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

 

Sunset Motel – Belle Fourche, South Dakota

Great little place in the geographic center of the continental US!
Always like places with these old keys!

Spider Volkswagen – Wolf Creek, Oregon

Spider Volkswagen – Wolf Creek, Oregon

Sandwich, New Hampshire

WARNING: They do not have a place to get a sandwich in Sandwich. No Joke!

Sandwich, New Hampshire – Cool little village as long as you don’t want to find a sandwich
Signposts in Sandwich, NH. No restaurants!

Story Inn – Story, Indiana

Sumoflam at the Story Inn in Story, IN
The nice old wooden floors of the Story Inn dining area
Antique Checkerboard on the Story Inn front porch. Checkers are actually old pop bottle caps

San Xavier del Bac – Tucson, Arizona

Old Church “San Xavier del Bac” in Tucson
Meditation – San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona

Success, Missouri

Finding Success in Missouri

Shoshoni, Wyoming

The seemingly run down business section of Shoshoni, WY
Old Motel Neon sign in Shoshoni, WY

Space Aliens Grill & Bar – Waite Park, Minnesota; Fargo, North Dakota

Space Aliens Grill & Bar – Waite Park, MN
Sumoflam with an Alienized Smile at Space Aliens
Space Aliens Grill & Bar, Fargo, ND

Screaming Heads – Burk’s Falls, Ontario

Screaming Heads. Canadian secondary school teacher Peter Camani created these spooky yet fascinating landscape artwork. Since the mid-1970s besides being a teacher, he has built these massive structures and amazing castle.
Sumoflam at Screaming Heads in Burk’s Falls, Ontario
Screaming Heads – Burk’s Falls, Ontario

Spud Drive-In – Teton Valley, Idaho

The Spud Drive-In – Teton Valley, Idaho
The Spud sign – Teton Valley, ID

Sandhill Cranes – Barren River Lake, Kentucky; Cecilia, Kentucky; Dell, Montana

Sandhill Cranes take flight
1000s of sandhill cranes converge on a field near Cecilia, KY
Sandhill Cranes near Red Rock Ranch in Dell, Montana
A pair of Sandhill Cranes at sunset near Cecilia, KY

Stone Mountain – Stone Mountain, Georgia

Stone Mountain, GA in 2015

Scary Creek, West Virginia

Scary Creek Church of God sign
Scary Creek Paintball billboard

Silver Saddle Motel – Manitou Springs, Colorado

Silver Saddle Motel – Manitou Springs, CO

Sapp Brothers – Nebraska City, Nebraska; Council Bluffs, Iowa

Sapp’s Coffee Pot Water Tower in Nebraska City
Sapp Brothers Water Tower in Council Bluffs, IA

Solomon, Kansas

US Post Office, Solomon, Kansas
Solomon Water Tower

Shipwrecked Brew Pub – Egg Harbor, Wisconsin

Ahoy matey…how about some lunch at the Shipwrecked Brew Pub in Egg Harbor, WI

Suizenji Park – Kumamoto, Japan

Enjoying a visit to the famed Suizenji Park in Kumamoto

Spar Cafe – Olympia, Washington

Spar Cafe – Olympia, WA
Inside the Spar Cafe in Olympia

Salida, Colorado

Salida, Colorado
Odd metal buffalo in Salida, Colorado

Seth, West Virginia

Seth, West Virginia

Sam Houston Statue – Huntsville, Texas

77 Foot Tall Sam Houston Statue in Huntsville, Texas
Sumoflam with Big Sam Houston towering behind him in Huntsville, TX

Star Trek Places – Vulcan, Alberta; Riverside, Iowa

Sol and Sumoflam live long and prosper with the Starship Enterprise in Vulcan, Alberta Sept 2007
Live Long and Prosper – Sumoflam and the Starship Riverside

Shiner, Texas

Shiner, Texas
Shiner Barbeque Company, Shiner, Texas

Sarris Candies – Canonsburg, Pennsylvania

Sarris Candy in Canonsburg. One of the world’s largest candy stores
Sarris Candy Castle weighs 1500 pounds

Sisters, Oregon

Welcome to Sisters, Oregon
Three Sisters – nicknamed Faith/Hope/Charity near Sisters Oregon

South Congress Cafe – Austin, Texas

South Congress Cafe in Austin
I had breakfast at the South Congress Cafe. It was truly an upscale cafe, if there is such a thing

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, May 2015
Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco
At Golden Gate Bridge in in San Francisco, CA May 2015

Skykomish, Washington

Welcome to Skykomish

Springfield, Illinois

Family at the Lincoln Home in Springfield, Illinois, Summer 2001
Cozy Drive In – Springfield, Illinois

Seagulls – Port Orchard, Washington; Puget Sound, Washington; Galveston, Texas; Ashland, Wisconsin

Seagull with clam in Port Orchard
A flock of seagulls on the deck of the Hyak in Puget Sound, WA
A couple of seagulls “converse” as they enjoy the view over a lake in Ashland, Wisconsin
Seagull in flight in Gulf of Mexico near Galveston, Texas
A closeup shot of a seagull taken on Bremerton Ferry while crossing the Puget Sound in Washington

Chief Standing Brave – Big Cabin, Oklahoma

Giant Indian Chief “Standing Brave” in Big Cabin, OK

Spindle (Cars on a Spike) – Cermak Plaza – Berwyn, Illinois

As seen in the movie Wayne’s World – sadly, no longer around

The famed “Spindle” sculpture as seen in the movie Wayne’s World. Apparently, it wasn’t worthy. This was taken in 2007 and in 2008 it was torn down…meh

Smiley Water Towers – Adair, Iowa; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Beloit, Wisconsin; Cedar Creek, Texas; Smiley, Texas

Smiley Water Tower in Adair, Iowa
Winking Smiley on backside of Water Tower in Grand Forks, ND
Beloit, WI Smiley Water Tower
Smiley Water Tower – Cedar Creek, Texas

And finally…one without a Smiley Face….

A Smiley Water Tower without a Smiley Face…Smiley, Texas

Stardust Motel – Wallace, Idaho

Stardust Motel – Wallace, Idaho
Stardust Motel Neon sign – Wallace, Idaho

Seattle, Washington

Seattle as seen from a boat in the Puget Sound
Welcome to the Seattle Waterfront
Seattle’s famed “Great Wheel”

Shenandoah National Park – Luray, Virginia

Visiting Shenandoah National Park on Easter Sunday 2017
Easter Sunrise as seen from Shenandoah National Park
Hills of Shenandoah Valley in presunrise hours on Easter 2017

Skeletons on the Highways – Port Orchard, Washington; San Francisco, California; Montrose, South Dakota; Murdo, South Dakota

Closeup of the Biker Skeleton at Bethel Saloon in Port Orchard, WA
A skeleton pirate guards the entrance to a shop in Fisherman’s Wharf
A skeleton keeping guard at Porter’s Sculpture Park in Montrose, SD
Skeleton Walking Dinosaur near Murdo, South Dakota
Closeup of Murdo Skeleton

Sorehead Cafe – Rudyard, Montana

The Sorehead Cafe – Rudyard, Montana

Stoneville Saloon – Alzada, Montana

Stoneville Saloon in Alzada, MT taken in June 2005
Stoneville Saloon – Cheap Drinks – Lousy Food
Canned Delicacies at Stoneville Saloon – Alzada, Montana

Saketumi Restaurant – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Japanese food at the Saketumi Asian Bistro in Rehoboth Beach, DE

Stoner Drug – Hamburg, Iowa

Stoner Drug in Hamburg, IA
The old fashioned soda fountain inside of Stoner Drug

Sawtooth Mountains – Stanley, Idaho

Sawtooth Scenic Byway in Idaho
Jagged Sawtooths near Stanley, ID
Sawtooth Range as seen from Galena Overlook

Sod House Museum – Gothenburg, Nebraska

Sod House Museum, Gothenburg, NE
Barbed Wire Indian Chief and Horse – Sod House Museum – Gothenburg, Nebraska

A bit of Superman – Metropolis, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio; Ashland, Wisconsin

Superman Mural in Metropolis, IL
At the house that used to be the home of Jerry Siegel, the Creator of the Superman stories. This is in Cleveland, Ohio
Superman is hung forever on the side of Boudreau’s antiques…saving a little doll?
Sumoflam and the 12 foot tall bronze Superman in Metropolis (not fiberglass, but a neighbor to Big John)

Sheep Capital of America – Newell, South Dakota

Livestock Sign – Newell, SD
Sign at the door of TJ’s Cafe in Newell, SD. Bear in mind this is sheep country.

Shelby, Montana

Shelby, MT Amtrak Station
Vista Motel – Shelby, Montana
Shelby, Montana

Shelby, Mississippi

Welcome to Shelby, MS
Colorful buildings of Shelby, MS
Daniel’s Snack Shack, Shelby, MS

Sedona, Arizona

Agave in Sedona, Arizona
Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, AZ
Oak Creek runs by the famed Cathedral Rock in Sedona, AZ

Stinky’s Country Well – Gilboa, Ohio

Stinky’s Sign – Gilboa, Ohio
Stinky’s Country Well – Gilboa, Ohio

Showmen’s Rest Cemetery – Hugo, Oklahoma

Showmen’s Rest in Hugo’s Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Sumoflam with an Elephant Headstone at Showmen’s Rest
A final view of Showmen’s Rest

Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus Welcome Sign
A Santa Selfie at Santa Claus Post Office
Santa Claus Police

Scandinavian Heritage Museum – Minot, North Dakota

The Gol Stave Church replica and museum at the Scandinavian Heritage Center in Minot, ND
The 30 foot tall Dala Horse at the Scandinavian Heritage Center in Minot

Sparta House – Sparta, Ontario

Sparta House Tearoom – Sparta, Ontario

Scotty’s Hamburgers – Idaho Falls, Idaho

Scotty’s Hamburgers – Idaho Falls, Idaho

Severed Head Trading Post – Perryville, Kentucky

Severed Head Trading Post – Perryville, Kentucky

Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway – Nebraska

Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway on Nebraska Hwy 2
Nebraska Highway 2 Sandhills Journey
Sunset over Beem Lake in the Sandhills of Nebraska…

Seabrook, New Hampshire

Sign Post in Seabrook, NH
Welcome to New Hampshire! US State #48 for me.

Schroeder’s Drive-In – Danville, Illinois

Schroeder’s Drive-In – Danville, Illinois

Shakespeare, Ontario

Welcome to Shakespeare
Antique Shops in Shakespeare

Steubenville, Ohio

Welcome to Steubenville, OH
Market Street by Michael Wojczuk. This was the first mural painted in Steubenville
Sumoflam and Dino in Steubenville

Swedesburg, Iowa

Welcome to Swedesburg
The famous Straw Goat from Swedesburg.
Caution – Swedish Crossing in Swedesburg, IA

Sam Black Church, West Virginia

Sam Black Church in Sam Black Church, WV
Sam Black Church historical Marker

Sunset Crater National Monument – Flagstaff, Arizona

Family at Sunset Crater National Monument north of Flagstaff in July 1993

Silver Dollar Saloon – Leadville, Colorado

Silver Dollar Saloon storefront – Leadville, 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

A Visit to Heaven: Jackson, Wyoming and the Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons
Grand Tetons

March 13, 2013:  Today was heavenly…WOW!! I spent the day with my niece and her husband and we traveled east from Rexburg over Teton Pass to Jackson, Wyoming and then north to Grand Teton National Park.


Jackson, WY and Grand Tetons

Mountain Man by Steve Horn - Horn Mountain Gallery in Tetonia, ID
“Mountain Man” by Steve Horn – Horn Mountain Gallery in Tetonia, ID

Our first stop on the road to Jackson was in Tetonia, ID. We made a stop outside of Horn Mountain Living to get the shot of the “Mountain Man” sculpture above, which was done by Steve Horn.  Steve moved to Teton Valley over 30 years ago and lived as a mountain man prior to that. He is completely self-taught and gives his Creator full credit for his abilities. He has since become one of the country’s top hand carved furniture makers and his favorite medium is stone.  Another item we saw outside the gallery was this bear…

Bear by Steve Horn - Tetonia, ID
Bear by Steve Horn – Tetonia, ID

I also got a kick out of the sign below:

Dave's Pubb - Tetonia, ID
Dave’s Pubb – Tetonia, ID

We also saw a nice mural at the Teton Mountain View Lodge in Tetonia.

Teton Mountain View Lodge
Teton Mountain View Lodge mural (2005 by Terri Furness)

From Tetonia we headed southeast towards Driggs, ID.

Driggs, Idaho
Downtown Driggs, Idaho

Driggs is really at the base of the Tetons on the Western side and has the unique small town feel yet also a touristy place.

Buffalo Statue - Driggs, ID
Buffalo Statue – Driggs, ID

Just south of Driggs is the fairly famous “Spud Drive-In Theater.” The theater is one of only two drive-ins theaters listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  One claim to fame is the big spud on the back of a 1946 Chevrolet flat-bed truck.

The Spud Truck - Driggs, ID
The Spud Truck – Driggs, ID
The Spud sign - Driggs, ID
The Spud sign – Driggs, ID
Little Spuds at entry gate
Little Spuds at entry gate
Sumoflam with the Spud Guys
Sumoflam with the Spud Guys in the truck
Spud Pooh
Pooh Tater

The Spud was a lot of fun!! But, we needed to move on to Victor, another small town on the way to Jackson.  We made a quick stop at the Victor Emporium to get a shot of the mural on their wall.  They are known for their Huckleberry Milkshakes, which they have been serving since 1950.

Victor Emporium Mural - Victor, ID
Victor Emporium Mural – Victor, ID

From Victor we headed up the Teton Pass, which crests at 8432 feet.  Along the way we crossed into Wyoming.

Welcome to Wyoming sign on Teton Pass
Welcome to Wyoming sign on Teton Pass

At the crest of the pass we were granted a spectacular view of the Jackson Hole valley below.  The first white man to see this view was John Colter, in 1807.  As a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, he returned to the area and recorded descriptions of the valley and its features in his journals.  Colter was also the first man of European descent to see the Yellowstone region. Much of what he wrote about was unbelieveable to many due to the fantastic nature of the scenery. There is a great write-up of Colter’s history on Wikipedia.

Jackson Hole Valley as seen from Teton Pass
Jackson Hole Valley as seen from Teton Pass
"Howdy Stranger" Sign at Teton Pass summit
“Howdy Stranger” Sign at Teton Pass summit

From the summit we made our way into the valley and came into beautiful Jackson, Wyoming.  Last time I was in Jackson was in 1975.  I came with some other guys from church while living in the Salt Lake City area.  We came to Jackson to go canoeing down the Snake River for a three days.  My canoe partner, John Janssen, and I lost our canoe in a log jam after running a rapid.  A memorable time.

Welcome to Jackson, Wyoming!!
Welcome to Jackson, Wyoming!!
Jackson, Wyoming and Ski Slope
Jackson, Wyoming and Ski Slope

Our first stop was breakfast.  We found a place called E Leaven Food Company and had a good breakfast. Their bagels are awesome!!  Thomas, my niece’s husband, ordered the biscuits and gravy.  Check this out!!

Biscuits and Gravy from E Leaven Food in Jackson Hole, WY
Biscuits and Gravy from E Leaven Food in Jackson Hole, WY – Yummiferous!!

After breakfast we took a walk around the town, saw some fun statues, the famous Antler Arches and other things.  There are some sites that indicate that it requires nearly 10,000 pounds of antlers for each arch.  Many of these come from the National Elk Refuge north of Jackson.

Antler Arch of Jackson
Antler Arch of Jackson

AntlerArchSumoflam1

Close up of Antlers - Jackson, WY
Close up of Antlers – Jackson, WY
Famous Cowboy Bar Sign in Jackson, WY
Famous Cowboy Bar Sign in Jackson, WY
"Cowboy" by Bud Boller
“Cowboy” by Bud Boller in center of town square in Jackson, WY

The statue above is in the middle of town and is the symbol of Wyoming and sits atop the Veteran’s Memorial in Jackson.  The bronze was created by Bud Boller, a registered member of the Shoshone tribe. The Cowboy depicted in the sculpture is “Stub” Farlow and the horse’s name is Deadman. It was completed in 1976.

Sumoflam and Lincoln in Jackson Hole
Sumoflam and Lincoln in Jackson Hole – one of a series of Gary Lee Price’s sculptures on the square

Across the street from the town square is the Mountain Trails Gallery which offers some unique and large art work. In front of the shop are a series of works by artist Gary Lee Price.  Entitled the “Great Contributors“, there are life size bronze works of Abraham Lincoln (above), George Washington, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.

My niece Natalie with George Washington
My niece Natalie with George Washington by Gary Lee Price in Jackson, WY
Natalie and Thomas with Benjamin Franklin in Jackson Hole
Natalie and Thomas with Benjamin Franklin in Jackson Hole
Sumoflam with Moose
Sumoflam with Moose by Terry Lee in Jackson, WY
Sumoflam and Bear in Jackson, WY
Sumoflam and Bear in Jackson, WY

After our stroll through town we headed back to the car and prepared to head north to the Tetons.  We made a quick stop at the Jackson Hole Visitor’s Center to get road information in for the park, since many roads were likely closed due to snow.

David and Elk Statue
David and Elk Statue at Visitor’s Center

Finally, we were on our way to see a place I have always dreamed of – the Grand Tetons.  It was a beautiful clear day with a few clouds, but the mountains were magnificent.

First view of the mountains just north of Jackson on the way to Grand Tetons.
First view of the mountains just north of Jackson on the way to Grand Tetons
Mt. Moran in Grand Tetons as seen from US 89
Mt. Moran in Grand Tetons as seen from US 89 in Grand Tetons N.P.
Mt. Moran from US 89
Mt. Moran from US 89

Once in the National Park, there are signs you see occasionally that warn travelers of bears.  The “Food Storage Required” means that you need to pack up your food securely so bears don’t sniff it out.

Be Bear Aware Sign
Be Bear Aware Sign

We continued north until Moran and then headed west on the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Parkway.  This roadway links Grand Teton N.P. to Yellowstone N.P.  We took the road to Teton Park Rd. and then along Jackson Lake to Signal Mountain Lodge, which was as far as allowed. This crossed us over the Jackson Lake Dam. The snow was deep in this part of the park.  Jackson Lake was frozen and there were guys parked at Signal Mountain that had hiked out on to the lake to do Ice Fishing…

Ice Fishing on Jackson Lake - the little dots
Ice Fishing on Jackson Lake – the little dots on the lake
Snake River as seen from Jackson Lake Dam near Signal Mountain
Snake River as seen from Jackson Lake Dam near Signal Mountain Lodge

On the way back to the main highway we saw a fox out on the snow.  So stark and unique.

Fox on Snow
Fox on Snow

After getting back on the road, we continued north as far as the Colter Bay Village turnoff.  The road took us along the completely frozen Jackson Lake and then to the village visitor center, which was closed except for one restroom…that was heated!!

Scene near Colter Bay
Scene near Colter Bay
Mt. Moran as seen from Colter Bay Lodge - Taken with my iPhone!
Mt. Moran as seen from Colter Bay Lodge – Taken with my iPhone!

After these scenes (and feeling again like I was in heaven), we headed back to Jackson on the same path.  There were dozens more photos taken of the beautiful mountains before we got to the next turnoff near Jackson at Gros Ventre Rd. Here are a few more shots that were taken along the way.

Grand Tetons along US 89
Grand Tetons along US 89
Grand Tetons on US 89
Grand Tetons on US 89
Grand Tetons from US 89
Grand Tetons from US 89

We eventually got to Gros Ventre Rd and headed towards Kelly, WY. We took this drive both for the scenic appeal and for the opportunity to possibly see a moose, as we had heard that there were some sightings.

Moose on Gros Ventre Rd.
Moose on Gros Ventre Rd.
Another Moose Sighting
Another Moose Sighting
Yet Another Moose Sighting
Yet Another Moose Sighting

In Kelly, we did NOT see a moose, but we did see one of my favorite things… a metal creature

Metal dinosaur in Kelly, WY
Metal dinosaur in Kelly, WY – chewing on a bone no less!!

On the way into Jackson there are more neat sculptures.  As we passed by the National Elk Refuge on the way into Jackson, we could see a bronze herd of buffalo

Bronze Buffalo near Jackson
Bronze Buffalo near Jackson – up on a hill

And, as we finally return home past the Victor area, just a couple of more interesting photos of fun stuff…

Old Truck near Victor, WY
Old Truck near Victor, WY
Old Barn in the Mountains
Old Barn in the Mountains