Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...

Do This. Don’t Do That. Can’t You Read the Signs?

It’s time, once again, to talk about signs. Just in case you don’t get the reference, the sign post titles are lyrics from the song “Signs” by Tesla. Well, I thought it was Tesla’s song as that was the only version I had ever heard, but turns out it was a cover. On a recent visit with my brother (technically in-law), we spent some time listening to old songs and comparing the original versions to remakes. Admittedly most of the time, I prefer the originals, but there are quite a few that have great remakes. The Tesla version is just that…a great remake. The original version is by a group named Five Man Electrical Band. Check it out. While less well known, they are pretty good. Since you are surfing around YouTube anyway, see what you think about these versions, too: the original “LaBamba” (Ritchie Valens), the “Nights in White Satin” remake (The Dickies), the “Last Kiss” remake (Pearl Jam); the “Walk this Way” remake (Run DMC); and one of my favorites…the remake of “Baby One More Time” (Fountains of Wayne). That last one caught me by surprise on their Out of State Plates album. I’ll finish this by saying that, I’m sorry if you feel otherwise, but Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” IS NOT better than Dolly’s. Yes, I said it!

Before we jump in on the signs, a little update: We arrived back at the Barndominium in Sneedville, Tennessee on November 2 to exercise our voting privilege. (After Morgan Wallen’s big CMA win, I’m sure a few more people are familiar with our little town.) As crazy as this year has been, I did not want to be on the road in the event of foolishness. The pasture was freshly mown (thanks to Jason, the expert bush-hogger) and ready for deer and turkey watching, and the quiet was heavenly. The plan is to stay put for a couple of months, which will give us a chance to take care of a few doctor’s visits, get some pond and road work completed before the rainy season, and make a few repairs and upgrades to Petunia. Oh, and she and Brutus are both in desperate need of baths! We made a quick trip to meet Mom and Dad2 just south of Chattanooga for a few days around Thanksgiving. For all but 1 year in her life and 2 years in mine, we have been at a family gathering for Thanksgiving, and for at least the last 15 years or so, the four of us have had a quickie vacation for a few days before. Not doing anything wasn’t conducive to maintaining mental health…hers or mine! We were all very careful in the days leading up to meeting, though. We stayed at Hawkins Pointe Campground in Rossville, Georgia, which is basically a large parking area. The sites are full-hookup with 50-amp electrical, but there are no fire rings or picnic tables. With the exception of RV storage, there are few real amenities…no bathhouse or play areas, but there were two dog walking areas. The fee came out to $55.39 per night, which we felt was high for what was there. There is a very large, beautiful campground right across the road that would probably be a better option. They had no availability during our visit.

Now to the reason for the post: Some signs just strike me as funny or odd. Some are very darned clever. Others make me wonder why the hell we are making so many signs. We’ve noticed in our travels that, where there once would have been a sign telling you what you need to know, now there are far more, spaced out and repeating the information. Have we really become that stupid as a species? Do we now need 15 signs with flashing lights around the edges guiding us around a long, gradual curve where there used to be only one telling you it was coming? It’s perplexing. We were recently on a road where the speed limit was going from 65 down to 35. Instead of just putting a “Reduced Speed Ahead” sign and leaving it at that, they put “Reduced Speed Ahead”, followed by signs for 55, 45, and 35 mph, spaced out about 500′ apart. Then they increased the speed on the other side of the little town in the same manner. Seven signs, where there only needed to be two. Someone is making a LOT of $$$ on signs! You know what all great detectives say…follow the money. Maybe we should check that out.

Covid has changed our lives and brought a lot of negative stuff this year, but we passed a sign that I have to put into the good column: “Social distancing helps avoid in-laws, too.” I’m sure there is a lot of that going on, and not just in-laws!

Another Covid classic: “Masks can’t protect you from our sick skills!” at a Norton, Kansas computer repair shop.

One more Covid…this is as we are passing through a large reservation. Whoever put this out on the side of the road did not really pay attention to what “social distancing” actually means. It was effective, though.

Somewhere in our travels we passed a sign that said “No Drug Zone”. I understand the meaning, but the implication is that there are actually areas designated as drug zones. Are there really?

Driving along beautiful byways, you see a lot of animal crossing signs…deer, elk, moose, antelope, bear, etc. While in Custer State Park, we saw our first “Slow Turtle Crossing” sign. Is it only the slow turtles that are allowed to cross here? Is there a crossing further down the road for the fleet-footed little testudines? I was very excited when we passed the sign to see an actual turtle crossing the road on his assigned section of pavement. He was definitely slow. We turned around to 1) get a pic of the sign and turtle together, and 2) move the little fella out of the road. Before we could get back, someone else stopped and moved him. I thought it would be cruel to move him back for the sake of my picture. Plus, the guy who moved him was right down the road. What would he think? What if some moron came screaming through there and ran over the little dude? I settled for just the sign pic.

Stopping for the turtle reminds me of a time when we lived in South Florida. MW (Mr. Wonderful) worked over in Weston, and I would go over sometimes during the week to have lunch with him. One time, as I was headed back home, I came upon a mama duck and a whole bunch of ducklings. Problem was, they were in the very middle of an intersection of two four-lane roads, and cars were whizzing all around them. There was nowhere to pull over, so I just put the car in park, got out, and herded the little family across to the pond. Some folks were courteous and stopped, while others whizzed right by a little closer than necessary, honking their horns or flipping me off. I just smiled and continued herding. Sometimes the little critters need our help! If I ever get hit by a car while standing in the middle of an intersection, you guys will know how it happened.

Speaking of critters, in Iowa we passed signs for the “Devine Wildlife Area”. First, that is a common misspelling of the word divine. Second, I realize that many of us are particularly fond of our furry friends, but giving them godly status seems to be going a bit far and very well may constitute blasphemy. Wait. Maybe Devine is someone’s last name. Nope. The area was original donated by Mrs. Lyle Steele in 1967 and was named for her for two years. (I guess donating acreage to the state only buys you short-term naming rights.) They changed it to “Riverdale Wildlife Area”, then three months after that to its current name. I wonder, did they create signage for all of that? Who is Devine? Did Riverdale just tick someone off, or did Devine do something particularly spectacular to get everyone else bumped off?

There is actually a city named War in West Virginia. How could that have been the winner in the naming lottery?

While driving in South Dakota, we passed a turn-off for SD-47 where there was a sign that said “No maintenance. No travel advised.” Thankfully, that wasn’t our direction, because they were serious. The road totally disappeared into a pond after about 20′.

That is perfectly clear…right!?

In Jackson, Ohio, we passed a business sign that said “Four Mile Bakery and Furniture”. That’s quite a diverse offering. Wouldn’t it be cool to walk in to buy a coffee table, and get coffee cake, too??

East of Houston we saw a sign that said “Watch For Mud on Road”. Does anyone really need to be told to watch for pretty much anything on the road? Back in the day we were taught to “Always be prepared for anything!” Did they quit teaching that? Is mud the biggest hazard one can find in that area of Texas?

Hmmmm…I don’t think I really want brown Swiss. Seems like that would be a health hazard. Or does all of the milk come from brown cows? How now brown cow?

Ahhh…another favorite church sign in Demopolis, AL: “Does life stink? We have a pew for you.”

In a Tuscaloosa, Alabama neighborhood, we passed a sign that said “Speed Table”. I honestly had no clue what it meant. MW said its a wide, flat-topped speed bump. The purpose of a speed bump is to simply force you to slow down. So why did someone feel the need to re-engineer it? How is a “table” better than a “bump”? Is one designed for fancier cars? I kind of think they just need to make speed ramps. If you are going too fast, you will launch. Do it once…lesson learned!

Somewhere along the way, we passed the “Last Chance Market”. It really wasn’t the last chance for anything, but I guess the name gave folks the impression that it was the end of the line for supplies. There were quite a few folks stopped. The market a little further down the road didn’t have anyone there. Hmmmm.

I saw the sign above while having lunch in a nice restaurant in Galena. I looked at the last word on the bottom line for several minutes. I figured it must say “awesome”, but really doesn’t look like it. As a rule, the people with the good handwriting need to make signs that people are supposed to read. This looks like my writing on Christmas cards after I’ve been working at it for hours and the arthritis kicks in. Bad!

On a t-shirt in Galena, Illinois: “Duct Tape. It can’t fix stupid, but it can muffle the sound.” Love it!

This sign is in the park at the bluffs. You don’t get there by accident. You purposely drive up there to look at the river from, well…the bluffs. To their credit, they haven’t fenced the entire edge off YET. My favorite part of this sign, though, is the first line…”Dangerous Areas Exist”. We’re not talking about aliens here, or anything else that could be questioned. Is there anyone on the planet that would be driving a car, see this sign, and go “Wow, REALLY??? I had NO IDEA!”

No cloven hooves here. We stayed on the path! Clever, and teaching vocabulary at the same time!

Another teaching sign example that is totally true. That goes for the printed word, too. Sometimes comma placement can make all the difference. Slow turtle crossing. Slow turtles are allowed to cross here. Slow, turtle crossing. You need to slow down because there are turtles crossing here. I suspect this little mistake has resulted in the deaths of many turtles, slow or not.

While 80 mph on the interstate is cool, 75 mph on the two-lane roads is cooler! That is a close rate of 150 mph!!! Don’t cross the center line!

Just curious. Don’t we always travel at our own risk? Everywhere?

Is it closed? Do we travel at our own risk? Is it under water? What are they actually trying to say? Could they do it with fewer signs? Someone made a fortune on this intersection! Note the speed limit sign down a ways. That seems a little high for a road with no maintenance that is under water.

What is your company name? No Name. Seriously, what do we write on the business application? No Name. Do you really want to get a license or what? I’m telling you, the name is No Name. Really?

I’ve gotta say, I’ve never seen a town sign that had a single-digit population. Is that enough people to even have a town. Do they have a tiny town council?

Yep, that’s just awesome! If you’ve never had an opportunity to see the Budweiser Clydesdales up close and in person, it is a must. Television does not do them justice!

First time for this sign and for this method of gaining/losing altitude quickly. Not as effective as a switchback, but pretty good.

How do they know where the large wildlife will cross? What if they decide to move a few miles up the road? Are they allowed to cross there? Do the highway guys move the sign? Where do the small wildlife cross? Look at the antlers on that thing!! Is it an elk or a really big mutant deer? We were somewhere and they had built an animal tunnel under the interstate. How do they spread the word to the animals? So many questions.

I did a little double take here, especially since I had been walking through a grass field and it was pretty darned warm. Seems like the best way to advertise this little fact would be a giant, flashing sign at the parking lot! This is a little more important than where the giant elk is going to walk across the road. Well, except during rut, I guess.

Saw this in a store window in Laramie. (I did not, however, catch a glimpse of Slim or Jess, which was disappointing.) In my opinion, all good reasons to move to Wyoming. They don’t mention the wind and snow fences, though.

Nothing unusual about a stop sign, but I took this because of the stick pointing out of the top. That is to help drivers figure out where to go during…SNOW!!!! I don’t know about you, but if the snow reaches the red part on the sign, my car is staying in the garage!!!

I now know where some of the people from my previous posts live. I’m sure there are more than a few people who think I live there, too.

I’m guessing they’ve had a bit of a speeding problem.

Someone needs to tell them that the election was Biden and Trump. Or I guess they might know and neither of those made their list of favorites. (This is actually in Ike’s home town.)

What a beautiful way to announce your town to newcomers.

This sign means absolutely nothing to most folks, but in the Davis, Oklahoma area, it is translated as “DELICIOUS”!

I’m thinking that a fine of any amount should not be the real reason we don’t hit the workers. This just doesn’t sound right. It’s like they are saying “hitting someone will cost you $10,000, so don’t do that.” Like some rich jerk coming through and hitting someone will be presented with a bill??? Maybe they should have included something about your new address being the local jail, general hate and scorn from the public, and possibly going to hell, too. That just feels like it adds the appropriate amount of importance to the situation.

In an effort to save the town’s money, the folks of Jacksboro cut corners by putting two stop signs on one post. When approaching from the left, it is in an unexpected place, which could lead to trouble. Eventually there will be a couple of wrecks here, then they will be required to spend a small fortune putting up a stop light. There went the money saved.

Apparently, in some states, you can ignore the warning signs! Texas wants to be clear. Who knew!!??

I don’t care what all of that fine print says, if the sign has “WARNING” across the top, there is no way in hell I’m putting my hand in that hole!

COOL! Now this is my kind of state park! The second sign is hard to read, but it says “Loose Livestock”. Sadly, I didn’t see any wandering around the campground.

Tell the truth…you started singing, didn’t you?

A sign of the times…the Buc-ee’s beaver has been masked. Or maybe he was just talking too darned much and got muffled. I’m pretty sure it’s the first, but who really knows?

Look closely at the fine print on the tag. So many questions. Is that the only trailer allowed in the club? Is it a trailer designed to carry tokens? If so, what are they tokens for? And how did he get so many? Would he be interested in going to Vegas with me, because clearly he has some kind of luck.

What does this sign say to you? To me it says, “Stay the heck out of hurricanes!” In fact all of them along the I-10 corridor through Louisiana were screaming that same message.

This was on the gate leaving the campground. I’m certain there have been folks who forgot to put their antenna down (where required) or put their stairs up. What I really want to know, though, is who forgot their wife causing someone to add that to this sign? And was it on purpose? If it was, I guarantee it was caused by an incident with backing into the site!!

This would be funny if it was designed as a joke. Since it wasn’t, it is just ridiculous. If I pull in next to your car and you are not in it, I can’t infect you. So for the sake of discussion, let’s assume that you are in your car when I pull in. Let’s further clarify that, obviously, you have just arrived and are not preparing to leave (where I, again, could not infect you). If I see you getting out of your car right next to me, I’m going to stay in my car until you are clear. That isn’t a Covid thing. That is an I don’t want to ding the crap out of my door thing. In my entire life of driving, and I’m not young, I don’t recall ever getting within 6 feet of someone getting into or out of the car next to me. Why would I start now. People have lost all sense of reason.

The “Don’t Tread on Me” sign has been around for a while. What caught my eye, though, is the .50 caliber shell attached to his antenna. That’s just cool. Burger Warfare in Greensboro, North Carolina has an entire bar made of .50-cal casings. It’s pretty darned cool, too.

This one is not a sign, but something I read recently. Warning: I have a dark sense of humor. Sadly, a severed head was discovered and linked to a missing person. That’s not at all funny. It was the teaching moment in the coroner’s report that got me: “While decapitation is, in and of itself, universally fatal…” Wow! I almost blew my protein shake out of my nose. I really hope there isn’t anyone out there who didn’t already know that.

This is one of my favorite signs. It means we’re almost at the barndominium, where we will find plenty of peace and quiet, and enjoy watching wildlife in the pasture. It only takes a few weeks for us to be ready to strike out again to places unknown, but those weeks are serene.

May your Christmas, while most likely not typical, be peaceful and full of God’s blessings. And may 2021 not SUCK! Seriously!! That’s what I wish most of all.

See you on the path!


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  1. Kristina Cardoza

    Hey Talisa…..this is Kris, your old neighbor in Plantation (and by ‘old’, I mean ‘former’). I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and really enjoy it. I have also learned a lot! After reading today’s I had to email you though….the one about signs is my favorite!!
    I knew you were a good writer and I find your postings interesting, amusing, and informative. Sometimes I wish I was traveling with you!
    Anyway I wanted you to know that I look forward to your articles. Wishing you, MW, and the rest of your family Merry Christmas and, hopefully for all of us, a better 2021!

    • TJP2018

      Hi Kris. So glad to hear from you and thank you for the kind words. You hit on exactly what I hope people get out of my writing. If I get boring, let me know! I think about the Florida neighbors and bunko crew often and have such fond memories of our time there. When I look at all of the FB photos, it is so hard to believe how grown all of our kids are! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and sail on out of this crazy year and into a much calmer one! Take care. Talisa

  2. Charlie Norton

    Are you in TTO?

    • TJP2018

      I’m not sure since I have no idea what that means. TJ

  3. Nancy

    Your signs post has been Phenominal! Thoroughly enjoyed with much LOL.

    • TJP2018

      Thank you! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

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