A Grab Bag from America’s Back Roads – The R 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.

 

Ric’s Grill – Steak in Water Tower – Lethbridge, Alberta

Ric’s Grill – Lethbridge, Alberta
Ric’s Grill – Lethbridge, Alberta

Route 66 Soda / Route Beer – Mokena, Illinois

Route 66 “Route Beer”

Rabbit Hash, Kentucky

Welcome to Rabbit Hash, KY
Sign at Rabbit Hash Road
The Old Rabbit Hash General Store. It burned down in 2016 and had to be rebuilt.

Restroom Hiker Mural – Damascus, Virginia

Hiker painting on a restroom wall in Damascus

Other Restroom Fun – Story, Indiana; Hopland, California; San Francisco, California; Cleveland, Ohio; Cypress, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; Nebraska City, Nebraska; Ashland, Montana; Frenchglen, Oregon

A sign outside the restrooms at the Story Inn in Story, Indiana
The sign talking about “Weird Restrooms” at Real Goods in Hopland, CA
There were also a number of tile mosaics. This one was at the entrance to the restrooms in Golden Gate Park visitor’s center
Tavern of Little Italy Restroom is plastered with the history of Little Italy in Cleveland
Men’s Stall Door in restroom at Burger Shack in Cypress, Texas
Jungle Jim’s Restroom in Cincinnati have entrances that are deceptive. They actually lead to immaculate huge restrooms.
Men’s Restroom at Mo’s in Reedsport, Oregon
Sapp Brothers in Nebraska City, the “Cleanest Restrooms on I-29”
Restroom Door in a Convenience Store in Ashland, Montana
Sometimes even a place like this looks heavenly – the ceramic toilet is a planter. The real place is in the outhouse. Frenchglen, Oregon

Rock City – near Valier, Montana

Rock City Rd. and Dean Rd., north of Valier, MT
Sumoflam at Rock City north of Valier, Montana
Rock City, Montana

Geographical Center of North America – Rugby, North Dakota

Rugby, ND – The Geographic Center of North America
The Rugby Geographical Center of North America monument juxtaposed with the HUB Motel sign in Rugby, ND

Real Goods Store – Hopland, California

Welcome to Real Goods
A view of the Real Goods Store
Sumoflam with Solar Expert and Real Goods founder John Schaeffer

Riscky’s Steakhouse and BBQ – Fort Worth, Texas

Riscky’s Steakhouse – Ft. Worth, Texas
Riscky’s BBQ – Ft. Worth

Rudyard, Montana

Rudyard Welcome Sign
Sumoflam and Dino – near Rudyard, Montana

Ragged Falls – Algonquin National Park, Ontario

Ragged Falls in Algonquin National Park in Ontario

Rosie the Fish – Sekiu, Washington

Sekiu’s somewhat famous “Rosie” welcomes you to the town

Red Squirrel – Nebraska City, Nebraska

A red squirrel with a mouthful in Nebraska City, NE

Rising Eagle Sculpture – Bismarck, North Dakota

Rising Eagle Sculpture in Pioneer Park, Bismarck, ND

Royal Donut – Danville, Illinois

Royal Donut – Danville, Illinois

Royal Motel – Ironwood, Michigan

A Route 66 type of vintage neon sign at the Royal Motel in Ironwood, MI

Riverside, Iowa

Future Birthplace of James T. Kirk in Riverside, IA
Live Long and Prosper – Sumoflam and the Starship Riverside

Random Road – Cleveland, Ohio

Mayfield Road and Random Road, by the little park in Little Italy

Romance, Missouri

Road to Romance
Romance Baptist

Roseman Covered Bridge – Winterset, Iowa

Roseman Covered Bridge in Winterset, Iowa

Raton, New Mexico

Raton Theatre in Raton, NM
Main Street in Raton, New Mexico
El Kapp Motel in Raton, NM

Rio Brazos Dance Hall – Granbury, Texas

Rio Brazos Dance Hall – Granbury, Texas (now closed)

Roxy Theatres – Choteau, Montana; Langdon, North Dakota; Clarksdale, Mississippi; Shelby, Montana

Roxy Theatre in Choteau, Montana
ROXY Theatre in Langdon, ND
New Roxy in Clarksdale, MS
Montana Grill and Roxy Theater in Shelby, Montana

Rockpile Museum – Gillette, Wyoming

Rockpile Museum – Gillette, Wyoming

Roosters Roosters – Needville, Texas; E. Peoria, Illinois; Seymour, Missouri; Eldon, Iowa; St. Louis, Missouri; Granbury, Texas

A big metal rooster sits in front of the Jay Cafe in Needville, Texas..doesn’t look like a jay to me.
Sumoflam with the giant Rooster with a Top Hat at Carl’s Bakery in E. Peoria
Uncle Rooster’s Big Rooster on US 60 near Seymour, Missouri
Metal Rooster in McIntosh, MN
Red Rooster (looks white to me) – Red Rooster Collectibles Eldon, IA
Giant Rooster greets you at Joe’s Cafe entrance in Greg Freeman Park, St. Louis
Big Rooster in Granbury, Texas

Roadhouse Relics – Austin, Texas

Roadhouse Relics Wall Sign in Austin

Russell Flat Holiness Church – Sand Springs, Kentucky

Russell Flat Holiness Church – Sand Springs, Kentucky

Regent, North Dakota – Home of the Enchanted Highway

Welcome to Regent and Enchanted Highway Road Map
Enchanted Highway Gift Shop in Regent, ND – closed the day were there

Ronks, Pennsylvania

Dutch Haven Restaurant, Home of the famed Amish Shoo Fly Pie, located in Ronks, PA just down the road from Intercourse
The Outhouse Gift Shop – Ronks, PA

Russell’s Point, Ohio

Stewart’s Drive In in Russell’s Point, Ohio
Bringing out the ice cream at Stewart’s

Roswell, New Mexico

UFOs in Roswell
More Art in Roswell, NM
Need some alien stuff? Plenty in Roswell

Rexburg, Idaho

Rexburg, ID
Rexburg LDS Temple

Rocket Rest Stop – Elkmont, Alabama

At the Rocket Rest Stop in Elkmont, AL – home of a Saturn 1B. Taken in 2005
Large Saturn Rocket at Welcome Center in Elkmont, Alabama

Ride the Ducks – Seattle, Washington

Ride the Ducks in Seattle

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – Cleveland, Ohio

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland
Rock and Roll Blvd. in Cleveland

Real Quiet Lane – Lexington, Kentucky

Shhh…this is a Real Quiet Lane in Lexington, KY

Red River Gorge – Slade, Kentucky

Red River Gorge near Slade, KY
Visiting Kentucky’s Red River Gorge in November 2016

Rachel the Golden Pig – Pikes Place Market – Seattle, Washington

Rachel the Golden Pig (on the right!!!) and Sumoflam at Pike Place Market in Seattle

Redcliff, Colorado

Green Bridge near Redcliff, Colorado
Nice carved eagle in Redcliff, Colorado

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

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A to Z Challenge: The X 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 towns. To see what other bloggers will be posting about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016

XThe X Towns

For the X towns, I am taking a little deviation.  Since there are really only two places in the United States whose names begin with X (namely Xenia, Ohio and Xenia, Illinois), I am including a few places that have X in the name as well.

Xenia, Ohio

Welcome to Xenia, OH
Welcome to Xenia, OH
McColly Covered Bridge built in 1876
McColly Covered Bridge built in 1876
Charleston Mill Covered Bridge built in 1882
Charleston Mill Covered Bridge built in 1882
Stevenson Road Covered Bridge built in 1877
Stevenson Road Covered Bridge built in 1877
Ballard Road Covered Bridge built in 1883
Ballard Road Covered Bridge built in 1883
Clifton Mill in Clifton, OH
Clifton Mill in Clifton, OH

Xenia, Ohio is in central Ohio and is the County Seat for Greene County. I visited the town in 2008 specifically to hit the many covered bridges in the area.  Though most are not really in Xenia, but rather are in Greene County, Xenia was just the main destination.  Greene County has at least seven of them.  I have pictured a few above.  An, not far from Xenia is the town of Clifton and there is a bridge there as well as the Clifton Mill.  A great place to visit.  You can see more photos and read the history of these bridges on my 2008 post HERE.

Lexington, Kentucky

This is a large horse mural on a water tower off of I-75 north of Lexington
This is a large horse mural on a water tower off of I-75 north of Lexington
Lincoln by Eduardo Kobra, part of the 2013 PRHBTN Festival in Lexington, Kentucky
Lincoln by Eduardo Kobra, part of the 2013 PRHBTN Festival in Lexington, Kentucky
Large Horse barn on Yarnelton Rd. near Lexington
Large Horse barn on Yarnelton Rd. near Lexington
Thoroughbred Park
Thoroughbred Park
Horse and jockey racing down the track. Perhaps my favorite photo of all from Thoroughbred Park
Horse and jockey racing down the track. Perhaps my favorite photo of all from Thoroughbred Park

OK.  I admit it.  Lexington, KY is my home town.  There is a great deal to see here as this is the Horse Capital of the World and also the center of the Bourbon industry.  The city has some great eateries (try the Lexington Diner!!) It is the home of Keeneland Race Track, the Kentucky Horse Park and now also has a couple of dozen murals.  Rather than provide links, just go to this blogs’ Search Bar and type in Lexington to see a number of posts about Bourbon Trails, Horse Photos and the amazing murals and wall art that dot the city thanks to the PRHBTN group and LexArts.

Texarkana, Arkansas

Texarkana
Texarkana
Texarkana Water Tower
Texarkana Water Tower

Texarkana, Arkansas (and its neighbor in Texas) share a common road and share a post office, the only US Post Office that sits on a state line and is on two states. See more about one of my many visits (or drive thrus) of this town HERE.

Oxford County, Ontario

Snow Countess - large cow statue in Woodstock, Ontario
Snow Countess – large cow statue in Woodstock, Ontario
Woodstock, Ontario water tower
Woodstock, Ontario water tower
Jakeman's Maple Products - Beachville, Ontario
Jakeman’s Maple Products – Beachville, Ontario
Bruce Windmill Farm - Woodstock, Ontario
Bruce Windmill Farm – Woodstock, Ontario
Tulips in Oxford County, Ontario
Tulips in Oxford County, Ontario

I have mentioned in my blog posts a number of times that I spent 8 months living in Woodstock and Paris, Ontario.  Woodstock is the seat of Oxford County, which offers an abundance of interesting places to visit including the location of the first baseball game played in North America.  Read more on my detailed 2008 post HERE.

Rexburg, Idaho

Rexburg, ID
Rexburg, ID
Rexburg, Idaho LDS Temple
Rexburg, Idaho LDS Temple
Big Jud's Country Diner - Rexburg, Idaho
Big Jud’s Country Diner – Rexburg, Idaho

I spent a few weeks in Rexburg, Idaho in 2013 and got to travel extensively.  Nestled in the mountains of Idaho, it is close to both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.  It is a small college town and home of BYU-Idaho.  Definitely a great place to visit.  Check out my detailed post about Rexburg (one of many) HERE.

Cotopaxi, Colorado (Honorable Mention)

Cotopaxi Store, Cotopaxi, Colorado
Cotopaxi Store, Cotopaxi, Colorado
Sange de Cristo Range near Cotopaxi as seen from CO Cty Hwy 1A
Sange de Cristo Range near Cotopaxi as seen from CO Cty Hwy 1A
US 50 south near Cotopaxi, Colorado
US 50 south near Cotopaxi, Colorado

In 2013 I drove from Rexburg, Idaho to Dallas, Texas for business.  Part of the trip took me on US Highway 50 which went through the small, but beautiful Cotopaxi, Colorado. See the entire trip HERE.

Exie, KY (Honorable Mention)

Greasy Creek Homestead in Exie, KY
Greasy Creek Homestead in Exie, KY

Not much to say other than there is a place called Exie, Kentucky and it has this Greasy Creek Homestead place.   It lies at the intersection of U.S. Route 68 with Kentucky Routes 487 and 745, south of the city of Greensburg.

Texline, Texas (Honorable Mention)

Texline, Texas
Texline, Texas
Main Street of Texline
Main Street of Texline
Sumoflam at Texas Border in Texline, Texas
Sumoflam at Texas Border in Texline, Texas

Like Exie, Texline, Texas is a blink your eyes and you’ll miss it place.  On the border of New Mexico and Texas, the town is in northwestern Dallam County, Texas and has a population of about 500. The town is named for its location near the New Mexico-Texas state line.  I drove thru there in 2013 on the same day as I drove through Cotopaxi, Colorado above.

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

Learn More About the A to Z Challenge and visit hundreds of other participating blogs (click logo below)

A2Z-BADGE [2016]

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In and Around Rexburg, ID

Rexburg, ID
Rexburg, ID

I spent two weeks in Rexburg from March 11 thru March 25, 2013 working on a job possibility.  During my free time I spent a good deal of time in town and also looking around town and some of the surrounding areas.

Rexburg Temple
Rexburg LDS Temple at sunrise

Perhaps Rexburg is best known for its LDS (Mormon) population, BYU-Idaho and the Rexburg Temple of the church (shown above). But Rexburg is also famous as the town that was practically destroyed by the Teton Dam Flood in June of 1976 (see story here).  The town has been totally rebuilt since that time.

More murals from downtown Rexburg
More murals from downtown Rexburg

Rexburg is kind of in a bowl, with mountain ranges all around it.  To the east are the Grand Tetons, to the northwest is the Lemhi Range, which includes the 12,197 foot tall Diamond Peak. To the southeast are the mountains of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.  The Craters of the Moon National Monument is southwest of Rexburg. (Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to get there on this trip.

Old Rexburg Tabernacle which houses the Teton Flood Museum
Old Rexburg Tabernacle which houses the Teton Flood Museum

There are a number of old things in and around town that have remained from the flood.

Teton Drive-in
Teton Vu Drive-in

The Teton Vu Drive-in has had a few resurrections over the years.  It was reopened in 1999, closed again in 2006 and has since reopened again in 2009 under new ownership.  They offer shows and goodies.   I liked the drive in sign – totally vintage.

Frontier Pies in Rexburg
Frontier Pies in Rexburg

In and around Rexburg there are a few great places to find goodies to eat.  I had dinner a couple of times at the Frontier Pies Restaurant, which not only has pies but some good home cooking. The pies were awesome…

Frontier Pies
Frontier Pies

There is another famous place on the outskirts of Rexburg where giant burgers are the norm…

Big Jud'd Gourmet Burgers
Big Jud’s Gourmet Burgers

Big Jud’s Country Diner is located in the small community of Archer, Idaho, a few miles south of Rexburg.  This place has the hugest hamburgers I have ever seen and has even been featured on the TV Show Man vs. Food. Here are a few shots from Big Jud’s:

Big Jud's Menu
Big Jud’s Menu – notice the Man versus Food Burger!!

 Home of the 1 LB Burger

Home of the 1 LB Burger

My "small' burger
My “small’ burger
Total indulgence in a Big Jud's "small" burger
Total indulgence in a Big Jud’s “small” burger
This guy ordered a medium
This guy ordered a medium

Another notable place to get goodies in Rexburg is Florence’s Exquisite Candies Chocolate shop, which can be found downtown.  They hand make all of their chocolate offerings and the shop also has a unique interior.

Florence's Exquisite Candies
Florence’s Exquisite Candies
Florence's Exquisite Candies
Florence’s Exquisite Candies – handmaking them
One of the unique scenes in the candy shop
One of the unique scenes in the candy shop

Another interesting item in and around Rexburg are the gas stations with “Coke Can” gas tanks.  Here are a couple of examples.

Coke Can Gas Tank
Coke Can Gas Tank
Another Coke Can Gas Tank
Another Coke Can Gas Tank

There are other nearby communities that have some unique things to see as well.

Sugar City Silo
Old Sugar City Grain Silo
Welcome to Sugar City on the silo
Welcome to Sugar City on the silo

Sugar City is a bedroom community to Rexburg. Like Rexburg, it went through some devastation during the Teton Flood.  The town was founded in 1903 to house sugar beet factory workers of the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company.   The factory closed in the 1940s and then, after the devastation of the flood in 1976, most of the businesses did not reopen.

Elk Bull in Sugar City
Elk Bull in Sugar City

The Rocky Mountain Elk Ranch is located in Sugar City and I got to take a drive by there and see all of the elk.  I only saw a couple of bulls with their antlers.  They breed the elk locally and then release them to some of the mountain areas for hunting trips, etc.

Another Elk Bull
Another Elk Bull

One afternoon, while my wife was out in Rexburg, we took a drive north towards St. Anthony, Idaho, another nearby community.  We had as a goal to get to the St. Anthony Sand Dunes then, if possible, take a drive up the Mesa Falls Scenic Loop north of there, near Ashton, Idaho.  Following is a map of the exact route we ended up taking and some of the photos we took during the trip.

St. Anthony, Ashton and Driggs

St. Anthony Sand Dunes
St. Anthony Sand Dunes

St. Anthony is a small town of about 3500 just north of Rexburg and is the gateway to the St. Anthony Sand Dunes, a unique area west of town and one of those unexpected discoveries.  I would have never thought about sand dunes in them as much as 400 feet tall.   To get there we had to go through Parker and then to the Egin Lakes area campground.

Unique Yard Art in Parker, Idaho
Unique Yard Art in Parker, Idaho

Along the way we saw a house in Parker that has lined their fences with old highway signage.  Amazing how people do these things!!

St. Anthony Sand Dunes Sign
St. Anthony Sand Dunes Sign
St. Anthony Sand Dunes
St. Anthony Sand Dunes
St. Anthony Sand Dunes
St. Anthony Sand Dunes
St. Anthony Sand Dunes
St. Anthony Sand Dunes

From the dunes we returned to St. Anthony and then headed north to Ashton, Idaho, which sits at the base of the mountains north of Rexburg and is the gateway to the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway, which we had hoped to take.

Welcome to Ashton
Welcome to Ashton – the Potato Seed Capital of Idaho

Upon arrival in the small town, the first thing I noticed was the Frostop Drive In – a page out of nostalgic America. Frostop Root Beer is one of those old well known brands, having its start in Springfield, Ohio in 1926.  The diner in Ashton has been there since 1965 and has gone through a few owners.

Frostop Drive-in - Ashton, ID
Frostop Drive-in – Ashton, ID
Frostop Mug
Frostop Mug

The big root beer mug rotates and draws you in to the old style drive in.  We didn’t really want drive in fare, so we meandered across the street to a restaurant that looked like a huge log cabin.

Chriswell's Cafe - Ashton, ID
Chriswell’s Trails Inn Restaurant – Ashton, ID

Chriswell’s Trails Inn Restaurant is rustic, homey and full of animal trophies.  Last time I was in a place like this was at Ole’s Big Game Steak house in Nebraska (see the blog post here).  I ordered a chicken fried steak, their speciality, and the thing was bigger than my plate.  Further, unlike the chicken fried steaks I have had in the past, this one was made with real steak, not ground steak!!

Sumoflam at Chriswell's with a Sand Crane
Sumoflam at Chriswell’s with a Sand Crane
Road Kill Beef Jerky sign at Chriswell's
Road Kill Beef Jerky sign at Chriswell’s
Some of the trophies
Some of the trophies
Digging into the Chicken Fried Steak - gravy was so good my nose wanted some too!!
Digging into the Chicken Fried Steak – gravy was so good my nose wanted some too!!

Like other small towns in the west, there are still plenty of nostalgic signs.  Here are a couple from Ashton.

Nostalgic sign in Ashton
Nostalgic sign in Ashton – still have cabins for rent
Otis's Place
Otis Place nostalgic neon sign in Ashton

From Ashton we headed up north on Idaho Highway 47, which is the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway.  There were signs warning us that the road was closed ahead, so we followed it as far as we could go.  It took us up into Targhee National Forest, and as we climbed in altitude, the snow got ever deeper. Bear in mind that this was the end of March.

Idaho 47 north of Ashton
Idaho 47 north of Ashton
A snowy scene
A snowy scene
Along the Warm River on Meas Falls Scenic Byway
Along the Warm River on Meas Falls Scenic Byway
Snow Covered Cabins
Snow Covered Cabins near Warm River resort
Road Closed
Road Closed – snowmobiles only

We finally hit the dead end where only snowmobiles were allowed, and had to turn around and head back to Ashton.

Another scene near the Warm River
Another scene near the Warm River

Once back in Ashton we made our to Idaho Highway 32 which would take us through the small towns of Drummond and Felt, and hopefully would offer us a few glimpses of the Tetons from the west.  This was an extremely beautiful drive, particularly since we went through pristine snow covered hills…snow was very deep and practically untouched most of the way.

Snowy Scenes along highway 32
Snowy Scenes along highway 32
The Tetons as seen from near Drummond, ID
The Tetons as seen from near Drummond, ID
Nothing but snow and mountains
Nothing but snow and mountains
Old Cabin near Drummond
Old Cabin near Drummond
The Grand Tetons from Felt, Idaho
The Grand Tetons from Felt, Idaho
More snow and mountains from the road
More snow and mountains from the road

All in all, that Sunday drive from Rexburg to Ashton and Drummond and back was marvelous.

Old Sugar Mill
Old Sugar Mill Market

On another trip south of Rexburg, near Rigby, on US 20, you can see an old sugar mill off to the side of the road.  Someone has meticulously painted the facade and it was, apparently at one time, the Old Sugar Mill Market.  It appears to be out of business now, but it is eye catching from the highway.

Old Sugar Mill Market - all of the windows and flowers are hand painted
Old Sugar Mill Market – all of the windows and flowers are hand painted
Old Sugar Mill Market, near Rigby, ID
Old Sugar Mill Market, near Rigby, ID
Old Sugar Mill Market - near Rigby, ID
Old Sugar Mill Market – near Rigby, ID
Old Sugar Mill Smokestack
Old Sugar Mill Smokestack

Also, Rigby, Idaho is noted as the birthplace of the television. Philo T. Farnsworth invented the television tube here and there is a museum dedicated to him (along with other items from the Rigby area.)

Farnsworth TV and Pioneer Museum - Rigby, ID
Farnsworth TV and Pioneer Museum – Rigby, ID
Downtown Rigby, ID
Downtown Rigby, ID

There are a few other places I visited in the area…here are some of the sights

An old truck in Ashby, ID
An old truck in Archer, ID
An elk horn mailbox in Thornton, ID
An elk horn mailbox in Thornton, ID
Old wall sign in Thornton, ID
Old wall sign in Thornton, ID
An old barn with junk on it near Thornton, ID
An old barn with junk on it near Thornton, ID
Beautiful skies over SE Idaho
Beautiful skies over SE Idaho
Scary storm north of Rexburg
Scary storm north of Rexburg
Hay stacked in the fields near Ashby, ID
Hay stacked in the fields near Archer, ID
Old Rail Road Bridge near Rigby
Old Rail Road Bridge near Rigby
Old tractor in Thornton
Old tractor in Thornton
My car after a late March snowstorm in Rexburg
My car after a late March snowstorm in Rexburg
One antlered elk bull on a breeding farm near Archer, ID
One antlered elk bull on a breeding farm near Archer, ID

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