(first posted 4/14/2017) As my regular readers know, I take pictures. Lots of pictures. I take pictures of my cars. I take pictures of my rental cars. For this dive into my photo collection, I am posting some of the more interesting road signs I’ve encountered and photographed over the past 30 years. These are all actual road signs photographed by me: No Google images or meme generator images here.
First up, Stinking Creek, from a 1992 road trip. I believe I photographed this on I-75 in Tennessee, but it was 25 years ago, so I could be wrong. Thanks to the power of the Internet, I found this interesting article of how Stinking Creek got its name (TL;DR; version – it stank).
On this same trip, I spied these speed limit signs in Texas. At the time, the speed limit read like the iTunes agreement, and was so long it had to be spread out over two signs. I don’t know if this is still the case or not – perhaps one of our Texas readers can comment.
Another well-known sign, from a 1994 road trip. I believe it is on I-90 in North Dakota, but I could totally be wrong on this.
Next up: A Road sign in New Mexico, from a 1995 road trip. Remembering to watch for animals for the next 157 miles would challenge the short-term memory of even the most attentive person.
Here is a picture of New Mexico’s famous Devil’s Highway, shot on the same 1995 road trip. Route 666 no longer exists: It was renumbered to Route 491 in 2003.
In 1996, I went on a road trip to Mexico (Partially covered in my Rental COAL post). Speed bumps are all over the place (called topes in Spanish). I found the sign amusing, since it resembles something else that I can quite put my fingers on.
In 2008, my wife Kristen and I went to Sedona, Arizona to celebrate my 40th Birthday. For those unfamiliar with Sedona, it is famous for its Martian red rocks. If you look closely at the sign above, someone modified the wording to reflect this.
The time: Summer 2009. The place: The summit of Mount Evans, Colorado. At an elevation of 14,240 ft., this is the highest paved road in North America. If you are suffering from altitude sickness or hypothermia, it is doubtful that you will be able to read a sign this long.
Speaking of dangerous places, we have this trail in Hawaii. As opposed to a single long and wordy sign, we have a plethora of signs with incredibly amusing icons.
Also from Hawaii: As if all the threats from the previous picture weren’t enough, apparently I have to watch out for bees as well.
Lastly from Hawaii, is this gem. Apparently Aloha doesn’t just mean hello and goodbye in Hawaiiian, it also means signal before merging.
Those of you who travel from Illinois up to Wisconsin are no doubt familiar with the exit to Bong Recreation Area.
That was kinda dumb; they should’ve put it 80 miles further up the road.
Maybe it’s for people who can’t wait til 4:20
It’s always 4:20 somewhere…
ahahaha, for some reason in 30 years I never thought of that!
The street signs for this street, which runs close to the U of O, get taken down incessantly.
I lived in that very High Street. № 1490, half a duplex. Took a walk up to see what was at № 420, but all I found was a government car park full of Plymouth Acclaims painted swimming-pool turquoise.
I can’t find a picture but Lexington, KY has a street intersection of High and Upper. It is located between the downtown area and the U of K campus, and rumor has it that the city finally had to install security cameras to prevent the street signs from disappearing.
Anywhere near here?
There’s a Bong Street at the entrance to the National Museum of The United States Air Force in Ohio. I had a little chuckle driving into the parking lot and subsequently learned there was a high ranking officer named Bong. Have bongs always been called bongs? The Air Force Museum is a really cool place and definitely worth stopping by for in you are in the Dayton area and have already visited the Packard museum.
That “high ranking officer” would be the Ace of Aces, Major Richard I. Bong, highest-scoring US fighter ace of WWII. I always found it curious that the recreation area named after him is located just about as far away as you can be from his hometown of Poplar, Wisconsin, without leaving the state. Also, I think it’s kind of lamentable that his legacy today is somewhat hampered by the fact that his name, “Dick Bong,” has not one but two inappropriate connotations these days!
The Bong State Recreation Area, which is right in my backyard (okay, about 15 miles from my backyard), was originally going to be an Air Force base, hence the name. I was very young when this was going on, but I recall there being a lot of vocal opposition against the location. It went on for years until finally the Air Force threw in the towel and the state ended up with the land.
But hey, the name stuck!
Major Richard Bong, the highest-scoring American fighter ace of all time with 40 kills, was ahead of his time with his name. I am guessing that his name didn’t sound funny during his lifetime.
And in the metro Detroit area, there’s always time to get off at exit 69, Big Beaver Road.
There is a sign in Tennessee…directs dtivers to Big Bone Lick state park, via Beaver Road. The jokes are so easy……
Great post. My all-time favorite remains a sign advising a change of driving lanes in North Oxford, which said “Changing Priorities Ahead”. Every time I drove through, I expected to come out a Buddhist on the other side.
Home on the Range is the “Boys Ranch” for boys who can’t quite, ahem, fit into society. It is on I-94 (not I-90) not too far from the Montana-North Dakota border.
I can’t wait to see all the cool songs i know are coming .
One of my favorites is in Mexico : ” Sal Si Puedes ” (leave if you can) and also in the middle of the jungle in Guatemala, Centro America : ” Gringo Perdido ” (lost White Man) .
This ridiculous collection of parking instructions on one signpost in Culver City, CA made the news in other towns. The city made some changes to this signpost and several others outside a school shortly thereafter.
A local resident posted a photo of the signs on Instagram. He said, “Don’t even think about parking on my street. You’ll need a law degree to figure out if you’re allowed to park here.”
Already a cliche, but I literally laugh Everytime I see this pic. You need to read both signals from top to bottom to understand
On I-40, after entering NM from the east, mileage sign has numbers for Tucumcari, Albuquerque and then 1007 miles to Los Angeles.
“Home on the Range” is a working ranch for at-risk youth near Sentinel Butte ND, similar to Boys Town. It was originally “Home on the Range for Boys”, but has since become coed.
Texas has changed! This is a toll road from Austin to Seguin. Speed limit on I-10 west of Kerrville is 80 mph.
I sure miss the shopping list signs (Louisiana had same affliction).
I never knew what the “other vehicles” that were only allowed 60mph might actually be.
There is sign that gets stolen so regularly in our area , that the local commissioners are asking for some sort of theft proof bolts or change the name or something. Horneytown Rd. I guess we’re all 12 at some point….
This one’s from the Curbsidelandia area, so well known it’s obligatory here.
This was the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of the post. I remember seeing it featured in a “Top 10 List” edition of Car & Driver back in the early 1990s. The caption was something like, “coming up next exit….a boring Idaho city!”
Also from metro Portland. I’ve taken this exit many times. It led to the first job of what turned out to be my career, so I guess it worked.
I just realized this “Boring” sign has a double meaning for me. I take highway 212 on the way to Estacada to visit my dentist. Really.
And in Southern Oregon, we have:
Wondering if one gets to circle it first…
I wish I had a picture of Bend Oregon’s Morningwood Way.
Drain OR is a town I drove through a few times.. That area has a very strange vibe.
Too bad the US 666 was renumbered.. Undoubtedly some freakish bible thumper xians went ape over that one.
That serial Texas speed limit sign would be more effective with the Burma Shave concept of a short sign every few hundred feet.
I have always laughed at these signs which have been a staple in smaller midwestern towns. I guess those would not be needed if the town’s children were more intelligent?
Two of the more memorable road sign’s I recall were in Northern California, Hooker Road and the town of Weed. Not a road sign, but there was a business sign by the road in front of a hardware warehouse or store in the San Fernando Valley in the ’70’s that had a picture of a crying baby below it’s company name, along with the phrase “having a screw problem?”.
May have been called The National Screw Manufacturing Company, I’ll bet Nate or Paul remembers this one.
Chicago also has a Hooker St., on Goose Island.
I sure do ! .
I remember entering Weed, Ca. in a clapped out 1964 VW Van full of Hippies in about 1973 and we all laughed ‘ WEED ! HUR, HUR, Hur ‘.
Stupid ass kids .
We also have this one in southern Indiana. I imagine it’s good for getting the kids to stop fighting in the back seat. And I’ll bet none of you ever knew his full name.
I always feel sorry for “blind driveways”.
Another good one from Portland, visible from I-5. Not sure I’d want to cross this bridge. (Named after a 19th century mayor.)
Damned if you do… and don’t
well, it looks OK on expansion.
Headed Westbound on I-90 in Idaho six years ago, I was unable to find Evaporator District, Condenser District, Filter-Dryer District, or Thermostatic Expansion Valve District—just this:
I’ve been through that area many times on trips to and from my home state, and I’ve always envisioned an air compressor. I may have rattled off something or other about an Air Supply, and whether they started making love out of nothing at all after they were all out of love, or if it was the other way around, to a listening or non-listening passenger.
But now that you’ve opened a new can of worms for my future road-addled brain to digest, are you sure TEV District wasn’t Orifice District? If so, I’m sure the sign was long gone.
Everyone forgot BIG BONE LICK STATE PARK. Off I-71 northern Ky. Tickles the 14 year old in some of us. And I grew up north of Pittsburgh PA. At the confluence of BEAVER RIVER in NORTH BEAVER TOWNSHIP, about 25 miles from BEAVER FALLS…Yuck, yuck, yuck! Surprised none of that showed up.
There used to be a restaurant on PA 18 just south of the PA Pike called “Sadie’s Big Beaver”…
… and Beaver Liquors in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
This hangs in my office as a memento from a project I was Resident Construction Engineer for a few years ago. The contractor made a typo when he ordered his signs and 6 of these were produced. As the RCE I wouldn’t accept the signs and required the contractor to reorder new signs .
Hint: The signs were supposed to be for SC primary route 291. Jason Shafer is not allowed to answer unless no one else gets it as he is a fellow Civil Engineer who works for a similar organization and he’ll know what’s wrong almost immediately.
Something’s wrong with this.
In SC, for State Routes, I believe it should be a rectangle with the Palmetto symbol, not a shield.
We have a winner – this format is correct only for non-Interstate US routes.
There is no US 291 as far as I know which is why I kept the sign.
You were correct in making them reorder.
For fun in interviews with young fools who just got their degrees and want to be civil engineers I always point to the sign and ask them what’s wrong with it. I know, I’m a bad man. I actually had a young lady freshly minted from Clemson University give me the correct answer last summer. The force is strong with that one! She’s been with us nearly a year and hasn’t quit yet so I have hope for the future. Someone has to replace us old guys. . .
Is it the vertical stripe background? I don’t much about this kind of thing but I do know Chicago uses that for many signs, but Illinois doesn’t.
Just south of Waverly, Ohio
This would be a life-saver for me!
This is my most memorable road sign, I wish my folks had taken a picture when we drove from Anchorage to Sacramento when I was 9.
Especially for Paul N., signs in the pleasant Austrian town of…. where the signs are commonly stolen especially by Brits.
Yes, that’s a good one.
In the US, we’re a bit more polite, especially the Pennsylvania “Dutch” (Deutsch”, actually)
That term meant “social interaction” when it was named hundreds of years ago.
And nearby is this.
I’m not sure where this is.
There’s a Dildo Key in Florida Bay a little ways north of the Florida Keys.
That’s in Newfoundland.
However, you have to go to Saskatchewan to reach…
Exit 88 off of I-94 in Michigan will also get you there. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture.
Ha, my grandparents were born there! On the back side of the welcome sign it says “Please Come Again”. Us polite Canadians won’t spell that the dirty way.
Kind of like the U.S. town of Weed, whose cheeky leaving-the-town sign says “Temporarily Out of WEED”. Also, though a small town, it does have a high school. Yes, Weed High. The kids must love that….
It could be in Newfoundland. I’ve a picture of my GPS screen with the same town name, but can’t locate it at the moment.
Hopefully it’s far away from this town.
Once they get to the junction in the middle of town, that doesn’t last long…
With the sign below – it is almost a recommendation on how to conceive.
“Please – Not so fast!”
You might get the idea that you’ve made a wrong turn somewhere if you see this.
Where’s that one? We have a River Styx here in n.e. Ohio, in southern Medina County. I make a trek there every fall to pick up a few gallons of the absolute best apple cider in the world 🙂 .
This one is in north central Florida.
I’ll post a pic when I get home of me standing next a PA 666 sign 🙂 .
In suburban Detroit
I remember seeing this when I drove out west a couple of years ago, but had since forgotten.
What Cheer, Iowa
Well, that didn’t work…
Darn it, I can’t find a pic, but I *have* been in Between, Georgia!
Then of course, there’s Stembridge Road in Milledgeville, Georgia, where my forbear settled after immigrating from England back in the 1700s.
Well let’s not forget Beaver View, OH (near Dayton). He’s a shot of Beaver-Vu Bowl…
In Acadia National Park, about an hour away from where I live.
I worked there and used that facility many times and never thought of that. Probably because I had a clear mental image of what “Thunder Hole” was already.
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, we have the popular neighborhood intersection of Gott and Hiscock.
The “mile 420” sign from i-70 in Colorado was also always getting stolen, so they slapped this on its place
Weed – California – long before it was legal there! lol
The old sign use to be simply college left, weed right
Drove past this one a few weeks ago while I was in south central Indiana:
There is a large suburb of Phoenix, Surprise AZ, population, 143,148.
I think I took this photo somewhere around New Holland, PA (not far from a huge outdoor car show that I had been visiting at the time) … back in the day, they used to communicate the same concept to motorists just fine on signs bearing a single word: “BUMP”. Not sure when or why it suddenly became necessary to express the same sentiment with three words.
My favourite sign pic I’ve taken is unfortunately on 35mm rather than digital. It’s a picture of the 3 part street sign on the corner of Main Street and East/West Main Street (IE Main street crosses east and west main street where they meet) in some small town I passed though while storm chasing in Oklahoma and Kansas.
I don’t have a photo, but several years ago I saw a pair of signs in front of the San Jose, CA convention center on the same post: “Stop here on red” “No stopping anytime” Another damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.
Not sure if this is near Lick or not?
Downtown Fort Walton Beach in the 1980s…
On a tangent, I lived in Fort Walton Beach in the early 60’s. My grandmother owned a dogNsuds there. It was destroyed by a hurricane, not sure which one. Some of the signs I remember “Whites only”. Sad.
I wonder if they have ever found dead people sitting in their drivers seat?
I knew you alls wouldn’t disappoint ! .
RSOAL !!! now thats funny.
There’s a street sign (for a 2 way street) in LaPorte TX that is called “This Way”. I don’t go down there anymore so I can’t get a pic. And in Arkansas on I 40 there is Toad Suck Park.
Just north of State College, PA, and about 1 mile outside of the village of Waddle, there is a sign that says “WADDLE 1 MILE”.
Somewhere in South Dakota.
Damn that looks pretty out there .
Desolate is how i like it .
Not a road sign, cricketer’s names.
Does a sign enhanced to tell the truth count?
Been making its rounds online.
I don’t have a pic handy, but the nearest intersection to the apartment where I lived 10 years ago had, printed on the road where it ends and meets another road that is perpendicular to it (T shaped with you driving upward), RIGHT TURN ONLY with an arrow pointing right. Across the road was a sign reading ONE WAY with an arrow pointing *left*.
(the road with the printed arrow actually had an unlabelled left/main lane where you were forced to turn left; the street you were turning onto didn’t become one-way until the left side of the perpendicular road. The one-way sign should have been further to the left.
I haven’t been there in years but someone must have a pic of the vague sounding “A Street Downtown” exit sign on the 880 in Hayward CA.
When that exit was on my daily commute for many years it never occurred to me there was anything unusual about it. Thanks for pointing it out – 45 years later.
And then there’s this one, in case you don’t know where to go.
Until the mid 1990s, there was a ‘Bastard Township’ in Southeastern Ontario.
Leftover from segregation? I-65 southbound near Lebanon, Indiana.
Thought you’d enjoy the attached photo. I took the picture outside of Rexburg, ID on the way back from Alaska in 2010. It’s a real park! Look it up!
It’s a beautiful and exactly right sign in every way and explaining the name at every opportunity is a good idea in this case.
ZZYZX has been done. There’s hundreds if not thousands of pics of signs from or to Maidenhead in England, there’s one which I have yet to shoot with a grade warning of 37% or something absurd on 108 in the Sierras, but I was always fond of this one, Zero Visibility Possible.
Hmm, didn’t seem to work, Too big? I’ll try again.
And this, which isn’t technically a road sign, but like a road sign. You might not want to dawdle here.