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.
Little MeXico – Omaha, Nebraska
TeXan Motel – Raton, New MeXico
I know. I know. Used this one in an earlier post…but hey…it has an X in it!
El FeniX Restaurant – Dallas, TeXas
Gulf of MeXico – Galveston, TeXas
Hard Rock Cafe – Cozumel, MeXico
TeXarkana, Arkansas and TeXarkana, TeXas
TaXi Dogs – Pike Place Market – Seattle, Washington
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.
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 link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016
The A Towns
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 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 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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).
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)
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.
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:
The JELL-O Gallery in LeRoy, NY is a fun offbeat place to visit and they have a colorful cow!
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…
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.
GIANT MOOSE STATUES
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 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.
Another common sight on roads around the states are Pink Elephants and other elephants.
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.
But there are many other fiberglass behemoths, and many are pink. Not sure what started the Pink Elephant craze, but it is fun.
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.
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….
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
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).