Desert Wrap-up

OK — back home safe.  Here are some photos from yesterday’s shooting.  I started the day with a long drive out to see Roy’s in Amboy.  This long-closed gas, food & lodging complex is really in the middle of absolute nowhere.  There were no signs of life there — but, evidently, work is still going on:
Back in June, there was a Kickstarter campaign to raise $16,000 to restore the sign — but only about $1,000 was pledged.


Since around 2005, the town of Amboy — or at least the land where these buildings are located — has been owned by man who owns the Juan Pollo fried chicken fast food chain. It must have been soon after that when a smaller Roy’s sign was built for a Juan Pollo in Barstow (at a former Arby’s building).  But that location is now closed:


The former Whiting Brothers gas station in Newberry Springs.  Closed since 1968:


Also in Newberry Springs — the long-closed Henning Motel:



All my life, I’ve heard about the Calico Ghost Town in Yermo.  I finally made it there today:



Back in Barstow.  Yes, the Sands Motel sign had neon and a different color scheme until 2009.  Here’s a photo of its old look:
And when they went monkeying with the sign:
Note how they sliced off all chunks on the right hand side of the sign and moved all the letters over:



Former rivals and next door neighbors in Barstow — the Astro Motel (now the Astro Budget Motel) — its original look:


and the former Imperial 400 Motel — this location in better days:


More about these chains and loads of photos at my page here:
In Helendale — a Polly gas sign.  The station was demolished long ago.  A fenced dirt lot since at least 2003:



On to Victorville and the California Route 66 Museum.  This sign was replaced with a plastic box sign but luckily this sign was saved & has been on display at the museum since at least 2007.   The rundown motor court buildings are still there:


The museum also has a couple of signs from the former Hulaville in Hesperia:




One of the highlights of the day for the dogs was exploring the abandoned dinosaurs in Apple Valley.  Four acres of dirt and dinosaur statues.  This was to have been a mini golf but the project started in the 1970s was never completed.  Very sad — but still wonderful.



On up into the mountains — Sparkle really got a workout this weekend!  Up to Big Bear Lake to shoot a couple of things.  This one was not on my list.  Madlon’s Restaurant in Big Bear.  Their website explains that this was built as the Knusperhauschen Restaurant in the 1970s:




The sun ran out in Yucca Valley — just enough time to grab one more sign.  I don’t know what it advertised for originally — Sky Harbor Shopping Center?



The next trip and blog post will be the weekend of January 18 when the dogs at I will head back to the desert for more goodies & fun times around Palm Springs.  Until then, don’t forget more photos from this weekend over at Flickr:

Best to all of you in 2014!

dj & the dogs

5 thoughts on “Desert Wrap-up

    • Thanks! Glad you liked it. It was fun to do something other than L.A. & Orange County which I’ve covered pretty well for now. I’ll gradually be doing other parts of California in 2014.

  1. DJ – When I flew out to PHX recently I thought about the name “Sky Harbor” for their airport. Seemed so vintage. Then I saw your post. Is Sky Harbor a common usage? Just wondering? -Ron

  2. Oh, the Knusperhauschen is a charmer! Love your Amboy shots as well. We have not made it there yet, but I of course hope to—who doesn’t want to go there?

    Happy New Year. :)

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