Everywhere a Sign – Some O 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. )

Obviously, there are many outstanding places to visit in this outrageously wonderful country. Whether you are an occasional traveler or you take every opportunity to wander, there is always something to see. Here are some of the odd O signs I discovered in my 2018 travels. Enjoy the Read. Enjoy the Ride.

Old Potter, Arkansas

Old Potter, Arkansas

A few miles south of Mena, Arkansas, on US Routes 59/71, is a small unincorporated community called Old Potter.  It is also referred to as Potter Junction.  One can take AR Hwy 375 west from there a couple of miles, to Potter, Arkansas.  I have no idea how the name Potter cam about.  But I like the name Old Potter.  Kind of fun.

Okie Noodling Tournament Sign, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma

Okie Noodling Tournament Sign, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma

I first learned about the sport of Noodling on a documentary television program by Bradley Beesley titled Okie Noodling, which came out in 2001.  If you are not sure what noodling is, well here is the scoop…(or the grab is probably better) — it is the practice of wading in murky water and sticking your hand into dark holes hoping a 30-pound plus catfish will latch onto your hand and arm. Missing fingers and toes on some noodlers attest to the danger and excitement of the sport. The film emphasizes how noodling is believed to have originated with white settlers, with at least one reference known to have dated from 1775.

From that documentary, a tournament was developed at Bob’s Pig Shop in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.  This year (2019), on June 14/15, the Okie Noodling Tournament will celebrate its 20th anniversary.  There is an “O’FISH’Al” Okie Noodling website with all of the details, if you are interested.  I will be returning from Texas on that weekend and may just drop by for a looksee and maybe a visit to Bob’s Pig Shop on June 15!

Check out the trailer for the movie here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8E83pzt_MU

By the way, the rock band, The Flaming Lips, did the original music for the 2001 documentary.

Octagon Hall, Franklin, Kentucky

Octagon Hall, Franklin, Kentucky
Octagon Hall, Franklin, Kentucky

Driving south on US 31W near Franklin, Kentucky, I came across a sign to Octagon Hall Museum. This is one of the joys of traveling back roads.  I have come across so many unique places that were unplanned on my trips.  Though we were early and couldn’t visit this Antebellum eight-sided Civil War home built by Andrew Jackson Caldwell, it was still a unique place to see, especially from the outside. Octagon Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was used during the Civil War by both Confederate and Federal troops and served as a Civil War hospital.

Orlinda, Tennessee

Orllinda, Tennessee

I always like town signs, but this may be in my favorites list.  I love the “Sunniest Spot in Tennessee” catch phrase.  The town of Orlinda is located off of US Hwy 31W, just south of the Kentucky border (and not too far from Octagon Hall).   There are about 1000 sunshiny folks living in this community.

Okemah, Oklahoma

Okemah, Oklahoma
Okemah Hot, Cold and Woody Guthrie Water Towers

Okemah, Oklahoma was named after a Kickapoo  Indian Chief and is the home to the Creek Nation and specifically the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, a group that speaks the Mvskoke language (thus Muscogee).  Even though there is a great Native American Heritage here, it is also the birthplace of the famous Folk Singer Woody Guthrie who wrote such well-known songs as This Land is Your LandMule Skinner Blues, and hundreds of other songs.  Okemah is just off of Interstate 40 and US Highway 62 passes through the town.

Olive Hill, Kentucky

Olive Hill, Kentucky

Last on my O list is one closer to home.  Olive Hill, Kentucky is in eastern Kentucky on US Highway 60.   It is an old railroad town established in 1861.  I especially like the town because of its layout and the many murals that can be found along a wall in town.  The main street of town is Railroad Street.  Just a cool little town.

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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Travel in 2018: The Best of the Roadside Attractions – Part 1

Sharkheads in Biloxi, MS

Obviously, one of my favorite things to do on road trips short or long is locate the fun, unique and offbeat roadside attractions.  And, fortunately, 2018 provided me a plethora of these.  I have already written about a few of them individually in past months, but this post will be a nice little “photo tour” of some of my favorites.

Having been through 26 different states in 2018, I had plenty of sites and loads of fun.  I got to share many of these with grandchildren, which made it even better.

Dignity: Of Earth and Sky – 50 foot tall statue by Dale Lamphere

Sumoflam with Dignity near Chamberlain, SD

Perhaps my favorite from 2018 was the amazing giant Dignity: Of Earth and Sky statue in Chamberlain, South Dakota.  This giant 50 foot tall steel statue honors the women of the Lakota and Dakota tribes.  It was created by artist  South Dakota Dale Lamphere.  It sits in a rest area overlooking the Missouri River and can be seen from quite a distance.

The statue also features a Star Quilt that has more than 100 blue diamond shapes that move in the wind.  Really a wonderful site and it is also one of America’s tallest statues (the 20th tallest according to Wikipedia listing).

80 Foot Long and 37 Foot Tall Brontosaurus statue in Wall Drug created by Emmett Sullivan

Sumoflam takes a selfie with Wall’s giant Brontosaurus

Another giant is just down the road from Dignity. Wall Drug’s giant brontosaurus stretches 80 feet and sits 37 feet tall as it overlooks Interstate 90  at the Wall Exit.  Even there is no time for a visit to Wall Drug, there is always time to stop for a photo-op with a giant friendly dino!

 

Dinosaurs seem to be all over the country and on my four big trips in 2018 I came across a few more of them.  Always fun!

A Scary Dino in Uranus, Missouri

A colorful scrap metal dinosaur in Carmine, Texas

Skeleton Walking Dinosaur near Murdo, SD

Scary Dino in Price, Utah

Another Giant dino in Uranus

A T-Rex stands at the entrance to Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas

Grandson Rockwell and I hanging with Ms. Pearl

Dinosaurs are not the only giants that I came across on the road in 2018.  One of my favorite “giants” was “Ms. Pearl” the giant squirrel in Cedar Creek, Texas at the Berdoll Pecan Candy factory.   Created in 2011, it stands 14 feet tall and currently lays claim to be the tallest squirrel statue in the world.  Like many “roadside” attractions, this one is very visible off of TX Hwy 71.

Nice thing about Berdoll’s is that you can get your picture with Ms. Pearl and even get some Pecan goodies from their 24/7 Pecan Vending Machine.

Ms. Pearl, the 14 foot tall squirrel in Cedar Creek, Texas

Other big things I came across in 2018

A Big Bull and Bison at Chef Louie’s steakhouse in Mitchell, SD

There is a big pig (named Wilbur of course) and then a spider web, with Charlotte, in Wilbur, Washington

Giant Shark Head at Sharkheads in Biloxi, Mississippi

A Giant Metal Owl in southern Houston

Giant Spurs in Hico, Texas

The Giant Bowie knife in Bowie, Texas

The Big Black Muffler Man wielding a miner’s ax in Helper, Utah

Then there are the big Muffler Men and Big John statues.  There are dozens and dozens of these dotting the landscape.  I came across a couple of fun ones in 2018.  In Helper, Utah there is one that is painted totally black…to represent the Coal Miners.

These guys are about 15 feet tall and basically all look alike except for the additional things added to them by the local sites.  Over the years I personally have photographed nearly 40 different versions of Big John, Muffler Men or Uniroyal Gals.

You can find them looking like Paul Bunyan, cowboys, Indians and other fun things.

I always like coming across these unique pieces of funky Americana.

Another look at the big black muffler man in Helper, Utah

A Big John at Steppin’ Out Western Wear in Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma

Then there is the Big John in Hochatown, Oklahoma…with a golf club

I am working on Part 2 of this travel report with more big and unique things to see.  Watch for it soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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