3 Days in the Desert (Day 3)

A bunch of Nevada photos to finish off this trio of posts.  Here are several signs from Ely (as I found out, pronounced “Eee-lie”:

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The Liberty Club (bar).  I like the protective sheet metal on top.  Way better than the plexiglass covers but I’m sure less effective:

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A former Richfield station that was restored as such a few years ago.  Apparently abandoned again as the weeds are growing up through the cement cracks:

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A pretty combo (plastic & neon) sign:

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Moving on to Boulder City.  The sign previously advertised for Harry’s Cafe:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/54177448@N00/214878804/

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Another one from Boulder City (Sparkle says “hi” on the left — she turned over 444,444 miles on this trip):

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“Bliss Dance” was built in 2010 for the Burning Man Festival.  It was installed on Treasure Island in San Francisco from 2011-2015.  It was moved here to downtown Las Vegas last year.  The steel mesh statue is lit at night:
http://blackrockarts.org/projects/civic-arts/bliss-dance

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Trader Bill’s was originally a Western theme gift shop in Las Vegas.  Here’s my photo from 2006:

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The sign was reworked a couple of months ago for a White Castle.  I’m not a fan of the change.  The neon has been replaced with backlit plastic letters.  Too bad this one could not have gone to The Neon Museum instead:
https://vitalvegas.com/fremont-street-white-castle-trader-bills-sign/

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On a more positive note — is this sign which was built in 2015 by YESCO.  This animated sign is 30 feet tall and lit at night.  This video shows the manufacturing of the sign:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vyr9wuluJA

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That’s it for now.  I’m planning a little L.A. area trip for Thanksgiving weekend.  And there will be small trips here and there until the big summer trip in June-ish (Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, etc.).

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

And I’ll be adding a lot more to my website over the next couple of weeks:
http://www.roadarch.com/roadside.html

In case you missed it, my book on vintage signs is out and can be purchased from this English distributor.  It won’t be available until April in bookstores, Amazon, etc.  And it you buy via this link, it’s cheaper (a steal at $13.76 with no tax or shipping) and you’ll have it in a week:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Vintage-Signs-of-Americ-Debr-Jane-Seltzer/9781445669489?ref=grid-view

Happy Trails,

dj & the dogs

 

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3 Days in the Desert (Day 2)

Moving on to Nevada.  This sign is located at Clark’s Liquor in Hawthorne.  I don’t believe there’s any special name for these signs.  But I just call them “sequin signs”.  They are very reflective and the little “sequins” blow around in the wind.  I’m sure they were very common at one time but there are very few left in the country now:

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Some more signs in Hawthorne:

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The pigeons perched on top give some scale to this one:

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This sign in Tonopah has really faded.  It was much more fun when it had some color:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrphilmy/22056157226/

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One of the more vibrant signs at the Clown Motel:

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These cards & dice are at the Tonopah Liquor Company (a bar):

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About an hour north of Tonopah, this happened.  This tire looked completely fine in the morning.  I always do a walk-around inspection on trips (and even at home).  Plenty of tread.  I was doing about 80, smelled rubber and eased off the road.  The tire was completely shredded like a lawnmower attack.   In the middle of nowhere but, luckily, there was cell phone service and it wasn’t hot.  But it took more than an hour for the AAA tow truck to come.  The only tire shop in town was closed on Saturdays. But the guy came in for me and I was back on the road.  I lost about 3 1/2 hours of driving/shooting time.

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Onward to Eureka.  Those that are familiar with the Owl Club Casino will be happy to see that the old sign is still on display, sort of.  There’s a bright but boring plastic sign outside now but these pieces of the old sign are inside the bar.  Here’s what the sign looked like when it was still outside:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/owlsplace/2058877610/

Inside, the owl no longer has any neon:

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The two text panels were split up and are displayed on different walls:

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I’ll get Day 3 up tomorrow night.  In the meantime, more photos from this trip are over at Flickr here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

dj & the dogs

3 Days in the Desert

I took a little roadtrip this past weekend to a little remote strip in California.  There were also many stops in other cities in Nevada that have also been on my list for a long time.  Lots of driving (about 2,000 miles) and breathing in sandy & smokey dust.  The dogs got a lot of running & sniffing in big vast nothingness.  Not so much shooting but still some great stuff.  Let’s get to it.

From Rosamond, CA:

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Another from Rosamond:

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From Kernville — where you can see the smoke in the background from nearby, raging forest fires:

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Detail of the diver & trees:

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From the Walker Pass Lodge in Onyx.  This looks to be a modern creation:

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From the Olancha RV & Motel in Olancha, CA.  Apparently, rent-able canvas teepees:

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From Grant, CA.  Looks like a former market:

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Two signs from the Pines Cafe in Independence, CA.  You can just barely make out the pine tree in the first photo:

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From Bishop, CA:

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From Lee Vining, CA:

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That’s it for the Friday sampling.  More photos from the same day of the “nicer” stuff over at my Flickr account here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

More California stuff & then moving on to Nevada in the next post which I’ll throw together later tonight or tomorrow.

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

Bay Area Trip: Day 3 of 3

I started the day in Auburn — waiting for the clouds to pass.  Note the pins near the “swiss cheese hole” on the sign on the left:

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and this wonderful topiary pin:

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On to Sacramento.  This bulbed beauty is at The Distillery:

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The Gem Auto Wash sign has been missing for awhile.  It used to be a pole sign by the road.  Then, it was replaced with a plastic box sign.  This panel reappeared on the building a few months ago.  It looks to me like this is a replica panel because the shapes don’t quite match up and the “GEM” is not as slanted.  But close enough!  And it’s lit at night.  It don’t know if it has the same colors as it used to:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/rickele/8590855113/

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Moving on to my final stop of the day.  It was already late afternoon and I should have already been on the highway home (about a six hour drive) but…

There was an open house at Bruce Kennedy’s Bell Plastics shop where he has a big collection of giant fiberglass statues.  I’ve been to the shop many times but some of the statues had been restored and there were a few new additions.

This nice Pep Boys sign is in Bruce’s office:

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This Chief Tawonka statue was produced for the Cigarettes R Cheaper chain.  I have a few others at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/giants/indians.html#Tawonka

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Below:  a 14 foot tall and a 21 foot tall statue side-by-side.  The guy on the right is a Mortimer Snerd statue (that’s what International Fiberglass marketed them as).  Most people refer to these guys as either Alfred E. Neuman statues or Half-Wit statues.  This statue was previously in Flint, Michigan and was just restored here in Hayward.  More about these statues at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/giants/ifsnerds.html

The Fireman statue on the left was recently produced for Bruce by Mark Cline.  He has produced a number of these statues using a mold that he made from International Fiberglass’ 14 foot tall Giants to which Cline made his own modifications.  Usually, these Cline statues hold ice cream cones.  Some of them and the original 14 footers appear at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/giants/if14men.html

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This freshly restored Paul Bunyan statue was originally installed at Dooley’s Hardware in Long Beach, CA:

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More about Bruce’s statues at the bottom of this page:
http://www.roadarch.com/giants/ifbunyans4.html

His latest International Fiberglass statue came from a tire shop in Mount Vernon, IL. Bruce got this Miss Uniroyal statue a couple of years ago and the restoration was finished about a week ago.  More about these statues at my website here:
http://www.roadarch.com/giants/ifuni.html

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These statues came dressed in a bikini but were also sold with a blouse and skirt for a more modest look.  Her freshly painted secondary outfit is in shrink wrap in Bruce’s shop for now:

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I still have a long list of stuff to shoot in the Oakland area so I’ll probably take another trip up north again in a month or so.  For now, it’s back to work on adding the Texas stuff to my website — and then I’ve got about 300 more photos from this trip.

Happy trails,

dj & the dogs

Bay Area Trip: Day 2 of 3

Moving on to San Francisco where there were loads of signs on my list.  Many of them were reshoots due to city canyons and shade problems in the past.  But many of them were reshoots due to good news — restorations!  For example, the Tia Margarita sign has been repainted:

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The Perramont Hotel sign will have to be reshot another day due to both shade and tree problems.  But, oh those raised letters… And you never know — there might not be another time.  So many signs disappear without warning.

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Although it’s a modern building (built in 2008), I still like it.  A giant concrete sculpture.  The Congregation Beth Shalom Synagogue:

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I don’t know how paint peels like this.  Or what inspired the owner to go with a dull color.  Cheap tan paint over nice red porcelain panels.  One sturdy and stubborn sign! (note the crunch that must have been the result of a whack from a passing truck)

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The Elite Cafe sign caught fire during maintenance in February.  The red disk at the top is gone now.  But what’s interesting is the revealed “Grill” text.  It appears this sign was originally built in 1932 for the Lincoln Grill:
http://newfillmore.com/2011/07/11/the-elite-aging-gracefully/

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This sign was installed in 2013 when Palmer’s Tavern opened.  I don’t know if the sign was repurposed from another place & business or it’s just a modern vintage-looking new creation:

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Just one tubing hole to prove that this sign had neon originally:

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If it’s not the on the wrong side of the street to get sun, or there’s an overgrown tree… then there’s a *&$#@ pole sign or telephone pole that gets in the way:

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Some signs blessed by the sun in Chinatown:

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The Li-Po sign is just about to be restored!
https://sf.eater.com/2017/8/29/16217428/neon-sf-shines-li-po-lounge-chinatown-signs

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The Great Star Theatre’s neon was restored last year by John Law:
https://sfneonbook.tumblr.com/post/144357431368/restored-by-the-infamous-john-law-the-great-star

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Two more signs for this post — this rusty, crusty wonder is at The New Rex Hotel:

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and a fun modern sign of a fisherman reeling in a pizza.  And, of course, I love the little terrier which will most likely get a slice:

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One more post to go!

dj & the pizza-loving dogs

Bay Area Trip – Day 1 of 3

Although I’m still working hard adding the photos from June to my website (Arizona and New Mexico done; 3 more long days of Texas to go), I decided to take a break and took a little trip north to the San Francisco area.

Here’s a beauty from Gilroy:

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From Morgan Hill:

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From Santa Cruz — the very faded and crunched Plymouth Court sign:

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Yes, this one’s in San Jose — a radiator shop sign; lit at night and protected by day with plastic covers:

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At Ace Loan in San Jose:

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Shoot it while you can folks — this place is also in San Jose:

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The Charles Motel is soon to be no more.  Check out the cute hideaway motel court car hideaways, tile roof & stucco:

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Soon to look something like this faux modern building — no sign of the sign in the illustration:

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In Palo Alto — these Norge panel signs are even rarer than the Norge Balls.  I’ve been doing a lot of research about the Norge Village chain & signs.  If you’d like to see more or just gawk at the Norge Balls, here’s the page:
http://www.roadarch.com/signs/norge.html

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Last place for this post — Emerald City Liquors in Redwood City:

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Enormous slanty roof, open grid canopy over the door and a baby pylon sticking out of the roof:

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Two more posts coming up later tonight.

dj & the well-traveled dogs

Day 17: Arizona and on to…. Home!

Here’s the last post for this trip.  I was eager to get home but I stuck to my list.  The wrap-up with the money and miles is at the end of this post.

Let’s start out with these two signs in Cottonwood, AZ:

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This was the Shep’s Liquor sign.  Well, it was probably another name before Shep’s since that scripty font looks awfully modern.  But here’s what it looked like previously:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeyharrison/563241105/

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A couple of signs from Prescott:

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This “wiring supplies” sign with clock and previously revolving middle panel has gratefully been put to new use:

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A tall one from Ash Fork:

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A few things from Kingman.  This sign originally advertised for the King’s Arms Restaurant (the pole was a spear).  But the place was known as the ABC Restaurant for many years:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vintageroadtrip/6313662952/

The business changed names and the sign got this repaint last year:

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This former Denny’s has changed names many times but it’s really dressed up now:

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The beat-up Brandin’ Iron Motel sign is being stored at Legacy Signs in town.  Hopefully, the neon branding iron & brands will be restored one day:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/7667429@N05/2386575184/

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From Parker.  That coffee pot is just wonderful:

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And from the very last stop (Quartzsite) in Arizona before I hooked up to I-10 and hustled on into California.  These clocks came in blue, red, and other colors.  They and this bulb text sign were mass-produced by Superior Electrical Advertising of Long Beach, CA (famous also for all those bulb arrow signs with stars or plastic elements in the middle):

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It was 118 degrees when I took this last photo and I had had quite enough of summer for the entire year.  It got cooler and cooler with each mile until I reached home and the wonderful coastal fog.

**************************************************

Alrighty then.  Here’s the brief summary of the numbers from these 17 days on the road.  7,572 miles.  That’s an average of 445 miles per day with the last day being the most miles traveled: 708.   $1,220.51 was spent on gas alone.  That’s an average of $71.79 per day.   I don’t keep a tally motels or food.

Sparkle now has about 430,000 miles on her.  Keeping her going cost about $1,862 on this trip.  Two oil changes, repairing the A/C (about $1,000 right there), replacing a serpentine belt & front shocks, and fixing a nail in a tire.

Now might be a good time to say that if you want to make a contribution towards my travels and website work, I’d be forever grateful.  Paypal.com donations to my email address (roadarch@outlook.com) is safe and easy.

[PayPal donation link]

For the first time on a major roadtrip, I did NOT get a speeding ticket.  Not that I didn’t do quite a lot of speeding…  There were a couple of times when I think I made a cop think about it but he picked someone else.While I have uploaded maybe a couple hundred photos to Flickr and this blog, the real work lies ahead.  I have over 2,100 photos to prepare for inserting at the website.  That’s what I’ll be doing with my summer (and maybe my fall).  I will take a couple of weekend trips here and there as a break and post to the blog again then.

And if you’ve been waiting for the conclusion of these posts to check out the Flickr photos from this trip (different from those posted here), they are all up here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Wishing you happy trails and fun summer roadtrips of your own,

dj & the dogs
www.RoadsideArchitecture.com

P.S. A few bonus shots of the kids at our nightly beach romp.  Traveling is great but it’s so good to be home!  I took a few shots tonight with my phone but the lens must have been smudged up with dog treat grease or something.  I had to bump up the contrast to compensate for the blur.  So, the quality is not great — but I hope you’ll be amused anyway.  L to R: Griz, Grem, & Nik.  Photos 2 & 3 are in response to my request to “ruff”:

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Day 16: Farmington (NM) to Flagstaff (AZ)

A few more shots from Farmington.  I don’t know how old or redone this sign is but it’s still pretty fun.  The digital message board is hideous but the giant angled pin makes up for it:

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This sign is backlit at night:

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This was Star Collision a few years ago.  It looks like the “Furniture” panel was covered up then and has now reappeared:

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The International Fiberglass statue at Sun Glass — unintentionally and magically reflected in Sparkle’s window:

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This one was dark at night:

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I really wanted a better photo of this one but the *$&@# telephone pole interfered:

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xx

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From Bloomfield, NM:

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Another shot from Bloomfield.  Evidently, these shaved ice stands are scattered around the country — about 20 states.  I love all the syrup flavor bottles.  I definitely would have had one if the place had been open.  A modern equivalent of the carts I remember from NYC.  It looks like a deflated inflatable waving guy on the roof:

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A much cuter shaved ice stand in Kirtland that looks like it’s been closed for awhile:

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Here’s an assortment of signs from Gallup:

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And on into Arizona.  This shot is from Holbrook — installing signs on a truck is one way around a sign code:

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The sign is a repurposed Best Western sign — an example of one that I shot in Sturgis, SD in 2012:

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From Winslow — very sad to see the whole mid-section of this Indian sign blown out.  This is what the sign looked like a few years ago:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ljdesignphoto/2388380395/

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On to Flagstaff.  Here’s the Whispering Winds Motor Hotel which has some nice mid-century modern details — rocky bricks, backlit cylinder lights, cantilever porte cochere…

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More cylinders and fun use of pink and blue.  The sign (not shown) pole is painted brown now but, otherwise, the place looks just like this vintage postcard:
https://www.cardcow.com/599873/whispering-winds-motor-hotel-flagstaff-arizona/

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I love old vacancy signs with doors, flaps, and boxes.  This one at the Motel Du Beau is low enough to the ground that the door for the “No” panel could have been slid back and forth by hand.  Despite it being recessed, I guess the neon was enough to make it visible:

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A repurposed Rexall sign like this one:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/34745206905/

You can see a teensy bit or orange at the top of this sign.  It looks like the original panels were simply covered up with new ones.  The aged metal can between the panels seems to indicate that as well:

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A little bit more Arizona to come.  I’ll get the final post from this trip up either tomorrow or Saturday.

dj

 

 

 

Day 15: Small towns… and Albuquerque

This might be the most packed post of the trip.  So, grab a beverage and find a nice big screen (heavens, not a phone!).

This is a new sign in Moriarty:

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These Whiting Bros. gas stations signs in Moriarty were restored and relit in 2014.  This is the last Whiting Bros. station still in operation:

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Moving on to Albuquerque.  The motel is now very cleaned up, nice looking apartments.  I’m glad they didn’t mess with the sign:

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The Town Lodge was the Minton Lodge in the 1950s.  I wish I could find a postcard showing what the sign looked like then:

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I love the plastic roof and lantern:

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A fun mid-century modern building with a curvy roof, major rocks, and raised diamond brickwork around the back.  According to property records, it’s from 1965 but I don’t know the original use:

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I wonder what’s under that siding of the Carlisle Plaza Mobile Home Park sign:

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The Range Cafe has this diving woman sign.  The owner swears it’s vintage.  But I’ve been told by others that it’s not.  I examined it up close and I’m still not convinced either way.  Folks like Todd Sanders have gotten so good at mimicking vintage signs, complete with faux patina repurposed panels and cans.  Well, it’s a great sign either way:

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The big deal of the day.  I got to meet a big time collector, Carlos Garcia, who has saved a number of Albuquerque signs.  He also has some non-ABQ signs including the two signs that went for a mint at the Mecum Auction recently:  the Weakley Equipment and Johnson’s Garage signs.  They were sold at the auction and then resold to him.  I didn’t ask the cost!  Carlos and his family own a number of new car dealerships in town.  En route to see some of his signs which are stashed in multiple locations around town, I witnessed some of his tractor collection.  Wow.

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A Case tractor with a Case sign:

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A Ferguson tractor sign.  I’ve never seen one of these.  Incredible shape.  Many of the signs that Carlos had in this building are crated while the display space for them is being readied.  He plans on opening some sort of cafe here:

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Kurt’s Camera Corral opened in 1950 and closed around 2015.  Here’s my photo from 2012 of the sign:

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The sign was removed in 2016 and is now part of Carlos’ collection:

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Another much-loved sign is the one that was at Rupert Plumbing.  Here’s my photo from 2008:

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When the company moved in 2001, they couldn’t get permission to install the sign at the new place.  So the sign stayed in place until Carlos got it in 2016.  He has plans to restore and display it in a small sign park in the next year or so:

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Here’s the wrench part of the sign:

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Here’s a photo that I took of the Santa Fe Lodge sign in Santa Fe in 2012:

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That sign is also now part of Carlos’ collection:

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Moving on to two more Albuquerque signs still in place:

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Here’s a trio of signs from Grants:

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I know you want a close-up of the above sign:

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I went to nearby Milan to shoot the unique Dairy Queen sign.  Depressed to see that the DQ had closed and the sign was gone.  At least this monster with slanted poles is still there:

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A long drive to Farmington but that AC was working smoothly.  Lucky to arrive at dusk and get some night shots:

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A little more New Mexico and then on to Arizona tomorrow.

dj

Day 14: Amarillo and on into Northern New Mexico

Last day for Texas stuff.  Let’s pickup in Amarillo.  What a bummer.  Half of the Dennis the Price Menace sign is gone now.  Here’s what it used to look like:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mmoorr/2477951919/

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Love that backwards “N”:

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It was sweltering in Amarillo (just like the rest of the trip).  I spotted this goose family hanging out under a dripping AC unit.  I can’t imagine where they go swimming around there.  I felt bad and was happy to have half of loaf of bread from a grocery store that sucked.  I cast a bunch of slices out the window and some of the goslings came over to snack.  I know, bread ain’t good for geese but I’m sure they don’t get a lot of it.  My barking dogs made most of them hesitate, so, I quickly drove off.  As I was doing do, another big goose family with young’uns came walking up briskly to check things out.  Nothing wrong with the guy on the left’s leg, by the way.  He walked just fine:

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Passing through Adrian, TX this sign in full sun begged to be shot.  Midpoint between Chicago and Santa Monica:

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Last stop in Texas — from Bovina.  I don’t remember seeing this giant beer can five years ago when I was here last:

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On to Clovis, NM.  I went to check on the Bear sign:

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A nice guy that I had called when writing my article about these signs showed me some behind the scenes stuff:  smaller signs and this original piece of Bear equipment which is still in use:

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Way out of the way in Nara Visa, NM:

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The motel itself has nifty perforated cylinders which must have been backlit at night:

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Another sign from Nara Visa:

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Tucumcari is looking pretty sad right now.  Lots of vacant lots, old stuff that’s looking even older.  Yes, the dressed up some gas stations with new paint (as the wrong brands — don’t get me started) and there are a few motels like the Blue Swallow that are in good hands.  But Tucumcari, Santa Rosa, and Moriarty look to be really toughing it out.  I’m surprised  the sign at the long-abandoned Westerner Drive-in is still clinging to life.  Here’s what it used to look like:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/madridminer/2685291347/

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Moving on to Vaughn for these two signs:

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Here’s a close-up of that Western panel with the nicely aged scenery.  Saguaro on the right and a mesa (?) in the middle:

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Moving on to Santa Fe where there was a nasty forest fire in the west.  I felt like I could barely breathe and my eyes were stinging.  I had planned to stay the night there — but opted to head down to Albuquerque.  But I got a bunch of shots before I left:

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I imagine from the funky edges that this sign had a faux wood background that got painted over at some point:

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Here’s this night shot from about 40 mins. later:

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From Espanola:

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Last shot for this post — from Santa Fe:

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More New Mexico coming up in the next post.

dj