“Signs, Signs, Everywhere there’s signs
Blocking out the scenery. Breaking my mind
Do This! Don’t Do that! Can’t you read the signs”
Thank you Five Man Electric Band, 1971
My husband and I were just on vacation. Traveling from the Southern Pacific Northwest of Oregon to the lands of South Dakota and back. 3950 miles in all. This also included side trips and perhaps one or two U-turns. I wasn’t driving nor was I navigating. Had I been navigating, there would have been no U-turns.
I love traveling with my husband. We talk a lot and I take a kazillion pictures through the bug smeared windshield and the side windows and sometimes we even stop to get a good picture! He’s really good at stopping for me though. This year was just as fun as those in the past. Although we spent more time driving this year than at our actual destinations.
We traveled through the barren lands of Eastern Oregon, took windy roads in and out of Idaho and Montana, and we took highways that I even wonder why they were on the map and who put them on the map!
But small towns are great. If it weren’t for these highways we’d have not seen the sights that we did. At one time I am sure these small highways were major thoroughfares! But now they seem off the beaten path. Kind of reminds me of the movie Cars, where the new highway was built and the little towns slowly diminished. Kind of like the old Route 66. Something I would love to travel one day.
Small towns are proud. We were traveling on the 3rd and 4th of July. The towns were abundant with patriotic colors and the flying of Old Glory down main street.
As we went through these towns that were off the major interstates, I decided to find a common theme to shoot. I originally started out shooting water towers, but not all towns have them, and some of them were to hard to read. So I stuck with signs. All kinds of signs, from Diners, to Theaters and Motels and Bars. They were old school.
They were colorful and then they were literally embedded into the buildings.
I wonder what happens to this building if they decide to close the Lake Theatre. I guess it’s still a cool old building built in 1918 in Baker Montana.
I kind of wonder though, why the Busy Bee Cafe and Dining room has a horse on it. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have a bee? Or was that to hard to find? Did someone have this horse in their garage just waiting for a place to put it?
Perhaps the Busy Bee Cafe could sell it to the Mustang Motel.
Speaking of Motels…
I did not notice until looking at this picture that the answer to “do you have a vacancy” was either Yep or Nope. Now, how confusing is this to a foreign traveler that only recognizes Vacancy or No Vacancy. Well, they are in the “Wild West” of Montana, so maybe they do understand. If you look at the bottom of the sign you can see the faint Yep and Nope. Good Humor Roys’ Motel!
I am hungry, but now I am so confused. BBQ is one way and Bar & Grill another. Isn’t BBQ a grill? And which way am I really supposed to go?
I do however, know that I need to go Upstairs to the Steakhouse and Bar in this town. I really liked the ornate old fashioned look of this sign.
Central Hotel, somewhere in Central Oregon, is pretty old fashioned as well. I am wondering if it was supposed to be an old telephone receiver, or just a cool way to get Central on the sign. You can also have Chinese food and play the Oregon Lottery while staying here.
Signs are everywhere. One of my most unfavorite signs of the trip. “Road Construction Ahead” We hit a lot of it. I totally understand the roads need to be maintained in the summer because of harsh winters. We went through some construction that literally was dirt and mud. No road anywhere. It was a twisty canyon that seemed to have some slides during the winter that may have wiped out the roads. Once we made it back to asphalt and the pilot car started leading the other side of the road, I noticed there was a bicyclist preparing to make the trek through the construction. Good Luck Dude! I know how skinny bike tires like mud. And there wasn’t a road so I have no idea how successful he was. Maybe some nice person with room in their truck, helped him through the construction.
I attempted to capture the green signs as you entered a town, you know the one that says the name and the population. But they came up to soon most times. So I stuck with all the different kinds of signs that drew in your attention.
Most creative sign goes to the Pioneer R staurant.
Not to be outdone by the Pioneer Cafe, where I can get some Good Homestyle Cookin’ and Pure water for my coffee and tea. Okay….
Everyone knows that bars have unique signs. We were traveling in the daytime, so you can’t tell how lit up the signs would be at night. Guess we need to use our imagination. Some bars are straight and to the point.
I think the patrons are probably more lit than the sign.
A few unique bar signs in old towns.
Two Dot is an actual town in Montana. It has one road in and out. And a park and a convenience store. I had always heard of Two Dot, but never knew where it was, until we were off the beaten path!
Every western town needs a Bison Bar
I wonder who Buff was. Maybe I don’t want to know.
Three Cheers for the Saloon. What pray tell is an Off Sale?
This Iron Horse Saloon is in a railroad town in Eastern Montana.
To me the Seven Devils Saloon looks like a fake movie set. I bet you can get a good charred steak!
You can pretty much tell, what state we are in with this sign.
Hotels, and Motels, and Inns. I know there is a difference. But they all have the same things right?
Not sure where the Sagebrush fits in on this one.
Yay, they have in room coffee and obviously electricity!
I bet in its time this Plaza sign could be seen for miles!
In almost every old town, there is a theatre. Those signs always catch our eye!
Even if they’re painted on the side of a building. Why not use the space you have on an old building for advertising. Whoever came up with that idea way back when, was pretty smart!
You can’t get away from signs. I like the old signs. Classic old hotel signs. Not your new franchise signs. Everyone knows what McDonalds is without even seeing a sign.
This sign hurt my eyes. If it wasn’t early morning, I wouldn’t have known what it said.
And the correct Font would be nice. I wasn’t sure if it was Riggins or Piggins.
Give me a simple to understand sign. One that doesn’t require a degree to figure out what you really want me to know.
I know for a fact I can get Good Cookin’ at The Griddle and I bet some great Flap Jacks!
And without spelling it out, I bet I can get a good steak at the Cattlemen’s.
I can get a Pepsi at Granite MTN cafe. I think they didn’t want to pay to spell MTN out.
After the movie at the Roxy I can head to the Lariat Bar for a night cap.
You can just hear the Celtic music at this Lodge. All the river dancing going on after hours! I imagine the River Dance Lodge was here before the craze.
Very unique Nevada. At least it doesn’t “Say Uncle”
There are simple signs as well that let you know exactly what you can get.
You can’t however, get chips here. According to the sign.
You can probably get your chips here if it’s convenient.
There are some signs you must read and you must follow the instructions.
I honestly hate seeing this sign.
And it is something that you really need to pay attention too. This was at a rest stop in South Eastern Montana. While I was reading the sign, and mother was having her children run up and down the side of a grassy hill. Most likely not thinking about the fact there might be rattlesnakes. She was probably trying to get them to get rid of some energy. I just shudder at that thought.
Please, Please Please, watch out for Toro in Nevada. You never know where he may be. Good Job Nevada! Most other states have cows. You have Toro! Ole’
You have to have a sign to tell you where you are as well!
I know I am in South Dakota and I can see the presidents at Mt Rushmore! Good Job South Dakota! Way to represent your state!
Dear North Dakota and Idaho, you need to step up your game. I am not excited by your welcome!
My favorite sign of the trip? Thats easy to guess
Montana has many different signs. They’re all cool, or perhaps I just think that because I am home.
It was another wonderful trip to put in the books.
When you are out and about, take a look at your town. I have seen faded writing on the brick buildings in Klamath Falls, that indicate there was a hopping down town district. And look for the dates on the old brick buildings! You will be amazed what might be in your little town!
The best sign of the trip, really wasn’t a sign. It was the sound of our dogs barking as we pulled our truck into the driveway after a long trip. Those dogs were saying Welcome Home!
Enjoy the rest of your summer!!! Go outside and shoot some signs!!!
Make wonderful memories!