Quickie L.A.-ish trip

Posted in Roadtrip on April 20, 2014 by roadsidenut

This was just a one-day trip but I got loads of good photos.  I got a little night-neon shooting in on Friday & Saturday night before zipping home.  Nik’s eye pressure checked out fine.  We’ll be back in three months for another $48 15-second test.  More outrageous prices:  the cost of gas here is now $4.20 a gallon — for the cheap stuff!

Let’s start with a couple shots from Friday night.  Here’s Al’s Bar in San Gabriel:

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From Santa Monica:

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Stalling for the vet appointment Saturday morning — time for some signs from nearby Los Angeles:

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Here are a few other signs I’ve passed dozens of times near the vet’s office but never shot.  These beer mugs must have been mass-produced. There was another one just like it in Daggett, CA (gone now):
https://www.flickr.com/photos/route66_aout-sept2010/5581616363/

I’m betting all three of these signs were installed at different times.  The bigger sign appears to be the oldest with those Art Deco style corners.  It surely had neon and a far nicer paint job originally:

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Another oldie with nice jiggity edges — and a great freestanding arrow.  I’ve got a Flickr group for these neon “extensions” that you might enjoy perusing:
https://www.flickr.com/groups/neonextensions

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Although it’s been repainted countless times, you can still make out the “ripple tin” panels that were used to build it.  [clicking on photos at my blog makes them bigger]  As Paddy Rowell of Flexlume Signs explained to me awhile back, the crimping was not just a decorative thing.  The sign maker could use a lighter metal since the crimping strengthened it.  Paint also stuck to the crimped panels better than flat ones.

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A sun-bleached oldie from Gardena:

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The non-sunny side shows the colors better:

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A fun sign on the side of the building.  Missing some plastic but those neon notes are incredible, no?

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Also in Gardena — Majestic Lighting.  This crown is wonderfully curved and I think the M might be (or was) backlit.  How appropriate for a lighting place!

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It’s hard to work around these towering palm trees in California sometimes!  The Don is in Wilmington:

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The Maya Shoe Repair is in Santa Monica:

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More signs in the wonderful storefront.  The interior is incredibly vintage as well:

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Front yard adornment in Lakewood.  I don’t know the story — but it appears to be carved from the former tree.  Apparently, meant to be Venus de Milo — but kind of an alien-like face:

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Yes, in Norwalk:

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Some bad news — the Dal Rae replaced their neon with backlit plastic earlier this year.   They also rebuilt the parking sign with all plastic in-the-style-of the original (ugh).  Here’s one of my photos from 2012:

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And now:

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Over to San Bernardino (it was a busy day!!).  What can I say – I’ve used the word “wonderful” too many times in this post already:

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I finally shot this place that I’ve been passing — my namesake, after all:

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I timed the end of the day to shoot the neon signs at Universal Studios CityWalk at dusk.  I’ve shot them during the day before and was able to negotiate with the parking attendant for a 20 minute freebie at curbside.  But the attendant there last night gave me no mercy and it cost me $10.  But I can finally check it off my list.  The vintage signs will all be uploaded to my website.  I also posted a few to Flickr just now.  But to close out this blog, I’ll give you one of the many modern signs (or at least I think it is!).  Is this racist or sexist or just fun?  Too bad the “SA” was out but the animation is fun.  I took a quickie video for you (turn your head sideways – sorry! – and turn your volume off!):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYIxlNTC2kg&feature=youtu.be

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More photos from this trip over at Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

 

The dogs and I will be back on the road in a couple of weeks.  Back up to the Stockton area.

Happy Easter!

Debra Jane

 

Bowlarama

Posted in Roadtrip on April 11, 2014 by roadsidenut

Just a quick “hi” to let you know about a neat little gallery thingie in Los Angeles for all you fans of bowling buildings & signs.  The opening was tonight and I toughed out the crazy rush hour weekend-getaway traffic to get my butt down there.  I didn’t have my “real” camera with me — but I took a few photos with my phone.  I lost my iPhone a couple of weeks ago and I don’t know how to use this new hotshot Samsung phone.  But I did what I could — after a glass of wine which lowered my techie capabilities even further.

I didn’t write down the facts of where things came from — so consider this as just “flavor” of the event and show:

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Reproductions of matchbooks with bowling alley advertising:

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The crowd.  At least two roadside “celebs” in this photo:  Chris Nicols (back to camera) who was the show’s curator — and Charles Phoenix (facing right):

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Here are the details about the show if you’re interested or think you can make it.  It runs through May 11:
http://aplusd.org/exhibitions-future/bowlarama

and more:

http://www.lamag.com/laculture/culturefilesblog/2014/04/02/slide-show-bowlarama-at-the-architecture-and-design-museum

 

I’ll be back blogging next weekend with some L.A. area shooting.

dj

 

Fresno-ish Wrap-up

Posted in Roadtrip on April 7, 2014 by roadsidenut

A killer drive home last night.  Four and a half hours after shooting like mad all day.  But we’re home and safe and I made it through work today.  All is well.  And the weather yesterday was full sun — giving me nearly 12 hours to shoot.  I did so well that we’ll be able to tackle Stockton and thereabouts next time.  But that won’t be til May.  In the meantime, I have loads of photos from this trip to add to the website.

I’m still wiped out — so let’s move straight to the photos.  From Gustine:

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From Dos Palos — established, I believe, in 1966:

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The Valley Bowl in Madera:

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From Firebaugh:

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Time for a little tribute to my traveling buds.   For you newcomers, my four dogs are present for each and every one of my roadtrips.  They are much calmer on Day #2.  Except for Gremlin (at the window) who’s always looking for something worthy of ear-piercing barking.  That’s Nik (Sputnik) and Fix in the foreground:

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Griz (Griswold) has hopped on the dash a few times while I’m driving — like here.  It’s not a habit that I’m encouraging!  I think he’s just looking for sun-bathing opportunities.  Since this is not really a comfy place for that, I assume the practice will fade:

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Since he’s so backlit in that photo, here’s a better shot of his face:

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Onward!  From Madera – El Molino Mexican Imports (most likely not the original business name):

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The top of the Cornaggia’s Bakery sign in Chowchilla.  From the plugged holes and amateurish paint job, this sign might have been really nice in the past.  Still cute enough now though:

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The Century Bowl in Merced.   The bowling alley is long boarded up.   The “coming soon” illustration on the sign at the right shows a KFC, a gas station, a 24-hour restaurant — but not this gigantic sign.  Shoot it now, folks:

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Also from Merced:

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You may recall the Slumber Motel sign from Saturday night’s post.   Here’s the dayshot showing the atomic sign topper.  It was probably outlined with neon and flashed sequentially:

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From Modesto — the Fraternal Order of Eagles Hall – with some very cool “mission style” architecture.  I don’t know if it was built for the Eagles:

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Also Modesto — a repurposed Shakey’s sign:

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Lastly, from Lathrop — this UFO has crash-landed on the roof of the Tower Mart gas station where I filled up for the long journey home:

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The next mini roadtrip will be in two weeks.  It’ll be just a little jaunt to the L.A. area since I have an eye doc exam for Nik in Culver City.  I’ll be blogging again then.  Don’t forget to check out the other sampling of photos from this weekend over at Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Til then — happy Spring!

dj & the dogs

 

April in Fresno

Posted in Roadtrip on April 5, 2014 by roadsidenut

Not quite April in Paris — but good enough for me!  I’m pretty much done with SoCal trips – although there will still be some L.A. area stuff now & then because of Nik’s eyeball checkups.  We’re moving on to the Central Valley for a bit.  Then it’ll be back to Bay Area weekends for a while.   I’m gradually chipping away at northern California but it takes times since I can only get away weekends for now.

The day started in Arvin (just south of Bakersfield) which was depressingly smothered in clouds.  Even more depressing was the number of stray dogs — many limping around on three legs.  A pair of skittish Chihuahuas.  Heartbreaking.

What brought me to Arvin — this guy — who’s been on my list for years.  I’ll be back on a sunnier day.  Very few of these statues outside of Michigan — more about them at my website here:
http://www.agilitynut.com/eateries/caesars.html

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Also in Arvin:  a fairly huge gas station sign — most likely not the original design:

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The weather wasn’t much better in Bakersfield.  Here’s an interesting round building which is now skanky apartments.  I’m assuming a motel complex originally.  Maybe an upstairs restaurant?  Beware of the dog indeed — a grey Pit Bull lower right giving us all the hairy eyeball — and my silly, wimpo terriers inside the van egging him on with their nutso barking:

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On to Coalinga — sun at last!

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Still in Coalinga — a former Sno-White Drive-in.  A re-purposed sign but the building was nothing special.  More examples of the chain at my site here:
http://www.agilitynut.com/eateries/casno.html

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One more from sunny Coalinga:

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A couple of signs from Lemoore:

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This one says in broken English “mufflers” but I’m thinking maybe a Chevrolet or Pontiac sign originally.  I’m too tired to check on designs right now:

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Two from Reedley — a closed bar:

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and a vacant shoe store.  Note the Red Goose logo which would have looked like this originally:
http://www.agilitynut.com/10/4/redgoose.jpg

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From Orange Cove — which was delightfully fragrant with orange groves in bloom.  Unfortunately, this theatre has gone the way of far too many others.  Maybe if we all pray hard enough, this building will be turned back into a theatre?

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On to fabulous Fresno.  A skeleton of a sign.  I like the semi-sputnik with bulbs on top.  And the puffy clouds always help.

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Repainted drably and denuded of neon but still some dignity left:

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This one has to be 1920s-ish with its little rope-y border & most likely opal glass “Beauty Shop” letters.  It would have been a hanging, two-sided sign.  You can still see the wire rings on top of the panels which would have supported it.  And the other side of the sign is flat against the building now.  Am I imagining lavender-colored tubing?

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Surely, the yellow piece must have been painted transmission-like:

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This stash of vintage signs is at Commercial Neon Inc.  I had to shoot through the fence from pretty far back.  But some of you may recognize Me-N-Ed’s Pizza, Cedar Lanes and other Fresno signs.    The Ronnie’s Midway Market sign is also here:

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After a long drive in the pines near Yosemite to shoot some signs & bear statues, we called it a day in Merced where there are many lovely things to shoot at night.  I decided to treat myself to dinner-to-go at Marie’s and help foot their electric bill:

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I knew it was meant to be when I saw a cigar store Indian right by the door.  I’ve had a bit of an obsession with these statues lately and have added loads of them to my lists for all over the country:

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A cute interior with lots of 7up signs since the neon 7up sign is right next to the restaurant (see my Flickr photos from tonight):

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Here’s my chow — two cheese enchiladas.  I have to be honest and say it was on the bland side.  Maybe they toned it down for the gringa?  But I’m sure if you dine in, you can ask for it spicy.   Still, I have a happy tummy & the dogs were delighted to share & lick the container when I was done.

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Fantastic font, no?  Major police activity going on here — I literally jumped out of the van, shot & scurried back inside.  Not fast enough though — a policeman pointed a flashlight inside my van & made a face at me as I drove off and sort of waved.  Sheesh.

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And appropriately, this is what I’ll be doing shortly:

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Lots more shooting tomorrow.  Merced by day, Madera & lesser towns.  I’ll post the wrap-up on Monday or Tuesday.  Meanwhile, here are some other goodies which I posted from today at Flickr tonight:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

dj & the dogs

 

San Diego Mega-Trip Wrap-up

Posted in Roadtrip on March 18, 2014 by roadsidenut

Alrighty then.  So here is a sampling of Sunday’s photos from this weekend’s driving & shooting marathon.  One of the reasons that I got to bed so late on Saturday & got into this mess of being behind on blog posts is this little sidetrip to El Centro.  It’s about two hours from San Diego.  So, rather than wasting four hours roundtrip, I thought it wise to drive there at night and only waste half the daylight shooting time.

So, this was shot when there was just barely enough light in the morning.  I guess they cut back on the 31 flavors at some point.  Now, it’s a water store below the sign.

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Here are a couple of remaining signs on one of the downtown main streets.  The businesses are gone:

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A very sad downtown — it just have been swinging at some point.   Here are some nice window display cases:

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A couple more signs from El Centro.  Nice little jaggedy edges.  Maybe meant to look like those homemade-ish “house for sale” signs you stick in people’s lawns?

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This oldie looks like it was restored in recent years.  Those stuck-on letters are probably original:

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Moving on to the San Diego area — this sign from National City:

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And these signs from Chula Vista:

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Broadway Liquor:

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I don’t know how much of this neon still works.  The neon on the facade is probably relatively new (guessing 1980s or so):

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Plastic signs are so under-rated:

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The El Patio gives us a pole sign and a facade sign — but I don’t know if either are still lit at night:

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Most likely, some neon originally:

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A Masonic Lodge with nice canopy details and neon sign:

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A small sign said “since 1940″:

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Across the street from Bob’s — I’m assuming this is an Irish bar?  Too bad I couldn’t get it to yesterday for St. Patrick’s Day:

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While many of you are still dealing with snow and cold, it was in the 80s this past weekend in San Diego.  I decided to have a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s.  I never eat at McDonald’s — but this was a nostalgic moment.  I haven’t had one of these in more than 30 years.  I don’t even remember it being minty.  I just like the color.  And it was refreshing and filling.  They didn’t serve it with the whipped cream back.  It was just a simple paper cup:

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And on to San Diego proper for some more signs.  This must be the result of some really cheap paint used during a “restoration”.  A shame because this is a really old sign (1920s?):

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I’ve never been able to figure out what this place with the circus theme was originally:

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The clown terrazzo apron at the entrance:

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This two-tone green paint job on this Art Deco building is just horrible, in my opinion.  And I like green.  But wouldn’t something lighter and fluffier be better?

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Union Station was built in 1915 — an incredible interior:

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and yes, a mammoth, double-sided neon sign on the roof.  I don’t believe it’s lit at night:

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A couple of quick shots from the Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.  A gorgeous little NSU Spider:

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And this thing — which looks fairly ordinary until you look inside and under the hood:

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Some details on the sign next to the car — and some more info at this link:
http://sdautomuseum.org/exhibit/louis-mattars-fabulous-car

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Okay, I’ll leave you with one more sign.  A modern but super fun one outlined with neon — with Mr. DUI and Mr. Ticket.  Don’t forget — you can click on all my photos for enlargements:

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And if you want even more photos from this weekend, check out the sampling I put up at Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

I’ll be home for a couple of weekends (busy adding photos to the website).  Then, the dogs and I will be heading up to the Fresno area for some more shooting.

Take care,

dj

San Diego Mega-Trip – Part I

Posted in Roadtrip on March 17, 2014 by roadsidenut

Normally, I do these Saturday roadtrip posts on Saturday night.  But this trip was so action-packed that I didn’t get settled until 11 pm.   Then, after a very busy of shooting on Sunday, I didn’t get home until 10:30 pm and then work today.  So, I’m now playing catch up.    I’ll get this post in tonight — and the other one tomorrow night.

I had a huge list and figured it would take at least two trips, possibly three to get it all done.  But with perfect weather and pushing myself, I got through the entire thing.  This means most of SoCal is officially wrapped up (except for some L.A. area stuff which I’ll get  to in conjunction with Nik eyeball checkups).  The next string of trips will focus on the Central Valley north of Fresno and the Bay Area south of San Francisco.

Let’s get to the photos — LOADS of them!  First, a couple of shots from my hometown of Ventura.  I drive by this one every night and have been meaning to shoot it.  Lots of patched & unpatched neon tubing holes.  I’m guessing this was probably not the original business name:

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And a night photo of the Hong Kong Inn which just reopened with new owners a couple of weeks ago.  Evidently, the restaurant has also revived the “Polynesian Review” (dancers) on weekends:

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Friday night’s destination was Oceanside.  A bummer that the Star Theatre was lit since nothing was going on there.  But I got to shoot this one before bedtime — with a nearly full moon.

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This concession stand is at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad.  I assume it was inspired by Twistee Treat buildings:
http://www.agilitynut.com/food/twistee.html

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More ice cream?  This is on the roof of the Oceans Ice Cream building in the Mission Bay section of San Diego:

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Everything from here on out is from San Diego unless I say otherwise.  The Freaky Boutiki features this 3-D tiki figure on the side of its building:

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There’s also a neon window sign:

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This house (apartment?) appears to have been made from a trolley car — or at least simulates one:

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I lived in various fourth floor “walkups” for nearly 30 years.  Not missing it at all.  I’m in a second floor apartment now which seems like nuthin.  This would be a nightmare with my four dogs:

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I suspect from the tubing holes and the font style that this is a reworked sign.  Impossible to get a good shot during the day since it’s under billboard scaffolding.  Pretty at night though:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25849022@N08/4323455776/

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Nik is obsessed with sleeping in caves — tight, dark corners.  In my apartment, he likes to sleep in the linen closet.  Most of the time, on roadtrips, he wedges himself in the very back of the van in a corner with some blankets.  But on this trip, he discovered what I call the “bed of nails”.  A new cave in the passenger front seat floor where he sleeps on my stash of Diet Coke bottles.  It can’t be comfortable.  Note the squashed ear on the left.

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I love the simulated trunk on this one:

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A nice mural at the same motel:

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Two kiosks on one corner.  The one on the right appears to be a former Fotomat.  The one on the left is a flower stand with a faux thatched roof:

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A decent Art Deco building made great with the pastel paint job:

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On the side of the building, some of my favorite cacti which add even more class.  Does anyone know the names of these?

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A former Original House of Pies (now Lil B’s Urban Eatery):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25082963@N02/2840367572

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With an adapted sign:

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This 1963 photo of JFK in a motorcade passing by Rudford’s is installed on the side of the building:

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What the place looks like today:

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Two neon signs keeping each other company.  The Stern Gym sign is protected by clear plastic panels — but the sign wasn’t lit when I was there:

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The arrow on the New Life Laundry sign flashes on and off:

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This one from Coronado — still nice even with the “Night & Day” not lit:

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Back in San Diego for some more nighttime shooting:

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These signs are modern but still pretty wonderful.  They decorate a shopping center.  This majorette is a nod to the Campus Drive-in sign — part of which was saved & is now located at another shopping center just down the block.  The baton on this sign also twirls:

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I believe this represents the San Diego Mission:

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Even more photos from Saturday at Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut

And — stay tuned — some photos from Sunday here in tomorrow night’s post!

Quickie Trip to Templeton

Posted in Roadtrip on March 8, 2014 by roadsidenut

I’ve been itching to take a little two-hour trip up to Templeton to shoot a giant milk bottle which I found out about a few weeks ago.   Today’s forecast was for all-day sun and near 80 degrees — not a good day to sit at the computer.  After a few errands and a drastic haircut, I loaded up the dogs and camera and a list of stops.  Had to stop in Morro Bay for that doggie beach again.  It was just as wonderful the second time.

So, I’ve got some sign photos for you.  I do shoot other stuff on these trips (the buildings and statues) but my blog fans seem to like signs the most so that’s what I focus on here.

From Guadalupe — looks like a replica of the original jewelry store clock sign installed here in 1923.   The business is gone now.

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Several signs from Santa Maria:

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This drive-in in Santa Maria opened in 1960 — and is still going strong:

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A few signs from Lompoc.  Gotta reshoot this one in the morning sometime when the sun is coming from the other direction:

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Unfortunately, this IOOF sign is in a spot that probably never gets light:

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I’ve shot these signs a few times — but not been lucky enough to see them in the afternoon from this side when the roof is out of the way and you can get them together:

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Last stop in Buellton where the sun ran out.  This is the County Line Motel:

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This was a good little test drive for next weekend.  Sparkle needed an ABS computer module which was a pricey $1500 and required 3 trips to the shop to get it right.  It was a relief to have no scary warning lights on the dash for a full day of driving.   Next weekend, if the forecast is sunny, the dogs and I will be heading down to San Diego.

More photos from today over at Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

dj

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