Vintage Sign Post: Arne’s Royal Hawaiian

I’ve been a longtime fan of old signs. I think they’re so much more interesting than today’s common backlit box signs. They’re more expensive, but are a great detail for any business.

Driving around Southern California there are still a lot of cool old signs, although they are being torn down on the regular. I lost all my old pictures on my last computer (an expensive and sad lesson learned about the values of external hard drives) so I often bring my camera with me to recapture old faves and stop whenever I come across new-to-me vintage gems.

If you’ve ever driven from SoCal to Las Vegas, you may have noticed the giant thermometer out in the desert counting the crazy-high Summer temps. That is in the city of Baker, which is also home to a few gas stations, quick serve food spots, and an intergalactic jerky station with an empty lot nearby that claims to soon be an UFO-theme hotel (another post on that later, promise!).

As you cruise through Baker’s main drag, you will also see the remains of Arne’s Royal Hawaiian Motel, including the beautifully decrepit signs.

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To be clear, Baker is on the way to Vegas or the turn off towards Death Valley, so it’s not exactly a lush paradise.

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It has obviously been closed for a few years, and even though the sun was out and I wasn’t alone, I didn’t want to venture too far into this Polynesian hideaway– I was a little creeped out! I do wish I had seen it in it’s heyday, probably before the mega resorts of Vegas became commonplace.

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I did like the turquoise color way with diamond detail. Part of me would love to see someone swoop in and refurb this whole place into an Instagram worthy hotspot straight out of an old Mad Men episode, but Baker is just too close to Vegas.

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So next time you pass by the thermometer, stop and pay the Royal Hawaiian a quick visit (from the safety of your car).

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Retro Building Revamp on Whittier Blvd.

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In 2015, Friendly Hills Bowl on Whittier Blvd. closed its doors. It had been a staple in Whittier for many years and I was concerned about losing the awesome “Googie” architecture on the famous street. Last Fall, Aldi supermarket and BevMo opened their doors on the property and I was happy to see they worked in some of the vintage elements from the original property.

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This sign once read “BOWL” with purple diamonds. I was so excited to see that they reworked the signage.

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You can see the stone wall and strong lines on the roof– these were all from the bowling alley.

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I shot these in October when BevMo had just opened and Aldi was nearly open. You can see the “Friendly Hills” sign which is original design but with updated color. The diamonds below used to read “bowl”– I love that signage from the bowling alley was still able to be used.

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LOVE IT!

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This image is from the Whittier Daily News site and you can see the original “bowl” signage before it was redone. The link to the story is here.

Vintage Signage Post: Sno-Flake Drive In

I’ve been a longtime fan of old signs. I think they’re so much more interesting than today’s common backlit box signs. They’re more expensive, but are a great detail for any business.
Driving around Southern California there are still a lot of cool old signs around, although they are being torn down on the regular. I lost all my old pictures on my last computer (an expensive and sad lesson learned about the values of external hard drives) so I often bring my camera with me to recapture old faves and stop whenever I come across new-to-me vintage gems.
I came across Sno-Flake Drive-in in the Lake Tahoe area over the summer. I’m a big fan of old burger joints anyway so when they have retained their vintage vibe it’s even better.

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Unfortunately it was too early in the morning to get a milkshake when I took these pics, but hopefully I’ll visit again to try them out and admire their sign. I love the detail in the ice cream and the little snowflakes.

Did you know that January 4th is National Trivia Day? To keep on the milkshake theme– did you know that they are called “cabinets” in Rhode Island? But these shakes do not include ice cream. Thanks to Aviva Trivia for having a trivia page on milkshakes!

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A Trip to Knotts Berry Farm Park

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Located in Buena Park, KBF is just a hop, skip, and a jump away (seriously, like, 7 miles) from that really famous theme park in Anaheim. It definitely has a different vibe than that other park, with two major focuses: roller coasters and its western “ghost town” area. It can be a lot of fun to walk around and enjoy its theming as well. Here are some pictures from a trip I took with my family.

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There is also a shopping center with a restaurant famous for its chicken dinners at the front of the park. I will cover that in a separate post in the future.

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Interestingly, one of my favorite areas in the park is a section I can’t ride a single ride: Camp Snoopy! It is specially designed for the youngsters with less intense rides with height maximums. What I love (and what I’m always looking for) is the great theming and decorations. It looks like a campground area with Snoopy, Woodstock, and friends found throughout this section of the park.

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Some of the kid rides.

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There is a shop in the Camp Snoopy area with this cute clock detail above the door.

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There is a lot of greenery and walkways with some snack stands and benches. It looks like a good place to slow things down after the roller coasters and let the kids have fun. I love the characters “fishing” in creek.

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Passed Camp Snoopy and into Fiesta Village there is this beautiful swing ride. I love the art work on the ride! There is also plenty of places to grab a quick bite and also an arcade.

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Past Fiesta Village is the Boardwalk area. There are roller coasters and fair-type games where you can win stuffed animals and other toys. If you’ve learned anything from this blog it’s that I love the retro aesthetic so this 50s diner is one of my faves. The colors plus the palm trees in the back make this area feel extra “beachy.”

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Even though I enjoy theme parks, I’m not much of a ride person, at least not a roller coaster rider. But KBF has the Calico Mine train which is a fun little train ride that takes you inside the mines– there are miners “working” inside and the formations look natural and beautiful. It’s a fun ride for people like me who don’t want to go flipping upside down.

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Next to the Calico Square is the famous ghost town. It feels like an old timey western town, and there may be some western “characters” walking through the area. They have a graveyard near the gold panning with clever signs. Be sure to find the gravesite that has all the footprints on it. Go step on it and read the sign.

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There a lot of cool buildings in the Ghost Town. They have food spots (watch funnel cake get made!) and shops, even a few museums.

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There is also a saloon that has stage shows throughout the day. Check inside for times.

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I love this photo op spot by the blacksmith in ghost town. We have many family photos over the years from here.

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These are some of the iconic benches at KBF, if you live where KBF broadcasts commercials you’ve probably seen them. They’ve had a few paint changes over the years but they are still fan favorites.

That’s it for my KBF park photos. I will make other posts for the Marketplace in front and also a post on a Western Museum they have inside the park that is full of awesome antique treasures.

I definitely recommend visiting this park if making a trip to Southern California. If you’re a roller coaster fan, you’ll definitely like the rides. I personally love the ambiance and vintage-inspired touches. It is also known for its Halloween Haunt, so if you’re planning on visiting in the fall I’d check their official website for schedule changes.

If you have any questions I can help with regarding a trip, please let me know!