Surprise Valley Drugs

One of my favorite shots from my August 2005 road trip.

Surprise Valley DrugsYes, it’s the side of a building. But it’s also an old billboard for a drugstore that probably doesn’t even exist anymore. And there’s something about it that I really like.

I took this photo at the end of the second day of my trip. I was spending the night at Cedarville, CA, in a little motel on the edge of town. Cedarville was a quaint, undiscovered farming community. I’d passed at least a dozen huge California barns, hay fields, and horse pastures on the last half hour of my drive. I was exhausted and this quiet little town was like an oasis in the desert.

This billboard had been painted on the side of a row of shops. I don’t know how long ago it had been painted or whether the Surprise Valley Drug store was in Cedarville. But I snapped the photo to remember.

The next morning, after stopping back in town for a some car noshing supplies, I’d seen a similarly interesting shot across the street. But there were people out and about and I felt silly about taking the photo. Someday I’ll go back and snap it.

And to readers of my Maria’s Guides eBooks, if this looks familiar, it should. I used it for the cover of one of my eBooks.

Buy on RedBubbleThe full-frame version of this photo is available for sale as cards and prints at

6 thoughts on “Surprise Valley Drugs

  1. Did you know that Coke was originally a drink meant to act as a painkiller for headaches and migraines. As it was pretty tasty they made it a popular drink.

  2. Hi Yes there was a drug store named Surprise Valley Drug Store. That has been there for over at least 80yrs.ago or older.

  3. Thanks so much for this info.

    I love the photo’s scene so much that it’s the first print I’ve ordered from RedBubble. I can’t wait to get it.

    Also, I’ve seen similar photos elsewhere on the Web. Have you ever done a search for “Surprise Valley Drugs?” Evidently, I’m not the only one who thought that particular was was so photogenic!

  4. My father was the owner and pharmacist of the Surprise Valley Drug Store in the late 1960’s. My family lived on the right side of the building and the pharmacy and general store was on the left side. The original plaster began to crumble on the front of the store so my dad had it removed to return the building to it’s original state. The Coke sign had faded so badly that you could barely see any of the images. My father hired an artist to re-paint the sign in 1972. You can imagine my delight when I googled Surprise Valley Drug and found this image! I have many fond childhood memories sitting in front of that sign and eating ice cream with my dog during the summer months.

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