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September 22, 2017 / Jim Fenton

Colorado Road Trip Day 15: Neon

Friday, September 1, 2017
Trip Odometer: 2993

NeonWe rose and checked out of our hotel somewhat early this morning because we had a reservation at the Neon Museum, a collection of lighted signs of Las Vegas’s past. The museum, located just north of downtown Las Vegas, provides guided tours of their collection during the morning and evening (mid-day being too hot). Our 9 am tour was led by a UNLV history major who was definitely into the history and stories behind the signs, which added a lot to our appreciation of the collection.

As in Silicon Valley, “history” in Las Vegas does not necessarily mean “old” in the usual sense. We were amused that some of the signs in the collection had been put up in the 1990s and were already obsolete — all happening since we were married in 1991.

SolarCollectors

Solar Collectors on I-15

Leaving Las Vegas, we drove down I-15 to Barstow, stopping for lunch in Baker. We then turned west to Bakersfield. I had always been curious about signs for California City along that route, and it wasn’t very far out of our way, so we drove through there (partly because there was allegedly an ice cream shop there). California City is a planned city in the desert north of Edwards AFB; it wasn’t very successful although it seems to have some new development due to employees at Edwards. It has that “planned community” look, similar to communities like Sun City, Arizona, but generally looking less prosperous. We found the promised ice cream shop, but it appeared to be out of business.

From Bakersfield, we continued north on Highway 99 to Visalia, our planned stop for the night. We had considered trying to visit Sequoia National Park on the way home (which prompted this choice) but unusually warm temperatures, along with the start of the Labor Day weekend, convinced us that we should visit another time. Nevertheless, Visalia was a surprisingly nice small city in California’s Central Valley. There were many good restaurants in the downtown, as well as theaters, concert venues, and stores. We counted about six bridal shops. We don’t have any idea why there are so many; maybe Visalia is the wedding dress capital of the Central Valley.

This article is part of a series about our recent road trip to Colorado and back. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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