Lonesome Spots along California Backroads

Today I’m rounding up California sights from our road trip, including many more abandoned buildings, neon signs, and even a Twilight Zone filming location!

A broken wooden sign advertising for the Rustic Motel, which is painted in flaking red and white paint.

Rustic Oasis Motel, 2005 U.S. 395, Olancha. “Temporarily Closed” according to Google.

A small single story Streamline Moderne style building, abandoned with collapsing wood frame.

Airflite Cafe, US-395, Olancha. Abandoned.

Invisible Theme Park cited a CalTrans survey (although I could not locate the survey on CalTrans’ website) that the Airflite Cafe was built in 1948 and originally served as a garage and store, later becoming the Airflite Cafe in 1957. On April 7, 1961 it became a television star of The Twilight Zone, when it appeared in “A Hundred Yards Over the Rim” from season two. Eventually it became the Stagecoach Inn, which closed in 1975, later becoming a market.

An abandoned service station.

Gas station, across the street from Airflite Cafe. Abandoned.

A combination backlit plastic and neon sign featuring a neon pine tree, and plastic sign that reads "Big Pine Motel" with the "M" missing.

Big Pine Motel, 370 S. Main Street, Big Pine. Operational.

A backlit plastic sign in fun fonts, reading "Welch's" in red script and "Pancake House" in tilting back letters, and "Steaks Ribs Chicken" in red letters.

Welch’s Pancake House, 400 S. Main Street, Big Pine. Abandoned.

A faded neon sign reading "Lee Vining Motel" with a curved arrow.

Lee Vining Motel, 51439 US-395, Lee Vining. Operational.

A large sign made up of individual boxes painted red, each of which has a neon letter, all spelling out "Vacancy"

El Mono Motel & Latte De Coffee Cafe, 51395 US-395, Lee Vining. Operational.

A combination backlit plastic and neon sign that reads "Nicely's Restaurant Pancakes Sandwiches Salads Steads Lounge"

Nicely’s, 51343 US-395 Lee Vining. Operational.

A red, white, and blue neon sign that reads "Redwood Motel"

Redwood Motel, 425 Main Street, Bridgeport. Operational.

A green, brown, and white neon sign reads "West Walker Motel"

West Walker Motel, 106833 US-395, Coleville. Operational.

An abandoned service station.

Service station, 73160, Baker Boulevard, Baker. Abandoned.

A large red and white neon sign reads "Bun Boy" with a broken sign below that would have read "Baker Exit" at some point, but the middle portion is broken. A large red arrow is below that.

Bun Boy sign, 71927 Baker Boulevard, Baker. Abandoned.

The Bun Boy was a combination motel and restaurant, established in 1926. The buildings and signage remain, but both businesses have shuttered, and their buildings aren’t all that interesting, but I simply adore the font on this massive neon sign. The address above is actually for a gas station, but it provides the best view of the sign. It’s also located across from Arnie’s Royal Hawaiian Motel written about earlier. To check out the motel, visit 72129 I-15 BUS in Baker.

An abandoned A-frame building.

Abandoned A-frame building, 71910 Baker Boulevard, Baker.

A large arrow, in flaking yellow paint reads "Garage" in neon.

Garage sign, 525 E Yermo Road, Yermo.

An abandoned, single story house.

Abandoned house, 37206 Yermo Road, Yermo.

An abandoned Mid-Century Modern building with an angled overhang and boarded up windows.

Abandoned building, 37166, Yermo Road, Yermo.

Stay tuned for one last road trip post by Patrick, as he shares the results from his film photography!

If you choose to visit and photograph these locations, please remember to be respectful. Many of these signs are located on or near residences. I always abide by “No Trespassing” signs and use my telephoto to get close-up shots.

Want more from in and around these places? Check out the post below!

I Break for Vintage Neon

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