A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Monday Mural - Chillicothe Missouri

   As I was slowly passing through downtown Chillicothe, Missouri I noticed a mural off to the side, pulled over and parked on the main street.  Walking back to get this photo I saw another mural, then another and ended up walking around the downtown area finding a huge assortment of the largest murals I've seen in a town.  Chillicothe was a gold mine of murals, enough material between it and Jud, North Dakota alone to keeping me going on Oakland Daily Photo Monday Mural for the rest of the year.

Now did you know Chillicothe was the home of sliced bread?  There is a tidbit of information you can impress friends with at the next party.  The streetlamp fits right in with the mural scene, but can't say so for the trash can or power supply box.

Longest Straight Road in America

Several states lay claim to having the longest straight road in the U.S.  Verifying who does and if it indeed is perfectly straight is somewhat difficult for even the slightest bend is a disqualifier.  At any rate I am not about to jump into the controversy.  This stretch of State Route 3 between Guyman and Boise City in Oklahoma was 50 miles straight as an arrow long with nary a car or truck on it.  

I stopped at one of only three intersecting roads for this picture.  I mean, it was something to stop for after mile upon mile of nothing else.

A mail box! 
Some poor soul of a rural carrier has to drive this road each day to deliver this guy's mail?

I took another while driving just for something to do.

I feel Oklahoma should promote this road as other states do with their "Longest Straight Road" claims.  After all, goofy guys like me will travel to your state just to drive your straight road.  In fact, if you look at a map of the Oklahoma panhandle, there is another road east of this, a continuation of Route 3 that appears to be nearly 80 miles long of straightness.   
Imagine having to paint those lines.

#2 is leading the poll on yesterday's photo question.  Thank you all for your input.  I'll let you know what I decide on and show it up on the wall.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I Would Like Your Input

While in what once was the Dustbowl of the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles I came across a scene pretty much what I was looking for.  I took 64 pictures of this scene from various vantage points and whittled the images down to these 6.  I want to make a print to hang at home and would value your input as to which one you would choose.  Other than converting to black & white and one sharpening step, these are right out of the camera.







I just realized after putting these up that 1 and 5 were taken from almost the same point, even though at different times as the clouds have changed and the sun peeked through in #5.  But I left them both here to confuse the issue all the more.

Thanks in advance for your input.

Museum of WalMart

   When in Bentonville, Arkansas I stopped to see where WalMart began and instead of making fun of it as I intended, I came away somewhat impressed.  Here is that original posting while there, and now I can show more of the birthplace of WalMart.

Sam Walton's original 5 & 10 store stands in this plaza off to the left where you see the white store front and red lettering.

When you walk in it is like stepping back in time with goods available for sale as they had in the 1950's and 60's at 2012 prices of course.  There were a whole lot of various candies to be had, many I thought they didn't make anymore.  Notice the Lincoln Logs, Slinky Dog, Etch-a-Sketch and Pez dispensers on the top shelf.  I had my eye on that Daisy pump-action BB gun but the $44.95 price tag moved me on.

It was overwhelming the amount of stuff they had in there.  The restroom in today's WalMart is larger than this little store is.  These phones and radios were cool looking.  Notice the Dick and Jane books and the Betty Crocker cookbooks. 

This Frigidaire refrigerator worked and had cold soda in period bottles inside just as you see sitting on top.

You walked through the small door in back to what once was the storage house and now serves as the museum to Sam Walton's vision.  A short video was playing in the adjoining theatre room.

Although I didn't take the time to view it all, it was well done and impressive.

Here is Sam's office.

And they even had his old Ford truck on display.  So was his wife's wedding dress but I didn't get a photo of it.  No flash allowed in the museum.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Twin Arrows

Twin Arrows Trading Post east of Flagstaff, Arizona on old Route 66

Now what little boy could resist seeing these and not getting daddy to stop the car?
The arrow shafts were made from telephone poles.

When the Interstate came through they hung in as long as they could but eventually closed business in 1998

The Navajo Indian Reservation is building a huge Las Vegas style casino/resort across the Interstate from this old site, which they will call Twin Arrows Casino.  The 200 million dollar facility is nearing completion and they are now hiring.  Get your resumes in.

There are rumors that the Navajo plan to restore the trading post as a tourist attraction and Indian market place.  Then you can drive across the overpass and lose your money in their slot machines.
But your money is going to a good cause if the rumor is accurate, so play those one-armed bandits.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fargo, North Dakota

As you recall I went to Fargo just to see the woodchipper from the movie FargoIf you missed that post click here.  Outside the tourist center was their "Walk of Fame", much like the sidewalk outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. 

I began walking around the large circle of cement squares, reading the names and thinking who are these people? (in the case of recent pop stars) or big deal (in the case of...well...big deal).  I was about to quit when all of a sudden I came upon this one. 
Cool!  Now were talking and I kept walking.

I so enjoyed watching his "People are Funny" shows.

As an adult I even more enjoyed "The Steve Allen Show".  We even went to see one show live.

And then there was this guy.  What can't be said about Tiny Tim? 
Well for starters, he forgot how to spell his first name.

And for all you grown-up Sesame Street kids

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jasper, Arkansas

Motorcycle Hanging Tree

I had a few disappointments on this trip of the weird and unusual and this is one of them.  Maybe it was due to it being at the end of the day.  Maybe it was because I had to make a long hard steep climb up a twisty narrow Ozark Mountain road for this one.  Maybe it was that Wayne needs to trim his tree some so we can get a good photo of the Japanese motorcycles he hung from his tree (Wayne was a Harley guy).  I looked at my map and it appeared I would be facing 14 more miles of this torturous of road if I continued on.  I turned and went back down the mountain the way I came and soon was on flat land once again.

I mentioned this before but I cannot go without saying it again.  The Ozarks in Arkansas provided some outstanding photo opportunities - shacks, shanties, rustic slap-together housing - and with absolutely no shoulder to pull off road onto, regardless of the size of vehicle you were driving.  It was extremely frustrating.
Maybe it was that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Trailer Trash Tuesday

   When on our travels I am always on the lookout for thrashed old travel trailers.  They make for great pictures and if the setting is right, all the better.  Some were too far off in the distance and I wasn't about to go traipsing across private property to get in close for a shot.  I saw a lot of regular mobile home trailers in a sorry state, but it was the oldies used for vacationing I was in the hunt for. 
Another problem was I think someone is living in there! and so I didn't take pictures of them.

Seen near Cheyenne, Wyoming

This is just a neat old trailer.  I like how it has a front and rear door, each that swings open in the opposite direction from the other.  And that large front window up front in what would be the "living room" where you could sit in your chair and look out just like at home.
These are two different images, I think I just stepped back a ways on this one.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Jud, North Dakota
On the side of their post office

This tiny town (pop.76) in the vastness of North Dakota got their paint brushes out and did most every wall in town with a mural.  It was one of my target points on the trip and when I realized how far out of my way I was driving to see this I thought this had better be worth it.  It was, and in more ways than one.

It got me to looking more closely for murals in other towns of the mid-west and I came home with enough mural photos for the rest of the year and then some.  Jud alone provided me with 36 images.  Don't worry, I'll be mixing them up in the weeks to come on every Monday Mural.

Check out Oakland Daily Photo to see other murals.


Sinbad, we're home - home!

 Really, it was Toto, we're home - home! and after I did the other post from the Land of Oz, I later thought I should have substituted Sinbad's name.  So here he gets the billing. 
Yes, we are now home.

We stopped at Stewart's Petrified Wood Shop outside of Holbrook, Arizona not for the petrified wood but for the photo ops there as the place was on my list.  As usual more times than I care to admit to, he was closed.  A woman there waiting said he was "Out to lunch".  After looking around the place I think he was in more ways than one. 

I did want to share with you some of the petrified wood he had for sale.  I've never seen specimens so large that they took up an entire pallet.  Yes, this is near the Petrified Forest National Park where gathering such items is illegal and carries a hefty fine.  But I came to learn that there are many places outside of the park boundaries where petrified wood can be found if you know where to go.

Here I sat my lens cap alongside for reference.

He had them priced with a piece of masking tape and the amount that had long since faded, and curled away in the hot Arizona sun.  You can see the bleached making tape in the first photo. This piece no doubt went for thousands.  Sometimes they are sold dollars per pound which may be the case with Stewart as a set of large scales sat nearby.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kingman, Arizona

The Powerhouse Information Center
It was closed.  My usual luck.  Too early.  See the morning sun reflection?  See my long shadow?  See the cleaning lady's broom?  She was inside on her hands and knees scrubbing the stairs.  Really.  But I wasn't here to go inside.  See the small white square to the right of the entry midway up the wall above her broom handle?  That was my objective.

Ever wonder what 3,333.333333333333333333333333333333 adinfinitum sea level looks like?
Here you are. That nail head.

Why thank you.  Your welcome.

Friday, September 21, 2012


We are in the deserts of Arizona, familiar territory, so we must be getting close to home. 

Here Sinbad is admiring the desert sunset. 

These fellows are in the foot-well right above Sinbad's head.  They have been there since Iowa? Kansas?  I don't remember when.  Quite a few miles at least.

But this is a new one I just noticed last night.  That is the vent for the hot water heater on the side.
Like Pete Kibble, there is a grasshopper hopping around on one leg somewhere in the mid-west.

Thank you everyone who's been following along on our journey.  But it is not over by any means.  I have lots of pictures to share and stories to tell for some time.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


   The main objective on this trip was the Plains States.  Slowly working our way home is taking us through New Mexico and Arizona.  I don’t have a list of the weird and unusual for them although I briefly checked for some at camp the other night where I had Internet.  What I thought I would do was seek out old signage that stills remains on Route 66 which parallels Interstate 40 most of the way.

Here is one of the first I spotted at Bluewater, New Mexico.  In case your wondering, this was taken early in the day using a polarizing filter and is straight out of the camera.

These signs are so cool and there are very few remaining, in fact at many locations it is the sign that is that there is left. They recall a period in our lives, before fast food and chain motels, that will be gone forever.  Someday sadly, these signs too will be no more.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Untold Story

There is more to yesterday's post.  I was excited to be in "No Man's Land" Oklahoma and view what I could of the dustbowl legacy.  In the little town of Goodwell was the No Man's Land Historical Museum which I could not wait to see.  As I rounded the corner I saw no cars in the parking lot, not a good sign.  But then, how many people would drive all the way out here to Nowhere for this?  I slowly drove past the front and was elated to see the OPEN sign on the door.  I parked, got my shoes on, grabbed some money and my camera, told Sinbad who was asleep, I'll be be back and rushed up to the door.  It was locked.  "Closed Sunday and Monday".

Some idget forgot to turn the sign around!  I was heartbroken.  I looked through the door window, walked around the side, came back and sat on the planter box, head hanging low wondering how this can be.  I was also wondering too if someone might come by, see me sitting there, see the California license plate and stop say "Let me make a call, we can let you in" but that didn't happen. Sadly I got into the Little House on the Highway and drove away.

I continued on, found a few good photo ops that lifted my spirit and made my way to the Boise City Museum.  Of course being Sunday, they were closed too.  This museum didn't look to offer as much but they would be open on Monday.  So I took this photo and left thinking I'd not return.
By the way, I've seen enough dinosaurs on this trip to last me a long time and I still have Arizona to go through and those people on old Route 66 are dinosaur statue crazy to get you to stop.

But as you know from yesterday's post I did go back.  The "museum" had a whole back area I wasn't aware of.  The lady turned me loose back there to wander about as I pleased.  They did have a small dustbowl section in the far back corner.  Looks like a thrift store doesn't it?

As the lady was telling me how to get to the last remains of the dust, I picked up a pamphlet on the No Man's Land Museum I missed out on.  Later that evening in camp I looked through that pamphlet.  Here is some of what they had in their museum - folk-art, exhibits on their history and economy, an arrowhead collection, a barbed wire collection, antique quilts, the first printing press to cross the Mississippi, a photo gallery of all of their Pioneer Day Queens and on and on but NOTHING about the dustbowl!!  Do I need to tell you how happy I was after reading that?