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

Wyoming

Another of the 20 states we visited on our 8154 Trip.  Sadly, we passed this sign in the evening, so it was dark.  Welcome to Wyoming.

Welcome to Wyoming

Wigwam Motel – Holbrook, Arizona

One of the more iconic throwbacks to Route 66 travel (and other travel for that matter) is the Wigwam Motel (also called the Wigwam Village). Built in the 1930s and 1940s, the rooms are designed liked teepees.  (See some history here) Originally there were seven of these built across the country with two in Kentucky, and then one each in Alabama, Florida, Arizona, Louisiana and California.  As of this writing, only three remain: One in Cave City, Kentucky (near Mammoth Cave National Park), one in Holbrook, Arizona on Route 66 (near Petrified Forest National Park) and the other on the city boundary between Rialto and San Bernardino, California, also on Route 66.  I have written about the one in Cave City, officially known as Wigwam Village #2, in a previous post in 2008.  My family actually rented five units in July 2017 as part of a family reunion.

Hanging with Grandkids at Wigwam Village in Cave City, KY in 2017

These villages were originally developed by a guy named Frank A. Redford in the 1930s.  He even had the design patented in 1936.   The first of them was built in Horse Cave, Kentucky in 1933, but it closed in 1935 after Redford built a larger one in Cave City in 1937.  This one consisted of 15 Teepees.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in March 1988. (Facebook Page)

Wigwam Village, Cave City, KY

Wigwam Village #3 was built in New Orleans in 1940, but went out of business in 1954. Wigwam Village #4 was built in Orlando, Florida in 1948 and had 27 guest rooms. It was razed in 1974. Wigwam Village #5 was built in Bessemer, Alabama in 1940 and had 15 Wigwams.  It went out of business in 1964. Wigwam Village #7 was built by Redford in 1947 in Rialto, California on Route 66.  It has gone through times of disrepair, but was renovated in 2005. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

You can sleep in a Wigwam in Holbrook, Arizona

The one in Holbrook, which is the subject of this story, is officially listed as Wigwam Village #6.  This particular one was built in 1950 by Chester E. Lewis and is probably the most famous of all of them due to its location on Route 66 and close to the Petrified Forest National Park.  Lewis had purchased the rights to Redford’s design as well as the rights to use the name.  Lewis came up with a novel idea for paying Redford.  He installed coin-operated radios in each room and every dime inserted for the 30 minutes of play time would be sent to Redford as payment.

This location has 15 Wigwams and can still be rented.  In keeping with the authenticity of the originals, there are no telephones, internet or other modern amenities, though they do offer air conditioning and cable TV.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in May  2002.

Wigwam Motel – Holbrook, AZ
Wigwam Motel – Holbrook, Arizona
Wigwam Motel – Holbrook, AZ

Wig Wam Pub & Texas BBQ – Bremerton, Washington

Speaking of WigWams, on our 8154 trip, I got to visit with one of my close friends from high school while out in Washington.  Since I was in Port Orchard and he lived close by, we decided to meet at the Wig Wam Pub in Gorst (actually in Bremerton).

WigWam Pub & Texas BBQ, Bremerton, Washington
Collection of Beer Tap Handles hangs on the ceiling
Lots of stickers
Having dinner with my high school pal Alex Milne. We had not seen each other for 47 years.
Inside of Wig Wam
Dinner at the Wig Wam – BBQ Chicken, baked beans and creamy good potato salad.
Definitely a Happy Place

Wahoo, Nebraska

Wahoo is one of the places that was not in the plan.  We just happened to drive by and I had to stop.  I always love a unique town name and Wahoo certainly fits the bill.  The town was founded in 1870 and the name apparently comes from the eastern wahoo, a shrub found on the banks of Wahoo Creek. Apparently, the term “wahoo” was what the indigenous people called the deciduous shrub.

Wahoo, Nebraska
Welcome to Wahoo, Nebraska
Patriotic Wahoo Water tower

Windmill Country – Hyannis, Nebraska

Driving through the Nebraska Sandhills, we went through the small community of Hyannis (which I wrote about in my H Stories).  There were signs welcoming people to Windmill Country.  The town is home to the Hyannis Windmill Days, a weekend celebration that started in 1989.  Not sure why they call it Windmill Country however.  I think that Nebraska City may be a better choice since they are the home of the Kregel Windmill Factory Museum (which I wrote about a few years ago)

Welcome to Windmill Country – Hyannis, Nebraska

Wallace, Idaho

Wallace, Idaho is one of my favorite stopover places.  A unique town nestled in the mountains of the Silver Valley in the Idaho Panhandle.  In 2004 then Mayor Ron Garitone proclaimed Wallace to be the Center of the Universe.  He had a manhole cover specifically made to mark the exact spot. Every September the town celebrates the Center of the Universe.

While in Wallace, we also stopped for some hand thrown pizza.  It was great!

Welcome to Wallace, Idaho
Center of the Universe, Wallace, Idaho
Center of the Universe Manhole Cover
Having pizza in Wallace, Idaho
Downtown Wallace, Idaho

Washoe Theatre – Anaconda, Montana

Driving through Anaconda, Montana, I came across another great theatre marquis.  This time it was for the Washoe Theatre, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It was designed in 1930 in the Nuevo Deco style and apparently has a lavish interior.  It was also designed to have near perfect acoustics.

Washoe Theatre – Anaconda, Montana

Window Rock, Arizona

On this trip, we didn’t actually drive into Window Rock, which is the government capital of the Navajo Nation.  But, I wanted to grab this sign, both for the landscape behind it and the Indian Highway 12 arrowhead logo.

Window Rock, Arizona

Waterville, Washington

Waterville, Washington is in the heart of Washington’s wheat country and is located on US Highway 2.  The small museum in town has an interesting Dowser statue that was created by Pateros, WA Sculptor Richard Beyer.

Waterville, Washington
The Water Dowser by sculptor Richard Beyer, completed in 1966.
Dr. Pierces Golden Discovery Barn Sign in Waterville, WA
Picturesque historic Douglas Church in Waterville, WA
US Route 2 near Waterville, Washington

World Museum of Mining – Butte, Montana

Butte is an old mining town and so, should be home for a mining museum.  Unfortunately, on the day we drive through, it was not open.  But, the entrance gate for the World Museum of Mining is classic.  The museum was founded in 1963 and is one of the few museums in the world located on an actual mine yard.

World Museum of Mining – Butte, Montana
Welcome to the World Museum of Mining

Worms, Nebraska

Welcome to Worms! Yes, there is a town named Worms!  This place was on my radar for our 8154 Road Trip and, to me, was a must see.  Though only about 40 people live here and there is no green town sign for it, it was well worth it.  It is home to a biker bar called Nitecrawlers (see my N Stories) and has a couple of unique murals.  The town was supposedly named after Worms, Germany.  It was actually settled by Germans as early as 1874.

Worms, Nebraska

World’s Tallest Thermometer – Baker, California

Baker, California is fun place with the Mad Greek Cafe, Alien Beef Jerky with its Alien Statues and UFOs and other fun.  But, it is really known for its giant thermometer.  This amazing landmark stands 134 feet tall and can measure up to 134°F (57°C).  It commemorates the record 134°F temperature recorded in nearby Death Valley on July 11, 1913.

The tall thermometer was build in 1991

World’s Tallest Thermometer – Baker, California
World’s Tallest Thermometer sign in Baker, California
Sumoflam at the World’s Tallest Thermometer

Wind Cave National Park – Hot Springs, South Dakota

Visitor Center – Wind Cave National Park, Hot Springs, South Dakota

Wilbur, Washington

Wilbur, Washington on US Route 2, including an homage to Charlotte’s Web

Welcome to Wilbur, Washington
Old Wilbur, Washington marker
Wilbur, Washington welcome center. Charlotte’s web reminder

Williams, Arizona

Old Route 66 town in Arizona…  Williams, Arizona.

Welcome to Williams, Arizona
Route 66 in Williams, Arizona

WATCH FOR MY NEW BOOK “8154” — COMING SOON TO AMAZON

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 https://amzn.to/3azY36l

 

(8)

June 2019 Road Trip: Fun, Quirky and Offbeat Things

With any road trip I take, I look for a lot of different things.  I can find the offbeat and quirky, the beautiful, the unique, the magical, the historical, the fun and more…all in one trip.  I am focused…on the big picture.

My June 2019 road trip took me over the road for nearly 6000 miles and through nine states.  I tried to stick to back roads wherever possible because that is where the greatest discoveries can be found.

In this post, I present to you some of the more unique, fun and, in some cases quirky things that I discovered along the way.  There is always something out there.

Here are few fun things…

Place Names

Welcome to Delight, Arkansas

I am always looking for fun names.  How about Delight, Turkey, Jolly, Greasy Corner?

Wildorado, Texas
That way to Turkey, Texas (I didn’t have time to take a Turkey trek.)
Greasy Corner, Arkansas. I did mosey on over to Greasy Corner only to find the corner, but no signs
Jolly, Texas. We didn’t stop, but I have been there before. Not much Jolly there but a truck stop

Business Names

Well Lookee Shop in Jemez Springs, NM

Well lookee here, there are some fun business signs to found on the road, including one of my (now) all-time favorites below.

Ever had a BBQ Sno-Cone? They have them in Dover, Tennessee
Or maybe you wanna getcha some of this instead? (BBQ that is) Naaman’s BBQ in Texarkana, Texas
A motel in Winslow, Arizona taking full advantage….
We all know what NEED to be done on a road trip. This place between Winslow and Holbrook can fulfill the need
Would you stay in a place called “It’ll Do Motel”? Can you do better? Its in Clarendon, Texas

Other Unique Signs and Things

I guess this is one place where people are delighted, even when dead? Delight, Texas

I often come across signs around towns, in shops, restaurants and such that make me want to snap a shot.

Ya Can’t Fix Stupid…especially the ones who try to take their cars where they shouldn’t go.  This sign was in a shop window in Winslow, Arizona.  Weaver’s is actually in Water Valley, Mississippi
I guess aliens need to park somewhere – at The Thing in Dragoon, Arizona
Circle N takes the No Shirt No Shoes concept to a whole new level Forrest City, Arkansas
Texans apparently don’t call 911. Saw these in a shop near El Paso, Texas
Now, this is a good spin on Desserts! Saw this at a restaurant on the top of Mt. Lemmon, near Tucson, AZ
And then you should mind your own biscuits. Found in a cafe in Clarkson, Kentucky
Speaking of restrooms, The Thing in Arizona apparently has some good uns….

Then there is the unique…

Big Pink Elephant with glasses in Clarksville, TN

Then there are the unique things out there.  The Glass-wearing elephant has a bovine friend just north of it in Kentucky

Big Cow with pink glasses in Guthrie, KY
And the cow’s pal Pink Elephant around the corner from it in Guthrie as well.
What’s a road trip without coming across a big ol’ Muffler Man?  This one is on a rooftop in downtown Gallup, New Mexico
I came face to face with this dinosaur at The Thing in Dragoon, Arizona
And saw this big metal chomper in Sedona, Arizona
Holbrook, Arizona has dozens of dinos hanging around. Here are a couple of biggies
Absurd…saw this replica of the Ghostbusters car in Bogata, Texas.  I guess in Texas they are Ghostboosters?  “Boost’n Makes Me Feel Good”
On the timezone in Clarkson, Kentucky. You decide what time it is.
You can sleep in a Wigwam in Holbrook, Arizona
You must stay within 31 MPH in Trenton, Tennessee
Watch out for the big bugs
I never take a trip without trying to see if a Peter Toth Whispering Giant can be seen. This one was in Winslow, Arizona
And this Whispering Giant was in Las Cruces, New Mexico
A church built into the rock? Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona
I can’t say I’ve been everywhere until I have been to the birthplace of Johnny Cash in Kingsland, Arkansas

And what a fine sight I was when I jumped in and photo-bombed a motocycle club standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona

Couldn’t resist jumping in with this nice Motorcycle Club from Phoenix at the famed corned in Winslow, AZ

And the Chart Topper (or should I say the Tram Topper?) is….

Watched this guy climb up on the top of the Sandia Peaks Tram in Albuquerque, NM to ride 1200′ above ground on a couple of wires for about 2 miles and 15 minutes. I was scared to death just taking his picture.

Like what you see? Well, there is lots more!  I now have three books available about offbeat and quirky places to take on your road trips. You can see all of them at http://amzn.to/2ks6fQZ. Book 3 was published and available on August 24, 2019.

Book Cover for Book 3 – Cover Art and design by Antsy McClain

 

 

 

(40)

June 2019: The Great Southwest Trek

On June 5 I departed home on a 10 day adventure to the southwest U.S.  I had made plans with my sister Sherry to accompany her and her family to Tucson and Albuquerque to visit our brothers Aaron and Gary, both of whom neither of us had seen on over 20 years.

Red Rock Crossing in Sedona, Arizona
Route 66 in Winslow, Arizona

I love my road trips.  But I really looked forward to this one as much of it would take me to many of my old stomping grounds.  Plans were to visit Aaron in Tucson, then go up to Flagstaff, via Sedona, for a couple of days of touring around there and then off to Albuquerque to visit Gary.

San Francisco Peaks outside of Flagstaff, Arizona

I was really excited about the Flagstaff part.  From 1980 to 1984 we lived in Flagstaff, where I attended Northern Arizona University and, for three years, worked as a Tour Guide/Driver for the Gray Line Tours franchise called Nava-Hopi Tours.  That job was always one of my favorites as I got to take people from all over the world to see parts of the world that were fascinating.  The geography and geology of the area is world-renown. The history, with the ancient American relics and the present day Native American Navajo and Hopi tribes and their life styles were also fascinating.  I really was excited to visit many of the places I had not visited since the 1990s, when I took a return trip up there after getting back from Japan.

Delight, Arkansas
Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona
31 Miles an Hour in Trenton, Tennessee
Grand Canyon

This ten day adventure took me over 6000 miles of highway and through nine states.  During the trip we got to visit two National Parks (including Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest) and four National Monuments (White Sands, Sunset Crater, Wupatki, Montezuma Castle).  We visited mountain tops and deserts and saw a lot of great scenery.

It has taken a while to compile much of the road trip fun.  Hopefully, over the next couple of weeks I will be able to get a few fun posts out about what will likely be my big road trip for 2019.

Welcome to New Mexico
Coal Mine Canyon in Arizona

Watch for detailed posts on the road trip and the many places.  ENJOY THE RIDE!

Like what you see? Well, there is lots more!  I now have three books available about offbeat and quirky places to take on your road trips. You can see all of them at http://amzn.to/2ks6fQZ. Book 3 was published and available on August 24, 2019.

 

Book Cover for Book 3 – Cover Art and design by Antsy McClain

(16)