3-Day NoCal Trip

The weather gods were with me on this trip giving me three sunny days. The Bay Area can be very “iffy” with that coastal fog, er um, I guess they call it “marine layer” these days. Gay-tor is running great. In May, I’ll give her the final roadtrip test with a 4-day Reno trip. Then, I’ll have my mechanic look her over, top to bottom, before the June Midwest trip.

Let’s start this post in Salinas, CA with this bar. I’m not sure which was first Jaime’s or Jesse’s. Probably Jaime’s and then there was a repaint at some point under the neon.

The wooden cocktail glasses at the entrance are sweet:

The daylight was nearly gone in Pittsburg, CA but I got these two oldies at the same place. I can’t find any postcards or vintage images to show what this pole sign looked like originally:

This market in Petaluma, CA has a cool building and a couple of signs:

This sign in San Francisco could use some paint and neon but I’ll include it anyway:

This no-name car wash in San Leandro, CA has wonderful plastic balls:

With the canopy above, I don’t think it’s possible to ever get this sign in San Francisco fully lit by the sun. But I believe it is lit at night. And it’s the cocktail glass that really matters here:

Another nice San Francisco sign:

This one is in Oakland, CA:

This one is in Berkeley, CA — not the right time of day but the paint is pretty faded anyway:

In Pacifica, CA — part of the U-Save Liquors chain in central and northern CA:

In Paso Robles, CA — this sign was recently restored:

A brand new, gateway arch sign in Salinas, CA. No neon but hey:

Moving on to some non-signs. This incredible, prefab gas station in Guerneville, CA looks like it was converted into an office with a residence behind it.

This Hilton in San Francisco was built in 1971 as a Holiday Inn. The entrance canopy which connects to a nifty pedestrian bridge will be demolished soon. More about that here:


This building in San Francisco was constructed for a Cala Foods supermarket in 1960:

Unfortunately, the interior was remodeled:

The Magic Village toy store in San Jose, CA was built in 1974. It now houses a Chuck E. Cheese:

This former gas station in Fremont, CA was restored in 2021 for a car-loving social club. I don’t know if it was ever a Flying A station or if that new sign and pumps are just decorative:

This mid-century modern station is in Santa Rosa, CA. I’ve never been able to find the build date or architect but it is truly special with its use of concrete and wood:

This “crown roof” (my term) Denny’s from 1969 in Petaluma, CA was closed for a few years recently for “remodeling.” Fortunately, it was a gentle rehab with the zigzag panels on the roof replaced with these flat ones. But hey: they left the roofline and the stone:

This cow in Petaluma is on the roof of the Petaluma Creamery:

And lastly, this classic loop-de-loop at the Golfland in San Jose, CA is the biggest I have ever seen. And I have shot hundreds of mini golfs around the country. It’s about four feet tall and most of the putters’ balls would stall out around the top of the loop. I think this is one of those obstacles where you just have to whack the ball as hard as you can:

More photos from this trip over at Flickr and Instagram:



I’ll be back in a few weeks with stuff from the Reno trip.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

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