Day 19: The Big D (after some rest)

OK — got my second wind while I was uploading tonight’s batch to Flickr & dozing off during the “processing” phase.

Finally, a few doggie pix.  I know, I need to get some actions shots but this will have to do for now.  Fixie’s  “Are we there yet?” look.  I usually put the arm rest down for her since I know she likes to rest her head on it between napping and staring at me.


Grip in the back with her “Is it time to eat again yet?” look.  This is an afternoon shot when we’re all pretty zoned out.  I probably look even more drugged than she does most of the time:


And Grem using Nik as a pillow.  An odd angled photo — Grem is really about half his size:

We checked out a dog park today since it promised access to White Rock Lake.  I was hoping for more of a beach-like setting.  But it was a pretty small area.  Luckily, we were the only ones over there though.  Everybody else was in the non-water parts — go figure!  It was 90 degrees folks!  But it was good to get the dogs shivery and for me to clear my head from an intense day of solid driving and hopping in/out of the van.


I’ve noticed a lot of repurposed Denny’s buildings in Texas:


and what I call the Denny’s “crown type” (since the roof is shaped like a crown, sort of) now used as a vet’s office:


A couple signs to marvel at:


A neat mid-century building, now a little down on its luck.  But still great elements:


The same place had this fun advertisement.  I don’t know if Whirly Ball ever caught on but it sure looks like fun.  And what’s with the text on top that just begs for graffiti?

Speaking of ballies… There must be more theatres in Texas with ballies on top of their sign towers than anywhere else.  Or are there any anywhere else?  I can’t think of any but then my brain is pretty numb right now.  And so, even at least a couple non-theatres in Dallas today with these ballies:


This one’s pretty scroungey and impossible to shoot.  There was the other side with less light and no poles in front of it.  But the cowboy was completely peeled off on that side:


Once a marvelous theatre:


Had to shoot this one.  At first, I thought it was a reference to those illustrations of dogs playing pool & poker.  But the figure on the left might be an armadillo.  So maybe it’s two armadillos after all?  Whatever — I just love the perspective and everything about this:


Today was hotter than the past couple days — but not enough to make me consider getting the AC repaired.  No way.  If people did all that roadtripping in the 1950s without it, so can we!  Just another excuse for more ice cream.  Here’s a tribute & snack to the Dairy-Ette where I had a root beer float which was consumed in less than five minutes.  The place opened in 1956.


A modern sign so it won’t make the website — but I can post it here for everyone’s enjoyment.  Unlike most cities and states around the country, it seems Texas is not so neon-phobic.  (Meaning that most cities forbid neon signs — but have no problem with LED crap):

I really, really wanted to get better  shots of the waterfall billboard than last time.  The best way is from the Stemmons Freeway but it’s so crazy that I’m a little chicken to pull over and shoot.   If only those dogs would do a little driving for me sometime!  So I tried from below and there were just too many trees — but you can kinda sorta see the waterfall:


So I hopped the chain link fence (what a girl won’t do) and hiked up the backside of Goat Hill.  No better luck.  No way to get in front of the sign — just a steep cliff.  But another semi-view of the waterfall.  I saw the sign at night for the first time from the Stemmons as I was driving to shoot Big Tex.  The sign and waterfall are lit really well — a dangerous distraction for sign lovers!


So here’s a shot of the sign from someone with more balls than me and either pulled over or has a quick trigger finger as a passenger:


A fun sign & photos downtown at this old-school gym (still open):


I think I saw three Good Luck Burgers today — but this is the best sign of the bunch.  The buildings were all pretty skanky:


A neat rooftop sign.  The business gone, building surrounded by chain link:


Last one for the night — keep thinking sun!


Only three more days for Texas and I’m feeling sad about it already.  But when I look at all those circled cities on the map that we actually made it to, it’s quite an accomplishment even without West Texas.

11 thoughts on “Day 19: The Big D (after some rest)

  1. Fantastic photos! Love the cowboy on the liquor store sign. The pups look like they are behaving very well on their long journey. Best wishes to you, I am loving the trip.

    • Never enough neon cowboys — I shoot them all! The dogs are settling in to Road Life. But water, motorcycles, people in uniform waving batons, Liberty Tax people, giant cows or even regular sized ones…. all equal mayhem. I hardly notice anymore except when Grem is blasting directly in my ear.

  2. DJ,
    So glad the weather is being on the milder side for you & your furry coated companions. Also happy that your sun & blue sky is there for you. So many great signs with their bright primary colors look wonderful with the Azure Blue skies.

    You know how happy I am that you got another Borden’s sign! Love it!

    Keller’s: Peoples Is Quazy. All I can say is watch out for the Men In Black. They may be sitting on your stoop when you get back home.

    Shocked that the WhirlyBall sign looks SO CLEAN. The word that is missing & cleaned off the sign would probably be scrawled all over it somewhere else.

    Is ballies an architectural term? I can’t find it….’WINK WINK”.

    I scream you scream… One of my childhood favorites in Chicago was a Black Cow, as we called it. Glad you enjoyed one.

    The shot with the giant cows: Would that be Sparkle in the background? If so, who’s at the wheel?

    Guero’s Cantina: I agree with you about the illustration. I LOVE IT! Not only are the ‘dillos both having a butt, one’s having a cocktail too. Plus, looks like the 8 ball is gonna clunk that one on it’s head. Genius.
    P.S. I’m pretty sure those are supposed to be armadillos, but maybe:

    OK, I can’t comment on EVERY sweet sign you’ve captured.

    As usual, good work. Looking forward to the next batch.

    • The WhirlyBall sign is over on the less traveled side of the building so only crazy folks like me that walk around would see it. I couldn’t figure out if they played Whirly Ball in that building. Seems unlikely. Ballies is my doggie term but I used it for signs, too. “Spheres” and “globes” sounds so snooty. Yes, that’s Sparkle posing with cows. Can’t remember who was at the wheel. Usually, it’s fixing that moves into that spot. She’d be a careful driver but would probably be so slow we’d never get anywhere. I can see her observing proper braking distances, putting on turn signals 300 feet ahead of time, calculating gas mileage…. ugh. OK, armadillos then. Or maybe fat Chihuahuas?

  3. Welcome to Big D, great photos! I have seen many, but not all of them. I used to live next to the Live Oak sign and have played Whirly Ball… it ROCKS, kinda like jai-li in bumpercars – FUN! Sorry about the clouds, hopefully it will clear up later today! Have a GREAT trip I will continue to follow your exploits.

    • I shot WAY more than you saw at the blog and Flickr. Might want to tune in several months from now & see what’s up at the site. Actually, I probably won’t get much up between now and the summer trip (which I haven’t started putting together yet). So most likely, all the TX/OK photos will start appearing at the site in the Fall. I usually pick a variety of classic/known subjects for the blog & Flickr and then some more obscure ones. Even if it’s a well-documented sign or building, if I think it’s pretty enough to be deserving (right light), I’ll post that as well.

      So, were there several places that featured Whirly Ball? Guess I’ll have to google it — never heard of it til yesterday. I love bumper cars but after a couple minutes of ramming your friends, it gets kind of old. But with the goal of scoring points, I think I could really get into it. Esp. if the cars were souped up a bit — they are so tame & slow now. I think they were more whiplash-producing when I was a kid.

  4. good Luck Burgers – I really like the bottom half. I think you said you are appreciating these signs more and more lately(if my brain is working properly) I agree with that, I have been noticing plastic signs like these for the last 5 -10 years. Do you think the top sign was nicer at one time?

    • I used to only shoot neon and then I started shooting some special plastic signs. But now I shoot lots of product signs (sodas, appliances, etc.) and nice corrugated or embossed plastic signs. Mostly for the blog but some trickles over to the site sometimes, too. Yes, I’m guessing the top half of the Good Luck Burger sign wasn’t original. Probably an owner name change. My latest attraction is corrugated plastic signs — most have some breaks in them — I usually shoot ones in good shape. And usually the font used in conjunction with them is special. Or funky colors like oranges, turquoises, etc. But flat plastic, stock font signs — not shooting those at all unless there’s a neat graphic.

  5. I love your Texas pics. Thanks for posting the link to my shot of the Coors billboard in Dallas! The day I took that picture the traffic on the highway had slowed down just enough for me to shoot it just before a semi passed us on the right. On that day my husband was driving and I was taking pictures, but I do take some of my best pictures while I’m driving.

    • Glad you got that photo. Maybe next time, I’ll go really early in the morning on a weekend and pull over. What I shoot for the blog and Flickr (agilitynut) is just a sampling of the photos that will eventually get added to my site ( So you might enjoy looking at those things — or better yet waiting til later in the year when I get all the TX photos up at the site. What I have there right now is about four or more years old and I’ve reshot probably 75% of it on this trip as well as thousands of new places.

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