Day 12: Dallas-Fort Worth Area (Part 2)

A cloudy morning really bummed me out.  I took a few naps.  Then, as soon as I got myself set up at Starbucks with my laptop and papers and all that, the sun came out.  Shit!  Packed everything back up and then the clouds came back.  Dammit.   Lots of pauses throughout the day to wait for the sun and then the world’s worst traffic jam on the interstate heading out of Dallas.  An accident AND construction.  So, this post is a bit shorter than most.

More stuff from Dallas.  Let’s start with this one with the cloudy background.  I’m sure these were mass-produced but I don’t know of any that are left:

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A cute little detail on a blown out sign at the Garland Road Thrift Store:

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And this cute fella at Sali’s Italizan Restaurant.  I’ve got a thing for pizza chefs:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/pizza.html

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This was built as a Hardee’s.  A car wash office now with the steeple removed.  And BOY did I catch hell from the owner/manager for taking this photo.  He ran out screaming at me and wrote down my license plate saying he was calling the police.  Sheesh.  I didn’t bother to interact — that never goes well.   Here’s what the building and sign would have looked like originally:
http://www.roadarch.com/06/5/conchardees.jpg

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I don’t know if this sign is adapted or reconstructed or both.  It looks pretty new.  It might have been (or been inspired by) the Fidelity Union Life Insurance parking garage which was here previously.  Maybe the letters inside the arrow read parking (one letter less now and reconfigured):

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This Coca-Cola sign is in front of the Farmers Market building.  These signs were mass-produced for Coke and there are about a dozen of them displayed around the country.  I don’t know if the “Western Cafe” was in Dallas or if this came from somewhere else.  It appears that the top and bottom panels of this sign were covered up a few years ago:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/tommythecat/4438224270/

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The Chevrolet Motor Company Building was built it 1923.  It now houses the Futura Lofts.  I assume this sign was adapted but I can’t find any photos anywhere.

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This artsy pizza slice hovers over Serious Pizza:

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Finally done with Dallas.  I shot this Independent Order of Oddfellow sign in Grapevine just as I was running out of light.

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Five more days/posts to come.  That might straggle out until next weekend which will give you time to see the purtier photos from this trip over at Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

dj

Day 11: Dallas-Fort Worth Area

This was the most prolific AND most beautiful day of the trip.  Sure, it was over 100 degrees but, oh, the gorgeous white clouds!  They make a nice photo look spectacular.  Most of the time, the clouds even cooperated in not blocking the sun.  So, this will probably be the longest blog post of the trip.  Let’s get cracking!

All from Fort Worth unless indicated below:

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A couple of palm tree signs:

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There was another one of these signs (identical and same name) in River Oaks, TX which was demolished in 2012:

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This one is in Arlington.  This photo shows the sign when it was lit and before it became Americas Best Value Inn:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/83379080@N00/2518387497/

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Heartbreaking.  This sign in Grand Prairie has been significantly altered.  The green sign with the dancers on the right is gone now:
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Here’s what it looks like now (note the Garzas sign behind it has been altered as well):

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The Starlite Room has also changed a bit.  My photo from 2011:
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Now Chinese food.  At least the rooftop sign has been left alone (except for the one star removed).  Probably too much trouble to remove it:

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Some more things from Grand Prairie.  A former not-that-old Whataburger with a dramatic repaint (now Pappy’s Catfish):

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Now a boring police station but I’m glad they kept this bit of the building.  I can’t find any photos of what it looked it:

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A couple of signs from Grand Prairie:

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A nice plastic Masonic sign from Irving:

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Moving on to Dallas:

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I suspect that the “RAYS” discs might have revolved originally:

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Let’s pause for multiple shots from Lone Star Donuts.  The zig-zag roofline and office on the second floor on the left:

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The nice plastic sign with faux wood grain porcelain enamel sign pole.  By the way, the “Since 1950” refers to when the bakery was founded.  This location opened here in 1967.  It’s not clear if this building was already there then.

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Inside — some nice original details:

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That Jerry’s supermarket type is incredible:

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A bank? An office building?

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FAMSA is a big furniture and electronics store.  This FAMSA panel revolved originally but now just blows around in the wind:

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There were at least two or three other Optical Clinic signs with giant glasses in the Dallas area.  I believe this is the only sign left now:

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I see that I posted this guy to my blog already in 2008.  Ah well, he deserves another inclusion:

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This sign-topper is located at Johnny’s Motor Co. in way southeast Dallas:

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This one is in Corsicana at Bill’s Fried Chicken:

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Back in Dallas.  This sign originally read “Motel Winway” with “Coffee Shop” text on the arrow below.  You can see the patching and repainting if you stare at the sign long enough.  The top arrow had bulbs.  Here’s a photo showing its previous look:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mollyblock/7600625046/

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The Boyd Hotel sign — now maintained (lit at night) by the Local restaurant which is housed in the ground floor:

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One more for this post.  I wish the bottom of this sign hadn’t been defaced.  It originally read “Louver Windows”.  Evidently, that happened when the space housed the Club Clearview:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/claycoleman/3621089002/

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If you haven’t been keeping up with my Flickr photos from this trip, there’s loads of great stuff there:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

Six more days of posts to go.

dj

Day 10: Onward to Fort Worth

I finished up all the Abilene area stuff yesterday and was anxious to get going.  We showed up at the Pep Boys in Abilene for our 8am appointment.  I got a lot of photoshopping done thanks to the Wi-Fi while the kids waited patiently:

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The “Master Tech” diagnosed that the A/C tubing which Firestone installed in 2012 was not installed properly and had rubbed against stuff and created pin-sized holes.  He put in proper brackets and even fixed (for free!) my dying driver door handle and three power/cigarette outlets which were hanging by a thread.  I was reimbursed for the previous two A/C “repairs” on this trip.  We lost about five hours but I’m happy to say that the A/C worked the rest of the trip.

Let’s start with a bunch of stuff from Fort Worth where the clouds were with us — in a good way for the most part.  Sometimes, I’d have to stand there for a few minutes when the sun went away.  But I just stared at the ground so I’d be ready to push the button when I saw the hard shadows appear.

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Three shots from the Drummers Inn:

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It must have been stunning when it had neon:

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This crappy plastic covering was added within the last year or so.  A trade-off I guess since it protects the neon.  Here’s what the sign looks like at night:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dangrdave/31749821133/

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This one has been neon-less for years:

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Creepy but great statue at Mr. Pollo #2.  What kind of tool is he using on that chicken?  It looks more like an apple peeler than a knife:

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The Jefferson Drive-in theatre was located Dallas.  It was the last drive-in in the Dallas area.  Here’s a photo I took of the sign in 2003:

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The drive-in closed around 1990 and the sign sat there for years until a new elementary school was built on the site.  The sign was saved and it has been repurposed at this place in Kennedale:

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I shot this Dutch Maid Do-Nut Shop sign in Haltom City in 2011:

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The cruller’s hole has been covered up and the sign advertises for the Taqueria El Toro now:

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This sign in Fort Worth appears freshly repainted.  I’m betting this has always advertised for a used car lot:

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Moving on to Dallas tomorrow.

dj

Day 9: Toughing it Out Around Abilene

The dogs and I survived our second day in a row with no AC in the 100 plus heat.  I was busy shooting away although I might have been walking a little slower than normal.  I soaked the dogs in creeks here and there.  And dumped jugs of water on all of it from time to time.   We made the most of it before the next day’s big “date” at the Pep Boys.

Some points south of Abilene to start the day.  This super nice storefront is at Nathan’s Jewelers in Brownwood:

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Moving on to Abilene — an Italian restaurant with a nice gondola sign:

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Some other nice signs in Abilene:

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Note the clever sign pole shaped like a horn:

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Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to shoot this rooftop sign at the right time of day:

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A nifty downtown building faced with rocks:

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I shot this one years ago when it was still operating.  Sad to see it vacant now.  The cream and green on the building are vitrolite tiles:

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Two great signs at this place:

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Equally great, in a different way:

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I’m guessing the sign is 1960s or 1970s.  Note that the “Crier” has an animated arm:

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Moving south for a bit.  YES!  I can highly recommend the cherry limeade at this place.  According to the folks inside, this has always been a Hatahoe restaurant in Anson.  The sign had neon originally:

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I don’t know if the cup was inspired by Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets but it’s titled pretty much the same way.  Too skinny to be an adapted KFC bucket.  But I suppose one could be easily cut & altered to this shape:

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This sign is also in Anson:

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This painted brick advertising is in Stamford.  These signs look so nice when they aren’t repainted.  Too many of these Coke signs are bright red now and they details have been lost.  It looks like the first “C” in Coca-Cola has been painted.  But I doubt that’s recent:

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Let’s close out with another (former) neon boot in Eastland:

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More later,

dj

Day 8: Texas. Hot.

Well, so much for the “four days” that the Roswell mechanic promised.  By late morning, I cranked on the AC.  Blowing hot air.  Again.  I stuck to my route despite the fact that the nearest Pep Boys was in Abilene.  I set up an appointment with them and  loaded up the water jugs for two days of misery and all-day driving/shooting.  I suppose a saner person would have just holed up in a motel until then.  But, hey, the sun’s out and vacation time is short.

Let’s start out with some signs in Midland with this Holiday Inn sign copycat:

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And this “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign copycat.  The Vegas sign was designed by Betty Willis who never had the design copyrighted and it has been lifted for many modern signs lately.  Here’s the Vegas sign:
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and the one in Midland:blog2.jpg

This truck & rooster are at Big Sky Towing in Odessa:

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Manuel’s Restaurant in Odessa has a number of signs:

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I would assume that the hot Texas sun has turned the Mexican kid green:

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Southern Maid Donuts.  This just might be the best donut I’ve had in my life.  And I’ve had a lot.  Orange glaze with coconut on a puffy, lovely light cake donut.  Gawd.  I could eat six of them in one sitting if I had them.  They have a huge variety.  You must stop if you are driving between El Paso and Dallas on I-20.

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The Ector Theatre in Odessa…

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… will soon be getting a makeover as evidenced by this development poster in the “Coming Soon” movie poster case:

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No such promise for the Scott Theatre in town which I like better:

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Fun painting at the Western Drug Package Store:

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One more from Odessa.  This funky welding sign.  The chain link fencing prevented me shooting the sunny side.  I’ll try to translate.  A hand in a welding glove on the right and some sparks on an abstract object.  I think.

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A couple of signs from Fort Stockton:

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This wonderousness is being consumed by trees and pointing at nothing that’s open:

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Let’s end with one of my (many) favorite themes:  boot signs.  This one in Big Spring:

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And this one at Wood’s Boots in Colorado City:

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I’m off to photoshop like a demon for the rest of the night.  I’m hoping to get the rest of these blog and Flickr posts up this weekend.  Then, I can settle down into the groove of working on the website.  I figure it’ll take me maybe six months to get the nearly 2,000 photos inserted there.

Don’t forget, I’m simultaneously uploading a sampling of each day’s photos from this trip over at Flickr (different photos than this blog):
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

dj & the still recuperating dogs

Day 7: From Roswell to Texas

I finished up my Roswell, NM shooting in the morning and was all eager to wrap up the Southern New Mexico stuff and get over to the big chunk of stuff in Texas.  It was around 10:30am and I decided to turn on the AC since it was in the 80s already and climbing quickly.  No dice.   Blowing hot air.  Evidently, it took four days for the freon to leak out again since Day 1’s long pitstop at the Pep Boys in Yuma.  Crap.    I wanted to hit another Pep Boys since the job was under warranty.  But it turns out there aren’t any Pep Boys in Southern NM — not even in Albuquerque.  The closest was Santa Fe, NM which was WAY north and a huge break from my planned route.  It was a Saturday and the mechanic at the Goodyear was nice enough to drop what he was doing to look things over.  He couldn’t find any leaks anywhere despite his fairly high tech machine and decades of expertise.   He suspected the rattling compressor or the seal leading to the line behind it.  But he told me not to worry since AC systems are very predictable.  If I’d gotten four days, I’d get another four with the refill.  (Not so it would turn out.)

I’d always wanted to know more about that Goodyear anyway but I didn’t get very far.  One guy said it was a car dealership (Cadillac).  But another guy insisted it was always a GE appliance dealer.

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And so, after about a two hour delay, we were on our way.  Here’s a nicely aged sign in Roswell.  Let’s hope they never repainted it since that would ruin it:

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A couple of signs from Artesia, NM:

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This one may have bright paint but the rust and holes on the can indicate this sign is super old.  Bennie’s Western Wear opened here in 1947 and I’m inclined to believe the sign is from then:

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On the way west end of Hobbs, NM, at a closed restaurant-ish looking place, was this C-152 Lectra sign.  There are about a dozen of these left scattered around the country.  The arms were studded with bulbs originally.  This video gives you an idea of what these signs would have looked like at night:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/8492055@N08/4794881045/

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That’s the end of New Mexico for awhile.  We now move on to Texas for awhile.  This funky panel mish-mash is in Big Spring on the east end of town:

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More coming right up.

dj

 

Day 6: More Southern NM & El Paso

Since El Paso is right up against the southern New Mexico border, it made sense to grab that city at this point rather than with the rest of Texas.  Let’s start there.

Apparently, a building was just knocked down on this lot revealing some nicely preserved “ghost dogs” (vintage painted advertising signs):

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This sign has been painted, badly.  From 2012:

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and now with the name painted over and the tires and grill crudely painted:

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The Sunbeam sign is also missing the girl now.  My photo from 2008:

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Google Maps Street View shows she was still there in 2015 so this change must be recent:

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The Barrel House Liquor sign:

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Right behind it is the Cappetto’s Italian Restaurant sign:

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The bulb piece on top must have been amazing.  I assume it some sort of flashy thing.  I’ve seen poles with bulbs on them attached to poles.  But nothing with THIS many bulbs:

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An older panel below the main panel of the Montana Motel sign.  With these vacancy signs, these “Sorry No” letters could be turned on as needed with a separate switch:

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This operating Coca-Cola plant sign is most likely modern.  It reads Dr. Pepper on the other side.  It apparently revolved originally but not on this trip:

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This one’s definitely vintage.  It’s inside the High Altitude bike shop in Cloudcroft, NM:

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On to Roswell, NM.  I didn’t shoot any alien stuff — not my thing.  This Roswell Motor Supply sign was installed at a local business.  It has been installed inside this Farley’s restaurant/bar since around 2004.  The bellhop? mechanic? has an animated saluting arm.  Although the sign is usually lit, there was a problem and the manager couldn’t get it to come on.  Bummer:

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11 more days to come…

dj

 

Day 5: From Tucson onward to New Mexico

For those of you who are curious about the route of this trip…. From SoCal, I headed through southern Arizona and New Mexico and into Texas.  The eastward most point was the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  On to some northern Texas and then northern New Mexico and Arizona.  I dropped back down to I-10 for the trip home.  That was the hottest day which was at least 118 degrees.

Yes, all of my roadtrips are very planned out (see the “How to Plan a Roadtrip” page here at my blog) for the details.  I have been to these states about four times now and combed them pretty thoroughly.  But there are always new things that I didn’t know about or things that have changed (repainted, remodeled, or fallen on harder times) that merit reshooting.  I’d say I only stumble upon 1% of the stuff that I shoot by accident.  I only post a few of the “lesser” subjects here at the blog.  A handful of nicer subjects over at Flickr.  Then, the bulk of the photos (roughly 2,000 photos on this trip) are gradually inserted at the website over the next six months or so.

I wrapped up Tucson in the morning.  Here’s one of my favorite storefronts:

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The only photos of my three dogs that I took on this trip were these at the abandoned Spanish Trail Motel.  As I have mentioned more than a few times already, the heat was brutal on this trip.  So, the dogs only left the van to pee during the day.  Their running was only around sunup (5:30am) at public parks and schools which have grassy areas.  Nothing interesting to shoot for you there.  Although this place has pavement, it wasn’t warm yet and there were no stickers, fire ants, or cactus.  We had the displeasure of all three of those on this trip. Here are a couple shots — left to right — Gremmie (Gremlin, ~10), Grizzie (Griswold, ~5), and Sparkle (my legendary van, ~14).

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Nik (Sputnik) prefers his giant ballie on pavement.  Since he’s blind, he can hear it bounce when I throw it.  He likes to hover over it and bark at it; push it around with his nose and bark at it.  He can smell the plastic that its made of and I can also help direct him to the ball (“right”, “left”, “back”, “come”).  For water romps (I was always on the lookout on this trip and scored more than a few times), he likes more normal-sized toys.  He can approximate where they land when I throw them and then fine-tunes with his nose.  He’s in good shape for a 14-year-old.

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The Silver Saddle sign is located just across the highway from the Spanish Trail Motel:

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Family shot — temps going up, let’s get outta here:

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Moving on to New Mexico.  One of the highlights of the day was finally meeting Teaku Nunn who has transformed Hatch into a whole lotta fun small town.  He has lots of fiberglass statues & other cool stuff along the main drag.  His “Sparky’s” restaurant is the epicenter of the statuary.  The interior also has loads of signs & other stuff.  He showed me some of the things that are not on public display.  This mystery statue appears to be a bunny but with a globe-shaped head.  I don’t recognize this character (and neither does Teaku):

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He also has a couple of fiberglass A&W (Root Beer Drive-in) Family mugs.  Many of these statues are missing these so maybe these will be snatched up soon.  Note the mugs are different sizes depending on whether they are for Mama, Papa, Baby or Teen Burger statues.
http://www.roadarch.com/giants/aw.html

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Inside Sparky’s — a rare Harbie statue:
http://www.roadarch.com/critters/sea2.html

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In the background is this sign — which I recognized immediately as missing from El Paso.  This two part sign was originally installed at Sanitary Plumbing & Heating.  Here’s what it looked like in place:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/52676908@N02/5043701804/

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One more from Sparky’s.  I’m not sure if this is vintage or a repro.  But I think it’s vintage:

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More tomorrow night,

dj

Day 4: Mostly Tucson

Moving on now from the Phoenix area — heading east.  Here’s the Copper Mountain Motel in Superior, AZ:

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A former Sprouse Reitz store in Superior.  I’ve got a couple of others in better shape at my webpage here:
http://www.roadarch.com/dept/other3.html

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This sign in Globe, AZ, has been repainted and some of the text changed.  Here’s my photo from 2012:

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and from this trip:

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This one in Coolidge, AZ.  Remember when Mastercard was Master Charge?:

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This sign in Casa Grande has been painted over but the neon detail on top is still amazing.  I love the little loops on the ends.  It must have been wonderful at night:

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Moving on to Tucson.  This sign was restored in 2013:

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I’ve shot the “Muffler Man” at Leo’s many times but I don’t think I’ve ever shot the sign:

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The Ye Olde Lantern sign, now in pieces, is displayed in Dirk Arnold’s yard:
http://tucson.com/news/local/tucson-oddity-lantern-sign-now-brightens-yard/article_cbbdde63-1cda-5fac-906f-dbc66f2f4529.amp.html

Here’s what the sign looked like when it was intact:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mwaters/111677515/

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I’ve never seen pinatas in progress before — very fun!

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A quite famous sign in Tucson.  I’m always relieved that it’s still there.  Here’s what the Mayflower moving truck on top looked like originally:
http://www.roadsidepeek.com/roadusa/southwest/arizona/azsign/azothersign/tucsonwarehouse.jpg

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The skeptic in me believed this was a retro (new made to look old) sort of place.  But, no, it’s the real deal.  The Shelter was built in 1961:

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The building was redeveloped as apartments but they left the sign alone.  The trees are consuming it now though:

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The Buffet Bar sign is protected with clear plastic panels.  An ugly trade-off for keeping it lit at night:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/army_arch/33209314805/

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The building next door but a little higher up and safer from vandals:

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The T&T Market:

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Too late in the day to shoot the other side properly.  I had to find a gap in the tree branches to get even this:

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A miraculous survivor in Southwest Tucson on the Benson Highway:

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Recently restored but the “San” was out on both sides of the sign:

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At least the wonderful and warm opal glass letters at the bottom are lit.  I think the backlit opal letters are even sexier and more romantic than neon.  Very few are still lit at night:
http://www.roadarch.com/sca/opal.html

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Lots more coming.

dj

Day 2 and 3: But it’s a Dry Heat…

Whew!  It is SO good to be home in the fog and cool breezes.  17 days of 100+ degree days in the Southwest was not pleasant BUT I got loads of photos so it was definitely worth the pain.  Several days were spent driving 12 hrs. plus without A/C so the dogs and I really got to feel what the desert is all about.  I had plenty of water to douse the dogs and my head and we got though it alive.  Ice cream was a near daily staple.

Day 2 got off to a slow start since the first half of it was spent at the Pep Boys in Yuma getting the A/C fixed — or so I thought.  It only lasted 4 days.   A lot of boring highway miles on Day 3 before we arrived in the Phoenix area.  Let’s start with some photos from there.

I don’t know what business this pawn shop sign advertised for originally:

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Google Street View from 2007 gives a clue — the dollar sign panels look like they were originally “H”s:

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I believe this was a liquor store originally.  There are apparently identical buildings in the California desert (e.g., Needles, Yucca Valley).  So, it might have been a chain:

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The last time I visited the Christown Lanes in 2012, the building was greyish & white:
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By 2015, the building had flashier red paint.  The paitn was getting a touch up when I was here on this trip:

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I doubt the rock wall was three-tone like this originally:

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This gigantic sign visible from I-17 was a Goodyear sign originally:

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This vintage photo is from this website:
http://www.historyadventuring.com/2015/07/the-importance-of-goodyear-to-history.html

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There are very few of these Travelodge signs left so I’ve started shooting them even when they’ve been hideously adapted.  I don’t believe there are any that still advertise for Travelodge:

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This postcard shows there original look:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/4661477278/

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I don’t know the original business for this one but I like the shapes.  I assume the disk on top revolved:

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Much to admire here at this mid-century modern building in Mesa.  The screen, the columns with ballies, the brick planters, the raised letters….

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Also in Mesa.  Gotta be 1970s, right?  Yes, this is a big one.  The top panel still revolves:

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In Chandler.  Originally a Chrysler sign.  That’s the “Flookerang” (Forward Look) logo in neon on top:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forward_Look

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A former KFC bucket sign in Chandler was adapted last year for a Bosa Donuts.  This would have had the more modern bucket Colonel graphic originally.  I believe the vintage buckets were a tad narrower.

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One more from Chandler.  Maybe this was always the Wingfoot Mini-Mart.  Much to love — the spear, the ballie, the shish-kebab panels below:

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So much more to come…

Don’t forget that I do these blog/Flickr posts in separate, simultaneous batches.  Other nicer-looking signs, buildings & other stuff over here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/

dj & the dogs