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

Tillamook Creamery – Tillamook, Oregon

Driving down US Highway 101 in Oregon, you can drive through the town of Tillamook.  There you will find the Disneyland of Ice Cream places.  Tillamook Creamery is huge and it is a giant tourist attraction.  There are self-guided tours to see how cheese is made (along with samples!).  You can read the history. You can buy all sorts of Tillamook souvenirs.  And then there is the Ice Cream.  They also sell some uniquely-flavored sodas – Stubborn Soda – on tap in their large dining room. Stubborn is a line of crafted sodas made with high-quality ingredients and unexpected flavor combinations and is a subsidiary of PepsiCo.

Tillamook Creamery – Tillamook, Oregon
Discover Tillamook
Tillamook Creamery Dining Area
Unique Stubborn Sodas at Tillamook Creamery
Ice Cream anyone?


Tennessee Welcomes You – Memphis, Tennessee

Boom or Bust Byway – Trails & Byways Sign – Vivian, Louisiana

Louisiana has a number of scenic / historic byways.  On our trip we drove along the Boom or Bust Byway, which takes you down Louisiana Highway 2 and pays tribute to the fortunes made and lost in the oil industry. We followed the highway from Vivian to Oil City.

Trails and Byways sign in Vivian, Louisiana

Town House Motel Vintage Sign – Matador, Texas

Town House Motel Old Neon Sign – Matador, Texas

The Tribune Smokehouse Restaurant – Davenport, Washington

Tribune Smokehouse Restaurant – Davenport, Washington

Turkey, Texas

Turkey, Texas is one of those fun-named towns.  Texas has a load of them.  In fact, on the same day that we went through Turkey, we visited places named Happy, Matador and Loving, among others.  This small town of just over 400 people was the home of country swing singer Bob Wills. Because of this, they call themselves the Western Swing Capitol of the World. It is also home to the first Phillips 66 service station built in Texas.

Turkey, Texas
Downtown Turkey Texas from Texas Hwy 86
Turkey, Texas Post Office
Turkey General Store
Tex Ritter and Bob Wills Poster in Turkey, Texas
Turkey Water Tower
This is a Turkey in Turkey, Texas

The Beetles T-shirt – Cambria, California

Cambria, California is a lovely (but expensive) little town on California Highway 1.  Known for the Hearst Castle, it is also a favorable location for surfers, as evidenced by this t-shirt.

The Beetles T-shirt found in Cambria, California

Texico, New Mexico

We drove through Texico, New Mexico on our way to Muleshoe, Texas.  It is located on the New Mexico – Texas border with the town of Farwell, Texas.  A set of railroad tracks divides the two towns.

Texico, New Mexico
Texico Water Tower

Tightwad, Missouri

I have written loads about this town over the years.  We drove through on this trip as well.  It had been nearly eight years since I had visited this strange-named town in south central Missouri.  When I last visited, the Tightwad Bank was still in business (now closed) and there was a Tightwad Cafe (now an antique shop).   The 2010 US Census indicated 64 people lived in Tightwad.

Welcome to Tightwad, Missouri
Tightwad Bank Sign

Tacoma Narrows Bridge – Tacoma, Washington

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is certainly one of America’s beautiful Suspension Bridges.  There are twin bridges that span fromthe city of Tacoma to the Kitsap Peninsula.  When the bridges were built in 1940 and 1950, they were the third-longest suspension bridges in the world behind the Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco) and the George Washington Bridge (New York City). Since then, others have been built and it is now the fifth longest suspension bridge in the United States at 5,979 feet long.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge – Tacoma, Washington
Another view of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Taylor, Nebraska

You have to really plan on going to Taylor, Nebraska if you want to get there.  It is not on any major highways.  But, it has a unique draw for the Taylor Villagers, over 100 life-size paintings that “Capture the Spirit of Our Past.”  The local Sandoz family has been painting these since 2003.  There is now a map available to look for these unique folk throughout Loup County, Nebraska.

Welcome to Taylor, Nebraska
Taylor Villagers on a stroll
Taylor Villagers at work
Taylor Villagers admiring the candy store
Taylor Villagers shopping
Taylor Villager churning butter


Taylor, Nebraska Post Office

Tower Motel Vintage Sign – Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Tower Motel Vintage Sign – Santa Rosa, New Mexico

Trees of Mystery – Klamath, California

While driving the Avenue of the Giants through the Redwood National and State Parks in California, we drive by the Trees of Mystery.  We didn’t have a lot of time, but I had to stop for some shots of the giant Paul Bunyan.  What a place.

Trees of Mystery – Klamath, California
Sleepy Indian Sculpture at Trees of Mystery
Selfie with giant Paul Bunyan and Babe, the big blue ox at Trees of Mystery

Tulia, Texas

Tulia was a drive through town.  I found the Welcome to Tulia pillar in the middle of town to be interesting.  Turns out that there are other Texas towns in west Texas with similar pillars.

Welcome to Tulia, Texas

Texas Highways

Texas is a big state!  Even driving across from west to east in north Texas, there are lots of highways. Here are some of them.

Texas Hwy 49 Jefferson, Texas
Texas Highway 97 near Flomot, Texas
Texas Highway 43 near Karnack, Texas
Texas Highway Signs in Muleshoe, Texas
Texas Hwy 49 at Texas – Louisiana Border near Vivian, Louisiana
Texas Farm Road 1760 at Texas – New Mexico Border in Farwell, Texas
Texas Farm Road 1075 – Happy, Texas
Texas 1919 near Seymour, Texas
Texas 1919 in Crowell, Texas
Texas Hwy 70 in Turkey, Texas

Teepees – Crow Agency, Montana

Teepees in Crow Agency, Montana

Trails End Motel Vintage Neon Sign – Sheridan, Wyoming

Trails End Motel in Sheridan, Wyoming

Wild Turkeys – Custer, South Dakota

Wild Turkeys near Custer, South Dakota

Twin City Lines – San Francisco, California

Twin City Lines logo on Street Car in San Francisco, California


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



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

There are not many places that fit within the Q Stories category.  But, we did have a nice visit to Quitaque, Texas.

Quitaque, Texas

Quitaque is a small community of a little over 400 near the Texas Panhandle.  The town is located along Texas State Highway 86.  The townspeople pronounce the name of the town “Kitty Quay.”

The town prides itself as the “Official Bison Capital of Texas” because of the large bison ranch nearby and includes the official Texas Bison Herd.

Welcome to Quitaque
Downtown Quitaque, Texas
Large Bison mural in Quitaque
Another large mural in Quitaque
The Quitaque Water Tower…well, water tank anyway

Some Quick Shots from our Trip (none of them with a Q)

I took over 2500 photos on this road trip.  Here are a few random “QUICK” shots from the trip that wouldn’t be included otherwise.

Old Coca-Cola Machine in White Horse, Wyoming
Davey, Nebraska
Menu Sign at Big Sky Brewing Tap House in Missoula, Montana
Getting In-N-Out Burgers in Novato, California
Interstate 90 Scene near Superior, Montana
Signs near Lost Hills, California on CA Hwy 41
Hot Baths sign in Davenport, Washington
Drooling Buffalo at Custer State Park in South Dakota
Bigfoot in Langlois, Oregon
Tightwad Bank sign in Tightwad, Missouri
Old Texas Border sign near Vivian, Louisiana
Norbeck Byway Sign on US Route 16A near Custer, South Dakota
Long Highway near Searchlight, Nevada
Be Happy License Frame in Santa Cruz, California
Motel Room Beds at Rainbow Motel in Alliance, Nebraska
Route 66 Sign in Moriarty, New Mexico
Fun sign in Philipsburg, Montana
Antelope Relaxing in Custer State Park, South Dakota
Big Whale Mural in San Francisco
Festive Horse in Leavenworth, Washington
Sign at a gas station in Coeur D’Alene Idaho
Mural in Worms, Nebraska
Bald Eagle near Gillette, Wyoming
Family at the Grand Canyon
Old Truck in Waterville, Washington
Snow Geese migration near Dimmitt, Texas
Sunset over the Pacific Ocean near Big Sur, California
Alien in Uranus, Missouri
Usually Open sign at Ohrmann’s near Drummond, Montana
Sheriff Art in Taylor, Nebraska
Yummy sushi at Mizu Hibachi Grill in Seattle
Montana Highway 1 near Opportunity, Montana
George Washington at Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota
Restroom Sign in Alliance, Nebraska
Enjoying the Ride!


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



A Grab Bag from America’s Back Roads – The T 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.


Talent, Oregon

Welcome to Talent, Oregon
Talent Mural
Talent Police

Tee Pee Motel – Wharton, Texas

Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX
Sumoflam at the Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX

Thoroughbred Park – Lexington, Kentucky

Thoroughbred Park, Lexington, KY
Horse and jockey racing down the track. Perhaps my favorite photo of all from Thoroughbred Park

Tightwad, Missouri

Tightwad, MO
Tightwad Bank – no longer in business, but was fun to see while there

Tornado, West Virginia

Tornado, WV
Tornado Church

Top of the World Store – Beartooth Pass – near Cody, Wyoming

Welcome to Top of the World Store on Beartooth Pass Highway north of Cody, Wyoming.
Sumoflam at Top of the World on the Beartooth Highway in Wyoming

Tulum, Mexico

Enjoying a visit to the Tulum Ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico

Tews Falls – Hamilton, Ontario

Tews Falls in Hamilton, Ontario
Tews Falls, Hamilton, Ontario

Trailer Park Eatery – Austin, Texas

Trailer Park Eatery in Austin — a hybrid “food truck” type of place comprised of trailers that are actually like food trucks
Trailer Park Eatery. Check out the Airstreams!

Teddy Rides Again – Enchanted Highway – Regent, North Dakota

Enchanted Highway Stop #6 – Teddy Rides Again
Sumoflam at Teddy Rides Again

Two Medicine Dinosaur Center – Bynum, Montana

Two Medicine Dinosaur Center, Bynum, Montana

Texas Instruments Sculpture – LSA Burger Co. – Denton, Texas

Texas Instruments, a unique sculpture at the LSA Burger Co., in Denton
A section of the Texas Instruments

Three Sisters – Sisters, Oregon

Three Sisters – nicknamed Faith/Hope/Charity near Sister’s Oregon

Toad Suck, Arkansas

Toad Suck, Arkansas
Sumoflam in Toad Suck, AR

Trillium Woods Provincial Park – Woodstock, Ontario

A walking trail at Trillium Woods Provincial Park

Torch, Ohio

Torch, Ohio

Tacoma Narrows Bridge – Tacoma, Washington

Sunset over Tacoma Narrows bridge
Mt. rainier as seen from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Turkey Vultures – McKee, Kentucky; Versailles, Kentucky; Taylorsville, Kentucky

Turkey Vultures guard their meal near McKee, KY
A Turkey Vulture, also called a buzzard, flying way overhead in Versailles, KY
Turkey vulture gathering on a road in central Kentucky

Thermopolis, Wyoming

Welcome to Thermopolis, WY
A sign about the Hot Springs of Thermopolis

Trail Town USA – Damascus, Virginia

Damascus calls itself Trail Town USA for a reason. The Appalachian Trail, the Virginia Creeper Trail and others come to a crossroads here.
At the Cross Roads of the Virginia Creeper and Appalachian Trails

Ten Sleep, Wyoming

Crazy Woman Cafe in Ten Sleep, Wyoming
Ten Sleep Canyon on US 16 near Ten Sleep, WY

Thronehenge – Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden – Calvert City, Kentucky

Thronehenge in the Hillbilly Garden

Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Tomahawk, WI
Big Bull Moose in Tomahawk, WI

Texan Motel – Raton, New Mexico

Texan Motel neon in Raton, New Mexico

Teton Drive In – Rexburg, Idaho

The old Teton Drive-In – Rexburg, Idaho

This Way and That Way – Lake Jackson, Texas

Corner of This Way and That Way in Lake Jackson, TX
This Way U Turn
Plaque describing the naming of the roads This Way and That Way in Lake Jackson, TX

Taughannock Falls – Ulysses, New York

Taughannock Falls in New York

Turtle Twist Ice Cream – Canonsburg, Pennsylvania

Turtle Twist Ice Cream in Canonsburg, PA

Theodore Roosevelt National Park – Medora, South Dakota

Some of the scenic and colorful hills of Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Teepee Cafe – Bonesteel, South Dakota

TeePee Cafe – Bonesteel, South Dakota

Taisekiji – Fujinomiya, Japan

One of the huge buildings of Taisekiji in Fuji-no-miya (ca. 1978)
Towering pillars of Taisekiji. Notice the little dots at the bottom…those are people. (ca. 1978)

Tower Rock State Park – Cascade, Montana

Missouri River in Tower Rock State Park
Hardy Bridge in Tower Rock State Park

Tioga, Texas

Tioga, Texas – Birthplace of Gene Autry
Tioga Heritage Museum
Rustic shopping area of Tioga, Texas

Tallman Hotel – Upper Lake, California

The Tallman Hotel
Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake, CA

Tersier (Actually called a Tarsius) – Bohol, Philippines

A Tersier on Bohol

Tunica, Mississippi

Gateway to the Blues, Tunica, Mississippi
The Tate Log House in Tunica, MS

Thorncrown Chapel – Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Tom Sawyer’s Fence – Hannibal, Missouri

My two sons, Seth and Solomon, at Tom Sawyer’s Fence in Hannibal, Missouri., Summer 2001

Threadgill’s – Austin, Texas

Threadgills in Austin
Janis Joplin painting at Threadgill’s

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Truth or Consequences, NM
NM 152 near Truth or Consequences, NM

Two-Tailed Walleye – Shell Lake, Wisconsin

Two Tailed Walleye Statue in Shell Lake
Sumoflam with the Shell Lake Two-Tailed Walleye

Train Murals – Gauley Bridge, West Virginia; Ravenna, Kentucky; Glasgow, Montana

Train Mural in Gauley Bridge painted by Nancy Lane to commemorate the rich rail heritage of the town.
A large mural of a train welcomes visitors to Ravenna, KY
Train mural in Glasgow Montana on the side of a building

Texas Pipe Supply – Houston, Texas

Giant Armadillo – Texas Pipe Company – Houston, Texas
Big Scrap Metal Stegosaurus – Texas Pipe Company – Houston, Texas

Twin Buttes – Atomic City, Idaho

Twin Buttes near Atomic City as seen heading west to Arco, ID

Three-Legged Willie – Georgetown, Texas

Statue of Three-Legged Willie in Georgetown, TX

Totem Poles – Neah Bay, Washington; Blueberry, Wisconsin; Ketchikan, Alaska; Superior, Wisconsin

A totem pole in Neah Bay, WA
Scrap Metal totem pole outside of Blueberry, WI Antique store
Sumoflam with a Totem Pole in Ketchikan
Wooden Bear Totem Pole – Gronk’s in Superior, Wisconsin

Troll City – Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

Welcome to Mt. Horeb, WI
Another Mt. Horeb Troll (or two?)
One of dozens of HUGE trolls in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin
Grumpy Troll Brew Pub and Restaurant, Mt. Horeb, WI
Another Mt. Horeb Troll – for good measure

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