A Grab Bag from America’s Back Roads – The W Things #AtoZChallenge

In 2018 I  will feature a random (yet alphabetical) selection of photos I have taken from my nearly 20 years of back roads travel in the United States and Canada.  I may even throw in a few random shots from other trips to Japan, Mexico and the Philippines. My theme is called America’s Back Roads: A Grab Bag of Places in Pictures.

 

Let’s start this off with a Whispering Bang!!

Whispering Giants – art by Hungarian artist Peter Toth – Idaho Falls, Idaho; Bethany Beach, Delaware; Murray, Utah; Red Lodge, Montana; Ottawa, Illinois; Hopewell, Illinois; Paducah, Kentucky; Astoria, Oregon; Ocean City, Maryland; Iowa Falls, Iowa; Utica, Illinois

Over 62 of these around the U.S.  Here are the ones I have seen:

Gigantic Peter Toth carved Indian Head in North Tourist Park in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Placed in 1980
Chief Little Owl in Bethany Beach, Delaware placed in 2002
Chief Wasatch in Murray, UT placed in 1985
Detail of the “Whispering Giant” of Red Lodge, Montana, placed in 1979
Ho-Ma-Sjah-Nah-Zhee-Ga in Ottawa, IL, placed in 1990
Hopewell Giant in Hopewell, IL placed in 1975
Chief Wacinton in Paducah, KY placed in 1985
Ikala Nawan in Astoria, Oregon placed in 1987
The Inlet Indian, Nanticoke, dedicated to the Assateague tribe, is in Ocean City, MD and placed in 1976
Whispering Giant of Iowa Falls, IA in Veterans Park, placed in 1999
Chief Walks With The Wind in Starved Rock State Park, Utica, IL

Wigwam Village – Sleep in Wigwam – Cave City, KY

Wigwam Village, Cave City, KY
Wigwam Village Key
Sleep in a Wigwam neon sign in Cave City, KY
Hanging with ALL 10 Grandkids at Wigwam Village in Cave City, KY

Wahkeena Falls – Corbett, Oregon

Wahkeena Falls in Corbett, Oregon

Wupatki National Monument – near Cameron, Arizona

Son Seth at Wupatki Ruins off of US 89 south of Flagstaff in 1992

Water Buffalo – Cebu, Philippines

Carabao Water Buffalo taken on Cebu Island in the Philippines

Winnett, Montana

Winnett, MT Welcome Sign
Old Store Front – Winnett, MT
Old Hotel Sign – Winnett, MT

Wallace, Idaho

Wallace, Idaho
Wallace Corner Hotel, Wallace, ID
Downtown Wallace, Idaho

Weatherford, Texas

Courthouse in Weatherford, Texas
Skinnys Hamburger sign in Weatherford, TX
Relaxing – Weatherford, Texas

Murals of Welland, Ontario

Mural of Grandfather telling stories about Welland to Grandson
A portion of a massive mural on the side of a shopping mall. Entitled “History of the Niagara Peninsula” by Heinz Gaugel
“Main Street” by Mike Svob
“Wagons” by Andrew Miles

Washington, Pennsylvania

Washington, PA Historic Marker
Washington County Courthouse in Washington, PA
Welcome to Washington, PA

Williams, California

Williams Hotel mural by John Ton in Williams, CA
Detail of a mural on the side of a building in Williams, CA

Winner, South Dakota

Winner Winner..no chicken dinner, just the name of a town in SD
Winner, South Dakota
Pheasant Statue, Winner, SD
Pheasant Bar, Winner, SD

Waldo, Arkansas

Waldo Post Office, Waldo, AR
Waldo, Arkansas
Waldo Water Tower

Winterset, Iowa

Welcome to Winterset, Covered Bridge Capital of Iowa
Winterset building fronts
Roseman Covered Bridge in Winterset, Iowa

Wyoming Dinosaur Center – Thermopolis, Wyoming

Large Sign about the Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis, Wyoming

World Trade Center (before 9/11) – New York City

In New York City in 1990 before the World Trade Center Twin Towers met their demise
World Trade Center 1990

One World Trade Center (after 9/11) – New York City

One World Trade Center all lit up at night, as seen from Sinatra Park in Hoboken, NJ
One World Trade Center under construction – March 2, 2013

Wall Drug – Wall, South Dakota

Where the Heck is Wall Drug?
Welcome to Wall, SD
One of many Wall Drug Billboards – notice the uniqueness?
The 80 foot tall Wall Drug Brontosaurus

West Virginia Capital Building with the gold dome – Charleston, West Virginia

Wonde West Virginia’s Capital Building in Charleston, WV
WV Capital Building

Wharton, Texas

Black History Mural by Dayton Wordrich
Buildings in downtown Wharton, TX
Future of Wharton, TX Mural by Dayton Wordrich
Old Plaza Theater in Wharton, TX

Wonderland Road – Upton, Kentucky

Sumoflam at Wonderland Rd. in Upton, KY

Winter Wheat – Sparta, Ontario

Welcome to Winter Wheat in Sparta, ON
Winter Wheat Main Building
Broom People at Winter Wheat in Sparta, ON
The performance room at Winter Wheat

Walpi, Arizona

While working in Arizona I made over 100 trips to Walpi on the Hopi Indian Reservation in Northern Arizona

White Sands National Monument – east of Alamagordo, New Mexico

White Sands National Monument
Visiting White Sands, NM in 2013
Granddaughter Joselyn runs on a sand dune at White Sands National Monument in NM

Walnut Ridge, Arkansas

Walnut Ridge, Arkansas
Sumoflam with the Beatles in Walnut Ridge, AR
Welcome to Walnut Ridge
Scene from Abbey Road, Walnut Ridge, AR

Wendy’s Museum – Dublin, Ohio

Dave Thomas statue at Wendy’s in Dublin, OH
The Wendy’s Original $150,000 Crystal Cheeseburger created by Waterford Crystal
“Where’s the Beef?” memorabilia from the famed advertising campaign in the Wendy’s Museum in Dublin, OH

Wigwam Drive-In – Ravenna, Kentucky

Sumoflam at the Wigwam Drive-In in Ravenna, KY
Interior of the Wigwam Drive-in Ravenna, KY
The Famous Country Boy Burger

Washington Court House, Ohio

The Washington Court House in Washington Court House, OH was one of many unique buildings I got to visit in 2016
Washington Courthouse Statue

Whitetop, Virginia

Welcome to Whitetop, VA
Whitetop Station
All of us at Whitetop Station at the beginning of the 10 mile downhill Virginia Creeper Bike Trail near Damascus, VA

West Side Theater – Newman, California

West Side Theatre – a common stop for Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours

Wimpy’s Hamburgers – Dallas, Texas

Wimpy’s Hamburgers – Dallas, Texas – I’ll gladly pay you Thursday for a hamburger today….

Walcott Castle – Walcott, Iowa

Castle Hall in Walcott, IA
One of the Towers on Castle Hall in Walcott

Wind Farms – Shelby, Montana; Nekoma, North Dakota; Adair, Iowa; Bloomington, Illinois; Iona, Idaho; Rugby, North Dakota; Port Burwell, Ontario

An old cabin falls apart in the midst of the giant wind turbines of the Glacier Wind Farm near Shelby, Montana

A silo and wind turbine coexist near Nekoma, ND
Wind Turbines of the Rolling Hills Wind Farm near Adair, IA
Wind Farm near Bloomington, IL
Approaching Wolverine Creek Wind Farm, near Iona, ID
Wind Turbines seem to blossom like flowers out of the corn fields of Iowa
Wind Farm near Rugby, ND
Wind Farm info center in Port Burwell, Ontario
Wind Farm near Shelby, Montana

Watkins Glen State Park – Watkins Glen, New York

One of over 50 waterfalls in Watkins Glen State Park, NY
Watkins Glen State Park, New York

Wilbur, Washington

Wilbur, Washington
Billy Burger, Wilbur, WA
Big Pig and Spider at Welcome center in Wilbur, WA

Winnemucca, Nevada

Sumoflam in Winnemucca, Nevada
Big casino in Winnemucca, Nevada
Driving through Winnemucca

Mount Washington – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Mount Washington
Panoramic View of Pittsburgh from atop Mt. Washington

West Yellowstone, Montana

Welcome to West Yellowstone, Montana
Westward Motel – West Yellowstone
Dude Motel – West Yellowstone, Montana

Whiskey Rebellion – Washington, Pennsylvania

Whiskey Rebellion Statue in Washington, PA

Webster Falls – Hamilton, Ontario

Webster Falls near Hamilton, ON
Sumoflam at the top of Webster Falls, Hamilton, Ontario

White Castle, Louisiana

Welcome to White Castle, LA
There is a White Castle Fire Dept, but no White Castle restaurants to be seen

Worland, Wyoming

Highway into Worland, WY
Mammoth Bronze Statue by Chris Navarro in Worland, WY

Working Women mural – Welland, Ontario

“Working Women” by Ted Ziegler shows the contribution of women to the industrial
work force in the factories of Welland

Wolf Creek Pass – Colorado

Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado July 1993

Wind River Canyon – Wyoming

History of the Wind River Canyon
One of many spectacular views of Wind River Canyon
Entering Wind River Canyon on US 20 from Thermopolis, WY

Walking to the Sky Sculpture – Pittsburgh, Penssylvania

“Walking to the Sky” by Jonathan Borofsky

Washington Monument – Washington, D.C.

The Washington Monument and the US Capitol in Washington DC in 2016

Willie the Walleye – Baudette, Minnesota

Son Solomon (at 6’3″) at Willie the Walleye in Baudette, MN

Wichita, Kansas

Welcome to Wichita mural
Donut Whole – Wichita, Kansas
Keeper of the Plains – 50 foot tall statue in Wichita
Wicked Street Art in Wichita, KS

What Cheer, Iowa

What Cheer, Iowa
What Cheer, Iowa
Downtown What Cheer – many abandoned buildings

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, will be available in late April or early May 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.

Books 1 & 2

(110)

A Trip To New England – September 2015

Baby Samuel September 2015
Baby Samuel September 2015

At the end of August we had a new grandson born into the family — Samuel Kravetz is now grandchild #10.  He was born to my son Seth and his wife Holly, who, at the time, were living near Hartford, Connecticut.  Naturally, this was a cause for celebration and for a trip to Connecticut to see this new bundle of joy.

Our Route to Connecticut from Lexington (via Hershey World and Carlos Bake Shop)
Our Route to Connecticut from Lexington (via Hershey World and Carlos Bake Shop)
Heading east with the grandkidz!
Heading east with the grandkidz!

So, we planned the trip and our daughter Marissa and her three children would join Julianne and I for a visit to New England.  On September 5th we headed east on I-64 for this “see grandson/see nephew/see cousin/see New England” trip.  I was excited not only for the grandchild, but also because this trip would afford me the opportunity to knock off the last 3 states on my list…I would finally get to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, to make it to all 50.

Sunrise in Eastern Kentucky as we approached West Virginia
Sunrise in Eastern Kentucky as we approached West Virginia
Welcome to West Virginia
Welcome to West Virginia

We were on the road before sunrise and arrived at the West Virginia/Kentucky border just shortly after sunrise.  there is wonderful Rest Area a few miles east of Huntington, WV and so we stopped to give the now awake kids a chance to run a bit.

As for me, I walked around and enjoyed the flowers, the fresh morning air and a chance to stretch my legs as the day would be a long one…we planned to drive all the way to Connecticut and I would be the only driver (as always — because I am a road warrior of course!!)

Welcome to West Virginia
Welcome to West Virginia – West Virginia Welcome Center
I got lucky and got a nice shot of a small butterfly at the rest area
I got lucky and got a nice shot of a small butterfly at the rest area

After the break we were back on the road again heading east on I-64 to Charleston and then northeast on I-79 until we got to Cheat Lake, where the interstate switched to I-68 east towards Cumberland, MD and then eventually onto I-70/I-68.  We finally stopped at the South Mountain Rest Area south of Greenbrier and South Mountain State Parks.  This was a perfect place for the kids to get out and run around, stretch and play.

Lyla and Joselyn climbing around on a hill at the South Mountain Rest Area in maryland
Lyla and Joselyn climbing around on a hill at the South Mountain Rest Area in Maryland
Landen relaxes at the rest area
Landen relaxes at the rest area

While they rested, I was out capturing sots of flowers and plants, of which there was an abundance.

A Unique pod
A Unique pod
A thorny briar or thistle or something
A thorny briar or thistle or something
A nice pink flower
A nice pink flower
Dandylions?
Dandylions?
Selfie - Explore the Chesapeake at the Rest Area
Selfie – Explore the Chesapeake at the Rest Area
Have a Sweet Day!
Have a Sweet Day!

After a nice rest and stretch, we were back on the road and heading towards Hershey, PA for a sweet visit to Hershey’s Chocolate World.  The last time I was here was with the kids a number of years ago, when there was an entirely different facility.  Now there is an amusement park, a HUGE building, and plenty of crowds.  We had hoped for the factory tour, but the place was away too busy for us since we had to get back on the road…we were driving all the way to Vernon, CT.  But, we had time for a little fun….

Hershey's Chocolate World
Hershey’s Chocolate World
An obligatory Hershey Kiss from Julianne
An obligatory Hershey Kiss from Julianne

And Joselyn wanted to give Grampz a Hershey Kiss as well…

Joselyn gives Grampz a Hershey Kiss
Joselyn gives Grampz a Hershey Kiss

And then there is the Chocolate…

A candy bar the size of Landen!
A candy bar the size of Landen!
Giant Kisses...wanna bite?
Giant Kisses…wanna bite?
The kids get a big kiss from Hershey
The kids get a big kiss from Hershey (photo by Marissa Noe)

After sweetening ourselves up a bit on Hershey’s chocolate, we were soon back on the road eastward, with the next stop planned being Hoboken, NJ for a view of NYC at night and hopefully a visit to the famed Carlos Bake Shop from TLC’s “Cake Boss.”

Midway Diner sign on a barn
Midway Diner sign on a barn

Along the way we stopped for gas in Bethel, PA.  While there, I grabbed a couple of shots of the iconic Midway Diner signs.  It used to be in one of those silver diner styles, but has since been changed.  But, I always love the old Neon Signs like the one below.

Old Midway Diner sign in bethel, PA
Old Midway Diner sign in Bethel, PA
Hoboken, NJ
Hoboken, NJ

After fueling and restroom breaks for the kids (and adults), we were back on the road again.  We pulled into Hoboken around 8:30 PM and drive straight to Frank Sinatra Park to get a nighttime view of the Manhattan portion of New York City.  The kids had never seen it at night and this is probably one of he best places to get a great view of the entire skyline Manhattan.

Built in 1998, it honors Frank Sinatra, who was born in Hoboken. Sinatra Park is shaped in a Roman amphitheater style with an area that faces the former site of the World Trade Center.

The grandkidz get a view of Manhattan from Frank Sinata Park in Hoboken. (Photo by Marissa Noe)
The grandkidz get a view of Manhattan from Frank Sinata Park in Hoboken. (Photo by Marissa Noe)
Blue Eyes Pizza and Gelato in Frank Sinatra Park
Blue Eyes Pizza and Gelato in Frank Sinatra Park (see website)
One World Trade Center all lit up at night, as seen from Sinatra Park
One World Trade Center all lit up at night, as seen from Sinatra Park
Manhattan Skyline with the Empire State building
Manhattan Skyline with the Empire State building

CarlosBakeShop7After the great view, we made our way to Hudson St. and then down to Newark, turned right and then right on Washington to Carlo’s Bake Shop (Actually, they all walked over there and I dealt with the traffic mess!).

A busy bakery! Carlo's Bake Shop in Hoboken at 9:15 PM
A busy bakery! Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken at 9:15 PM

The place was hopping even at 9:00 PM.  I had to double park on the street and Julianne came out to sit in the car so I could get out and get a few photos (and some cannoli!!).  Carlo’s is a family owned bakery featured on the TLC hit show Cake Boss. Carlo’s, was originally opened by Carlo Guastaffero in 1910 and was acquired by Bartolo Valastro Sr. in 1964. After the  passing of Bartolo Sr. in 1994, matriarch Mary Valastro and her children Grace, Maddalena, Mary, Lisa and master baker Bartolo Jr. “Buddy” Valastro have expanded the business with the help of their spouses.  They actually have bakeries in 5 states!!

Sumoflam at Carlo's Bake Shop
Sumoflam at Carlo’s Bake Shop
Cannoli at Carlo's Bake Shop in Hoboken
Cannoli at Carlo’s Bake Shop in Hoboken
The Famiglia
The Famiglia

We picked up some goodies…and I wanted to try the Cannoli, since they are supposedly famous for them.  I had mine, it was good, but not as good as the ones I had at Presti’s Bakery near my birthplace in Little Italy in Cleveland.

Nevertheless, the goodies were good and this made for a fun stopover before we finished the last leg of the trip to Connecticut and a much needed good night’s rest.

The kids hitched a ride on the luggage rack....
The kids hitched a ride on the luggage rack….

We pulled into the Holiday Inn in Vernon sometime after midnight…it was a long day.

I must say that the Noe kids have become seasoned travelers, even at their young age.  Joselyn has been on long trips with me from Arizona to Kentucky and then all three have traveled to Omaha, St. Louis, South Carolina, Georgia and now the northeast coast.  They are a fun lot to travel with!  Grampz is always happy to be with them!

What a day it was….with kisses and cannoli!

 

(101)