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

 

Since there are so few places or sites that begin with X, I am throwing a few eXtra items into the miX.

TeXas Signs

Visiting Texas in 2014
Welcome to Texas
Big Texan Steak House – home of the FREE 72 OZ Steak (if you can eat it all) – Amarillo, Texas
Texline, Texas

Xenia, Ohio

Welcome to Xenia, OH
Julianne and David at Xenia Station on the Little Miami Scenic Trail
McColly Covered Bridge built in 1876 near Xenia, OH

Little MeXico – Omaha, Nebraska

Giant Wall Mural in Little Mexico district of Omaha
Mexican Pottery shop in Little Mexico
Colorful Buildings in Little Mexico district of Omaha make you feel like you are in Mexico

TeXan Motel – Raton, New MeXico

I know. I know.  Used this one in an earlier post…but hey…it has an X in it!

Texan Motel – Raton, New Mexico

El FeniX Restaurant – Dallas, TeXas

El Fenix Mexican Food – Dallas, Texas

TeXas Wildflowers

Texas Wildflowers
Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush
Texas Bluebonnet

Gulf of MeXico – Galveston, TeXas

Seagull in flight in Gulf of Mexico
Brown pelicans fly in synchronized formation over the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston, TX
Sumoflam with the Disaster Memorial in Galveston and the Gulf of Mexico in the background
Surrey riding along the beach of the Gulf of Mexico

Hard Rock Cafe – Cozumel, MeXico

Apparently the world’s smallest Hard Rock Cafe in Cozumel, Mexico

TeXarkana, Arkansas and TeXarkana, TeXas

Texarkana Water Tower
In Texarkana, AR in 2009

TaXi Dogs – Pike Place Market – Seattle, Washington

A unique Hot Dog Eatery in Seattle’s Pike Place Market

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 A 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, some known for their names, other for unique sites in town. To see what other bloggers will be posting about, check out the linkA to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016

A The A Towns

Amarillo, Texas

Sumoflam at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas in August 2013
Sumoflam at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas in August 2013
Big Texan Steak House - home of the FREE 72 OZ Steak (if you can eat it all) - Amarillo, Texas
Big Texan Steak House – home of the FREE 72 OZ Steak (if you can eat it all) – Amarillo, Texas

Amarillo is one of the Route 66 towns with a load of places to see and things to do.  One of the most famous attractions is Cadillac Ranch.   It is also famous for the Big Texan Steak Ranch, home of the 72 OZ Steak Challenge. See my full post about Cadillac Ranch, the Steak Ranch and more HERE

Adair, Iowa

Smiley Water Tower in Adair, Iowa
Smiley Water Tower in Adair, Iowa

Adair, Iowa is a small town located off of Interstate 80 (which also serve as US Hwy 6) and is located west of Des Moines. The appeal here is the famed Smiley Water Tower.  The town is also located in the midst of the one the Mid-American Wind Farms and then just acres upon acres of corn fields.  You can read more about my visit to Adair and other places in Iowa and Nebraska HERE.

Alzada, Montana

Stoneville Saloon T-shirt
Stoneville Saloon T-shirt
Stoneville Saloon in Alzada, MT taken in June 2005
Stoneville Saloon in Alzada, MT taken in June 2005

Alzada, Montana is a dot on the map in Carter County in the southeastern corner of Montana.  As of the 2010 census it had a population of 29. Perhaps the small little place in the middle of nowhere is best known for the Stoneville Saloon, which beckons passer’s by with their famed “Cheap Drinks – Lousy Food” slogan.  I visited there with my family and ate their delicious burgers back in 2005.  Read about it and our southeastern Montana adventures HERE.

Alamogordo, New Mexico

World's Largest Pistachio in Alamagordo, NM
World’s Largest Pistachio in Alamogordo, NM
Visiting White Sands, NM in 2013
Sumoflam visiting White Sands, NM in 2013

Alamogordo is located about 12-15 miles east of White Sands National Monument at the junctions of US Highways 70, 54 and 82.  It is one of the premier pistachio growing capitals of the US and is home to the world’s largest pistachio nut, which resides at McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch.

Alligator, Mississippi

One of my favorite shots...Alligator, MS
One of my favorite shots…Alligator, MS
Welcome to Alligator, MS
Welcome to Alligator, MS
Alligator, Mississippi
Alligator, Mississippi

I visited the small town of Alligator, Mississippi while on a drive down the historic Blues Highway, US Highway 61 in Mississippi, in the summer of 2014.  The town has a little over 200 citizens, but is colorful and fun.   There are four or five colorful murals, a Blues Bar and, as of 2009, the town celebrated its first black Mayor.  It is known as the home of the Alligator Blues. See my original post about the Blues Highway HERE.

Alliance, Nebraska

Carhenge - May 2014
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska – May 2014

Car art dots the United States (see my post about Car Art places HERE).  The Cadillac Ranch, mentioned above and Carhenge in Alliance, NE are probably the two most famous.  Alliance is located in the northwestern corner of Nebraska, just east of Scottsbluff.  The town has about 8500 people and Carhenge is most certainly its biggest draw.  I visited there in May 2014 and have an extensive writeup about the unique attraction HERE.

Ada, Michigan

Ada Covered Bridge, Ada, MI
Ada Covered Bridge, Ada, MI

I have a fascination with many things and one of them is covered bridges.  I have visited dozens of them in the US and Canada.  One of these is located just outside of Ada, MI, which is a suburb of Grand Rapids.  I visited there in 2008 and made my way to a number of places in southern Michigan as well.  You can read the full story HERE.

Akela Flats, New Mexico

Akela Flats, NM near Deming
Akela Flats, NM near Deming

Akela

Finally, the last of my A towns is Akela Flats, NM.  Located outside of Deming, NM clear in south on Interstate 10, it is the home of one of the unique Bowlin Travel Centers.  Bowlin owns “The Thing” travel center in Dragoon, AZ and a couple of others.  Akela Flats has an old set of western style store fronts, with fun names…perfect for the family travel photos.  The stores always have the unique tourist trap types of gifts and foods, a throwback to the old days of travel on Route 66 and other US Highways.

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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Fiberglass Giants Part II: Giant Cows, Pink Elephants and More

Around the country one can find a number of fun and large Fiberglass Giants. Though most of what I touch on in this post is fiberglass, I do mention so HUGE giants made of other materials due to their fame and as a comparison to the sizes.

Salem Sue - New Salem, ND
Salem Sue – New Salem, ND

GIANT COWS AND BULLS

The fiberglass giant makers have had fun over the years as they have created some real huge and udderly mooooving creations.  The giant shown above Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein Cow.  This monstrous mooer was built in 1974 at the cost of $40,000.  The project was sponsored by the New Salem Lions Club in honor of the local dairy farming industry. The statue stands 38 feet high and is 50 feet long. It stands proudly on School Hill near Interstate 94 off exit 127 S and can be viewed for several miles.

Salem Sue as seen about five miles east of School Hill on I-94
Salem Sue as seen about five miles east of School Hill on I-94 (taken in 2005)
Salem Sue Sign in New Salem, ND
Salem Sue Sign in New Salem, ND
Salem Sue as seen from I-94.
Salem Sue as seen from I-94.

Though Salem Sue is the Giant, there are many more cows out there strutting their stuff, from smaller than life to much larger than life…..here are a few from past road trips:

Giant Steer in Gilboa, OH.  I have seen many similar ones in other places
Giant Steer in Gilboa, OH. I have seen many similar ones in other places

Another big steer can be found outside of the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, TX

Big Bull outside of Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, TX
Big Bull outside of Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, TX
Cow with Pink Sunglasses in Russellville, KY (around the corner from a big pink elephant - see below)
Cow with Pink Sunglasses in Russellville, KY (around the corner from a big pink elephant – see below)

Perhaps the second largest cows can be found in Wisconsin.  Not nearly as big as Salem Sue, these huge heifers still provide some awe. Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet is home to Sissy the Cow (below).

Sissy the Cow is at Ehlenbach's Cheese Factory in DeForest, WI
Sissy the Cow is at Ehlenbach’s Cheese Factory but striking a royal post at Burger King to promote Spicy Chicken Sandwiches in DeForest, WI

Just down the road from DeForest, in Janesville, WI is Bessie the Cow, who is likely about the same size.  These two Cowlossus girls are both about 19 feet tall and 20 feet long.  Both were manufactured by F.A.S.T Corp in Sparta, WI (as were many of those in this post)

Bessie the Cow in Janesville, WI
Bessie the Cow in Janesville, WI

Of course, there are many “lesser bovines” out there and here are a few of the fun ones I have come across over the years….

The first of these if the Springbank Snow Countess Monument in Woodstock, Ontario.  She was a, champion milk producer (she became the World Champion Lifetime Butterfat Producer with a total of 9,062 pounds of butterfat and 207,000 pounds of milk), was born, raised, and died on the Springbank Farm, in Oxford County, Ontario.  Her record held until 1954. She was designed by local artist Ross Butler.  I include her for the honor even though she is actually made of cast iron and not fiberglass.

Springbank Snow Countess in Woodstock, Ontario
Springbank Snow Countess in Woodstock, Ontario

F.A.S.T. Corp is well known for their mass manufacture of fiberglass animals for local art projects.  Dozens of these events have popped up around the country, including two in Lexington that featured horses.  Some have features art on cows and here are a couple of fun examples:

A colorful cow in sunglasses seen in Normal, IL
A colorful cow in sunglasses seen in Normal, IL

The JELL-O Gallery in LeRoy, NY is a fun offbeat place to visit and they have a colorful cow!

The JELLO Cow at the JELLO Museum in Leroy, NY
The JELL-O Cow at the JELLO Gallery in LeRoy, NY
Head shot of JELLO Cow in Leroy, NY
Head shot of JELL-O Cow in LeRoy, NY
The Blues Cow in Kansas City, MO
The Blues Cow in Kansas City, MO

GIANT BISON/BUFFALO

White Bison in Atoka, OK
White Bison in Atoka, OK

A close cousin to the bovine is the bison (which many mistakenly call buffalo).  There are a few of these around too.  By far the biggest of these in Jamestown, ND.  The “World’s Largest Buffalo” was built in 1959 and is actually made from cement.  It is 26 feet tall, 46 feet long and weighs a mere 60 tons.  Despite it being made of cement, I had to include it…

World's Largest Buffalo in Jamestown, ND
World’s Largest Buffalo in Jamestown, ND

There are other “lesser bison” to be found on the back roads of America. As an iconic plains animal known specifically to the Americas, it is no doubt that it is honored in many places.

Fiberglass Buffalo Statue - Driggs, ID
Fiberglass Buffalo Statue – Driggs, ID
Bison statue outside of Loretta Lynn's Restaurant in Buffalo, Tennessee
Bison statue outside of Loretta Lynn’s Restaurant in Buffalo, Tennessee
A White Buffalo Guards the Gate at Christman's Studio in St. Louis, MO
A White Buffalo Guards the Gate at Christman’s Studio in St. Louis, MO
One Artsy Buffalo in Buffalo, NY, part of a city arts project.
One Artsy Buffalo in Buffalo, NY, part of a city arts project.
Bison in Great Falls, MT
Another artsy “Bison” in Great Falls, Montana, also part of a city arts project

GIANT MOOSE STATUES

Orange Moose in Black River Falls, WI
Orange Moose in Black River Falls, WI at Orange Moose Bar & Grill

Another of the big American animals that can be seen around the country are moose.  By far, thee world’s biggest moose is up in Canada and is not fiberglass.  But, it should be shown here anyway.

Mac the Moose in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Mac the Moose in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Mac the Moose was put up in 1984 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  Mac stands 32 feet tall and weighs in at 10 tons. He was constructed by Saskatoon artist, Don Foulds using a steel frame, covered with metal mesh and completed with 4 coats of cement.

Lucky Moose on Dundas Street in Chinatown, Toronto
Lucky Moose on Dundas Street in Chinatown, Toronto

The Lucky Moose, located atop the Lucky Moose Food Mart on Dundas Street in Toronto’s Chinatown, is a colorful moose and one of a 326 originally scattered across Toronto as a fund raiser for the Olympics.  Very few can be seen in and around Toronto.

Big Bull Moose in Tomahawk, WI
Big Bull Moose in Tomahawk, WI

Tomahawk, WI is home to a fifteen foot tall Big Bull Moose which sits in front of the Road Lake Pub and Grill.

PINK ELEPHANTS AND MORE

Pinkie the Pink Elephant in DeForest, WI
Pinkie the Pink Elephant in DeForest, WI

Another common sight on roads around the states are Pink Elephants and other elephants.

Jumbo the Elephant, St. Thomas, Ontario
Jumbo the Elephant, St. Thomas, Ontario

Jumbo the Elephant was a real elephant from the Barnum and Bailey Circus.  He died in St. Thomas, Ontario after being hit by a train.  100 years later, in 1985, the town built this 38 ton cement life sized statue, that is well over 15 feet tall.

Sumoflam with Jumbo in 2008
Sumoflam with Jumbo in 2008

But there are many other fiberglass behemoths, and many are pink.  Not sure what started the Pink Elephant craze, but it is fun.

Pinkie in DeForest, WI
Pinkie in DeForest, WI

Perhaps one of the most famous of all of the pink elephants is Pinkie.  Located in DeForest, WI this dude is sharp in his glasses.

Pinkie the Elephant, DeForest, WI
Pinkie the Elephant, DeForest, WI

Not to be confused with Pinky the Elephant, a 1963 creation now residing in Marquette, IA (and one I have yet to visit).

But wait, there are more….

This pink elephant is in the Huntington, WV suburb of Barboursville on US 60
This pink elephant is in the Huntington, WV suburb of Barboursville on US 60
Martini bearing pink and white elephant pair at Hipp Nursery in Haubstadt, IN
Martini bearing pink and white elephant pair at Hipp Nursery in Haubstadt, IN
Big pink elephant in Russellville, KY, just around the corner from the big cow with pink sungalsses
Big pink elephant in Russellville, KY, just around the corner from the big cow with pink sunglasses

I am not certain, but it appears that most of these come from the same mold from the company in Sparta, WI.

SOME DOGS, MICE AND FRIENDS

Big Bulldog in Beloit, WI
Big Bulldog in Beloit, WI

Among all of the others is a menagerie of animals like dogs, mice, giraffes.  Here are a few more animals (birds and fish will be in Part 3 with the dinosaurs and oddities).

A seven foot tall mouse holding cheese and a wiener in Beloit, WI
A seven foot tall mouse holding cheese and a wiener in Beloit, WI
Cheesey Mouse looks over DeForest, WI
Cheesey Mouse looks over DeForest, WI
Big happy giraffe in Cincinnati, OH
Big happy giraffe in Cincinnati, OH
A colorful giraffe (with granddaughter) in Covington, IN
A colorful giraffe (with granddaughter) in Covington, IN

 

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