Northward! (day 1)

This trip almost didn’t happen.  Sparkle sat for most of the week gathering dust at a horrible garage while I puttered back & forth to work in a rental car.  The dogs and I were miserable in that little Toyota Yaris.  I’ll spare you the details — but this garage was a nightmare.  Three days and they had replaced one spark plug!  I wound up towing Sparkle to another repair shop.   All she needed was a tune-up.  $700 and she was ready to roll at closing time on Friday night.  Whew!  She’s running beautifully now.

During the week, I had to run an errand for my boss.  While I was there in the Valley I ran into this little gem in North Hollywood and fortunately had my camera with me.  The car wash is a big empty lot now so I expect this sign will disappear any day now:



On to this weekend’s trip.  One of the stops was in Buellton at Mark Mendenhall’s Museum — which is loaded with petroliana (gas station related stuff), all kinds of signs, and a handful of vintage cars.  More about the place at his website:

Normally, you need to be part of a group and have an appointment.  But Mark and his wife were gracious enough to let me have a quickie private tour.  Here’s just a sampling of his stuff — loads of porcelain enamel signs — with some non-gas stuff here and there:



This one’s a reproduction — but still awfully nice:



This one’s vintage — and the blades still turn:



Lots of indoor rooms jammed packed with pumps & globes, signs, etc.:





A Richfield Oil weathervane:



OK — back on the road.  A couple from Lompoc — sorry, no way to get the rest of this arrow in the shot:



Too bad both the bulbs & neon are gone.  I bet this was a stunner at night:



On to Santa Maria.  This building for the Santa Maria Times looks 1960s to me.  Neat corrugated concrete look:



I can’t find any old photos or postcards of this Valley Motel sign in Santa Maria.  You’ll have to use your imagination:



On to Pismo Beach:




You can drive on the beach in Grover Beach for 5 bucks.   I, myself, never miss the chance to drive on the beach when I can.  It makes the dogs bonkers though because they just ASSUME we will be getting out momentarily.  Most drive-on-the-beach places don’t allow dogs to get out PERIOD.  This one does if you keep them on-leash.  No point in walking around like that for us.  I don’t know why none of them are hanging their heads out the windows here.  Sparkle’s looking and feeling good!  Purring like a kitten with her new plugs & wires & all that — and with her recent front bumper paint job (some of you may recall a very unfortunate incident in New Mexico last year):



One more from Pismo Beach.  A neon martini from Alex Bar-B-Q:



From San Miguel:



And on to Salinas where we shall resume tomorrow.  The Valley Center Bowl sign needs some repairs — but still great.  A close-up of the sign on the right and a video are over at Flickr and Ipernity tonight — pick yer preferred format for more photos from today:



Too bad that I didn’t find more neon to shoot in Salinas.  Sadly, the Fox Theatre sign was dark despite a huge crowd of people in line to get in.  This one’s pretty nice though:



Two more days to play!  Tomorrow, plans are for Salinas, Santa Cruz and more.

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