Category: Sights from the Road

Great Sign: Welcome to Pennsylvania

Great Sign: Welcome to Pennsylvania

Over the course of a lifetime, we pass lots of welcome signs. They’re on stores and parks, at state and country borders. I like stopping to document the border crossings with photos.

As my friend Jamie mentioned recently, in addition to the welcome sign, some states will also follow up with some “no” signs – no littering, no radar detectors, no transporting cantankerous llamas across state lines. In other words, no fun. Those follow-up signs can be unwelcoming.

While entering the state of Pennsylvania from Maryland, I saw this great welcome sign message: Pursue your happiness.

Pennsylvania is doin’ it right!

Location:
https://goo.gl/maps/9UhD9wX8YrE2

Gorgeous Coca-Cola and Mail Pouch Ghost of Winchester, Virginia

Gorgeous Coca-Cola and Mail Pouch Ghost of Winchester, Virginia

File this firmly under the Things I Love category.

clicky-clicky for enlargey

I first got wind of this ghost while scrolling through states on Dr. Ken Jones’ fantastic American Ghosts site. It is an awesome resource for adding punctuation marks to my rides.

clicky-clicky for enlargey

What I particularly love, beside the combination of the two brands is that the Mail Pouch ad has the circular seal-like image with a mail pouch on it. Most of the ads I see do not.

This is an example of a more legible version from Carnegie, Pa.

Often I find that photos will allow me to see things about these ads that the naked eye does not. That means I get to keep discovering long after my visit.

Location:
Winchester, VA 22601
https://goo.gl/maps/Jo8ZEukPbKs

Adjusting Expectations With a West Virginia Big Boy

Adjusting Expectations With a West Virginia Big Boy

Everything doesn’t always come up sunshine and roses when you’re road tripping and looking for something you read about or might’ve heard of in passing.

Sometimes a pin on my map for a Mail Pouch barn will turn up a pile of collapsed wood where a barn used to be. Or maybe I can’t actually find what I’d saved or it’s missing. And sometimes a thing sounds much cooler than the reality of it. When you turn up for a visit… sad trombone. It’s a roll of the dice.

Luckily the journey almost always has some value to it so there’s that. You might happen upon something else in the area that makes up for the letdown. Sometimes you’ve gotta make lemonade.

Recently, I had my hopes up for the Shoney’s Big Boy Museum in Charleston, West Virginia. I hadn’t read anything about it, I only had the name and address. Based on the name, I imagined a restaurant with memorabilia-covered walls and statues and nicknacks. I envisioned a place where I could grab a bite to eat and use the restroom and I was excited by that. So when I turned up and found…

Well, let’s just say my fantasy was a bit aggressive. Instead of a tchotchke covered restaurant, I pulled up to Big Boy on a stick, a couple of yellowing newspaper articles, and some pushpins on a corkboard marking the spot where something used to be. ::womp:womp::

I suppose if I had known it was solely a memorial marker of the Big Boy genesis, the Parkette Drive-in, maybe my imagination wouldn’t have gotten away from me. If I had known what was waiting for me, would I have felt disappointed? Maybe not. Them’s the breaks.

The silver lining in this situation was that I serendipitously saw a Mail Pouch barn on the way, so I’d traded one good thing for another. Lemonade.

A Yeti, an Art Gallery, a Kickass Road – This must be Ranchita, California

A Yeti, an Art Gallery, a Kickass Road – This must be Ranchita, California

In December of 2016, I was in California taking a week-long riding trip. I flew to LA, rented a bike and wandered about. While heading towards Borrego Spring on Montezuma-Borrego Highway, I passed a Yeti in Ranchita. Often people will ask me how I find such things. In this case, it was pure serendipity.

So was this little roadside art gallery. You just never know what you’re going to find out there in the world, do ya?

One of the patronages of St. Maurice is to the Brotherhood of Blackheads. I myself have not-so-great skin, but damned if I’m joining a club about it.

Saint Maurice

A place of subtle old fashioned
virtues an escape from …
present into a softer more
gentle way of life and opening
up to light and the weather
a sense of real luxury
the kind that cannot be
measured by monetary standards
a level of tranquility
a sweethnes[sic] of tone
an uncomplicated
round for the ongoing

See Rock City Barn – Grainger County, Tennessee

See Rock City Barn – Grainger County, Tennessee

While my love for Mail Pouch Tobacco barns and murals is well documented, I do find other olde tyme advertising campaigns appealing, too.

Even though I find smoking and tobacco use totally gross, the nostalgic feelings that are stirred within me when I look at Mail Pouch ads is deep. And though their origin is long before my time, the lettering, imagery and language speaks to and feels familiar to me. I often find myself thinking – people don’t print letters like that anymore.

Though not as old as Mail Pouch barns, the See Rock City barns are beautiful and charming in their own right. They too tickle the nostalgia spot.

During my October trip, I was able to see three Rock City barns, this one not too far from the Underwood & Petty service station was most vibrant and beautiful.

It’s a looker, huh?

Location:
Grainger County, TN

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