Tag: New York

Hunting Ghosts: Uneeda Biscuit and Gold Medal Flour

Hunting Ghosts: Uneeda Biscuit and Gold Medal Flour

Troy, New York was once a bustling place that depended largely on the steel industry. When that moved away, the city began to decline. Such places are great for spotting ghost ads. I passed through town over the weekend and saw a few.

I’d pulled over to take a photo of this Uneeda Biscuit ghost on Williams and Ferry in Troy, NY. The man you see in the doorway was watching what I was doing with some interest. I imagine that when some astronaut pulls up on a motorcycle and starts taking pictures of your house it might be an invasion of your privacy. When I finished up and stowed my camera in my tankbag, I looked at him and smiled. He smiled back. Mark that down in the win column for a flip-up helmet!

The slogan from Gold Medal Flour says, “Eventually. Why not now?” What a fitting message for a mind like mine that sees signs in everything! This ghost was painted on the building at the corner of 1st & Tyler in Troy, NY.

There was another Uneeda Biscuit on the corner of Harrison and 4th. There wasn’t very much foot or car traffic, so I parked in the corner crosswalk while I quickly snapped a photo. While there, a man in a work truck pulled up behind me preparing to make a right. At first, I thought maybe I was blocking him from seeing to pull out but no, he was waiting for me to finish taking pictures 🙂

And finally the last Uneeda Biscuit of the bunch. This one from Northampton, Massachusetts on Bridge and Hawley. I’d seen this one a few weeks ago while my daughter and I were cruising around after lunch at Al’s Diner in Chicopee.

All signs seem to be pointing to me needing a biscuit!

Bull Durham Ghost Ads and a Pink Elephant

Bull Durham Ghost Ads and a Pink Elephant

Like a dumbbell, I brought my (3rd partially broken) point-n-shoot camera with its nifty 30x zoom with me… but failed to charge the battery. One day I’ll get this all right, but this? This was not that day. And so I was left to take pictures with my iPhone and my GoPro which on the whole isn’t really so bad. But, the zoom situation can be a little less than optimal. I hope you can manage to suffer through these photos.

“I come in peace.”

Tucked within the recesses of my GPS’ favorites was something called “BDS-32-54-04.” Though I wasn’t sure exactly what I would find when I pulled up, just by looking at the name I knew I’d saved a “Bull Durham Sign” from the Mail Pouch Barnstormers site. That’s their naming convention.

Wow, would you look at that? A tobacco ad that is loved, cared for and has been restored. Does that warm the ole ticker or what?

The kicker to my whole interest in tobacco advertising is that I find smoking and chew to be disgusting. I have memories of being trapped in the backseat of my parents car as a kid while they both puffed away in a blue-gray fog and it makes me want to gag. Apparently secondhand smoke wasn’t much of a concern back then.

This one wasn’t a GPS favorite or anything. I just happened to see it when I parked at the Bull Durham sign in Waverly, NY. I pulled around to the backside of the parking lot to get a better look. There is so much overlap, so much fade that I’m not able to discern what’s going on here. But the location came up on Barnstormers as having a Mail Pouch ad. I think I can see the word “pouch” on the upper left in yellow.

[edit] After googling soap ghost ads, I think that one of the layers may be for Ivory Soap. I found a soap add on Pinterest that tipped me off.

Towns like Waverly, NY that reach back a few hundred years and have a railroad line running through them seem to have the best shot at seeing ghost ads. Thinking back to other places I’ve been, Waverly had that look much like Renovo, PA and East Liverpool, OH did.


Pressing east…

I stopped to have a drink and a granola bar alongside a pink Elephant in Owego, NY. I mean, it really was as good a place to stop and take a breather as any, right? Maybe even better than most. It isn’t every day that you get to bask in the glory of such a fine beast.

The cockpit of my faithful companion. I don’t know if I took this picture on purpose or by accident, as I’m wont to do. Either way – the KTM is an excellent dance partner.

A lovely old sign in Owego provided me with some shade as I sipped and snacked.

Another Bull Durham sign perfectly perched above the olde tyme Harris Diner in Owego.

I didn’t really explore or dilly-dally around Owego as I was running out of time to get back to meet Kenny. So I snapped a quick photo of a You Are Here mural while sitting at a traffic light and made my way out of town. If I’m ever in the area again, something tells me I should have a closer look around. There are probably more roadsidey gems sprinkled through town.

Oh Deer – Dirt Roads and Deposit

Oh Deer – Dirt Roads and Deposit

After visiting the Starrucca Viaduct I bummed around the backroads, not straying very far. I had to watch my odometer. In an act of luminescent brilliance I left my wallet back in the RV. Since I had a $5 bill in my tankbag, I knew I could ride as far as requiring no more than $5 in gas to get back to Hancock. Thankfully, there was a lot of great “nothing” to see in a small radius.

While I was clipping along I had a close encounter with a deer. It was so close I could see the fuzz on its antlers. I suppose I just didn’t pick up on it fast enough. By the time my brain registered that it was there, the deer took a few strides next to me then darted across the road in front of me and was gone.

The GoPro caught it on the side of the road (upper left) though I didn’t until I was nearly next to it. One glance away from forward, maybe into the mirror and your whole day can change. Gotta keep those eyes scanning.

“Hello. I can’t see deer.”

Passing through the town of Deposit, New York I couldn’t help but wonder how it is such places manage to hang on economically. But I also know that their way of life is a secret to the visitor who is just passing through. They find a way to make it work.

Something about the nostalgic patina of such places tugs at my heart. All of the shop fronts, alleyways, little town parks are like pieces of a puzzle.

The vitrolite tiled State Theater in Deposit, New York was built in 1937 and is still showing current features. In hindsight, I’m sorry that I didn’t cruise through town in the evening when the marquee was lit.

The sign welcoming me back to The Empire State featured a special and very important bit of advice:

Words to live by.

Ghost Ad: Fletcher’s Castoria – Hancock, NY

Ghost Ad: Fletcher’s Castoria – Hancock, NY

This ghost ad can be seen on Wheeler Street in Hancock, NY.

Another ride, another roadside thing, another rabbit hole to fall down and research. Other than being able to confidently make out “Fletcher’s” I wasn’t quite sure what the ad was for. When an ad isn’t for something i’ve seen previously, often I have to go home and darken up a photo to look for clues. For example, the ad for Greenback Tobacco from Lincoln, Illinois was unreadable to me without altering the picture.

After some tweaking, I realized this ad says:

Children Cry for Cha. H. Fletcher’s Castoria

Apparently Fletcher’s Castoria was a well-advertised children’s laxative at the turn of the 20th century.

Bathroom Reading on Fletcher’s Castoria:

 

Heading to Hancock – Packing Up and Rolling Out

Heading to Hancock – Packing Up and Rolling Out

For the last few years, Kenny has been going to the annual Hancock Quarry Run in Hancock, New York. Though it is listed as a dual sport, it is widely regarding as one of the most challenging, rocky ass-kickings in our local riding universe. As such, it’s not my cup o’ tea. I don’t have the skills required to not break my neck riding something like that. Hard work isn’t my idea of fun.

Though I wasn’t going to be riding the event, I decided to hitch a ride on the funwagon and spend 3 days riding around the area on dirt roads instead. A win-win. Kenny could ride his jackhammer ride and I could float around looking at clouds.

After loading up the Harvey at 0’dark-thirty we set off to knock out the 200 miles on the slab.

As we crossed the Throgs Neck Bridge, the sun was coming up.

Every time I ride across the Cross Bronx Expressway and see this mural I think, I wish I could grab a photo of that. Sitting in the passenger seat of a car actually has it’s perks. A little blurry, but it’ll do.

As we climbed the hills of Route 17 around the Monticello area, a silver fog settled in. The wheels of the RV hummed along paying it no mind.

Lilo wasn’t quite as enamored with all of the things that were passing in front of the great big windshield as I was. She kept asking if we were there yet with her eyes.

Because we left so early, we made it to the event field before 9am. We parked, set up and squared off with our friends. That left me with a whole day to get out and do a little exploring while Kenny made sure that his camp chair didn’t float away.

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