April 2018 Cross-Country Road Trip: Dignity of Earth and Sky Statue in South Dakota

April 2018 Cross-Country Road Trip: Dignity of Earth and Sky Statue in South Dakota

Adventure, Backroads Discoveries, Cross Country Road Trips, Found Metal Sculptures, Giant Things, Illinois, Kansas, Large Statues, Less Beaten Paths Books, Lewis and Clark Sites, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Offbeat Places, Oklahoma, Roadside Attractions, Selfies, South Dakota, Unexpected Discoveries, Unique Places, Whispering Giants
[caption id="attachment_20268" align="alignleft" width="225"] Sumoflam with Dignity near Chamberlain, SD[/caption] I love having the opportunity to come upon new and unplanned discoveries in my roadtrips.  While traveling, I constantly check my Roadside America app (which is available for iPhone download here) which has a handy dandy location finder and will tell you the closest of their featured attractions.  While driving through South Dakota near Chamberlain, I did so and came across "Dignity: A 50 foot-tall Indian Woman" statue entry.  Turns out it is located at a rest area near Chamberlain, SD overlooking the Missouri River valley way below.  It was also a Lewis and Clark stopover. [caption id="attachment_20271" align="aligncenter" width="525"] Dignity: Of Earth and Sky - 50 foot tall statue by Dale Lamphere[/caption] [caption id="attachment_20270" align="alignright" width="225"] Dignity statue as…
Read More
Beatles in the South – Arkansas/Texas: February 2018

Beatles in the South – Arkansas/Texas: February 2018

Adventure, Arkansas, Back Roads, Backroads Discoveries, Cross Country Road Trips, Eateries, Found Metal Sculptures, Giant Things, Large Statues, Murals, Offbeat Places, Quirky Things, Roadside Attractions, Roadsigns, Selfies, Street Art, Texas, The Beatles, Unexpected Discoveries, Unique Eatery, Unique Places, US Highway 67, Wall Art, Wanderlust, Yard Art
[caption id="attachment_19162" align="alignleft" width="300"] Sumoflam with the Beatles in Walnut Ridge, AR[/caption] It is not every day that one takes a road trip and comes across not one, but two memorials to the famed Beatles. The first of these is a fascinating little story about a small little town in Arkansas named Walnut Ridge (population abt 5000). It was in 1964 and the Beatles were in the midst of their first tour of the United States. On September 18 of that year they had just finished performing in Dallas, TX and were in for a well-deserved break. A rich rancher from Missouri named Reed Pigman had a nice little dude ranch in Alton, Missouri (see the Pigman story here). Pigman also had a charter plane and flew the Beatles into…
Read More
Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland – Calvert City, KY

Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland – Calvert City, KY

Adventure, Back Roads, Backroads Discoveries, Books, Car Art, Cross Country Road Trips, Family Travel, Found Metal Sculptures, Junk Art, Kentucky, Murals, Museums, Mythical Creatures, Offbeat Places, People Shots, Quirky Things, Roadside Attractions, Selfies, Street Art, Toy Collections, Unexpected Discoveries, Unique Houses, Unique Places, US Highway 68, Wanderlust, Yard Art
[caption id="attachment_19043" align="alignleft" width="300"] Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden[/caption] Down in southwestern Kentucky, Calvert City (near Paducah) there’s a little back road (actually US Highway 68) that takes you to a place called Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland. It is not necessarily what you would think of as a “garden,” but it is certainly hillbilly fun. And the toyland is amazing! I visited there in early February 2018 and had a real good time with the proprietor Keith Holt who, ironically, looks like a hillbilly! [caption id="attachment_19041" align="aligncenter" width="525"] Hanging with the fascinating Keith Holt[/caption] [caption id="attachment_18990" align="alignright" width="225"] Signs at Hillbilly Garden[/caption] I will tell you upfront, this place is not for everyone. Some people may look at it is a big junkyard. Others, like myself, look at it…
Read More
SPOILER!: Cover Art for Book 2 – Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions

SPOILER!: Cover Art for Book 2 – Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions

Adventure, Antsy McClain, Back Roads, Backroads Discoveries, Big John, Car Art, Cross Country Road Trips, Enchanted Highway, Giant Things, Less Beaten Paths Books, Minnesota, Offbeat Places, Oklahoma, Quirky Things, Roadside Attractions, Selfies, Texas, Travel Blogging, Unexpected Discoveries, Unique Places, Wanderlust
[caption id="attachment_18667" align="alignleft" width="225"] Big Cabin, OK[/caption] My second book - Less Beaten Paths of America: Offbeat and Quirky Roadside Attractions is currently being worked on.  My hope is to have it published by June 30. Like the first book, this will also be available for Kindle.  Unlike the first book, Volume Two will be chock full of COLOR photos from all over the U.S. and Canada and will include my fun stories about the dozens of quirky attractions I feature in the book.  It will definitely be a fun read!! GET BOOK ONE HERE IF YOU DON'T HAVE IT   The cover for the new book has just been completed.  Once again, this was nicely done by my good friend Antsy McClain.  The original photography is mine with some cute…
Read More
Get an Amazon Gift Card for Christmas? Try Out My New Book!

Get an Amazon Gift Card for Christmas? Try Out My New Book!

Adventure, Alabama, Alberta, Amish Country, Antsy McClain, Arizona, Arkansas, Books, California, Colorado, Cross Country Road Trips, Eateries, Family Travel, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Less Beaten Paths Books, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Offbeat Places, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Place Names, Post Offices, Quirky Things, Roadside Attractions, Roadsigns, Selfies, South Dakota, Staycations, Television Shows, Tennessee, Texas, Town Names, Travel Blogging, Travel with grandchildren, Unexpected Discoveries, Unique Eatery, Unique Places, Virginia, Wanderlust, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Looking for something fun to use that Amazon gift card on? How about a fun travel book? Read some of my first hand experiences visiting America’s Unique Named Towns!  Visit places like Tightwad, Uncertain, Boring, Oddville, Cool, Earth, Prosperity and many more! See more at http://amzn.to/2ks6fQZ
Read More
O is for Offbeat Oddities – #atozchallenge

O is for Offbeat Oddities – #atozchallenge

A to Z Challenge, Back Roads, Backroads Discoveries, Bucket List Trips, Cross Country Road Trips, Family Travel, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Mythical Creatures, New York, North Dakota, Offbeat Places, Oregon, Place Names, Post Offices, Roadside Attractions, Selfies, Texas, Unexpected Discoveries, Unique Places, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin
For me there is a difference between "Offbeat" and "Quirky."  I like to look at things that are offbeat as being similar to something conventional or recognizable, but just somewhat off.  On the other hand, quirky is closer to non-conventional and sometimes even absurd (my Q post will focus on Quirky). [caption id="attachment_783" align="aligncenter" width="529"] Oddville, Kentucky[/caption] When I am traveling I love looking at the beauty and nature around me, but I also seek out the offbeat and quirky.  One source I always use to help me find these locations is the Roadside America app. This app covers all 50 states and most of Canada and includes almost anything offbeat, odd, quirky and even downright outlandish and ridiculous. There are literally 1000s of sites and things to find and…
Read More
Roadside America Celebrates 20 Years on the Web today

Roadside America Celebrates 20 Years on the Web today

Backroads Discoveries, Big John, Bucket List Trips, Car Art, Cross Country Road Trips, Dream Highways, Enchanted Highway, Family Travel, Giant Things, Giant Twine Balls, Large Statues, Muffler Man, Museums, National Monuments, National Parks, Roadside Attractions, Unexpected Discoveries, Unique Places, Uniroyal Gal, Vintage Neon
My friends at Roadside America (www.roadsideamerica.com) are celebrating 20 years on the World Wide Web today (September 1, 2016.) [caption id="attachment_17149" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Home page from 1996 kickoff of Roadside America website[/caption] I have actually been using their site since the beginning and over the years have submitted stories, updates and photographs from my travels to the 50 United States and parts of Canada. [caption id="attachment_8762" align="alignnone" width="960"] Sumoflam and Big Fish in Bena, MN, one of the 1000s of sites covered[/caption] There are many travel sites on the web, but this, in my opinion, tops them all!! If there is a quirky, offbeat, unique roadside attraction on the back roads of America, chances are you can read about it and see photos on its site. I am honored to…
Read More
Finally Made It! All 50 US States – Sept. 2015

Finally Made It! All 50 US States – Sept. 2015

Alabama, Alaska, Antsy McClain, Arizona, Arkansas, Backroads Discoveries, Bakeries, BBQ Places, Big Cities, Bucket List Trips, California, Caves and Caverns, City Skylines, Colorado, Connecticut, Cross Country Road Trips, Delaware, Dream Highways, Eateries, Enchanted Highway, Family Travel, Farmland, Florida, Found Metal Sculptures, Geologic Formations, Georgia, Giant Things, Giant Twine Balls, Graffiti Walls, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indian Ruins, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Landscapes, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Murals, Museums, Mythical Creatures, National Monuments, National Parks, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Place Names, Rhode Island, Roadside Attractions, Rocky Mountains, Route 66, Selfies, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Travel Blogging, Travel with grandchildren, Unexpected Discoveries, Unique Eatery, Unique Houses, Unique Places, US Highway 101, US Highway 2, US Highway 212, US Highway 61, US Highway 89, Utah, Vermont, Vintage Neon, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Yard Art
WARNING-This is a long post. It took me nearly 59 years to get to all 50 states! [caption id="attachment_14144" align="alignleft" width="210"] Made it to State #50![/caption] On September 8, 2015, I set foot on the side of the road just north of Brattleboro, VT after we crossed over the Connecticut River from New Hampshire on Hwy 9. I got out and took a selfie of myself under a Welcome to Vermont sign.  I had finally set foot in my 50th US state...a nearly 59 year journey. Stay 3 or more nights & save up to 25% now! At participating hotels Following is a state by state chronicle of my nearly 59 year journey in order of states visited. [caption id="attachment_14142" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Four Corners - July 15, 1993[/caption] My 50…
Read More
Ten Really Obscure Quirky Places You May Have Never Heard Of

Ten Really Obscure Quirky Places You May Have Never Heard Of

#TBT, Alberta, Backroads Discoveries, Cross Country Road Trips, Dream Highways, Family Travel, Found Metal Sculptures, Giant Things, Illinois, Michigan, Murals, Mythical Creatures, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Roadside Attractions, Tennessee, Throwback Thursday, Unexpected Discoveries, Unique Houses, Unique Places, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Yard Art
[caption id="attachment_5742" align="alignleft" width="300"] Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas[/caption] Over the years I have traveled tens of thousands of miles of back roads across the United States (only missing Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont...they will be hit soon!).  Through all of these travels I have seen the many "famous" unique and quirky tourist spots like Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX (the one with all the Cadillacs in the ground), the giant Paul Bunyan and Blue Ox in Bemidji, MN, the Enchanted Highway in ND or the competing Eiffel Towers in Paris, TX and Paris, TN. [caption id="attachment_8772" align="alignright" width="300"] Paul Bunyan and Babe in Bemidji, MN[/caption] Among the 100s of places I have been, there are a few that really stand out to me and I would consider as future…
Read More
Going to California: Real Goods Solar in Hopland, CA

Going to California: Real Goods Solar in Hopland, CA

Backroads Discoveries, California, Car Art, Found Metal Sculptures, Giant Things, Large Statues, Place Names, Roadside Attractions, Selfies, Unexpected Discoveries, Unique Places, US Highway 101, Yard Art
[caption width="225" id="attachment_12961" align="alignleft"] Welcome to Real Goods[/caption]As I mentioned in my previous post, along the way to Red Bluff and Woodflock, we made a stop at Real Goods in Hopland, CA.  The place was so unique and fun that it deserved its own special blog post. The Real Goods Store got its start in 1978 with a focus on solar equipment. According to their website, the store was originally envisioned as a one-stop-shop where people could find everything they needed for their remote homesteads. The store began with the sale of the first retail solar panel in the United States and the humble goal of changing the world. [caption width="300" id="attachment_12951" align="alignright"] Setting up solar water heater on Hopi Reservation in 1990[/caption]This is of particular interest to me as…
Read More