A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Monday Mural - Julio

Alpine, Texas

The month of July is here, what better time to show off this beauty from the west Texas town of Alpine.

An enlargement of the fine print

For more Monday Murals go to Oakland Daily Photo

Last Week's Flea Market Find

I go to our local flea market/swap meet most every Sunday morning usually just to look.  As one seller mentioned to me This place is a circus.  Yes the people there, buyers and sellers alike, are interesting.  I rarely buy anything but last week when I saw this, I wanted it.  The only problem was I didn't know if I had the wall space in my study for it.  I walked around a bit more thinking about it some, went back and bought it for $10.  I didn't even haggle the lady on the price for I felt it was a steal.  
The 26x32 antique gold frame with green felt matting alone would exceed that. 

A print of a map of the New World as it was known in 1587.  
Everything is in Latin so I can only guess for most of it.

Now I need to find a place for the cow skull with horns that was hanging there before.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jayne Mansfield

Slidell, Louisiana

It was 47 years ago tonight, at 2:25 in the morning, that Jayne Mansfield lost her life in a traffic accident on this lonely stretch of Highway 90 east of the Rigolets Bridge in Louisiana.  She was enroute to New Orleans for an early morning television interview having just concluded an engagement the evening before in Biloxi, Mississippi.

A large semi-truck and trailer had slowed down for a smaller truck that was spraying mosquito fogger.  The car plowed into and underneath the truck instantly killing the three adults in the front seat.  Jayne's 3 children lying down in the back seat survived with minor injuries.

Despite Jayne's public sex symbol image as a dumb blonde bombshell, largely a product of the movie and entertainment industry, Jayne had a high IQ and spoke five different languages.  She was 34 at the time and today little is left to remember her by, her movies long since forgotten.  
She doesn't even have a memorial at the death site.  I thought that sad.

 The accident scene was so horrific (there are gruesome photos on the Internet) that the National Traffic Safety Administration soon thereafter made it mandatory that all trucks be outfitted at the rear with a under-ride bar or bumper.  To this day it is still know as the Mansfield Bar.  So next time you are driving down the highway behind a big rig truck you will see this and think of Jayne Mansfield.

Friday, June 27, 2014

New River Gorge Bridge and National River

Fayetteville, West Virginia

Crossing the New River this was for a long time the longest steel single-span arch bridge in the world.  Now it is number 4, but still number one in the western hemisphere.  

One can walk down 176 steps (yes I counted them) to get an even better view of the bridge.  You can see a portion of the staircase in the above photo.  Of course this means you have to climb back up those 176 steps.  This puts off a lot of people from making the trek.  The Park Service even had warning signs at the top advising one about not doing the descent if you had certain health conditions, followed by a long list of conditions of concern.
There was no mention of mental issues so I proceeded on.  

The New River Gorge National River is a popular white water rafting and rock climbing location.  The river itself is called the New River for it wasn't known to early Atlantic Coast explorers.  Whereas most rivers flow east or south, the New River flows northwestward from North Carolina crossing the Appalachian Mountains, through Virginia and West Virginia.  It eventually winds up in the Mississippi River which empties into the Gulf of Mexico.  And get this, it is the third oldest river in the world geologically.  Maybe it needs a name change.

On the third Saturday of every October is "Bridge Day" and the bridge is closed to traffic.  They hold a big "Bridge Festival" where crazy people rappel down, ascend up or jump off (BASE jumping) with parachutes.  Oddly though, Bungee jumping has been banned since 1993.

The area was heavily logged a long time ago but it is slowly recovering over the years.

It was time to climb the 176 steps back to the parking area.   While climbing and counting I thought about my friend that I met from North Carolina a few hours earlier (the blog post of two days ago).  He would not have been able to go to the lower levels and I feel sorry for people I meet like that.  Yet I admire their desire and ambition to travel and do what they can despite their limitations.  So many people would choose simply to stay home.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Good Cemetary Fences

Beaufort, North Carolina

I went to the cemetery in Beaufort searching for several weird and unusual graves.  I didn't find them.
But to not come away empty handed I got the Beaufort Cemetery fence for Good Fences.

How would you like to have to paint this fence?  Notice the drip marks on the sidewalk.

Check out TexWisGirl's GOOD FENCES for more fence fotos.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Grand View

Grandview, West Virginia

  When we crossed the border into West Virginia I stopped at their Welcome Center.  I asked the young man at the center what I should see while travelling through his state.  He said that I should go to Grandview which was only 6 miles away from Little Beaver State Park.  So go we did just that the following morning.  Well I could see how they came by the name for the overlook at the high cliff did provide a grand view.

My first thought was that millions of years from now this could be another Grand Canyon. 
I'll have to go back and check on that in the future.

There is a scene in the canyonlands of Utah called Dead Horse Point that looks very similar to this.  
Just scrape away all the trees and replace it with red rock desert.

Give it time.

You can see the train tracks hugging the river bank in the above photos.  
Finally a train load with coal came by.  It looked like a miniature train set

This gentleman arrived with me during that early morning hour.  He was from North Carolina and on his way home after taking care of some "family stuff in Wisconsin" as he put it.  He was driving a car and taking his dear sweet time going home, seeing all there was to see along the way.  He asked me how I liked my View (the motor home).  He told me he was thinking about getting something like that as his wife had died a few years back and was now "free to travel".  That made me wonder if she didn't like to travel or what?  I didn't ask although he left the door open for me to do so.  Sometimes I just don't ask about things that I feel I may later regret asking.  Some sad story that would hang with me all day long.  I'd guess he was around my age but it was a real slow effort for him to get around with the assistance of his cane.  I wished him a safe trip home and hoped he gets to live his dream as I am.

Update on yesterday's blogger issue, it seems that the problem is widespread among other bloggers too.  The blogger forum states "they are working on it".   I'll remain patient.

edit: It is a new day and blogger is fixed!  All is right in the world once again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

World's Smallest Police Station plus Help Wanted

Carabelle, Florida

If you have been a regular follower of my blog over the years then you'll know these are the things I search out on during our travels.

I know the reflections are really bad on this but if you are interested in the story behind this police station I think you can make it out well enough.  

I had to take the pictures from the outside of the police station standing in the doorway.
There wasn't enough room inside for me to take pictures, that's how small it was.

Help Wanted
On an unrelated topic, Blogger is acting up on me.  I haven't been able to access the list of blogs I follow to see your latest postings.  My reading list displays just one blog, the one with the most recent posting, and clicking on the View More doesn't change things.  Reloading the page doesn't change anything.  Shutting everything down and starting up doesn't change anything.  It's been like this for over a day now.  Anyone else experiencing this?  It's not my computer for my travel laptop is showing the same thing.  Any suggestions on how to fix it?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Monday Mural - Welcome to Potter

Potter, Nebraska
pop. 337 (2010)
size: .46 sq. miles (1.10 km sq.)

This mural appeals to me in it's simplicity.
Also the angry buffalo, and they have good reason to be too.

For more Monday Murals visit Oakland Daily Photo

The Future is in Casa Grande

Casa Grande, Arizona

The first and only one of these I have ever seen, and in Casa Grande of all places.  Casa Grande is kind of like in the middle of Nowhere Arizona.  Well I suppose most towns in Arizona you could say are in the middle of Nowhere, but a charging station here?  Casa Grande has a population of roughly 49,000 and is kind of midway between Phoenix and Tucson.  Maybe a Tesla car cannot make the distance between Phoenix and Tuscon without a boost charge. 

I'll just keep my Little House on the Highway in the background.  I can fill it up and get back on the road while the battery is still charging in the the Tesla.  I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?
And, what does it cost?

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Driving Interstate 80 through the lower portion of Wyoming it is just a matter of sitting back, putting in the miles, enjoy the scenery and be thankful you don't have to live here.  It seems the cold blustery wind never ceases until you drop down into Utah.

This always fascinated me.  Wind-whipped draperies of pouring rain at various spots and dry as a bone in between.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Hatteras Ocracoke Ferry

Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

Once we pulled off of the Cedar Island Ferry we were in the little touristy town of Ocracoke.  It was too early for the tourist season as many of the shops were closed.  It was a neat little town with a lot of colorful fisherman shacks providing many photo opportunities.  But driving a small house along a road barely two lanes wide, it just wasn't possible to pull over and park anywhere.  I even had the foresight to pull off to the side in the loading area to allow everyone behind us on the ferry to get in front so we could just poke along, all to no avail.

The island portion of Cape Hatteras was only 14 miles long where we reached the end of the road and another ferry ride.  This ferry was free and only 55 minutes in length.  But getting on it was an ordeal itself; a true trial of one's patience.  It was only after four ferry boat departures and three hours of waiting that we finally got on.  During the waiting period I learned that a couple of the campers at the head of the line when we arrived had been waiting two days.  I found that hard to believe.  But later that day in camp the ranger lady told me we were lucky to get on when we did for sometimes the ferries are not even running for whatever reasons.  I was done with ferry rides anyway, now and in the future.

This cruise for some reason had strong currents in a certain section got us rocking and rolling fairly well.  They even told the passengers to return to their cars and stay put.  Maybe that is why some days they don't run at all, as this day was quite calm yet it got "interesting".  I can imagine what a day with some "weather" would cause a fully loaded ferry to do.  The camera was sitting on the dash of the Little House on the Highway for this video so all movement is the boat itself.  Queasy people can skip this and move on to the next video.

Some may wonder how Sinbad fared on the ferry rides, as did Felicia at Raggedy Creations.  Well at the end of this very short video (37 secs.) of my enjoying the Cedar Island Voyage from the comfort of the driver's seat, you can see what Sinbad of the Seven Seas thinks of ocean travel.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mystery Good Fences

Cedar Island, North Carolina

While waiting for our ferry departure the following day
I was able to get a couple fence shots for Good Fences.
I wasn't sure of the purpose was for this fence - keep the ocean back from the sand or keep the sand back from the ocean.

A so-so version in black and white

Inland, back where we camped for the night stood the Fence For No Reason.
It was open field off to the right out of view in this photo and behind me.

The other side were these long ago put in place fence posts with no rope, cables or anything.
And the wind never ceased to blow as you can see by the white-caps on the ocean.

For some Good Fences that serve a purpose go to TexWisGirl's Good Fences

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cedar Island Ferry pt.2

So while walking around exploring, whiling away the afternoon, I met a few of the locals.

I am not a horse person but I thought these were quite pretty with their long hair and thick coats.  
I was wondering if that was typical of the breed of horse 
or just the fact they lived there along the cold Atlantic coast.

I wanted to touch it, but I didn't.  
I helped it back out to deeper water with the aid of a stick. 

 This may seem impressive that I found him walking along the beach.  
Truth was I found him belly up in the sand, dead to the world.  I posed him for this shot.  
I thought it odd that the gulls hadn't made lunch of him yet.

One of the locals that I was just fine with the fact that I was 296 years too late in meeting.

This video is a tour of the ferry boat itself.  

Cost for the ferry was $30 as the Little House on the Highway is 23 feet long.   A car up to 20 feet is $15, motorcycle is $10, bicycle $3 and a pedestrian $1.  Anything over 40 feet is $45.
The 23 mile long voyage takes 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cedar Island Ferry

Cedar Island, North Carolina

Travelling up the east coast I made the decision to stay as far east as possible.  This meant driving along Cape Hatteras which entailed a couple of ferry boat rides.  Cool!
When I pulled up to the terminal hardly anyone was in line.  Great, I thought.  I was soon to learn otherwise.  First off, there was no line for I had just missed the 10:30am ferry.

Second was you had to have reservations.  If not, you were directed over into the stand-by lanes where you will get on if there is room.

Third was one ferry had broke down so they were operating at reduced capacity.  I was told that the next departure was 1pm and "You might get on, if not, you surely will be able to get on the last ferry of the day at 4:30pm." 

So this gave me time to think about things as I walked around exploring and taking pictures.  If we didn't make the next ferry, the last one will put us over on the other side too late with no place to stay.  I wanted to leisurely drive the Cape enjoying the sights.  Not make a mad dash through it trying to get to some place where, I didn't know.   I decided if we didn't make the 1pm ferry we'd stay the night and get on the first ferry in the morning at 7am.

There was a campground right next to the terminal.  It looked to be little used and cost $15.  And what would I get for staying there except electricity which I didn't need.

One was supposed to go across the road to this creepy motel to pay for a camp spot.  No one was around and it looked like maybe only a couple of the rooms were in any condition to be rented out.  Naturally those rooms were right next to the office.  Think the Bates Motel with Norman Bates peeping through the hole in the bathroom wall.  Psycho.

The ferry people said I could park right there for the night and that is what we ended up doing for there was no room for us on the 1pm ferry.

We got on the morning ferry as promised and here is a video of a small part of the 23 mile journey.
A word of caution: You may want to take some Dramamine before watching.

more tomorrow

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Monday Mural - On the Trail

Alpine, Texas

This is a wonderfully done mural.  I like the soft pastel shades to it.  I've spotlighted the focal point of the mural here as it is pretty neat how the artist has the main subject stepping out of frame.

Even with the offending car ("Now where are my Parking Tickets?")
 the mural in its entirety is pretty cool.

This is linked the Oakland Daily Photo's Monday Mural