San Diego Mega-Trip – Part I

Normally, I do these Saturday roadtrip posts on Saturday night.  But this trip was so action-packed that I didn’t get settled until 11 pm.   Then, after a very busy of shooting on Sunday, I didn’t get home until 10:30 pm and then work today.  So, I’m now playing catch up.    I’ll get this post in tonight — and the other one tomorrow night.

I had a huge list and figured it would take at least two trips, possibly three to get it all done.  But with perfect weather and pushing myself, I got through the entire thing.  This means most of SoCal is officially wrapped up (except for some L.A. area stuff which I’ll get  to in conjunction with Nik eyeball checkups).  The next string of trips will focus on the Central Valley north of Fresno and the Bay Area south of San Francisco.

Let’s get to the photos — LOADS of them!  First, a couple of shots from my hometown of Ventura.  I drive by this one every night and have been meaning to shoot it.  Lots of patched & unpatched neon tubing holes.  I’m guessing this was probably not the original business name:



And a night photo of the Hong Kong Inn which just reopened with new owners a couple of weeks ago.  Evidently, the restaurant has also revived the “Polynesian Review” (dancers) on weekends:



Friday night’s destination was Oceanside.  A bummer that the Star Theatre was lit since nothing was going on there.  But I got to shoot this one before bedtime — with a nearly full moon.



This concession stand is at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad.  I assume it was inspired by Twistee Treat buildings:



More ice cream?  This is on the roof of the Oceans Ice Cream building in the Mission Bay section of San Diego:



Everything from here on out is from San Diego unless I say otherwise.  The Freaky Boutiki features this 3-D tiki figure on the side of its building:


There’s also a neon window sign:



This house (apartment?) appears to have been made from a trolley car — or at least simulates one:




I lived in various fourth floor “walkups” for nearly 30 years.  Not missing it at all.  I’m in a second floor apartment now which seems like nuthin.  This would be a nightmare with my four dogs:



I suspect from the tubing holes and the font style that this is a reworked sign.  Impossible to get a good shot during the day since it’s under billboard scaffolding.  Pretty at night though:



Nik is obsessed with sleeping in caves — tight, dark corners.  In my apartment, he likes to sleep in the linen closet.  Most of the time, on roadtrips, he wedges himself in the very back of the van in a corner with some blankets.  But on this trip, he discovered what I call the “bed of nails”.  A new cave in the passenger front seat floor where he sleeps on my stash of Diet Coke bottles.  It can’t be comfortable.  Note the squashed ear on the left.



I love the simulated trunk on this one:


A nice mural at the same motel:



Two kiosks on one corner.  The one on the right appears to be a former Fotomat.  The one on the left is a flower stand with a faux thatched roof:



A decent Art Deco building made great with the pastel paint job:


On the side of the building, some of my favorite cacti which add even more class.  Does anyone know the names of these?




A former Original House of Pies (now Lil B’s Urban Eatery):


With an adapted sign:



This 1963 photo of JFK in a motorcade passing by Rudford’s is installed on the side of the building:


What the place looks like today:




Two neon signs keeping each other company.  The Stern Gym sign is protected by clear plastic panels — but the sign wasn’t lit when I was there:


The arrow on the New Life Laundry sign flashes on and off:



This one from Coronado — still nice even with the “Night & Day” not lit:



Back in San Diego for some more nighttime shooting:






These signs are modern but still pretty wonderful.  They decorate a shopping center.  This majorette is a nod to the Campus Drive-in sign — part of which was saved & is now located at another shopping center just down the block.  The baton on this sign also twirls:


I believe this represents the San Diego Mission:

Even more photos from Saturday at Flickr:

And — stay tuned — some photos from Sunday here in tomorrow night’s post!

10 thoughts on “San Diego Mega-Trip – Part I

  1. Wow, some great stuff here DJS! We usually just visit a pal when we’re in San Diego, but now I must make sure we have enough time to scope out the place next time we’re there. Those neon signs are awesome, and I’m thinking Rudfords might be Retro Roamdap worthy!

  2. Oh my goodness. What a great collection of signs (plus a pup, hurrah!). The Trade Winds makes my heart go pitter-pat far too rapidly for anyone’s comfort, and the Hong Kong Inn is the sort that revved my imagination when I was a little girl. Many of the Detroit area’s Asian restaurants had just wonderful signs once upon a time; the yellow portion on that one reminds me a little of an eastern ship’s sail.

    New Life Laundry is a great-looking shop. Really, these are all a treat! My comment could end up being longer than your post!

    • Glad you liked my offerings! I’d really like to go to the Hong Kong Inn sometime — I pass it every night. But I don’t like Asian food or rum! But maybe there’s SOME-thing I could get there in order to experience the Polynesian Review.

    • Well, at least the rest of the paint is lively. There are very few of these buildings left at all. There’s one here in Ventura that’s a deli — so boring looking that I can’t bring myself to shoot it.

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