Day 14: Washington Wrap-up

The last day of the trip.  For those of you that are into stats & facts, there were 16 days on the road which included the two days of grueling nothingness all the way up to Oregon and then back home from Washington.  I drove about 5,500 miles on this trip and I spent about $1,260 on gas.  My gas mileage was probably even worse than usual due to running the A/C all day, nearly every day.  Poor Sparkle.  Gas was nearly a dollar cheaper in Oregon & Washington than it is in California. So, that helped a little.  I took about 1,800 photos which will find their way to my website over the next few months.  What I post to this blog and Flickr is just a sampling of the photos taken each day.

Let’s start this final batch of photos in Ellensburg.  This sign is lit and animated at night with “Auto Glass” and “Seat Covers” flashing sequentially:

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Also in Ellensburg — the former New York Cafe, a Chinese restaurant:

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I believe this place in Gleed was built last year.  While not vintage, I’m always thrilled to see the tradition of giant stuff is still alive.  I’ve got loads of giant coffee pots at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/vessels/coffee.html

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I stopped by the Yakima Valley Museum in Yakima to see if there had been any new additions to the Neon Garden.  There were a couple of new vintage signs — but what really caught my eye was this guy.  Earlier in this trip, I was stunned to find that the three giant cow heads in Puyallup were gone.  Evidently, the Fairgrounds remodeled the entrance around 2012 and the cows disappeared.  I was hoping that this was one of the missing statues.  It’s a dead match.  However, it seems this guy came from a place in Yakima.  For a variety of cow heads like this, there are more at my website:
http://www.roadarch.com/critters/cows1.html

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While I was at the museum, my pal Andy showed me a photo of one of the signs in storage.  It’s a blurry photo since I just shot it from his computer screen.  But you can see what a giant stunner this is.  It was originally located in Yakima.  The fish are installed over a metal grid meant to simulate a net.  The boat is a mechanical element.  It is separate from the text panels and physically rocked back and forth over the neon waves.  Andy has been working with the city to find a place to install it, nothing definite yet, since it’s too large to install at the museum.

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Yakima still has lots of wonderful old signs.  These Bear Alignment signs are still scattered all over the country.  This one is a little crude looking,  I kinda like his Mickey Mouse ears.  For info about these signs and more examples (larger and neon examples), I’ve got a bunch at this page:
http://www.roadarch.com/signs/ca14.html

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More signs in Yakima:

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Still Yakima — a modern sign but still wonderful:

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Still in Yakima:

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Moving on to Union Gap.  This sign was restored sometime after 2010:

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These giant shaved ice Tropical Sno stands used to be all over in Washington, Idaho, Utah — and maybe elsewhere.  Now, they are far and few between.  I believe there are still several in Spokane but I didn’t get to check up on them on this trip since I didn’t make it that far East.   This one is in Richland:

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These two signs are also in Richland:

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This adapted Norge Ball is also in Richland — at the Uptown Cleaners.  I’ve got a couple of pages of Norge Balls from around the country here:
http://www.roadarch.com/signs/norge.html

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This repurposed A&W Drive-in is in Pasco:

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Also in Pasco:

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At this point in the trip, it was Friday afternoon and I was due back at work on Monday morning.  I was ambitiously still heading north and east to Spokane when Sparkle developed her misfire issue.  So, that changed everything and I turned right around and began my journey home.  Most of Saturday was spent killing time at the Firestone in Kennewick.  But the new plugs & wires resolved nothing and we were bucking through most of Oregon.  Then the symptoms went away and we had a smooth 800+ mile trip home.  Go figure. Saturday night’s goal was to get our butts into California.  Several coffees later, I stopped in Yreka for a four hour nap.  I was thrilled to find two of my favorite signs there still lit even though it was the wee hours of the morning.  This one is is a Federal Electric sectional sign from the early 1900s.  More about these signs at my page here:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/federal.html

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I shot this sign at the beginning of the trip during the day:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/19633606469/

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So, that’s it!  I hope you enjoyed tagging along on this trip.  Don’t forget there are still loads of signs & other stuff in addition to these posts over at my Flickr account:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

I’m going to hunker down for a few months getting all the photos from this trip up at my website.  So, worry not if you don’t hear from me until next year.

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

Day 13: Canada & a Wee Bit of Washington

Picking up on this trip in Vancouver, BC with the Bowmac sign which was built in 1958.  It was declared a landmark but has been somewhat obscured by the Toys “R” Us sign.  More about the sign at this link:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BowMac_sign

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The Ridge Theatre was demolished a couple of years ago.  The sign was saved and has been installed on top of the condos which are being built.  I dunno — those letters look brand new to me:

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I love this hand-painted sign:

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How about some swell embossed plastic signs:

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There used to be loads of these Coca-Cola signs but they’re now a rare species:

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I don’t think these Coke or 7Up signs were ever used in the U.S.:

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One more from Vancouver:

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The border crossing into the States was even more aggravating.  The dogs and I got to stay in the van but there were loads of nosy, irritating personal questions.  15 minutes of wanting to say “it’s none of your f-ing business!”  I should have just said I was visiting friends — which is what any crook or smuggler would have said.  But I’m an honesty freak.  So, when I said I was taking pictures, I guess it seemed like a dumb and suspicious reason for the trip to the border cop.  I’m in no rush to go back to Canada.

The Kenmore Lanes is, naturally, in Kenmore, WA.  If this sign is vintage, it’s been messed with quite a bit.  That “Lanes” font seems to be deliberately retro looking, and, of course, that message board below is horribly modern:
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This Fraternal Order of Eagles sign in Kirkland was restored in 2013:

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These two beauties are in North Bend:

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This sign in Roslyn is apparently a former Philco sign like this one  – note the laurel leaves on the sides:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/9588695@N05/1510216312/

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One more post to go!

dj

Day 12: North of Seattle and into Canada

The killer heat continued — but with blue skies & sun, I really didn’t mind it.  Let’s start with a couple of signs from Everett.  This one is located at Everett Used Cars:

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The nicely weathered Everett Motel sign:

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From Anacortes:

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I’m puzzled by this neon sign in Marysville.  Is that a hand holding something which is creating sparks or what?  I don’t know if this sign is associated with the Widow Maker Custom Motorcycle Fabricating business or not:

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From Oak Harbor — this sign still had neon tubing in 2012:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/williams-images/8028778868/

That’s cheap LED tubing on the sign now.  They didn’t bother adding it to the arrow:

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This sign is at Mom’s Cafe in Burlington.  Mom’s is closed now — let’s pray this backlit plastic monkey is adopted by the next tenant:

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It looks like “Some Place” under “Mom’s” but there must have been another name before that:

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From Bellingham which is far, far from any real palm trees:

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From Lynden:

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After a lengthy and thorough search of my van by border personnel, some interrogation and overly personal questions, trauma to the dogs (being locked in a crate in 100 degree temps), we arrived in Canada — a little later than planned.  The light was already waning — so, here’s the best I could do for the incredible Rickshaw sign in Surrey:

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This one is in New Westminster:

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Until just a few years ago, there were lots of old Safeway signs in Canada.  Now, it’s down to a handful.  This one’s in Coquitlam:

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Two more posts from this trip to go!

dj

Day 11: Seattle and Beyond

Most of the day was spent zipping around Seattle — grateful to have sunshine!

This former gas station housed the Station Bistro restaurant when I shot it in 2008:

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In 2009, the building was further transformed (disguised?) as the Shelter Lounge.  Here’s what it looks like now:

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Hattie’s Hat has been around since 1904.  This sign is obviously from much later — 1960s?

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The exterior features vitrolite and these cool mid-century modern looking tiles:

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The interior is loaded with ambiance:

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A modern sign, but awfully nice, at the 2 Bit Saloon which closed last year.  Hopefully, the place will reopen or at least the sign will stay:

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There used to be so many wonderful motel signs on Auburn Ave.   This is one of only a handful that are left:

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Simply glorious!

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There are six Dick’s Drive-ins in the Seattle area.  This is the original, in Seattle, from 1954.  The top panel still spins:

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This flower shop is gone.  But the space is now occupied by “Flowers Bar & Restaurant” which has kept the sign:

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Bick’s opened in the late 1990s and this sign is obviously modern.  That’s apparently a steak that the chef is flipping.  It must have been inspired by one of the pancake-flipping chef signs — but I don’t know which one:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/pancakes.html

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Sometime between 2011 and 2014, the Way West Motel sign was painted over for a marijuana store.  Here’s a link to a “before” photo:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/cmaceachen/2641665805/

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Aurora Plumbing was established in 1960.  This sign might be from then:

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Moving on to Lynnwood for these last two shots.  Best Auto Parts opened in 1958.  This sign looks 1960s:

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A House of Clocks has been around since 1963:

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Three more days & posts to go.  If I don’t catch up tonight, I’ll get ’em done tomorrow.

dj

Day 10: Seattle in the Sun!

I finally got a break with the weather.  I learned on the trip that when the forecast is for clouds, it can just about anything.  It can mean horrid grey stuff with not a trace of sun from the start to finish.  Or it can mean, those wondrous white puffies that make photos of the blandest of subjects seem monumental.

For example, this triple arrow sign in Auburn:

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and this former Safeway sign in Kent:

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Two shots from the Kent Bowl in Kent:

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The Des Moines Cinema (in Des Moines) has been closed for at least a few years.  Evidently, it was sold earlier this year and work was going on when I was taking this photo.  I don’t know if this will reopen as a theatre or something else.  They’d better not touch this sign!

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From Renton.  This unique Burger King building will only be around another month.  I got the bad news from the manager who said that BK has never been happy with this building’s non-conformance.  It will be just another boring box soon:

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There are six Burgermaster locations in the Seattle area.  This one’s in Bellevue:

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This Seattle sign’s transformation is heartbreaking.  Well, at least the bulb curve is still there.  Here’s how it looked in 2008 when the sign still advertised for the former Kettells Grocery & Lounge:

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Around 2013, the sign was adapted for the new tenant.  I hope someone saved the owl:blog8

It seems uncomfortable but Griz likes to keep an eye on me when I’m shooting — wedged between the windshield and the dash:

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Time for a little night neon in Seattle.  I suspect this one at the Java Bean is a vintage sign that was re-texted at some point.  The sign came from The Shack which was a burger place — but I don’t know how old.  It was from this part of town — but I don’t know if it was at this location or moved from somewhere else.

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This sign at the Dahlia Lounge is modern.  The fish’s tail moves in three-part animation:

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Another modern sign — not animated:

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More modern signs — this scaffold sign features a somersaulting girl in three-part animation.  Click this link for a quickie video that I shot of the sign:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59JKcH8IoJU

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The Olympic Athletic Club — I know the diving woman is modern but the clock appears to be vintage:

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Another modern diving woman — at the High Dive bar:

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More posts tomorrow night!

dj

Day 9: More Northwest Washington

Since another grey day was predicted, and no time to wait it out, I spent most of the day shooting remote stuff on my list for the Olympic Peninsula.

I started the day in Bremerton, WA.  I can’t resist a pizza chef sign — I’ve got a page of them at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/pizza.html

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From Bainbridge Island — this sign was demolished at the end of last year since it was deteriorating and considered unsafe. The neon letters were saved and installed on this tower-like sign which looks just like the old one:
http://www.bainbridgereview.com/news/286597371.html

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In Port Townsend, there’s the Eaglemount Rockery Cottages which have lots of little folk art, miniature buildings and statues. Apparently, this cute dinosaur can no longer support himself and leans into the shrubbery and cemented rocks.  There’s no way to shoot him to show both his face and body:

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The human statues all look like this blacksmith — with life-sized doll-like heads and stuffed looking bodies:

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By Port Angeles, the clouds had really won.  This sign is at the DuPuis Restaurant:

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More coming!

dj

Day 8: Northwest Washington

Well, I’ve really fallen behind on posting.  Sorry bout that. The dogs and I got safely home on Sunday afternoon.  But there have been a lot of pots on the stove these week which have kept me from catching up here.  Getting home was actually very stressful since Sparkle developed a hitch in her stride (random misfiring) in Eastern Washington that set me back more than $500 (new plugs & wires) and a half day’s shooting — to no avail.  She drove horribly through half of Oregon but then went 861 miles after that perfectly all the way home.  She’s still exhibiting the same symptoms now & then but until the check engine light comes on again, Firestone won’t touch her.  Aggravating knowing there’s something wrong & waiting for the inevitable (e.g., late to work, car rental, etc.).

Anyhow.  I’m going to try to bang out a couple of posts tonight and catch up in entirely, worst case, by Saturday night.  Let’s pick up in Shelton, WA with these two fun hand-painted signs:

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Cruising by Bob’s Tavern was this guy and his sidekick.  Love his ATV wheelchair — I’ve never seen such a thing.  He said he’s never got stuck anywhere.  I’m sure very useful in snow and ice — hard to imagine when it was 110 degrees:

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Still in Shelton.  Lots of 4th of July fireworks booths were still lingering on this trip.  The Minions guy and the sign at the right are classic photo-op displays — allowing you to insert your face from behind:

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Moving on to Lakewood.  The House of Donuts gives out free postcards of the place.  I posted a photo of the great mid-century building over at Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/20034841972/

My donut choice was a Red Velvet — which was incredible with the cream cheese frosting and super moist cake consistency.  The sugar jolt was better than two cups of coffee:
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By the time I got to Parkland, the clouds had overtaken the blue skies nearly completely.   I made the decision to keep shooting rather than sitting and waiting since I was already behind schedule on this trip.

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Three signs from nearby Tacoma — this arrow and font are wonderful:

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A pretty sign in the sun — but it looks nearly black & white here because of the clouds.  I can’t think of any other signs with a double arrow.  Those squares on the right earn bonus points!

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I guess, technically, this is a another double arrow sign — though not parallel arrows.  This is at Hans’s Place:

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I don’t remember these crazy Mattress Ranch stores on my 2008 trip.  There are seven locations in Washington (I might have accidentally seen them all on this trip) and four locations in Alaska.  The Washington stores all seem to have brightly painted cow & other animal statues and goofy painted signs.  This location is in Port Orchard:

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One down, another six posts to go.

dj

Day 7: Coastal Oregon and Washington

This was a pretty gloomy day with remote stops and much time spent running the dogs at the beach waiting for things to improve (which they didn’t). So, this will be a short post.  I attributed the heavy clouds to just being near the ocean but noooo.   I considered maybe re-routing my trip and heading way out east to Spokane the next day.  But the weather forecast showed heavy clouds and rain for the next few days for the entire state.  So, this is mid-summer in the Pacific Northwest?  I had no idea!

One of the funnest beach stops of the trip was in Gearhart, OR.  Obviously, you can drive onto the beach and there was nobody else around.  Sparkle there on the left passed the 400,000 mile mark on this trip.

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Nik (and his shadow) chasing ballies.  I love how all his feet are in the air in this one:

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After he tracks down his ball by sound and smell (he’s about 99% blind at this point), he runs with the ball and entertains himself for a while, throwing it, finding it, running and leaping with it in his little fantasy world.  He’s very self-sufficient — and probably a bit autistic:

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This is Grem’s “who’s your boyfriend?” trick.  Griz is happy to oblige.  He lives and breathes for her:

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This is their “Show Me Some Lovin'” dual trick.  It consists of hugs and kisses.  They can stand like this for a long time offering all kinds of variations:

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Grem’s kisses are more like open-mouthed nips but Griz doesn’t mind since he’s getting treats for whatever she does:

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A family portrait (sans me) – rare to get all four of them actually present and looking at the camera:

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While we were there, I dug into my slice of marionberry pie that I picked up at the Berry Patch in Westport, OR.  I’ve had all kinds of berry stuff on this trip since that’s the local seasonal thing here.  And incredible onion rings and shakes.  All the things I never eat at home:

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On with a few signs from today.  This one in Castle Rock, WA:

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This one in Longview, WA:

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From Astoria, OR:

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Surfing Sasquatches at the North Beach Motel in Ocean City, WA — in the rain:

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A “true” Muffler Man — in Centralia:

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These two last signs also in Centralia:

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This sign previously advertised for the El Rancho Bar & Grill — now an antiques shop in the space below:

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Two more days to catch up on.  From the miserable clouds outside, it appears I just might catch up!

dj

Days 5 and 6: Portland and Beyond

Day 5 was the suckiest day of the trip.  No sun whatsoever and then the check engine light came on in the afternoon.  A pricey catalytic converter that had to be California approved had to be located and installed.  $1610 later and I was finally back on the road around noon on Day 6.

I finished up Portland for most of the day and then headed west a little.  Then moved on to Vancouver, WA.  I don’t know what the delay was — but what should normally take about 30 mins., took FIVE HOURS!  No sign of an accident or construction.  5 mph stop and go all the way on the interstate.  It was hell.  And, of course, it was sunny.  Have I been complaining too much on this trip?  It’s a miracle I’m getting lots of lovely shots despite all the headaches.

Let’s start out with some Portland stuff.  The Paris Theatre is a tremendous old relic.  I’ll miss its current look if it’s ever restored:

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I never did get to sample the goodies at Voodoo Donuts on this trip.  It wasn’t such a big deal when I was here in 2008.  But this time, the lines were more than 100 people deep both day and night.  But I did at least shoot the giant donut on the ceiling inside:

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On the bridge crossing over from Portland to Vancouver, I pulled off to shoot the former Waddle’s Coffee Shop sign which has been adapted for a Hooters:
http://www.uniquely-portland-oregon.com/waddles-restaurant.html

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While I was away from the torturous bridge traffic, I also shot this place.  It only added about an hour to get back up the on-ramp to the bridge.  Be glad you weren’t there!

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You can see the building better from the bridge but there was chain link fencing in the way.  Here’s some more about the building — originally the Totem Pole Marina built in 1960:

https://portlandpreservation.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/the-hyperbolic-paraboloid-and-the-columbia-river-crossing/

And this view from Bing gives you a better idea of what the roof looks like:
http://binged.it/1OwAkT1

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Moving on to Washington — this place is in Camas.  Nice mid-century modern siding behind the cute sign:

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From Vancouver, WA — this sign previously advertised for The Castle, hence the cute little Medieval flag details:

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Also in Vancouver – When the Steakburger closed, at least some of the neon letters were saved from this sign:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/25229906@N00/5924491353/

The EAT letters from the sign are now installed on the ceiling inside the Panera which replaced the building.

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It’s hard to miss these guys in Vancouver from either I-5 or Highway 99:

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Moving on to Longview, WA — lots off fun neon to shoot at night there.  Not all the plastic balls were lit on this one but it’s still a happy sight:

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Here’s the sign by day which I shot the following morning:

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As you might have guessed from the amount of blog posts that I’m cranking out today, the weather sucks.  About five minutes of teasing sun this morning, then gone.  Gonna be an all-dayer at Starbucks I’m afraid.  But all the forecasts are for 100% sun tomorrow.  Holding my breath!

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Day 4: Portland!

Ah yes.  I remember this day — seems like weeks ago when it was only five days ago.  I was racing around like crazy trying to find moments of sun, taking naps & racing around again.  Then, there was the day after with horrible grey-ness where I just had to take longer naps, give the dogs more running time, and by afternoon, the catalytic converter nightmare which cost me another half day of shooting the following day when it was sunny!

Here are some shots then that made it all worth it.  I’m sure that bulb in the star must have flashed hypnotically at night once upon a time:

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Now, I’ve seen lots of chicken-wired signs to keep out the birds and protect them from vandals — but this is the most extensive protection of them all!

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Big and bold — and probably not that old:

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Neon & plastic combo with ballies — gotta be 1960s:

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What the heck?  It looks like this one was recently removed from its perch.  Just sitting there.  And it was so pretty in green in recent years:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vintageroadside/2131756706/

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I love the hand-lettered script and the log:

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I think that onion dome (teardrop?) has only been missing less than a couple of years.  I hope it’s not the beginning of this sign’s neglect:

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This sign looks like an oldie — or at least those sawtooth edged panels make it seem that way:

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Cute little metal arrow tails on the left:

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Sitting in the lot of Security Signs — fate unknown:

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Uncovered a few years ago — glad it hasn’t been painted over!

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The AMF Pro 300 Lanes.  The BOWL letters are lit sequentially:

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I love the curved part of the sign where it is attached to the building.  It makes me wonder what else is there under the siding:

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Some window signs at the Avalon Theatre & Wunderland:

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I’m in love with this one:

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My neck still hurts from trying to shoot this sign without the tree in the way:

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A sampling of some of the night’s shooting:

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OK then — time for beddie-bye.   If you don’t hear from me soon, that’s a good thing.   It’ll mean the sun has come out and I’m shooting at night again.  If I don’t post any more blogs til I get home, don’t forget that I’m still posting some other photos to Flickr every night — click here for a “day of”, nearly virtual sampling:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

For now,

dj & the dogs