A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Monday Mural

Dawson, Georgia

The R.E. McDowell & Co. Farming Implements brick wall was in such sad shape that the artist took the easy way of doing his mural on seven panels which were attached to the wall.

Notice all the rubble on the ground.  I had no idea where it came from.
Also R.E. McDowell & Company had long since moved on to greener pastures. 

For more murals check out Oakland Daily Photo Monday Mural

Sunday Signs

Seen on the turn of a little back road in eastern Oklahoma.

If their slogan and the name of their business weren't enough, I just love the names of the owners.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Billy Tripp's Mindfield

Brownsville, Tennessee

Yesterday I mentioned about sometimes asking myself "Why did I come see this?"  Well this is one I really did ask that question.  But you just never know until you arrive.
This guy is definitely a few degrees off center. 

The view from across the street. 

He's got some message he wants to get across to you, but whatever that message is I don't know except that not all of his groceries are packed in the same bag.

Here is a message almost lost among all the steel work.  I didn't see it.  
It didn't matter as I wasn't wandering around in his "mindfield".

The view from the back of the lot. 

I don't think the residents of Brownsville think that much of this but the birds like it.  
This was the only part that made me feel good about being here.

Lots of places to build your home.

The poor barber in front must have had some problems in the past. 

Coming to Brownsville wasn't a total waste for I did get to see the movable hen house.
Click here for that post.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Wee Bit of Ireland in Texas

Shamrock, Texas

A couple days ago I posted about my dilemma as whether it is better to travel the South during tornado season or hurricane season.  Seeing things like this only complicates the decision making process.

Well folks, it was intentionally built this way to attract the attention of travelers on Interstate 40 which cuts across the panhandle of Texas.  A few more miles down the interstate lies the town of Shamrock, my point of interest that afternoon.  There they have a genuine piece of stone from the ruins Blarney Castle, Ireland.

Now you may be asking yourself why he would go out of his way to see this?  That is okay, sometimes I find myself asking the very same question.  I could say "because its there" but more to the truth is it is the fun in the hunt.
No I didn't kiss the Blarney Stone.  I don't even want to think of all the lips that touched that thing.

But in the process of the hunt sometimes I come across a bonus that is even better than why I came to the town in the first place, something which I didn't know was there.

As the story goes about the Blarney stone, the arrival of the stone to Shamrock in 1959 was so important to the towns people that the mayor called out the Texas Highway Patrol and Texas National Guard who supposedly positioned a machine gun atop the drug store to safeguard the chunk of rock as it was wheeled through town.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Run of '89

El Reno, Oklahoma

At noon on that day there were an estimated 50,000 taking off to claim unassigned land in what now makes up five counties in Oklahoma.   By sundown of that day Oklahoma City and Guthrie had established cities with around 10,000 people.  The building of homes began immediately.  By the second week schools had opened with volunteer teachers paid by the settlers until school districts were established.  Within one month Oklahoma City had five banks and six newspapers.

The scene today...

...and how it was on that day in 1892.

Some people cheated by entering the unoccupied area early and hiding there until the legal time of entry then laid claim to some of the choicest spots.  Naturally legal contests arose from this.  These cheaters were known as "Sooners".  The University of Oklahoma sports teams go by the name "Sooners".
Not saying the Oklahoma college football team are cheaters.

We stayed the night in El Reno.  Two months later an F5 tornado swept through just south of town.  It was 2.6 miles wide, the widest tornado on record in the United States.

When planning our trip through the South I had the choice of going during tornado season or hurricane season.  I selected tornado for they don't last as long and cover a much smaller area than does a hurricane.  Then all that stuff happened in Oklahoma and beyond mere weeks after being there.  I want to go back through the South next year and am now second guessing my logic.  You get more advanced warning with a hurricane.  Oh what to do?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

#1000 & Road Trips

Somewhere in Georgia

Number 1000.  That is what the odometer of my blog reads now.  This in the one thousandth post I have made to this blog.  I set this blog up back in July 2007 in anticipation of living out my dream.  A couple months later we sold our old 1972 Winnebago and bought the Little House on the Highway.  Then in November of that year I took my second trip (the first one was just a shakedown run) in our new-to-us motor home and made the first post to this blog.  The rest as they say is history.

When I was a young boy I always dreamed of traveling the country, exploring this great land of ours.  As I grew older my dreams expanded to traveling the world and seeing other countries.  I did some of that despite my anxiety with flying.  Then came 9/11 and the world became a different place.  Several years later I retired.  Now with all the time I need to go wherever I desire without the trauma and hassle of air travel, I hung up my parachute.  I realized that traveling the roads of America was all I ever really wanted.  Reading books like Steinbeck's Travels with Charley and William Least Heat Moon's Blue Highways showed me that there's nothing wrong with narrowing my horizons.  A person could spend a lifetime traveling America and never cross the same road twice.

Thoreau said "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you've imagined."
I feel very fortunate in being able to do just that.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Battle at Shiloh

Shiloh, Tennessee

By the time we reached the battlefield at Shiloh, Tennessee, I pretty much had my fill of misery and death resulting from the War Between the States.  Like at Vicksburg Mississippi, Andersonville Georgia and the other Civil War sites there was an auto tour route you could drive.  Shiloh's was nearly 13 miles long with 20 stops.  All along the way were interpretive signs and monuments.  After awhile one gets pretty well monumented out.  This though was one of the more detailed pieces.

The key to Shiloh was Pittsburg Landing.  The Union forces controlled the Tennessee River and were able to unload troops and supplies at this spot.  Early on in the conflict the Confederate forces were able to drive the Union Army back to the banks of the river.  Thousands congregated here and refused to fight anymore (Yeah!) while reports of disasters filtered in from the field.  Later in the day Union reinforcements appeared on the opposite shore and throughout the night additional troops poured in by steamboat and road - 24,000 in all.  Revitalized, the Union forces moved in on the Confederate Army and the tide turned against the Rebels.

The losses on both sides of the conflict were tremendous.  The Confederate dead were so much that mass graves were created in trenches within the landscape.  This is just one of several mass graves.

The Battle at Shiloh lasted two days and in that short period of time 23,746 men were killed, wounded or missing - more casualties than America had suffered in all previous wars.  Nothing can really give you an idea as to how horrible this battle was but this may in one small way.

 And here is Bloody Pond today.  Hard to picture isn't it?

 At the end of the auto tour you drove by the cemetery.  I couldn't take anymore, snapped a picture through the trees and drove on down the road to hopefully a happier site on my list of things to see.

Incidentally, the Biblical meaning for the name Shiloh..."peace".

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Monday Mural

Newmark, Arkansas

 Do click on the photo to better see what are scenes depicting the life and times of Newmark.

You may wonder why this mural, that at one time must have been quite stunning is now in such bad shape.  Well the answer lies in the fact the entire town was in bad shape.  This is their Main Street.  Not a single business existed.  On around the corner in the distance the "business district" continued, all abandoned.  Only a couple stores had stuff inside which appeared to be storage and nothing more.  Another very sad example of small town America withering away.  
Look again in the top photo and you can see a small stage off to the right.  No doubt the little town once held some entertainment gatherings and social functions but no more.

1937 Hudson Terraplane

Seen at last week's flea market (where I am this morning) parked near where I parked.  
The owner has done this car right simply by leaving it alone in all of its splendor of original patina. 

Spot light up top, siren on the fender, this was the cop car of it's time.

As I approached it an elderly couple asked if it was mine.  I was about to ask them the same thing thinking it may have been the car they honeymooned in.  As I stood there a woman with her young daughter asked me if I minded her taking a picture of it with her little girl standing next to it.  For a dollar.

Air conditioned too.  On the steering column was a small fan aimed at the driver also.
Interior was all original and in great condition.
How many of you had a car with curb feelers?

Look closely and you will be able to see fake bullet holes.  They are decals but realistically looking enough that I had to run my fingers over one.  The top photo you can see some also.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Capture of Jefferson Davis

Irwinville, Georgia

Jefferson Davis served in the US Senate for three terms representing his home state of Virginia.  He even was appointed Secretary of War by President Franklin Pierce.  But when the War Between the States broke out  Davis took the oath of office as President of the Confederacy.  Then when Virginia fell to Union forces, Davis and his cabinet members journeyed south.  

When I arrived at the site, I thought this was the home where he was captured.  Well come to find out this was built in 1939 as a memorial to interpret the history of his capture on May 10, 1865, a date when many feel the Civil War actually ended.

No, it was off in the woods at their camp where Union soldiers came upon them.

Here is a plaque telling of the events leading up to it.  I read these things at battlefields and the like and when done, in most cases I have no idea what happened - who did what to whom, coming from someplace going somewhere else.  This one isn't too bad but some leave me scratching my head.
Just glad their are no quizzes to take.

Here is another if you care to work your way through it.

Anyway, old Jeff was taken to a fortress, held prisoner for two years without a trail and then released.  He and his family traveled to Canada and Europe for a couple of years eventually returning to Biloxi, Mississippi.   There he retired, wrote his memoirs and died in 1889 in New Orleans.  While in prison his citizenship was stripped away for 111 years until 1978 when President Jimmy Carter re-instated it.

The site where the above mention of the two Union Calvary groups were shooting at each other resulted in the senseless deaths of two young men, 18 and 21 years of age.

And the same silliness continues today.

Friday, June 21, 2013

World's Largest Peanut

Ashburn, Georgia

This monument is billed as the World's Largest Peanut.  
Roasted in 1975, it celebrates Turner County's most important agriculture product.

I've seen enough of these sites claiming to be the World's Largest...or smallest, longest, shortest...or whatever the case may be, that I begin to get skeptical, especially when the same oddity starts showing up in other places.  Yet in spite of my doubts this is indeed, certifiably, the largest nut there is, or so I am led to believe.

Kind of looks like a fat lady wearing a tight fitting burlap sack.

 The lights on the crown are just reflectors but a couple of flood lights situated on the ground do illuminate the big goober at night.
Now if only rotated...

Happy first day of Summer.  Enjoy your winter Australia.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Abandoned Home

Near the Sunflower River between Ruleville and Cleveland Mississippi

Only this chair remained waiting for its owner to return someday.