Fresh as a daisyDaffodil Motel, Milton, WA

Daffodil Motel sketch by Chandler O'Leary

This is one of my favorite signs on Highway 99—the old backbone of the West Coast. Everyone has heard of Route 66, of course, but the Old Pacific Highway is also full of aging neon and other vintage gems, from Canada to Mexico.

The Daffodil Motel sign has a special place in my heart because it references the daffodil farms that used to dominate the adjacent Puyallup Valley. Sadly, only one major daffodil farm is still operating in the valley—but those cheery yellow flowers are still a big part of the local culture here.

Fellow West Coast folks: what’s your favorite bit of neon on Highway 99?

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Comments (5)

  1. Susie Armstrong

    Just found your blog, and love the drawings and paintings. I am a dedicated roadtripper myself, perhaps due to my parents taking us up and down highway 99 from Truckee, through Fresno (where I was born), to visit relatives in the Los Angeles area. In the 60’s, for 3 restless kids in a VW bug (which we thought was as big as a motorhome), we would always stop at Storyland near Roeding Park in Fresno. It is not neon, but certainly the Magic Keys I remember were huge and shiny. The scariest part was climbing the ladder that was Jack’s Bean Stalk, looking only down, because at the top of the ladder was that nasty giant’s face!

    99 is still the road I take if I have occasion to drive the valley in CA. It is the history of america’s breadbasket.


  2. Annie @ Oranje Explorers

    Being originally a Seattle native (before I took off traveling) I can say that I have been to this hotel and your sketch is far more beautiful then the actual place. I love your interpretation. Beautiful work!

  3. Amanda

    I love all of these so much! I think my favorite Hwy 99 neon is the Pink Elephant Car Wash sign in Seattle. I used to work really close to there and it was such a defining icon of my time there that I had to show it to my husband when we were on our honeymoon.

    I am so glad I found your blog, this is just beautiful!

  4. Eric

    Grew up in Milton in the 70s, believe it or not… So wonderful to see this motel memorialized here; I haven’t thought about it in 25 years… I agree with the previous commenter–your rendition is far more sublime than reality! Bravo, love the blog…

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