June/July Trip – Day #1 (Nevada)

Here we go! I returned home from this 33-day trip a few days ago with another 4,000+ photos for the website (roadarch.com). As I add each day’s batch to the site, I’ll be posting a sampling of photos here to this blog and to Flickr (different photos both places). The weather was mostly cooperative and I powered through Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado. I ran out of time in Colorado so I’ll pick up where I left off in that state next year. Let’s get to it.

I made a pitstop in Amboy, CA to shoot the repainted Roy’s Motel/Cafe sign and shot this guy which I don’t think I had noticed before. The school closed in 1999 but this sign remains:

From Yermo, CA — this Crazy Horse sculpture is located in the Liberty Sculpture Park:

Let’s move on to some Las Vegas stuff. Unfortunately, this sign was partly shaded by the trees but I still love the cars, shapes, etc.:

The bottom panel must have been hit by a truck at some point:

The Milan Bakery sign is pretty rough but still worth shooting. The building originally housed the Salvation Army in 1952. So, I assume the sign (which must have had neon) was built then since the bakery didn’t move in until 1966. I’d love to see what this sign looked like originally. The bakery’s been closed since 2010:

This one was also shot at the wrong time of day (bad shadows) and I’ll try to reshoot it next year. It was recently restored:

Another one with some irritating shows. The perfect time of day to shoot it… but alas that freaking streetlamp:

The Fong’s Garden sign is still there, thank god:

The original sign was spectacular (yes, the entrance structure on the left is also gone):

This Flickr photo shows what the later sign looked like with backlit plastic & neon:

This long-vacant gas station from 1931 has been really jazzed up with paint:

The Dino’s Lounge sign is from 1962 (still operating):

This one was painted red and white earlier this year (was blue and gold previously):

This place opened last year:

I had enough energy to scoot into St. George, UT and get a few night shots – including this modern sign at the Pasta Factory:

That’s enough for now. I’ll be back in a week or so with more Utah photos.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

4-Day Northern California Trip

This was my last little practice trip before the June five-weeker. Gator ran great for the 2419 miles, mostly in the mountains, forests and tiny towns. The dogs and I were exhausted but I guess we are now ready for the biggie. I’m going to lump this sampling of photos into one post.

It’s hard to believe that this Plymouth Chrysler sign in Martinez is still there. I don’t know if there are any others left.

In 2011, there were still blue plastic letters on the building for the dealership (gone now):

I got to check out the new home of this sign in San Jose at the right time of day. It’s now at History Park:

This rock, paper, scissors sculpture in Los Altos is entitled “Conversation Peace:”

This adapted clock sign is in St. Helena. It may have been built for Ray’s Place which was there by 1956. Ana’s has been here since at least the 1980s:

These “Happy Goats” are sipping wine at Four Seasons Vineyard Management in Geyserville:

This photographer goat is also at the same place but I could not find a way to shoot him without the chain link in the way:

The Barrel Man in Geyserville used to hold a bottle in his right hand (yes, this is wine country):

It was raining when I took this photo in Mad River:

I was happy to see that the pole sign in Eureka is still in the back behind Bob’s Fine Cars. Although it’s sad that it’s still laying there. I don’t the city will let them reinstall it. It was in front of the business until it fell over around 2014.

This is what it looked like in 2008 (this side didn’t have bulbs):

This sign in Eureka had neon until around 2017:

This is what it looks like now:

This sign is also in Eureka. The fog made the peeling paint look even more dreary. But maybe you like that?

This former motor court is in Weaverville:

This sign in Shasta Lake is at the Oasis Fun Center had different letter panels originally. They read “GOLF” with the word “Mini” above the G:


This sign is in Mount Shasta. Although the paint is pretty “peely”, it looks like the neon is intact:

Let’s do some sign details. This sign is also in Mount Shasta — at the Veteran’s Club. The bulbs have little plastic caps over them:

This detail is from the Shasta Lodge sign in Redding:

One more detail — from the Yreka Welcome Sign in Yreka. The R and the K still have these metal projections from when the sign hung downtown from 1917-1934. In 1977, it was finally brought out of storage and put at its current location. I’m glad they left the two little hangers. This is one of the best examples of Federal Electric sectional signs:


More dreary weather towards the end of this trip. This sign is in Portola:

This cute sign is also in Portola:

This one is in Quincy:

And, lastly, this sweet walk-up ice cream and burger stand from 1962 is also in Quincy:

This blog will be quiet until July when we get home and I start putting the photos together. I’m now starting to add all the photos from this weekend to my website. You might want to check out the Flickr photos that I posted from this trip (different from these at this blog post):


Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #25 – Mid-century Modern Buildings #2

Now back to this final section of website updates. This has been a long slog and it gets longer every year. But I consider it a responsibility to keep my website as current as possible. Even though doing this for more than 2700 pages every year is pretty nuts.

This will be a quickie post to finish things off. The mcm section is nearly 500 pages but I only have a few more places to mention.

The former Hill Top Motel in Belmar, NJ (later Rodeway Inn) is gone now:

These signs had been replaced around 2010:

This motel in Reno, NV is gone now. The sign was saved by a collector for possible display in town later on:

After two fires in 2019, the Memorial Drive Church of Christ in Tulsa, OK was demolished in 2020:

In 2021, this building in Tulsa at the Tulsa Tech’s Lemley Campus was also demolished:

The Shandon Florist building in Columbia, SC was demolished in 2020:

And that’s it!!!! The next posts will be more positive (stuff that still exists) but you won’t hear from me for a few weeks. I’ll be doing a little Northern California 4-day trip in early May and I’ll post some photos here then after that. Then, this blog will be very quiet until I get home in July from the June mega trip (five weeks in Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, etc.).

In closing, a few reminders. You can always find earlier blog posts here by clicking on the back arrow links in the yellow area below the posts. Or in the brown area below that, you can go back thru the archives by month. I just realized I’ve been doing these posts since 2006!

And don’t forget about the Flickr stuff — I post about 10 photos per roadtrip day there (different from the photos here at these blog posts).


And then, if your an Instagram fan, you might want to tag along in early May and then in June since I post a few photos every night there when I’m on the road.


Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Bay Area Trip (Part 2)

Back to some photos from this past weekend’s trip. Let’s start with Andy’s Donut Stop in Richmond. This cute sign is gone now (replaced with more retro style plastic panels, see below):

There was a similar painted sign on the side of the building:

But! The store added some fancy raised letters on the front and side of the building AND a giant donut later last year and/or earlier this year. I guess they dropped the “Stop” from their name (and the cute donut-shaped stop sign shown above from their branding):

This clock sign in San Francisco has been painted over for many years. It was probably a jewelry store sign originally:

This sign in San Francisco‘s Chinatown had ghost Chinese characters above the business name (whatever that was originally):

A couple of years ago, it was painted over — here’s the current look:

The Kaye’s Footwear sign, next door to the sign above, was also repainted that same green color at the same time. I suspect it’s the same building owner having all the signs repainted. Usually, new paint is a good thing — but not when it wipes out the history and detail of the original patina. This sign on the corner of the same building might have been green, brown, and gold originally. I’m sure the letters and characters were also painted on the panel behind the neon:

And here’s the current look.

The wrong time of day to shoot this sign in San Francisco — but here it is anyway:

Speaking of repainting… this sign in San Francisco also got hit with green paint. I don’t know what the original color was but here’s the look until just a few weeks ago:

and now… I’m not sure how I feel about the bright green but the indisputable good news is that the neon was restored by Jim Rizzo of NeonWorks:

This sign in Oakland was built for Glenn’s Hot Dogs by 1961:

Glenn’s closed in 2016 and the sign was adapted for this BBQ place. Too bad about the dimpled panel with stick on letters (above):

Then, last year it was adapted again for Ghost Town Brewing. I can report that the middle panel revolves as it did originally:

I finally got these two signs for the Capri Motel in San Francisco in better light:

The vitrolite panels and glass block facade for Concord Jewelers from 1946 in Concord have been preserved. Here’s the before:

But there’s something very sad about wings and burger businesses:

Last shot/stop on this trip was in Lathrop to shoot this giant John Cerney-like painted mural sign at the Dell Osso Family Farm. The place was closed but that didn’t stop me from crossing behind the closed gate to shoot it. I was treated to all kinds of trespassing alarms and a recording saying something like the police had been called. Oh well…

I’ll be adding the photos from this trip to my website now. Then, hopefully, I can wrap up the mid-century modern building section updates post before the May and June trips.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Bay Area Trip (Part 1)

This is the first of two little four-day California weekend trips to roadtest Gator to make sure she is ready for the big summer trip. There will be another four-day, Northern California trip in May.

Let’s start with this cute and cheery sign in Orcutt:

This nifty sign in Santa Maria has, yes, a fun saguaro but also corrugated plastic (fiberglass?) panels and stick-on letters which are getting really rare now. Usually, the letters fall off and these guys get replaced with flat, backlit plastic panels.

This rusty-crusty sign is in Fresno:

Another long-neglected sign in Fresno:

If you didn’t know by now, the Big Star Motel sign in Fresno:

… had its neon and bulbs removed and was repainted last year:

This sign is in Visalia. I’m puzzled by what the bottom panel read:

I believe this sign in Bakersfield was painted earlier this year:

I’m a big fan of train cars converted to restaurants (loads of them at my website). Here’s one in Half Moon Bay:

Let’s close this post with a welcome arch sign in Castroville (Gator on the left says “hi” – and Orbit poses on the dash):

Back real soon with more.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #24 – Mid-century Modern Buildings #1

This is a short post which was interrupted for a little 4-day weekend trip to the Bay Area. I’m about halfway through this section and will resume with another post after a Bay Area interruption post (coming up real soon).

This monolithic dome in Denver, CO was built in the early 1970s. It was demolished last year:

Good news/bad news: Knightley’s Parking Garage from 1949 in Wichita, KS:

has been restored. The front part of the building and sign look great. But the back side with the portholes and curved walls that conceal spiral parking ramps is barely visible now since it’s shoved right up against a new building:

This bank in Gautier, MS was demolished last year:

This motel in Meridian, MS was also demolished last year:

It had this neat little structure for access to the second floor on the side of the longer building with motel rooms:

These buildings at the Crossroads Mall in Omaha, NE were demolished last year:

Back to this section very soon.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

L.A. Area Weekend Trip

My website update posts will have a few interruptions with some roadtrip posts. I took a little 3-day weekend trip to the L.A. a couple of weeks ago and now have all of those photos up at my website. I’ll share a few photos here.

The VFW Post sign in Burbank:

The Sou’s Shoe Repair sign in Burbank

was reworked a bit last year. Yes, the old look was nicer. Now there are vinyl sheets stuck on the sign and tacky LED crap around the borders. But, okay, it could be worst (i.e., a rectangular plastic box sign):

I made a pit stop at MONA (Museum of Neon Art) in Glendale and got to see a few recent arrivals and other things that had been brought out of storage. The La Palma Chicken Pie Shop sign that was in Anaheim is looking great:

The Dave’s Coffee Shop (from Oakland, CA) and the Hollywood Athletic Club signs are now in a little sign garden area next to the museum:

The House of Spirits signs from Echo Park are there as well:

Back on the road… the former Main Library in Riverside is being adapted for the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture. It has incredible basket-weave concrete panels:

A new sculpture has been installed in Dana Point — finally, a woman! That’s Joyce Hoffman:

This building in Redlands was built in 1967 for Tossie’s Chicken-to-Go restaurant:

This horse in Fontana was recently repainted (previously brown). It stands in front of a Mexican restaurant. There is an identical horse at another Mexican place in Victorville:

I can’t find anything about the history of this building in El Monte but it packs a lot of fun in a small space:

I love this detailed painted mural on the side of a car repair place in South Gate:

This lovely sign is in San Pedro:

A couple shots from the fabulous Golf N’ Stuff in Norwalk from 1969:

A still-operating JC Penney in Huntington Park:

A fake lighthouse in Long Beach — the Lions Lighthouse:

A Tiki style eyeglass place in South Gate:

and a mid-century Mexican place across the street. I love the sloping roof and the layered roof/leaning sign over the entrance:

The wonderful neon sign at the Foster’s Freeze in Torrance…:

was replaced last year with this plastic version. I’m still pissed but I guess it could have been worse:

I shot a LOT of car washes this weekend since so many have been repainted, changed names, been remodeled. If mid-century car washes are your thing, I’ve got five packed pages here:


The sign and fins at the Five Points Hand Car Wash (now named Googie Car Wash) in Whittier have been painted many different colors in recent years. Here’s the latest look:

That’s a wrap for now. I’m still working on the final website update section (mid-century modern buildings). It’s the biggest section so it’s taking some time. But I’ll be back soon since I have a couple of 4-day weekend trips coming up: Central CA/Bay Area in April and Northern CA in May. Then, the big trip to Wyoming, Montana, Dakotas, etc. in June.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #23: Signs (#10 – Final!)

Here’s the final post from the Signs section. The pylon on the Franz Bakery Building in Seattle, WA:

now has plastic letters. Note that the clock on top is gone:

The Dahlia Lounge closed last year and this sign in Seattle is gone now:

This store closed in 2019 and this sign in Seattle is gone:

This sign in Seattle:

has been adapted slightly with surrounding panels and the female dancer now has an arm extending to support a pizza:

This modern male diver sign in Seattle is gone now:

The Airway Express Inn in Spokane, WA is gone now and so are these signs:

I don’t know why there are so few Google Maps cars in Wisconsin. So many streets have not been roamed since 2013, 2011, even 2008. So, there may be many signs and buildings that are gone that I don’t know about yet.

This sign in Columbus, WI…:

has been adapted:

This motel in Wisconsin Dells, WI has been demolished and this sign is gone. A big car wash there now:

This sign in West Allis, WI is gone now:

This sign in Milwaukee, WI:

Has changed names from Frank’s Power Plant to Patti’s Power Plant. The nice “skeleton” neon tubing on top of both sides for Frank’s has been removed and replaced with plastic panels for Patti’s:

The Ranger Motel sign in Laramie, WY:

has been repainted and new letters have been added:

The Elks Lodge sign in Laramie:

has been repainted. It looks like the neon is gone:

The neon sign on the left in Moorcroft, WY is gone now:

This motel in Newcastle, WY had double entrances — a sign for each. The motel has been demolished for a Dollar General and both signs are gone:

That’s a wrap! I’ve got a few little projects before I dive in to the final section (the biggest one, Mid-Century Modern Buildings). The next post will probably be from the L.A. area as I start on some little California roadtest trips before the big summer trip.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #22: Signs (#9)

Here’s another hefty post of signs that are gone or have been transformed. This sign in Austin, TX:

has been adapted for a clothing store:

The sign on the other side:

was replaced:

This sign in Dallas, TX:

was apparently being carted off in 2021 when the Google Car drove by. That’s the pole on the left. I doubt it’s being restored or that we’ll see it here again:

This sign in Dallas is gone now, too:

This El Fenix on Colorado Blvd. in Dallas is gone now and so is the sign:

Here’s what’s become of the Cortez Motel sign in El Paso, TX — the “before”:

and the “after”:

This sign in El Paso, TX:

now looks like this:

This sign in Fort Worth:

now looks like this:

Finally done with Texas. This sign in Milford, UT is gone now:

These letters in Roy, UT:

… are now missing their neon:

This sign and business in Ogden, UT are gone now after a big fire last year. The owners plan to rebuild:

This sign in Salt Lake City, UT:

has been adapted for Big Daddy’s Pizza:

This sign in Bellingham, WA is gone now:

This sign in Everett, WA is basically gone now. The neon has been removed and the panels painted over for another business:

This sign in Stanwood, WA is gone now:

This sign in Tacoma, WA is gone now. Another flower shop has moved into the building:

These signs in Tacoma, WA are gone now:

That’s enough for this post. I still have more Washington to go. There are only 15 pages left in the Signs section though which I should be able to wrap up tomorrow. Then, we’ll be on to the final section (Mid-Century Modern Bldgs) which will take a few months to get through. I’m going to take a few little roadtrips soon which will interrupt those posts with some good news: stuff that’s actually still left.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

Website Update News #21: Signs (#8)

Moving on to the “T” states… This billboard sign in Johnson City, TN next to I-26 is gone now. It had been there since at least 1981:

Out of alphabetical order but this sign in Chemult, OR was just removed by a sign seller:

This store in Memphis, TN has closed and the sign is gone:

This sign in Texarkana, TX is gone now:

This sign in Tyler, TX is gone now:

This sign in Denton, TX is gone now:

This sign in Anna, TX is gone now. The business is still there:

This sign in Bandera, TX is gone now:

This sign in Beaumont, TX is gone now:

This sign in Bowie, TX:

… has been messed with. The neon and the original corrugated panels are gone:

This sign in Bryan, TX is gone now:

This beauty in Grand Prairie, TX…:

Looks like this now:

This business in Greenville, TX has closed and the sign is gone:

This sign in Hallettsville, TX…:

has been stripped and painted over for Flamingo Fro-Yo:

These sign panels in Lubbock, TX:

have been removed and the sign poles painted black:

This incredible backlit sign in McKinney, TX is gone now:

This sign in Austin, TX is gone now:

This sign in Austin, TX is also gone:

I still have a lot more Texas pages to comb but this post has gotten long enough for now.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs