The location: "Big-H" Bail Bonds.

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

    A. A bail bonds office, owned by Johnny's absentee dad, and Sadie's 'Uncle Jack'.

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

    A. In the desert city of Indio, CA.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 16 (of the third season), "The Road Warrior".

    After Johnny's death, his cousin Sadie and Ryan head out to find his father (Sadie's uncle), an ex-con who walked out on his family and owes a lot of back child support. With Johnny dead, Sadie & Ryan think his mother will need the money, and hope to get it from "Uncle Jack" Harper.

    After stopping at a desert motel for the night, Sadie discovers (via the Yellow Pages) that her uncle is running a business called "Big H Bail Bonds". (According to Sadie, they used to call him "Big-H" and Johnny "Little H".) in Indio.

    They find his bail bonds office and stake out the place, waiting for him to return. When he does, they confront him. When he tells them to take a hike, Sadie loses it and begins beating his new truck with a pipe. A fight breaks out, and Ryan gets badly beaten up by Jack and his friends.

    Ryan and Sadie stop at a desert diner to nurse his wounds.  But then Ryan has a change of mind, swipes the car keys, and drives off alone. He heads back to Big H Bail Bonds, where (without resorting to violence) he manages to persuade Jack Harper to part with some cash for Johnny's mother.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. It's a small, white building with a sign outside that reads "Sakowski Motors". Apparently, they also own the large warehouse right next door.

    According to their website, Sakowski Motors "buys, sells, builds, customizes, and repairs hot rods, classics, muscle cars, race cars, and bikes."

    The producers put up a few fake "Bail Bonds" signs, but otherwise it looks basically the same (see the photos below).

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. The address is 13155 Yukon Road, in Hawthorne, CA. That's on the west side of Yukon Ave., just north of 132nd Street (not 132nd Place). The oil tank you can see nearby on the show is is across the street, on the east side of Yukon.

    (This part of town isn't exactly Beverly Hills, so exercise reasonable caution.)

    The location is just two miles northeast of two of The OC's "Chino" locations (actually in neighboring Lawndale):

    • the house where Theresa & Eddie are having an engagement party in "The Nana" episode.
    • the house where Seth and Ryan steal back a crystal egg from some bad guys, in "The Risky Business" episode.

    • It's also only two miles west of the Mini-Mart that Johnny almost robs in "The Chrismukkah Bar Mitz-vahkkah" episode.

    • And it's four miles northeast of Manhattan Beach Studios, where the show was filmed.

    Here is a map link to all five of those locations.

    And here is an aerial photo from Live Local, with the filming location marked.

I shot the photos below in 2007:

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

    A. At first, I didn't think I'd have much of a chance to find this place, even though the street number (13155) is written big as life above the front door. In the episode, its depicted as being out in Indio, and the scene is sandwiched in between two actual desert locations. So I assumed it was somewhere out in the middle of nowhere.

    But then, when I took a closer look at the scene, I realized that no cacti, joshua trees or any other desert landmarks were actually seen in the shots. And I remembered that the producers tend to stay as close to home as possible. So I started looking close to the studio

    I had three things going for me. One was the large oil tank located right across the street from the building. Another was the bright blue fence around the adjacent parking lot. And the third was that I knew they had filmed several other blue-collar scenes in the Lawndale/Hawthorne area just east of the studio.

    When I checked those previous location addresses, I noted that one of them (Theresa's house) had a street number in the 14000's. So I used Live Local's maps to find and mark several different 13155 addresses on various streets in the same area. I then drew a line linking all of those 13155 addresses, then switched to the Birds-Eye View aerial photos and looked along that line for an oil tank. It took some time, but it turned out that there was only one oil tank in that stretch of town. When I zoomed in, I was able to see the bright blue fence. I grabbed my camera and drove down to take a look, and sure enough, it was the right place - oil tank and all...

    When I later found their website (by Googling the name on their sign), I noted that they have a short video there about the filming of their scene on the show, complete with The OC theme (California) playing in the background. Now, if only I had found that website before I had to do all that searching... ;)

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