AtoZ Challenge 2020 – 8154: An Epic Road Trip – The R Stories #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 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 R Stories. (all photography by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz)

Route 66 – Here and There

Though we didn’t drive the entire route, we did hit a number of places on our trip along the famed Route 66.  Indeed, we got our kicks on Route 66!

Route 66 in Williams, Arizona
Route 66 mural in Moriarty, New Mexico
Route 66 mural in Grants, New Mexico
Route 66 carved into wood in Devil’s Elbow, Missouri
Route 66 signs at the Falcon Restaurant in Winslow, Arizona
Route 66 in Gallup, New Mexico
Uranus, Missouri water tower with Route 66 sign
Big Route 66 sign in intersection in Winslow, Arizona
Route 66 Mural in Moriarty, New Mexico
Route 66 Hat from Arizona
Missouri Route 66 sign in St. Robert, Missouri
Visiting Route 66 in Barstow, California
Route 66 Shopping Center in Moriarty, New Mexico
Grants, New Mexico Route 66 Drive-thru Sign

US Routes and US Highways visited

As with Route 66, also known as US Highway 66, there are a couple hundred US Highways / Routes.  Here are signs from some of the US Routes that we drove on during our 8154 road trip.  As I have written often, I try to take back roads and US Highways whenever I can.

US Route 2 near Davenport, Washington
Routes 14 and 16 in Gillette, Wyoming
Route 16A in Hermosa, South Dakota
US 20 Terminus in Newport, Oregon – Route 20 is the longest continuous road in the United States.
US Route 30 in Astoria, Oregon
Route 34 in Philips, Nebraska
Route 59 in Marshall, Texas
Route 59 near Oregon, Missouri
Route 60 in Henderson, Kentucky
Route 60 and Route 84 in Fort Sumner, New Mexico
Route 61 near Cairo, Illinois. Also known as the Great River Road, it pretty much follows the Mississippi River
US Route 62 and Route 70 in Matador, Texas
Route 65 near Warsaw, Missouri
US Routes 70 and 84 in Farwell, Texas
Route 77 at state line between Iowa and Nebraska
Route 77 in Mead, Nebraska
Route 80 in Marshall, Texas
Routes 82 / 183 / 277 / 283 in Seymour, Texas
Route 87 in Happy, Texas
Routes 87 / 212 in Hardin, Montana
Route 93 and Route 200 in Missoula, Montana
US Route 95 in Searchlight, Nevada
US Route 95 in Moscow, Idaho
US Route 97 near Leavenworth, WA
US 101 in Coos Bay, Oregon
US Route 183 in Taylor, Nebraska
US Route 212 in Crow Agency, Montana

Raccoon – Point Defiance, Oregon

While driving through Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, Washington, we came upon this cute raccoon.

Raccoon in Point Defiance, Washington
Raccoon in Point Defiance, Washington
Raccoon in Point Defiance, Washington

Raymond, Washington

Raymond is along US Route 101 and has over 100 metal people.  The artwork is whimsical and fun.

Raymond, Washington
Raymond People
Raymond People
Raymond People
Raymond People
Raymond People
Raymond People

Rex Museum – Gallup, New Mexico

Another great example of old Route 66 neon

Rex Museum old neon sign – Gallup, New Mexico
Roarin’ 20s Sign on Route 66 in Grants, New Mexico
Russell’s Travel Center sign in Moriarty, New Mexico


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



April 2018 Cross-Country Road Trip: Raymond Wildlife-Heritage Sculpture Corridor

One of over 200 sculptures from around Raymond

One of the thrills of traveling back roads is coming across unique and unplanned sites that are worth taking time to visit and look at. Such is the case with the Raymond Wildlife-Heritage Sculpture Corridor in Raymond, Washington.

On my return trip home from Port Orchard, I decided to take US 101 south towards Portland and just see what I come across. My goal was to drive US 101, and not necessarily have anything in mind to see.

Welcome to Raymond, Washington
US 101
A dog

To my glee and surprise, I came across Raymond. What a treat!

As I drove into town, I noticed a few metal sculptures. I am always on the lookout for good metal sculptures, but what I discovered as I got closer into town was that there were dozens and dozens of them — life-size statues of people made out of scrap metal.  Despite the heavy rain (notice, I didn’t get out for a selfie here), I took a number of pictures.

A Couple Cleaning
Closeup of one of the statues
Taking a Selfie

After-the-fact, I researched and found that there were predominantly three different sculptors that did most of the work including Joanne Jambor (who created 36 animal silhouette cutouts), Hans Curtis Nelson (who created over 40 three-dimensional sculptures) and Renee Bishop O’Connor (who created 41 silhouette drawings of animals and people).  The statues  depict the culture, the heritage and generally a snapshot of the population of Raymond. There is even a 2.8 mile walking tour that the city and the Willapa Harbor Chamber of Commerce provide. (There is an online historical writeup here). Though I only provide a sampling of the statues in this post, there are over 200 whimsical metal sculptures scattered throughout the city of 1300 people.

Animal Cutouts
A couple enjoying a bird
A Man

The project of the steel people, uniquely named the Raymond Wildlife Heritage Sculptures Corridor, started in 1993, and they apparently continue to add them little by little.

Now, join me for a nice little view of more of the wonderful steel statues of Raymond.

Walking the pig
A Man
Walking the dog
Taking a Walk
A Happy Couple
A man
A Mother.and Son
A Man
Another couple walking the dog

Raymond also has a colorful historic mural in place on the side of a building and has other unique things.

Raymond mural
Part of the mural depicting a pioneer
I always love coming across direction markers that also give a mileage


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, is currently being worked on and I hope to make it available in late  June 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.

Books 1 & 2