Day 11: Reno & Sparks

Posted in Roadtrip on June 22, 2014 by roadsidenut

Reno is chock full of fun buildings, signs, and statues to shoot — and the sun was cooperative most of the day.  Let’s get to it:

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I’m guessing there was neon involved with the top panels of this sign originally — and maybe a name change:

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What a charming and amusing sign — from Sparks (Reno’s next door neighbor):

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More from Sparks — a former KFC.  There are still plenty of these repurposed cupola-roof buildings around the country which would have looked like this originally — complete with a weathervane sign of Colonel Sanders:
http://www.trachte.com/graphics/history/1968-3-l.jpg

I’m including this KFC in Sparks simply because the paint scheme of the building and sign match the blue sky & clouds — and it’s a nice clean building.  Most of these buildings look pretty skanky now:

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A couple more photos from Sparks:

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Moving on to Reno:

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The Restwell Court is long gone but this sign has been sitting here like this for years:

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The red and yellow on the left are an indicator of what this sign must have looked like originally before the porcelain panels were painted over with this dull green and black paint:

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More signs just east of downtown Reno on East 4th St.:

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Hard to read the shadowy neon — it’s the Hi Ho Motor Lodge:

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This was not here when I was in Reno last time.  Apparently, it was installed at the bus station in 2010.  The sculpture entitled “Jackson” features a remodeled 1962 bus.

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The Sundance Motel features delightfully original building details:

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The neon’s been removed but the sign doesn’t suffer from it by day.  I don’t know if those are the original colors — but they work!

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Some of the best signs in Reno have been removed or badly adapted since my last Reno trip in 2008.   Luckily, many of the signs have been scooped up by Will Durham who recently had a museum show displaying many of them:
http://ishootreno.com/2013/01/photos-the-light-circus-art-of-nevada-neon-signs-nevada-museum-of-art/

By the way, the much beloved Heart O’Town Motel sign is now in Will’s possession.  And he has dibs on a number of signs in town should they ever need to be removed.  God bless him.

There were still quite a number of signs to shoot at night.  The bulbs in the shield of the “R” on the upper left no longer work but the sign is still great by day or night:

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The 1935 steel welcome arch was moved to a less prominent location in 1963 and was replaced by ever more garish signs as time went on:
http://www.newtoreno.com/renoarch.htm

I’m happy to see that the old arch is still lit:

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I begged the manager at the Pony Express Lodge in Sparks to turn on the sign.  She said it hardly worked at all any more and wouldn’t get off the couch to flip the switch.  Bummer.  I begged even harder at the Sandman Motel in Reno and had better luck.  Even though only a few letters work, it meant a lot to me and I thanked the desk clerk profusely:

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Two more days & posts to go!

dj

 

Day 10: The Sun Returns to Nevada

Posted in Roadtrip on June 21, 2014 by roadsidenut

In the morning, I did some reshooting in Wells but the weather wasn’t much better.  Things got better in Elko.  But I still had to be patient with the clumps of clouds:

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At the Commercial Hotel & Casino in Elko — where there are two fiberglass statue tributes to White King:

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The taxidermied polar bear inside the casino which was the inspiration for the statues.  The story here:
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/3643

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Still in Elko.  From the postcards I’ve seen, it appears that the thunderbird on top of the sign was always backlit plastic:

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And the rocky facade is original:

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On my second pass through town (those damned clouds), I was thrilled to see a YESCO truck pull up.  YESCO has gotta be the biggest sign company in Utah and Nevada.  Established in Ogden, UT, the company now has locations all across the country.  They are responsible for all those long-lost neon extravaganzas in Vegas and plenty of other still-existing vintage signs.

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The herky jerky movement of the bucket seems a little dangerous (to the sign) to me but they seemed to know what they were doing.  Evidently something wasn’t working properly in the neon part of the sign.  God bless them and the hotel for keeping Elko a better place:

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One more from Elko — a nice embossed Texaco sign.  I don’t know if there was ever a gas station here or if the sign was just lovingly planted at the Cimarron West RV Campground:

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Moving on to Winnemucca where the weather was not as cooperative:

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Wonderfully redundant gables at Scott’s:

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From Lovelock — perhaps the best preserved Safeway “Marina” design building in the country.  The manager said it was built in 1965:

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I haven’t seen a turntable checkout in decades:

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Off to Fallon where the those pesky clouds finally left.  This is the Fallon Theatre.  Better to not show you the building below:

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Also in Fallon.  This painted ghost advertising sign looked awfully fresh — like the building next to it had been recently demolished:

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From Stagecoach.  This faux saguaro cactus contains some sort of plumbing or electric fixtures for the long-closed Oasis Restaurant next door:

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One more for this post — this in Gardnerville.  There’s no way to shoot the bottom of the glass without the trees or the overhang interfering:

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Moving on to Reno tomorrow.  Three more days — three more posts to come.

dj

 

 

Day 9: End of Idaho & Start of Nevada

Posted in Roadtrip on June 21, 2014 by roadsidenut

A frustrating day.  I woke up to clouds — and they would not go away.  I waited.  I napped.  I ate.   I organized.  I cleaned.  I looked at the weather forecast for the area and beyond.  It looked lousy.  No sun for days.  So, I gave up and shot what I could.  Someday, I’ll be back to shoot things in better light.  At least most of it is right off the interstate which will make it a bit easier.

For now, you’ll have to deal with the flat grey colors.  Into each life a little clouds have gotta come.  This is “Babe” at the Beehive Family Restaurant in Weiser, ID.  She surely had neon originally:

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From Payette:

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A painted over sign in Payette at Details Done Right.  I’ve seen freeform stars & animals & arrows like this — but not dollar signs before:

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From Caldwell.  I have no idea what inspired this steel arch at United Hauling:

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From Nampa — a little color on a dreary day:

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Over the border into Nevada — where it wasn’t much better weather-wise.  A few moments of sun in Wells — but then foiled by a tree for this shot:

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Also in Wells — no apparent change for the El Rancho Hotel since the major earthquake in 2008.

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The scaffold sign of the bucking horse & cowboy are still there but hard to make out in the grey.  Here’s a photo I took of it in 2008:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/2841315339/

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One last shot from Wells — those grey clouds in the distance are from the direction we came from.  Good thing we left when we did!

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Sunny photos soon to come — four more blog posts from this trip to go.

dj

Day 8: Boise & More

Posted in Roadtrip on June 21, 2014 by roadsidenut

Today was mostly about Boise and thereabouts.  I made a long haul up to the mountains to shoot a few signs.  Unfortunately, dark grey clouds rolled in for that.  Natural beauty and death-defying kayakers made all the driving and gas money almost worth it.  Back again someday to shoot those signs again in the sun.

Let’s get started with some Boise signs.  This is a modern sign.  It replaced a drab text only, buffalo-less wooden sign sometime after 2011:

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Even nicer at night:

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A real-deal, vintage drive-in with double drive-up windows.  It was lit in 2013 — but not for me on this trip.  It might be one of those time-of-year things.  A lot of signs are turned off when the places are not open — and this time of year, in this part of the country, the sun doesn’t go down til after 9 pm:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/phydeaux460/8477466617/

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A rusty crusty.  A repainting would probably drab-ify this sign.  Looks like someone is taking care of the pointing arrowhead — but not the rest of the sign.  Why’s that?

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A great neon detail on this sign:

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A fun modern sign which is lit at night in yellow and red:

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More is more.  The wheel is lit with red neon — sequentially to create a spinning effect:

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Moving on to nearby Meridian.  McFadden’s Market is long gone:

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This banner on the gutted building on which the sign hangs concerns me.  Are they going to “update” the sign with new text or grapes or what?  Sure hope not:

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Also in Meridian.  I soooo wanted to shoot this one at night — esp. since it’s lit during the day.  But shortly after dark, they were closed and the sign was off.  I found out the next day that they had closed early for an annual meeting.  Argh!

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From way up in McCall — where (as described at the beginning of this post) there was no sun at all:

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Back in Boise — where the sun was hit and miss.  There were little windows of sun but you had to wait for them.  Like spearfishing.  Watching the shadows on the ground, raise the camera & bang.  Then move on to the next stop… and wait.

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Surely, Jim’s Appliance & Furniture must have had neon letters originally:

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On to Homedale for more cloud challenges.  What’s worse though are these manmade obstacles.  Some city worker followed the rules and planted this light pole within inches of the sign.  “Reshoot in AM” has been added to my notes for next time:

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Also in Homedale.  I posted the giant bowling ball & pin at my Flickr account.  If you’re new around here, you might not know that I post an equal amount of different photos during these trips over there — the “higher quality” subjects:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

I hope these white background plastic signs are growing on you like they are on me.  I have never been able to find a name for them.  What shall we call them?  White corrugated?  White corduroy?  Certainly, they were cheaper than neon panel signs — but they still each have a unique style.  The two font styles on this one are classy, if you ask me:

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More posts later tonight –

dj

 

 

Day 7: Boise & Beyond (more Idaho stuff)

Posted in Roadtrip on June 21, 2014 by roadsidenut

Well, something happened midway through this trip.  Nothing bad.  I just got absolutely exhausted and unable to fulfill my pledge to post photos and journalize the days’ events.  So, now, the dogs and I are safely home and a tiny bit rested.  And I’m going to spend this weekend catching up with blogging, Flickring and getting the rest of my life together.

So, we were in Idaho when my on-line energy ran out.  Let’s pick up in Shoshone:

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Two fun signs from this place:

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The neon gone and who knows what it used to say — but bright and cheery:

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From Burley.  Remember — or if you’re a newbie to my blog — all these photos open to larger versions when clicked:

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Also in Burley — lots of crazy angled poles on this trip:

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One more from Burley:

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This abandoned gas station canopy is in Heyburn.  I’ve seen lots of double and triple speared canopies — but never a single one like this.  I have no idea of the brand:

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From Rupert:

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A sampling of signs from Twin Falls:

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Also in Twin Falls — The Cove — a sweet looking tiki lounge.  I couldn’t find any info about it after searching just now other than this:
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=15866&forum=1

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Moving on to Mountain Home which is a must stop for sign and mid-century modern lovers.  Note the pole holes on this one:

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These fitness center sculptures must be modern but still very fun:

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One of the nicest sign & building combos in town.  This postcard shows how little it has changed:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/hollywoodplace/4303799727/
Unfortunately the “Towne Center” neon was removed fairly recently.  Here’s what the sign previously looked like at night:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/phydeaux460/2815965429/

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On to Boise where I met up with Vangie Osborn who for years has been stashing away local signs that have been removed.  She recently got the go-ahead and funding to display the signs at a museum downtown.  The signs will be restored and displayed on an outside wall — viewable to the public 24/7.  More about the project here:
http://www.signsofourtimes.org/project.html

Currently, these signs are scattered in storage at different spots around town.  Here are just a couple of photos from one of the places.  More photos to come at my website eventually:

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Last stop for this post — this giant ring sign is in Boise:

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One down — six more days to blog about.  If I buckle down, I should be able to get them all out to you today.  Right now, must go shopping and other mundane things.  The dogs have fully recovered just 24 hours after arriving home are demanding entertainment and exercise.

dj

Day 6: All Over Idaho

Posted in Roadtrip on June 16, 2014 by roadsidenut

I’m afraid, my dutiful readers, that I’ve fallen further behind.  I took the night off from blogging & Flickr-ing last night to visit a Flickr friend in Nampa.  But I WILL catch up eventually.  It’s now Day 9 here in reality and the dogs and I have landed in West Wendover, NV for the night.  I wrapped up the shooting in Idaho today.  I had crappy weather from start to finish — so it’s refreshing working on this batch of photos with all the gorgeous skies and lighting.

Let’s start this post with another Sweet’s Chocolate ghost sign — this one in Pocatello:

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Here are several signs from Blackfoot:

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Those bulbs around the side of the sign seem more concentrated than most.  I’m betting that they were lit sequentially — which must have been mesmerizing:

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I’ve shot lots of these angled sign poles in the past few days — this one is extreme.  Love the flags, too:

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From Shelley:

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Moving on to Idaho Falls which has lots of great signs and buildings.  I don’t know what motel this advertised for originally:

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I believe this stove sign is modern.  It’s at Rocky Mountain Supply:

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Wonderful:

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A former Woolworth department store and Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge:

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A blasphemous treatment of this Art Deco beauty.  I’ll spare you what the ground floor looks like:

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A detail of the building:

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We’re still in Idaho Falls.  I’ve never seen criss-crossy neon like this before:

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This sign advertised for Blue Glaze Coal:

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I’m assuming this sign was placed just down the road by the owner of the Stinker gas station which has a vintage skunk sign:

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The other side of the sign:

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From St. Anthony:

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From Ashton:

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A Masonic sign from Atomic City:

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Another painted ghost sign — this one from Mackay:

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Two more photos from Mackay:

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The last shot from today is from the Y-Inn Cafe in Challis:

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I’m hoping for sun tomorrow here in Nevada — but if not, I’ll hunker down and bang out some overdue posts.

Take care,

dj & the dogs

Moving on to Idaho (Day 5)

Posted in Roadtrip on June 14, 2014 by roadsidenut

Let me crank out just one more blog post while the sun is still dozing below the horizon.  I got three hours sleep — that’s enough!!  I started this day (it’s really now the morning of Day 8) in Ogden, UT.  This rooftop sign is at the Wonder Bread (Hostess) factory.  It looks like the cherry pie piece at the top used to revolve:

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Still in Utah — from Brigham City.  This covered wagon sign topper is at the J&D Family Restaurant:

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Also Brigham City — the Galaxie Motel.  An interesting sign pole solution that perforates the roof and comes down into the building’s attached flower bed.  Weary travelers always need arrows at night just to find the office.  A freestanding building in front of the rooms is never enough:

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A rusty beer mug from Garland, UT:

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This painted advert for Sweet’s is also in Garland:

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From Logan:

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This nifty skeleton sign in the window is also at Superior Cleaners:

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Another one from Logan:

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It’s time for a diversion from sugary sweet sign overload.  One of the highlights of the day was our trip to Garden City, UT.  It was a long drive through the mountains — very pretty — and then you arrive at this vista overlooking Bear Lake.  Blue water color that outrivals all other blues.  That’s Grem’s ear on the left.  She was enjoying the view and water smell as we got closer.  Water equals romping good times to my dogs:

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And I did not disappoint them.  Here’s the fun little boardwalk that leads to the beach.  The drop to the marshy belowness is about a foot and a half.  The dogs enjoying snootering around down there, sometimes munching on god-knows-what:

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After the boardwalk — a path to the water:

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The water was wide and shallow — or at least just at the part that we went too.  And no dead fish at this place thank god:

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Nik says splashing around after balls is just as much fun as swimming after them:

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Fixie prefers the ankle deep depth — she’s not into strenuousness at her age (14+):

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Griz believes that all lakes and oceans should be less than 12 inches deep.  He’s a weenie about swimming (and lots of other things):

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Tandem ball retrieving:

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The silly (but important to me!) reason that I went to Garden City.  Yes, I’m very much into giant things as much as signs.  This is a giant shake cup.  And although every snack bar in town brags about “Famous Raspberry Shakes”, I gave my money to these guys with the sign.  It was very good — seeds and all — and got my back over those mountains what seemed like faster than the way there:

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From Smithfield — lots of shaved ice stands all through Utah — but I’ve never seen one like this:

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This gigantic boot sign is also in Smithfield:

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It’s attached to this building.  A nice paint job (and sun!) makes an otherwise pretty mundane building magnificent.  Makes me want to buy some “implements.”

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Crossing over the border — we are now in Idaho for Part 2 of the trip.  Way ahead of schedule thanks to good weather and Sparkle’s sturdiness (375,000 miles on her).   This multi-layered midcentury accented grocery store is in Soda Springs:

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This sign topper is at the Stockman’s Bar in Soda Springs.  I’ve never seen one of those cylinder lights by itself and outlined with neon before.  It might have flashed — I don’t know:

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Two more signs from Soda Springs — the Brigham Young Motel:

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and this wagon wheel on top of the otherwise plastic Trail Motel sign:

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From Lava Hot Springs:

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Moving on to Pocatello for the rest of this blog post.  This former Rexall drug store sign has been carefully repurposed for this antiques store with affixed wooden panels screwed in around the border.  The orange and navy porcelain panels are safely protected underneath.  I have loads of examples of these signs at my website here:
http://www.agilitynut.com/signs/rex.html

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Inside this former drug store is this also well-preserved soda fountain:

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This Chinese food restaurant was most recently a Mexican place but it’s now vacant.  Long live the sign!

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A whimsical roller skating sign.  Love her Marlo Thomas “That Girl” flip and stripie pants:

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The cement pouring from the truck is a 3-D sculptural add-on.  Yeah!  Old holes for the neon:

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Two more shots before I get back on the road.  There was not as much lit neon as I’d hoped for in Pocatello.   But I know they’re working on it (the Relight the Night project).  Neon and plastic is a good combination.  It’s time us neon snobs started giving it the credit it deserves:

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A pretty little bar sign in the Old Town historic district:

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I’m off to gather more photos.  I may even finish up Idaho today.  Not too worry.  I “packed heavy” and brought lists for Nevada (Elko, Reno) and California (Lake Tahoe and onwards towards Sacramento).  But wait — what happened to the sun?  Looks like clouds to me.  I might just start working on more Flickr & blog photos for a bit.  I’m only 2 posts behind “reality” right now.

More later tonight,

dj & the dogs

 

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