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

 

Let’s start this off with a Whispering Bang!!

Whispering Giants – art by Hungarian artist Peter Toth – Idaho Falls, Idaho; Bethany Beach, Delaware; Murray, Utah; Red Lodge, Montana; Ottawa, Illinois; Hopewell, Illinois; Paducah, Kentucky; Astoria, Oregon; Ocean City, Maryland; Iowa Falls, Iowa; Utica, Illinois

Over 62 of these around the U.S.  Here are the ones I have seen:

Gigantic Peter Toth carved Indian Head in North Tourist Park in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Placed in 1980
Chief Little Owl in Bethany Beach, Delaware placed in 2002
Chief Wasatch in Murray, UT placed in 1985
Detail of the “Whispering Giant” of Red Lodge, Montana, placed in 1979
Ho-Ma-Sjah-Nah-Zhee-Ga in Ottawa, IL, placed in 1990
Hopewell Giant in Hopewell, IL placed in 1975
Chief Wacinton in Paducah, KY placed in 1985
Ikala Nawan in Astoria, Oregon placed in 1987
The Inlet Indian, Nanticoke, dedicated to the Assateague tribe, is in Ocean City, MD and placed in 1976
Whispering Giant of Iowa Falls, IA in Veterans Park, placed in 1999
Chief Walks With The Wind in Starved Rock State Park, Utica, IL

Wigwam Village – Sleep in Wigwam – Cave City, KY

Wigwam Village, Cave City, KY
Wigwam Village Key
Sleep in a Wigwam neon sign in Cave City, KY
Hanging with ALL 10 Grandkids at Wigwam Village in Cave City, KY

Wahkeena Falls – Corbett, Oregon

Wahkeena Falls in Corbett, Oregon

Wupatki National Monument – near Cameron, Arizona

Son Seth at Wupatki Ruins off of US 89 south of Flagstaff in 1992

Water Buffalo – Cebu, Philippines

Carabao Water Buffalo taken on Cebu Island in the Philippines

Winnett, Montana

Winnett, MT Welcome Sign
Old Store Front – Winnett, MT
Old Hotel Sign – Winnett, MT

Wallace, Idaho

Wallace, Idaho
Wallace Corner Hotel, Wallace, ID
Downtown Wallace, Idaho

Weatherford, Texas

Courthouse in Weatherford, Texas
Skinnys Hamburger sign in Weatherford, TX
Relaxing – Weatherford, Texas

Murals of Welland, Ontario

Mural of Grandfather telling stories about Welland to Grandson
A portion of a massive mural on the side of a shopping mall. Entitled “History of the Niagara Peninsula” by Heinz Gaugel
“Main Street” by Mike Svob
“Wagons” by Andrew Miles

Washington, Pennsylvania

Washington, PA Historic Marker
Washington County Courthouse in Washington, PA
Welcome to Washington, PA

Williams, California

Williams Hotel mural by John Ton in Williams, CA
Detail of a mural on the side of a building in Williams, CA

Winner, South Dakota

Winner Winner..no chicken dinner, just the name of a town in SD
Winner, South Dakota
Pheasant Statue, Winner, SD
Pheasant Bar, Winner, SD

Waldo, Arkansas

Waldo Post Office, Waldo, AR
Waldo, Arkansas
Waldo Water Tower

Winterset, Iowa

Welcome to Winterset, Covered Bridge Capital of Iowa
Winterset building fronts
Roseman Covered Bridge in Winterset, Iowa

Wyoming Dinosaur Center – Thermopolis, Wyoming

Large Sign about the Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis, Wyoming

World Trade Center (before 9/11) – New York City

In New York City in 1990 before the World Trade Center Twin Towers met their demise
World Trade Center 1990

One World Trade Center (after 9/11) – New York City

One World Trade Center all lit up at night, as seen from Sinatra Park in Hoboken, NJ
One World Trade Center under construction – March 2, 2013

Wall Drug – Wall, South Dakota

Where the Heck is Wall Drug?
Welcome to Wall, SD
One of many Wall Drug Billboards – notice the uniqueness?
The 80 foot tall Wall Drug Brontosaurus

West Virginia Capital Building with the gold dome – Charleston, West Virginia

Wonde West Virginia’s Capital Building in Charleston, WV
WV Capital Building

Wharton, Texas

Black History Mural by Dayton Wordrich
Buildings in downtown Wharton, TX
Future of Wharton, TX Mural by Dayton Wordrich
Old Plaza Theater in Wharton, TX

Wonderland Road – Upton, Kentucky

Sumoflam at Wonderland Rd. in Upton, KY

Winter Wheat – Sparta, Ontario

Welcome to Winter Wheat in Sparta, ON
Winter Wheat Main Building
Broom People at Winter Wheat in Sparta, ON
The performance room at Winter Wheat

Walpi, Arizona

While working in Arizona I made over 100 trips to Walpi on the Hopi Indian Reservation in Northern Arizona

White Sands National Monument – east of Alamagordo, New Mexico

White Sands National Monument
Visiting White Sands, NM in 2013
Granddaughter Joselyn runs on a sand dune at White Sands National Monument in NM

Walnut Ridge, Arkansas

Walnut Ridge, Arkansas
Sumoflam with the Beatles in Walnut Ridge, AR
Welcome to Walnut Ridge
Scene from Abbey Road, Walnut Ridge, AR

Wendy’s Museum – Dublin, Ohio

Dave Thomas statue at Wendy’s in Dublin, OH
The Wendy’s Original $150,000 Crystal Cheeseburger created by Waterford Crystal
“Where’s the Beef?” memorabilia from the famed advertising campaign in the Wendy’s Museum in Dublin, OH

Wigwam Drive-In – Ravenna, Kentucky

Sumoflam at the Wigwam Drive-In in Ravenna, KY
Interior of the Wigwam Drive-in Ravenna, KY
The Famous Country Boy Burger

Washington Court House, Ohio

The Washington Court House in Washington Court House, OH was one of many unique buildings I got to visit in 2016
Washington Courthouse Statue

Whitetop, Virginia

Welcome to Whitetop, VA
Whitetop Station
All of us at Whitetop Station at the beginning of the 10 mile downhill Virginia Creeper Bike Trail near Damascus, VA

West Side Theater – Newman, California

West Side Theatre – a common stop for Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours

Wimpy’s Hamburgers – Dallas, Texas

Wimpy’s Hamburgers – Dallas, Texas – I’ll gladly pay you Thursday for a hamburger today….

Walcott Castle – Walcott, Iowa

Castle Hall in Walcott, IA
One of the Towers on Castle Hall in Walcott

Wind Farms – Shelby, Montana; Nekoma, North Dakota; Adair, Iowa; Bloomington, Illinois; Iona, Idaho; Rugby, North Dakota; Port Burwell, Ontario

An old cabin falls apart in the midst of the giant wind turbines of the Glacier Wind Farm near Shelby, Montana

A silo and wind turbine coexist near Nekoma, ND
Wind Turbines of the Rolling Hills Wind Farm near Adair, IA
Wind Farm near Bloomington, IL
Approaching Wolverine Creek Wind Farm, near Iona, ID
Wind Turbines seem to blossom like flowers out of the corn fields of Iowa
Wind Farm near Rugby, ND
Wind Farm info center in Port Burwell, Ontario
Wind Farm near Shelby, Montana

Watkins Glen State Park – Watkins Glen, New York

One of over 50 waterfalls in Watkins Glen State Park, NY
Watkins Glen State Park, New York

Wilbur, Washington

Wilbur, Washington
Billy Burger, Wilbur, WA
Big Pig and Spider at Welcome center in Wilbur, WA

Winnemucca, Nevada

Sumoflam in Winnemucca, Nevada
Big casino in Winnemucca, Nevada
Driving through Winnemucca

Mount Washington – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Mount Washington
Panoramic View of Pittsburgh from atop Mt. Washington

West Yellowstone, Montana

Welcome to West Yellowstone, Montana
Westward Motel – West Yellowstone
Dude Motel – West Yellowstone, Montana

Whiskey Rebellion – Washington, Pennsylvania

Whiskey Rebellion Statue in Washington, PA

Webster Falls – Hamilton, Ontario

Webster Falls near Hamilton, ON
Sumoflam at the top of Webster Falls, Hamilton, Ontario

White Castle, Louisiana

Welcome to White Castle, LA
There is a White Castle Fire Dept, but no White Castle restaurants to be seen

Worland, Wyoming

Highway into Worland, WY
Mammoth Bronze Statue by Chris Navarro in Worland, WY

Working Women mural – Welland, Ontario

“Working Women” by Ted Ziegler shows the contribution of women to the industrial
work force in the factories of Welland

Wolf Creek Pass – Colorado

Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado July 1993

Wind River Canyon – Wyoming

History of the Wind River Canyon
One of many spectacular views of Wind River Canyon
Entering Wind River Canyon on US 20 from Thermopolis, WY

Walking to the Sky Sculpture – Pittsburgh, Penssylvania

“Walking to the Sky” by Jonathan Borofsky

Washington Monument – Washington, D.C.

The Washington Monument and the US Capitol in Washington DC in 2016

Willie the Walleye – Baudette, Minnesota

Son Solomon (at 6’3″) at Willie the Walleye in Baudette, MN

Wichita, Kansas

Welcome to Wichita mural
Donut Whole – Wichita, Kansas
Keeper of the Plains – 50 foot tall statue in Wichita
Wicked Street Art in Wichita, KS

What Cheer, Iowa

What Cheer, Iowa
What Cheer, Iowa
Downtown What Cheer – many abandoned buildings

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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Ohio Travel Stops: Dublin and Wilmington – Museums and Murals

Dave's Way
Dave’s Way

In May, I had occasion to take my wife to Kirtland, Ohio for a conference and spent time myself in my birthplace of Little Italy and Cleveland. I’ve covered most of this in some previous blogs (Little Italy post   Cleveland post   Kirtland/Novelty post), but wanted to touch on a couple of other places that we passed on our way to Kirtland and on our way back home to Kentucky.

Visiting Dublin, Ohio

Welcome to Dublin, OH, Home of Wendy's
Welcome to Dublin, OH, Home of Wendy’s

On the way up, we had a friend to visit in Dublin, Ohio and so made our way there. While my wife was tied up at her friend’s house for an hour or so, I made a drive over to Wendy’s headquarters. Dave Thomas got his start here in Dublin with the first Wendy’s in the company which has become an international Burger Company second or third only to McDonald’s and possibly Burger King. I actually have a daughter that is worked for Wendy’s for nearly 16 years, more than half of her life, so it has had an impact on my family in a sense.

Dave Thomas Blvd. in Dublin, OH
Dave Thomas Blvd. in Dublin, OH
Wendy's International Headquarters
Wendy’s International Headquarters
Wendy's 1st Restaurant in 1969
Wendy’s 1st Restaurant in 1969

DSC_3548Although the original Wendy’s restaurant is no longer around, just down the road from their headquarters building they have built a Flagship restaurant that includes a Wendy’s museum, a nice statue of David Thomas holding a bag of burgers and a frosty, and a number of other unique little trinkets including a $105,000 Crystal Wendy’s Classic Single.

The Wendy's Original $150,000 Crystal Cheeseburger created by Waterford Crystal
The Wendy’s Original $105,000 Crystal Classic Single Burger created by Waterford Crystal
"Where's the Beef?" memorabilia from the famed advertising campaign
“Where’s the Beef?” memorabilia from the famed advertising campaign

There is a “where’s the beef?” Section where you can see some of the memorabilia from that particular campaign for Wendy’s a few years back.

The little museum is also filled with a variety of Wendy’s and Dave Thomas memorabilia.  Many of them are fun to take some time and look at .

One of many Dave Thomas cartoons that were created after he passed away
One of many Dave Thomas cartoons that were created after he passed away
Large Dave Thomas Wall
Large Dave Thomas Wall
Olympic Torch from the
Olympic Torch from the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay
A photo of Dave Thomas with famed boxer Muhammad Ali
A photo of Dave Thomas with famed boxer Muhammad Ali
Sumoflam with Dave Thomas statue in Dublin, OH
Sumoflam with Dave Thomas statue in Dublin, OH

Finally, you can’t miss the great statue of Dave Thomas that welcomes visitors from the parking lot into the store.  He holds the recognizable Wendy’s bag and a Frosty in the other hand.

Honestly, the little Dave Thomas/Wendy’s museum at this Dublin Wendy’s is well worth a visit.  It is free (though you can also walk through with a Frosty and peruse all of the displays.  Lots to see!

Dave Thomas waits to greet visitors at a Wendy's in Dublin, OH
Dave Thomas waits to greet visitors at a Wendy’s in Dublin, OH
Dave Thomas statue at Wendy's in Dublin, OH
Dave Thomas statue at Wendy’s in Dublin, OH
Welcome to Dublin, OH
Welcome to Dublin, OH

While in Dublin, I drove through the little downtown area of the town. I have been to Dublin before, but never to the downtown area which has some good old rustic buildings and historic places. They also have a corner with honorary street names for Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller.

It is the home of the Ohio native Jack Nicklaus designed Muirfield Village Golf Club which was dedicated in 1974.  This is home to the prestigious Memorial Tournament, which recently named golf hall of famer Johnny Miller as its 2016 Honoree. The Tournament, founded and hosted by Jack Nicklaus, is conducted each year with three goals in mind: to honor the memory of individuals living and deceased who have distinguished themselves in the game of golf; to showcase the world’s best golfers competing on one of the most challenging venues in the world for the enjoyment of spectators; and to benefit many Greater Columbus Charities in alliance with the Nicklaus Children’s Healthcare Foundation, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and numerous other local organizations.

The honorary corner of Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller (on East Bridge St. in Dublin, OH)
The honorary corner of Jack Nicklaus Dr. and Johnny Miller Way (on East Bridge St. in Dublin, OH)
At the "Filed of Corn" - Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park in Dublin, OH
At the “Filed of Corn” – Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park in Dublin, OH

Another point of interest in Dublin which I did not visit on this trip but which I have been to on a couple of occasions is the unique and fun Cement Corn Cob park. I’ve written about this park in the past in the past but, I figured I would just include a shot about it here as well.

The “Field of Corn” is a publicly funded art installation in Dublin. The installation consists of 109 concrete ears of corn positioned in rows and standing upright in a grassy field.  Sculpted by Malcolm Cochran, a professor of sculpting at Ohio State University, the park was named the Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park, and was originally farmed by Sam Frantz, an inventor of several hybrid corn species.  This is not the only unique public art work in Dublin.  This is one of a few towns that has worked to bring in a plethora of unique, cool and sometimes quirky works of outdoor art. Check out the Dublin Arts Council’s website.

Granddaughter running through the cement corn cobs in Dublin, Ohio July 2011
Granddaughter running through the cement corn cobs in Dublin, Ohio July 2011
The Field of Corn in Dublin, OH has 109 ears of corn
The Field of Corn in Dublin, OH has 109 ears of corn

Visiting Wilmington, Ohio

Large Mural in Wilmington, OH
Large Mural in Wilmington, OH

On our return home, after a nice visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, my wife and I stopped along the way for some dinner. Not certain as to where we should go, we decided on taking a little side trip into the small town of Wilmington, Ohio, which is about 5 miles east of Interstate 71 on US Highway 22 and also US Highway 68, almost exactly halfway between Columbus and Cincinnati. I did not know what to expect when I got there, but I was pleasantly surprised that this small college town had a couple of wonderful murals on the sides of the buildings. Something fun to add to my collection!!

Farmers Market Mural in Wilmington, OH (painted by
Farmers Market Mural in Wilmington, OH (painted by Jason Morgan)

One of the murals depicts a farmers market and covers a few of the little archways in one building. This was done by artist Jason Morgan from Yellow Springs, Ohio, just north of Xenia.

http://jasonmorganportraits.com/JM_Portraits/GalleryMurals/Pages/Farmers_Market.html

Community Garden Mural in Wilmington, OH
Community Garden Mural in Wilmington, OH (painted by Jason Morgan)

Another of the nice murals is the Community Garden Mural on E. Locust St. This too was painted by Jason Morgan, one of four that he has done in the city.

The huge Heritage Harvesters mural in downtown Wilmington, OH
The huge Heritage Harvesters mural in downtown Wilmington, OH (painted by Jason  Morgan)

The last mural that we came across was the Heritage Harvesters Mural which is located on N. South St. This mural is huge and covers the entire side of  a three-story building. It represents some of the history of the farmers in this put on the farmland-centric community.

The historic Murphy Theatre in Wilmingotn, OH
The historic Murphy Theatre in Wilmingotn, OH
Old Ghost Ads on a wall in downtown Wilmingotn, OH
Old Ghost Ads on a wall in downtown Wilmingotn, OH

I also enjoyed the downtown area.  They have a wonderful old theater sign, which is shown below.  The Murphy Theatre is historic and is apparently as nice inside as it appears on the outside. It was originally built in 1918 by Charles Murphy. It was a movie theater from 1929 to the mid-1980s, but is now used as a venue for concerts and community events.

The shell of an old diner still sits in downtown Wilmington
The shell of an old diner still sits in downtown Wilmington

The Mexican restaurant (the El Dorado Restaurant) that we ate at was so-so, but it did fill us up enough for the remainder of our trip home. And thus we were back on the road returning back to Lexington after a good time in northern Ohio. If you did not see my other posts, please give them a visit (the links are at the top of this post).

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