Here We Go!

I hope you all brought a lot of snacks and comfortable clothes.  This is gonna be one long roadtrip.  I think 39 days straight is a record for me.  Although the focus of this trip will be on New Mexico and Arizona, it’s gonna be awhile before we get there.  I have a lot of stops in other states on the way.  Starting with this first mission which is to finish up the West Virginia stuff that I didn’t get to last month.

So, today was lots of PA & a bit of WV & MD.  Hopefully, tomorrow I can bang through the remainder of the WV stuff and some Pittsburgh area stuff.  Today was frustrating weatherwise.  Although, the rain didn’t start until 6:30 (which cut the shooting off an hour early), it was 99.9% grey from start to finish.  Grey variations — from annoying to horrible.  But if forecasters are right — there’ll be sun tomorrow.

Before moving on to the photos, I should give the yadda-yadda to the newcomers.  Yes, it’s just me on these trips — with my rambunctious pack of four little dogs.  I only post here at the blog & Flickr as “agilitynut” when I’m on the road (different photos both places).  So you are getting as near to virtual as I can make it.   And the writing is done late, late at night when I’m exhausted — so you have to pardon some bad grammar and babbling.  Fixing when I get home would be cheating!  The idea of this blog is a documentation of what goes into the gathering of photos (trials & tribulations, joys & disappointments) for my website (  What goes to Flickr & this blog is just a smidgen of what you’ll find there — all organized, researched, etc.

The photos here at the blog are all clickable (you click on them and you get a larger size).  These blog photos also appear at Flickr under the roadsidenut account — for folks that don’t like to read (ha!) or for searching by key words, sets by state and all that.

OK then — that’s out of the way.  Enough chatter!  On to today’s offerings.

Let’s start in Harrisburg, PA.  This one’s been a “reshoot in sun” on my list for a long time.  Maybe sun next time.  This one spins & says M&Z on the other side.

The Subway Cafe opened in 1948 and this sign appears to be from then.  I don’t think there is or was ever a subway in Harrisburg so I can’t explain the origin of the name.  Their website shows sequentially lit lettering but I don’t know if that’s really still the case.  There is one night photo at Flickr from 2010 which shows the sign fully lit.


Here’s another brown porcelain enamel sign — and also from 1948.  Hmm, same sign company?  Same owner?  This one is at the Pep Grill.  There’s an article about the place being put up for auction last summer — but the bar was definitely open today:


This one’s been on my to-see list for a while.  Tinyworld  in Shippensburg, PA.   Very sweet, adorable, small-scale, handmade buildings.  Maybe a couple dozen.  Here’s more about the place:

While the article mentions the cats — it doesn’t mention the peacocks strolling about — which make my dogs bonkers.  On a scale of 1 to 10 — they’re an 11.   Screaming, jumping, pandemonium in the van.   And very careful exit / entry by me.  If Nik or Grem got out, there would be peacock bloodshed I’m sure of it.   What is it?  Do they think birds should not BE that big?

That’s a little Texaco station on the right:

No sign of a train at this mini depot but there must’ve been one at one time:


Moving on to Chambersburg, PA.  A sweet (okay, I overuse the word) painted wood sign.  Maybe six feet tall:


Sun for this one in Fannettsburg, PA.   No sign of the motel that I could see:


I’m always hoping for a miracle with this place in Chambersburg, PA.   The Snak Shak drive-in from 1951, long closed.   I fantasize that there will be car hops hopping and obnoxious 1950s music blaring when I come round the bend.  But no.  It just looks grimmer and grimmer.   Paging Lincoln Highway Association before it’s too late.  Right now, a used car dealer seems to be operating on the lot.


Some good news.  The Muffler Man at the Scottyland Campground in Rockwood, PA has gotten some TLC and paint since I shot him eight years ago:

He’s also got a very deep tan now:


From Cumberland, MD.  That red vitrolite on top might indicate that this was a Newberry’s or Kresge or some other five and dime.  There’s actually a lot of vitrolite downtown here.   I really liked the curved corner entrance on this one:


Last one for the night.  Also Cumberland.  I’m a sucker for those metal awnings.


So, there you have it for Day #1.  Don’t forget to check out the other photos over at Flickr if you haven’t already:

Normal order of things if you’re interested:
8 pm-ish: answer emails & comments; crop & tweak a couple dozen photos
11 pm-ish:  upload to Flickr; more emails & comments
1 am-ish:  publish blog post (as it gets late in the trip and I get more exhausted, I finish & publish blog post in the morning)

Photos of dogs & pie later in the trip.  Any other special requests?

16 thoughts on “Here We Go!

    • There’s gonna be some crap weather here and there — it’s spring after all. But I’m hoping the later & further we get, the less of that. It snowed last week here in WV so things could be so much worse!

  1. Well, DJ, I guess my email invitation to ride shotgun on this trip got “lost” again, eh? Oh, heck.
    Seems like my checking up on you was in time for this big trip, but late for the mini. I’ll have to catch up as usual.
    So, unless you mind, I’ll tag along and offer a comment or two where I’ve a mind to.

    I’ve been working on my MOJO since the last big trip and maybe it will be of some help this time around.

    Pet the kids for me and keep that lens cap on Dee.
    Catch you on the flip side.

    Oh, I’m not forgetting Sparkle.
    Go, Sparkle, GO!

    • Glad you made it on the bus for Day 1. This is gonna be somethin. Sparkle’s purring, the dogs are calming down (only a bit) and the clouds seem to be parting this morning. Feeling great!

    • I think I have bumped into your blog before. Will have to check it out some other time. A tad busy right now. I assume you figured out that this blog is just a dabbling sideline — the real McCoy is the website.

  2. I love the Subway Cafe sign! (And also the wonderful pizza, with the cheese on the bottom and the sauce on top.) The name doesn’t refer to a subway in the usual sense. The Subway Cafe is named for the Herr Street Subway, which is an underpass or tunnel under the railroad tracks.

    Have a wonderful trip — looking forward to lots more photos!

  3. Hooray! Happy and safe travels, and will be very much looking forward to checking in with you during this trip (I’ve just alerted my Retro Roadmap readers that they should follow along as well!) So glad to see you captured some of our PA finest – including those metal awnings – I’m a sucker for ’em too.

    Scruff to you and the pups, and bon voyagee!

    • Hey! Thanks for the free publicity. I’ll be doing more PA stuff (Pittsburgh area) tomorrow before getting more serious about the westward direction. Hopefully, some more serious attention to PA this fall (esp. Philly area) on some shortie trips.

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