Nov 16, 2010

Wheel Inn: Cabazon, California

Whether it's for kitsch or novelty is hard to say, but the Wheel Inn restaurant in Cabazon, California is so comfortably outdated that you could mistake it for a theme. There is a big reason to come here however. The famous Cabazon dinosaurs that originally stood all by their lonesome in the middle of the desert, continue to be popular draws for this unassuming truck stop.

The dinosaurs themselves have appeared in several music videos and movies, the most popular being The Wizard (1989) and Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985). In both films you can see the landmarks without landscaping or fences. The truck stop looks like it's in the middle of the desert as the town had yet to grow out that far. The inside of the restaurant however is a blast from the past, almost eerily intact from the scenes shot in Pee Wee over two decades ago.

The entrance is lined with several arcade games, not unlike those seen countless times in The Wizard. Badges and patches are also framed and proudly showcase decades of history from the visitors who have passed through on their way to wherever.

We enjoyed a couple burgers before going to check out the dinosaurs again. This was our first time eating at the Wheel Inn, but not the first time we'd stopped to see the roadside attraction. I ended up buying a plastic apatosaurus inside the gift shop (which is located inside the apatosaurus, up the stairs inside his tail). When you think of stereotypical road trip locales, this almost seems too perfect.

No comments :