The location: The Desert Motel.


Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A run-down desert motel, with peeling paint (yet, one with a surprisingly pristine swimming pool).


Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. Out in the middle of the desert, near Indio.


Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 16 (of season 3), "The Road Warrior". Following the accidental death of the surfer Johnny, Ryan and Johnny's cousin Sadie head out to find Johnny's father (her Uncle Jack, who walked out on his family), in hopes of getting some needed money for Johnny's mother.

    They end up heading to Indio, and stop to spend the night at a run-down motel in the middle of the desert. Sadie suggests a game of strip poker, with the loser to sleep on the floor. The next morning, we see that Ryan is on the floor. While there, Sadie finds a Yellow Pages ad for a "Big-H Bail Bonds" and knows it must belong to her uncle.


Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. The motel is actually part of a permanent desert movie set, called "Club Ed", which was originally built back in 1990 for for a Dennis Hopper film ("Eye of the Storm"). Instead of tearing it down after they finished filming, they left it standing and rented it out for filming other movies. Like the Four Aces, "Club Ed" consists of a run-down motel (with a pool), a 50's diner, and a gas station, all in a very isolated location. (Ryan and Sadie were staying in room 14.)

    Other movies filmed at Club Ed include the Rob Zombie film, "The Devil's Rejects", the Ice Cube movie "Torque", and the Martin Lawrence / Tim Robbins' comedy, "Nothing to Lose". The O.C. also filmed the desert diner scenes at Club Ed, seen later in the same "Road Warrior" episode.


    


Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. "Club Ed" is located in the middle of nowhere, in the high desert near Palmdale. It's on the east side of 150th Street E, about half a mile south of E. Avenue K, east of Palmdale.

    That's about 75 miles northeast of Los Angeles, in the Mojave desert, and about 175 miles northwest of the real Indio, CA.

    It's only about six miles north (northeast) of "Al's" desert gas station" (the Four Aces - seen in a later episode).

    Here is a Bird's Eye view aerial photo. And here is a map link.

    [ Warning: this is a very isolated location. If you go choose to go there, make sure your car is in very good running condition, bring drinking water, and don't go alone. Exercise reasonable caution.]


Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. I had already found the Palmdale location of Al's gas station, and since the desert terrain looked the same, I thought they might have filmed the motel scene there. But I noticed that the run-down desert motel had a rather clean, blue swimming pool outside Ryan & Sadie's door, and the Four Aces motel doesn't have a pool. But I guessed that it was still somewhere in the same Palmdale area (producers tend to revisit familiar territory). So, I Googled "Palmdale Motel and Pool" images, and the search pulled up this image, and the accompanying article which mentioned the name "Club Ed". I then Googled the term "Club Ed", which produced quite a few articles & photos about this unique desert set.




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THE O.C. screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
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