarketPlace (photo by Marissa Noe)
Outside of Squam Lake MarketPlace (photo by Marissa Noe)

We were all starved and so I ordered sandwiches for everyone…four grandkids and three adults.  I was in major shock when I was told that the total was nearly $80!!!  A jelly sandwich for Lyla was $7.00!!  All of a sudden I was in “Squirm Lake.”  Already in trouble for the Sandwich Fail in Sandwich, going out of our way, etc., I was then in the doghouse for a “fancy meal” priced sandwich lunch.

The sandwiches were good, but $12 for a simple sandwich was a bit overwhelming. But at least the sandwiches were good.

State Number 50 - At NH/VT border in Brattleboro, VT
State Number 50 – At NH/VT border in Brattleboro, VT

From Squam Lake we headed further southwest towards Brattleboro, VT….still a bit out of the way, but got me into Vermont, even for a few moments!! My 50th State was finally checked off the list.

We had taken Hwy 9, crossed the Connecticut River and there was the sign.  From there we were in Vermont for a total of about 5 minutes as we drive south into Massachusetts to return to Vernon, CT to drop off Rockwell, give the family a hug goodbye and make the long drive home back to Kentucky.

Hanging with granddaughter Lyla on a break on the return trip home to Kentucky
Hanging with granddaughter Lyla on a break on the return trip home to Kentucky

A couple of stops for fuel and food along the way and by about 2 AM we were back home in Kentucky.  A long trip home but a wonderful 5 day trip to the Atlantic coast.

Life is always good when on the road end enjoying the ride…especially with family!

 

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