Jurassic Adventures: Don’t Drink the Kool Aid

There are dinosaurs. Out in the desert. A rare and extinct breed the size of Godzilla himself. In the city of Cabazon, which sounds a lot more exotic than it actually is. If you’re driving down the freeway, on Interstate 10, you can’t miss them. They roar at every passing car.
Dinny the dinosaur and Mr. Rex, the tyrannosaurus; whoever named them certainly gets no points when it comes to creativity. But they’re so awesomely fantastic that no one really cares.
They were made by Claude Bell, the architect of Knots Berry Farm, for the sole purpose of attracting weary travelers to his diner, the Wheel Inn Restaurant. A Hansel and Gretel story, only instead of a candy coated house, he used dinosaurs, which is all the same in a child’s eye.
Dinny is upcycling at its finest, made from recycled materials used in the building of the interstate. Then covered in concrete. There were plans to make his eyes glow and his mouth breathe fire, but old Claude died before he could ever make this terrifying dream a reality. And thank goodness for that; there are far less road side casualties because of it.
You can climb into the vast innards of Dinny the dinosaur where you will be greeted by a museum that preaches an almost archaic worldview. Beside Bell’s paintings, clearly depicting the evolution of man, the current owner posted placards that warn of the improbability, and impossibility, of evolution, claiming that creationism is the root of all life. It’s an odd juxtaposition. But then again, so are dinosaurs in the desert, beside a freeway.
But it gets weirder. A local pastor, who has assisted in turning the site into a church, argues that children are genetically fascinated by dinosaurs because they once roamed the earth together. “Walked with them,” to be specific. Oh yeah, and dinosaurs are still alive, based upon the posted evidence of the numerous Loch Ness monster sightings in the year 1933.
These dinosaurs are media favorites, having been glimpsed in a series of bizarre and eclectic movies and adverts. So are the celebrity neanderthals who, according to a sign and People Magazine, are just like you and I, only on the heavy side.
This place is about as weird as it gets. But it’s the desert, and the closest thing to normal out here are casinos and outlet stores, which play upon the addictions of gamblers and shopaholics, both of which seem pretty damned creepy to me.
But if you’re ever driving down Interstate 10, and you’re craving something sweet and something strange, stop on by the dinosaurs. Get yourself a date shake at Hadley’s, and climb up into the belly of Dinny. Immerse yourself in creationism, become a total convert, and never pick up a Nat Geo magazine again. While you’re at it, purchase up some white robes, grow a beard, get yourself a nice little yurt and wait for Jesus and his second coming.
Or, just take a cliche photo like I did and call it a day. We don’t need another Jim Jones in this world.

10 thoughts on “Jurassic Adventures: Don’t Drink the Kool Aid

  1. Hi Shayleene,
    It’s a pleasure to meet you. Love your writing. I could picture the place completely. As for the dino and Jesus – well, just goes to show you people can put a spin on anything. And, unfortunately, gullibility still permeates society. I’m glad you found my little corner of the world. Welcome to the fence jumpers and thanks for following my blog. @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles

    Liked by 1 person

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