The location: The Desert Diner.

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

    A. A 50's-style roadside diner.

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 Sadie head out to find Johnny's father (her Uncle Jack), who walked out on his family, in hopes of getting some money for Johnny's mother.

    They track him down to a Bail Bonds shop, but when they confront him, Ryan gets beaten up.

    Ryan & Sadie wind up at a desert diner, where she nurses his wounds. Eventually, when she isn't looking, Ryan takes the car keys and drives off without her, seeking another confrontation with Uncle Jack.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. Part of a 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 kept it and rented it out for other movies.

    Like the Four Aces, "Club Ed" consists of a motel, a 50's diner and a gas station.

    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 motel scenes, earlier in the same 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).

    [ 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 "Club Ed" when I was looking for the desert motel where Ryan and Sadie stay (earlier in the same episode). And I had previously found the "Four Aces" (another desert set) when I was looking for the desert gas station. And I knew that the two were located only a few miles apart.

    So, when it came time to find the desert diner, I naturally considered both of them.

    But the gas pumps outside of the Four Aces diner didn't match the yellow gas pumps that can be seen in Episode 16 (as Ryan drives away from the diner). So, I Googled "Club Ed" for images of that set, and the search turned up this image and several others of the diner and the pumps at Club Ed. Not only did the gas pumps match perfectly, but the writing on the diner's windows was also a perfect match.

By Episode - By Category - By Geographical Location - Clickable Map - Aerials

THE O.C. screenshots from the show and all related characters & elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
All other photos & text are Copyright  1999-2024-Gary Wayne and may not be used without written permission.

Return to