Travel in Green

HeyJude at Travel Words has a Life in Colour Photo Challenge 2021, and the theme for March is green. Here’s my gallery of green:

The Changing Seasons: September 2020 – Beauty and Weirdness

Marilyn Armstrong of Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth has taken over a monthly challenge called The Changing Seasons.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month. To join in, you can either:
 1. post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month. Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots. 
2.  post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month. Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

In either case, tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them. One thing that won’t change though. Include a ping-back to Marilyn’s post, and she will update it with links to everyone else’s.

Marilyn says, “For those of us who have participating in this challenge for years … since the first years when Baron Guzman ran the challenge, I think we have our own style on how to make this work. I could never use a single picture. I’m too indecisive. Especially given the rapidly changing climate we are experiencing, I think this is an important challenge.” Ditto for me about indecisiveness! So here’s my September photo gallery: Visits to kitschy or pretty places in our area (because we can’t travel), flowers, and season changes were the things that characterized September 2020.

Recycling styrofoam at Dart Co. in Aurora; sculpture called “Solitude”; Mr. Eggwards (Humpty Dumpty doppelganger); sunflowers at Cantigny estate in Wheaton; Tribune magnate McCormick’s house at Cantigny; outdoor BBQ stove at my niece’s house in Evanston; 4 silos surrounding Inverness Town Hall; Black Lives Matter billboard (a little bit of sanity in an area full of Trump signs on lawns); all that’s left of a factory in Grayslake, now in the middle of a park; kitschy Egyptian copies of statues & pyramid in Wadsworth, officially known as “Gold Pyramid House” (the pyramid isn’t gold right now because they had a fire); hibiscus flower after rain; rare red flower called “cardinal flower” (it disappeared within a day or two); zinnias in my garden; mini petunias in my garden; tree branches on the campus of our community; katydid (I feel an affinity – we share a name!); sunset in a nearby suburb; another sunset in a nearby suburb; West Lake (pond on the campus here) with its many ducks – most of them young adults (a few months ago most of them were ducklings).

Getting Our Kicks with Missouri Kitsch (Day 8-Part 1)

June 15, 2018

The previous night, before dinner and the big thunderstorm, we drove through Springfield to see the Gillioz Theatre at 325 Park Central East, which is also the historic Route 66, brand new in 1926 when the theater was built. It was one of the first theaters to introduce “talkies” to the Midwest in 1928 and was restored in 2006 to its original Spanish Colonial Revival design.
Our hotel in Springfield, Missouri, Best Western Rail Haven, was filled with features of the bygone days of Route 66, including this ’57 Chevy.20180615_09194520180615_091726
The office looked like it was designed in the 1950s and the breakfast area resembled an old-fashioned diner.

Our room’s bathroom was fitted with vintage fixtures.
It was only after we were on the road today that I read about a few things we had missed in the Joplin area of Missouri, which we had already passed:

Precious Moments Chapel, 4321 S. Chapel Rd., Carthage, MO; 1-800-543-7975
The true meaning of kitsch, this chapel was designed by the creator of Precious Moments porcelain figurines, Samuel Butcher.

Thomas Hart Benton Mural & Exhibit, in Joplin City Hall at 602 S. Main St.; 1-800-657-2534. Called Joplin at the Turn of the Century, 1896-1906, it was the Missouri artist’s final work. Other public art in Joplin features scenes of Route 66, by different artists.


After we checked out of the hotel, we headed to Fantastic Caverns (4872 N. Farm Road 125, Springfield, MO), Missouri’s largest caverns. This cavern was used as a speakeasy in the 1920s and a country music theater in the 1960s & 1970s. Now it offers 50-minute tram tours which highlight cave features. 20180615_103655.jpgIn a large open room of the cave, we were shown a video of the history of the cavern and its discovery.

Question: What is the difference between a cave and a cavern?
Answer: Nothing. They are two names for the same thing.

The first explorers of the caverns was a group of women, in 1876. They left the first – and only – “graffiti” – here!


A group of young people were traveling with their dog and brought him (or her) along on the tour, which I thought was an odd thing to do. What if he got scared? What if she jumped out? But none of that happened. With the calm coaxing of his owners, he settled down and mostly slept.


I did not realize at the time that we were near Wilson ‘s Creek Battlefield, (6424 W. Farm Road 182, Republic, MO) the site of the first major Civil War battle west of the Mississippi (1861). Over 2,500 men perished there. I definitely would have wanted to stop there if I’d known, because it is a National Historic Site and therefore part of the National Park Service. There is a 5-mile self-guided auto tour and a museum.

Back on Route 66 again, which parallels I-44, we headed toward St. Robert, to find the Devils Elbow Bridge, (I-44 Exit 163, south to Hwy Z/Route 66 and south to Teardrop Rd.) However, before we reached the bridge, we arrived at one of the most kitschy and bizarre places on our route! Uranus, Missouri is the home of the Uranus Fudge Factory and Sideshow.
This was obviously a place created specifically for travelers on Route 66. You can watch a short video about Uranus on their web site. However, I think our photos do it just as much justice (except we didn’t go into the fudge factory).

A lot of weird, seemingly unrelated objects crowd near the entrance – a dinosaur, an old-fashioned police car, a weather vane, a double-decker bus, a rocket.

The “town” is just a strip mall of connected buildings designed to look like an Old West town. There’s a freak show, a “museum”, a gun range, a general store, a restaurant, and of course, the fudge shop.

Entertainment for the whole family! Plus some rather humorous signs.

If you like bizarre places, you MUST visit Uranus, Missouri – the height of kitsch!

Stay tuned for Getting Our Kicks Day 8-Part 2!








Getting Our Kicks with Route 66 Kitsch (Day 7, Part 2)

June 14, 2018

Catoosa, OK has at least 3 attractions worth stopping for:

Interested in river history?
Arkansas River Historical Society Museum, 5350 Cimarron Rd., Catoosa, OK

Ready for a hike and a picnic?
Redbud Valley Nature Preserve, 16150 Redbud Dr., Catoosa, OK

Want to see something kitschy (hokey) that has even appeared on a TV commercial?
Blue Whale, 2600 N. Hwy 66, Catoosa, OK
Yes, this is the one we chose to visit!
This historic, restored Route 66 roadside attraction is no longer open for swimming, but it is open for visiting, picnicking, and of course, taking pictures!
There were a couple of families there when we arrived and we saw that the children were dressed in their bathing suits. I pointed out to one of the moms that swimming is prohibited here. She said she knew that but that they were going to “the pool” afterwards.
There are also restrooms…

Picnic tables…
The wreck of an old boat and mushrooms, neither of which seem to have any use whatsoever…

Conclusion: The Blue Whale is an altogether kitschy place, a must-see on Route 66!

We breezed through Claremore, passing up these attractions:
Belvidere Mansion, 121 N. Chickasaw, Claremore, OK – 3-story Victorian mansion built in 1907.
Will Rogers Memorial Museum, 1720 W. Will Rogers Blvd., Claremore, OK – 12-gallery museum containing “extensive & comprehensive collection of art & artifacts pertaining to the inspiring life of Will Rogers.”
J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum, 330 N. J.M. Davis Blvd., Claremore, OK – world’s largest privately owned gun collection with more than 50,000 items. (Darn! I’m sorry I missed this one, although I might have said something offensive about gun ownership and the NRA while there.)

Foyil, Oklahoma is a bit off the beaten track, even off Route 66, but Ed Galloway Totem Pole Park at 21300 Hwy 28A (use your GPS to find it!) is an absolute must-see as one of the kitschiest places I have ever been! Our Oklahoma Route 66 booklet told us about this place: “Listed on National Register of Historic Places, this park’s eccentric totem poles, sculptures & a unique building are a long-time Route 66 icon.”

The building referred to was built with 11 sides and originally was the folk artist’s home, called the “Fiddle House.” It is now a gift shop, which was closed when we got there.

Admission is free – you can just wander the grounds and look at Galloway’s work – and the centerpiece is “The World’s Largest Totem Pole.” I don’t know if this claim is accurate: I saw some very large totem poles in Alaska and British Columbia, but the claim probably draws people to the place.
The “World’s Largest” Totem Pole? Perhaps because of that “antenna” on top…
One thing I can say about it – it definitely is unique!
Lots of whimsical birds…
Sandstone lioness, carving by Ed Galloway, c. 1915, donated by his grandson, Gary Galloway. It looks as though it had colorful paint on it at one time.
There’s a picnic area here, too.


The next place I was sorry to miss was the Cable Creek Civil War Battle Site, just off Route 66 on Hwy 28E in Adair, Oklahoma. By this time, it was late afternoon and we were due in Springfield, Missouri by evening.

dsc05993.jpgWe did stop in Miami, OK long enough to take a few photos of the Coleman Theatre (103 N. Main St., Miami, OK), which was originally a vaudeville theatre and movie palace. Its exterior architecture is Mission/Spanish Revival style.


Further down Main St. is Waylan’s Ku-Ku Burger joint (915 N. Main, Miami, OK), originally a fast-food chain in the 1960s. Everything is cooked to order and they supposedly have delicious burgers and frozen desserts.
Also in Miami is Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum (128 S. Main St.) which includes over 100 personal items of Evel Knievel, including the super van he used for his Snake River Canyon jump. It also has a large gift shop.

Miami is just south of the border between Oklahoma and Kansas. Route 66 passes through the southeast corner of Kansas, through the town of Galena. In Galena, KS is the Brush Creek Bridge (5.4 miles west of Galena, via SR 66 off SE Beasley Road, which is the historic Route 66). It was built in 1923 in the “Marsh Arc Rainbow” style and is the last of its kind on Route 66. It carried traffic on the 66 from 1926 to 1961, when it was bypassed by the new Interstate 44, but it is still drivable via a one-way road. Below are two photos of the bridge, at left, photo by Guy Randall; at right, by Local Ozarkian Photography; both downloaded from Google Images.

Entering Missouri, we did NOT see the Thomas Hart Benton Mural & Exhibit in City Hall in Joplin, the only autobiographical mural by this Missouri artist (602 S. Main St., Joplin, MO, 800-657-2534). There are other Route 66 related murals at the same location (click on link above).

If you are into knick-knacks, there is the Precious Moments Chapel, at 4321 S. Chapel Road in Carthage, MO, (800-543-7975), which was created by artist Samuel Butcher, creator of the Precious Moments porcelain figurines.

The first major Civil War battle west of the Mississippi was fought in August 1861 at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield in which over 2,500 men lost their lives. A self-guided auto tour, museum and visitors’ center at this site on the National Register of Historic Places is at 6424 W. Farm Rd. 182, Republic, MO, south of Springfield. Admission is $25.00. However, since it is part of the National Park Service, if you have a lifetime Senior Pass, you can get in free!

We arrived at our Best Western lodgings in Springfield around 6 p.m. This BW hotel has a Route 66 theme in its décor.

We went to the Springfield Brewing Co. for dinner, sitting outside on a patio on the upper level. We watched as ominous storm clouds covered the sky and were able to get to our car just as it started to pour!

Our Route 66 adventures continue in my next Getting Our Kicks post, coming soon!



Month of Squares: Pink Kitty

Our daughter is getting married next January and my nieces are holding a bridal shower for her in December. They are having a Hello Kitty theme, because the little girl in our daughter loves Hello Kitty!  So the other day I was at the Goodwill store and saw a whole bin of stuffed Hello Kitties! I bought eight of them, 2 each of 4 different ones. Here is one of the pink ones!
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Posted for Becky’s September Squares: In the Pink.

CFFC: Light and Lime Green

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge right now is a color series; this week is light green or lime green.

Hibiscus buds20180908_160526_001
Young maple leaves – most of the maples around here have a fungus on their leaves called “maple tar spot,” supposedly caused by wet weather so that the leaves never have a chance to dry out. So these leaves weaken and fall off the tree even before they turn color. However, I found some “new” maple leaves that are not yet affected by the fungus.
Yucca plants in Arizona
An old gas station building along Route 66 in Oklahoma
Old fashioned telephone booth, Kingman, Arizona
Gift shop door, Seligman, Arizona
Unusual “totem pole” made from a tree – Foyil, Oklahoma (more about this in Getting Our Kicks in Oklahoma Part 2)!
Vintage car, Springfield, Missouri
Dinosaur statue, Uranus, Missouri (more about this weird place in future Getting Our Kicks post)
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Cee’s Oddball Challenge: Aliens in Baker

June 6, 2018

Although there is a lot of kitschy, weird stuff on Route 66, one of the weirdest places we saw on our road trip was in Baker, California (not on Route 66): Alien Fresh Jerky! So for Cee’s Oddball Challenge this week, I present the most oddball pictures at this alien haven in the California desert!


Behind and to the left of the giant alien sign is the purported largest thermometer in the world!




Aliens take over Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria!

And the oddest thing of all? They’re expanding this place – the following picture shows a hotel under construction near the Alien Fresh Jerky store.



Doors & Kitsch in Seligman, Arizona

Yesterday I published a post in my series on our road trip on Route 66, including the town of Seligman, Arizona. I saved several pictures, including doors, to participate in Norm’s Thursday Doors.

Seligman is a small town with plenty of kitsch and touristy shops to attract travelers on Route 66! See my post linked above for the highlights for Route 66 travelers, including addresses of each site.

Roadkill Café
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Here are more photos of Seligman’s main drag, with plenty of funky, fun doors and other weird stuff.20180608_141000
1860 Jail
Cell door inside
Old West Seligman “Depot”
Seligman Sundries


Rusty Bolt Gift Shop


20180608_143844dDelgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In serves, among other things, “Dead Chicken!”
Note the sign “Sorry, We’re Open” next to the door!





Getting Our Kicks in a Wigwam and a Bottle Forest (Route 66 Day 2, Pt. 1)

June 7, 2018 (San Bernardino, CA – Kingman, AZ)

On Day 1, we explored Santa Monica Pier but bypassed several L.A. area sites. That night, we drove to San Bernardino, where we spent the night at the Wigwam Motel! There were original seven in this chain, but only three survive, two of which are on Historic Route 66. Since I first saw one of the others in the chain, in Holbrook, Arizona, in 2006, I have wanted to see what it was like to stay in one of these “Wigwam Villages!”




In case you can’t find your way to the office, this wooden statue will point the way!



Display in front of the motel office

Inside the office (coffee is available at any time):

This motel is well-maintained and the rooms are all in wood & concrete “wigwams” (or teepees), 30 ft. tall, built in the late 1930s.  Being the last built in the chain, the Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino is designated Wigwam Village #7. I recommend this motel for a unique lodging experience and plenty of kitsch!  (Other than the wooden statue, I did not find anything offensive to Native Americans.)


Our wigwam, #14, with the door open while we loaded up our car in the morning.

The inside of the room had some funky touches, such as these lavish curtains and cactus bedside lamp; also notice that the room is not square, and there is a triangular mirror.

The bathroom had old fashioned fixtures, but everything worked just fine!
Although there was help-yourself coffee in the office, they didn’t serve breakfast, but the motel manager recommended Chris’s, which was right down the street and also had plenty of Route 66 memorabilia.


Weird tree at the intersection across from the motel

Chris’s Burgers has an extensive breakfast menu, and the food is decent.

The front of the restaurant makes it very clear that it is on Historic Route 66 or at least capitalizing on the route’s popularity!
The décor inside Chris’s is a 50s style diner.

We continued on I-15 (which parallels Route 66) until we got to Victorville. To get to our next destination, we took Exit 153. Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch is about 12 1/2 miles north of Victorville on Route 66 (SR 66). Its official address (for those using GPS) is:
24266 National Trails Hwy, Oro Grande, CA 92368.  To watch a video of the creator, Elmer Long, tell  the history of the bottle ranch, click on the blog California Through My Lens. The blogger describes this place as literally a forest of bottle trees (large metal pipes with bottles hanging from them), located along the Mother Road, Route 66, right in the heart of the California desert. 20180607_113654.jpgI found this place fascinating and took many pictures. Dale, however, got bored with it after awhile.  Personally, I love public folk art and this is the perfect example of a folk art creation. I will let the photographs describe our visit and hopefully inspire others to visit as well!20180607_113653d
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