Day 39: Modesto, CA to Reno, NV

I slugged it out in the Central Valley today and finished up CA. It was as hot as predicted and the dogs were panting by 11am. So I cranked up the AC in the van. Even on the coldest temperature seeting with medium speed fans, it’s probably about 75 degrees inside — so something must be wrong. But it’s enough to keep us reasonably comfortable and get us through this trip I hope.

Although many of the stops today were repeats to make up for the accidently deleted photos, I stumbled upon new things so it made the replacement effort worth it. It also made me aware of how much stuff is out there that I have missed/don’t know about and will have to go back for some other year.

I found a grassy park in Lodi early in the day for the dogs to run on. Then it was dry dirt undeveloped areas until the end of the day. I went to check out a fenced doggie area at the Sparks Marina. It wasn’t huge — but plenty big enough and had an open end into the water. It was surprisingly cold and Nik could only handle about 10 minutes of swimming in it before he started shivering. The fencing was vertical bars which would’ve been very easy for Grem to fit between. But luckily I kept her busy enough running around for Cuz toys. There were also some big dogs for her to run with and muck on the shoreline for her to sniff and sample.

I made the decision to stop in Reno so that I could shoot some neon signs that I won’t have the chance to see til who knows when again. I’ve only been to Reno once before and wasn’t here at night. There are so many wonderful old signs left but sadly most of them are either partly lit or not at all. I was too tired to push on to eastern NV anyway in the dark. I’m about a half day behind now so some of my plans for stuff closer to home may get ditched.

Here’s a nice sign from Stockton. The businesses below it don’t seem to fit in with the hat theme so I’m glad they have let it live on.


Another sign just below it — it seemed to be working:


I have witnessed a lot of these corner human advertisements lately. Morrison Homes has people dancing with giant arrows. I think all the Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shops have them. This guy was really getting into it despite the 100+ degree weather (plus uniform). I asked him, as he was dancing, how he does it. He said he just likes it. Drinks a lot of water. Sometimes listens to rap music. Here’s a bit more about these dancing Mr. P mascots:


Here’s a modern sign from Grass Valley:


I finally managed to find the Lincoln Highway marker that I had wanted to see on the previous trip through Reno. This used to be a bridge but is now just sort of a display. It is relegated to a highway pull-off on eastbound I-80 just past mile marker 6. You’d never know it was there from the cryptic “historic marker” mention on the interstate.


Let’s end with a couple signs from Reno. This one seems strange to me because they seem to have repainted the guy’s face but left the rest of the sign faded. Personally, I find that a good compromise as too often old signs are spruced up pretty poorly. I’d rather have the patina look:


This one seems unique to me. I’ve never seen an Arby’s sign with neon and chasing bulbs before:

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