Monday, January 8, 2018

Mentone Beach - Highland California

Today I was looking for an old bridge in the "Inland Empire" area of Southern California. This is clearly not desert, but it is certainly not urban, or even suburban either. It is on the fringe of a town. The fringes are where the most interesting places and people are usually found. 

For a few reasons, this might be my favorite finds. Those of you have been following my articles for a while know that I've been to a ton of odd and/or interesting places, so saying that this might be my favorite, is no small thing.

The bridge I was looking for is somewhere in the distance on the left side of the photo. When I saw this though, I immediately pulled over to take a couple of photos. I was just about to climb back into the jeep, when the gate opened and a guy walked out. We said hello, and I told him that I love places like this. He introduced himself and invited me in! I was so happy!


A giant chicken, the Statue of Liberty, and some very old outboard boat motors.  


Muffler Man! This version is of course Paul Bunyan. To show you how big this guy is, look at the door between his legs. 


On each side of Paul Bunyan is an ornate ship smokestack. I didn't think much of that fact until the owner (Pete) told me they were from a "paddle wheeler" that used to be moored in Newport Harbor. It was refitted to be a floating restaurant, and served in that capacity for many years. I live maybe 20 miles from there, and ate in there a couple of times. The name of the ship was the Ruben E. Lee.


There is an airplane on the roof of his house. It isn't just any airplane though. It was used in the movie 1941, starring John Belushi.


Just look at all the stuff in this photo! It looks like something you might see on the TV show American Pickers. Guess what? You will see it on American Pickers, because they were recently there filming!






You are looking into the back of a 1956 Ford F100 pickup. This model was only produced for four years. I have a 1953 F100. Very few of these trucks have this large rear window. They were built in 1956. I have to admit, that I was a little jealous. 


 Nice legs...

The owner and resident artist!  


So much to love in this photo. A 1937 Plymouth pickup truck, vintage trailers, and an airplane! Oh yeah, don't miss the porthole utilized as a rear window in the truck. 



 Art Deco meets Steam Punk


An outdoor water bed. I wish I had more photos of the amazing deck areas that are under a giant California Pepper tree, that Pete planted about 35 years ago. It is so shady and comfortable there. This is where you'd find me on a hot "inland empire" day. (not necessarily in the bed, but under the tree).



 Folk art dragon

 I think this lady had been on the horse awhile, because she looked very tired.

Pete showing me the inside of a really large tee-pee. It had a large fire ring inside of it, with plenty of flat rocks to sit on. A nice spot to spend a cold evening.

Nice sunroof! 


 Another plane!

 Piano guts

 Hybrid




 An old Harley Davidson that burned in a wildfire.



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It's no secret that I love this stuff, and this kind of place. Further, I really connected with the owner. Pete and I are just about the same age, from the same generation, both Vietnam Vets, and from the same area. I enjoyed our conversation just as much as I did his place. I spend quite a bit of time in this area, and for sure I'm going to be going back.


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75 comments:

  1. Wow, that looks more exiting than the bridge. I'll have to see if I can catch the place on American Pickers. I bet they went nuts there.

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    1. I agree Alex! I'll try to find out when it will be televised.

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  2. ...funky, quirky junk, I'm in heaven! I invite your to link these treasures tomorrow at Tuesday's Treasures!

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    1. Thanks Tom! I agree. I linked it up, thanks for the invite (I fouled up the title though)

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  3. I think this is fantastic. I have recently moved house and have got rid of a lot of my 'stuff' because I hit on the idea that I would like to be more fleet of foot. But when I see this - not that I had any of these particular things or anything like - I feel a bit miserable that I got rid of so many of my memory connected pieces - bits of wood, copper piping, stones, all sorts of things no-one else values. If you do go back - please pass on to him that one of your English readers admires his place. We'd never see anything like it here.

    https://looseandleafyinhalifax.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Me too Lucy! I'm always conflicted about getting rid of things. I'll pass your message along to him.

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  4. Very cool. Tell Pete Mac says hey next time you visit.

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  5. GADS----that place would not be for me... I'm glad you found it since you like it so much... Each to his/her own I guess... I'd prefer to be out hiking along a raging creek in the mountains...... ha

    Thanks for sharing... I'm sure many of your viewers will enjoy all of this....
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Thanks Betsy! I also love hiking along a raging creek, and I also love this stuff.

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    1. I agree William. Strange in a really cool way.

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  7. This place is unbelievable! It's amazing what one person can collect.

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    1. It sure is Red. I'm sure it helps to have a lot of room.

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  8. It's amazing that there is so much cool stuff in one place, we enjoyed seeing it with you Pat!

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    1. Thanks Brian! I know, there was one cool thing after another.

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  9. Pat, I can certainly see why this is your favorite find, it's AWESOME! What an amazing menagerie of such unique things! I love history, so to me this would be like stepping back into time and coming in contact with the past.

    I really like the the porthole utilized as a rear window in the truck, that is sooooooo cool!

    Thanks so much for sharing! Really enjoyed!

    P.S. GREAT photographs!

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    1. Thanks so much Ron! One of the things I like best about it, is that he has stories relating to almost everything there. It really is a historical place.

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  10. It's a junk empire! In other news I think he'd probably survive an apocalypse easily.

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    1. Hey DEZ! Junk, historical items, and rusty gold!

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  11. So many planes! Ole Pete sure is dedicated to his craft. It must have taken many, many years to collect all that stuff. It’s obvious you had a great time there. A kindred spirit for sure.

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    1. Hi Rosemary! He really is dedicated. I'm sure that it take some money to accumulate so much also. Some of these items couldn't have come cheaply.

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  12. I do not know...a little bit weird! However I like the giant chicken...but those "legs"...hum, really weird! LOL
    Great work with your pictures! Thanks so much for sharing.
    hugs and Happy 2018
    Léia

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    1. Hello Leia! It is weird, wonderfully weird! My pleasure sharing. Happy New Year to also.

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  13. Wow what a place. I'm so glad the owner let you look around. I'd love being there myself but I'll settle for your awesome photos. We watch American Pickers, I'll need to keep an eye out for that episode. Thanks for sharing. So different, so unique.

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    1. Hi Ida! I was so happy that he showed me around. Sharing is my pleasure, thank you for always commenting.

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  14. Wow, what a LOT of stuff...some of it I love.

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    1. Yep, a LOT of stuff!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Rose. Hope to see you here again.

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  15. What a nice surprise to greet us with, beautiful exhibition.

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    1. Thanks Bob! It was a great surprise to see it in person as well.

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  16. That is so cool. What rambling place of stuff, stuff, and more stuff. All of it with its own wild history. Lovely that you and Pete connected.

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    1. Thanks Robin! Yep, I was there quite a while, and I'm sure I didn't see but a fraction of it all.

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  17. Oh my gosh Pat!!! So much treasure and quite a lot of junk 😀😊 I can see why you enjoyed this so much and I'm betting Pete was a joy to converse with, especially as you had a lot in common! Yes, I can totally see why you got sidetracked for a while 😀

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  18. That's a fascinating collection of stuff - nice shots!

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  19. Wow, my head is spinning!!! This place is incredible, Pat! So much cool stuff. I remember the Ruben E. Lee in Newport Harbor. Never had a chance to eat there. Wonder how Pete managed to accumulate all this stuff? What an interesting guy.

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    1. Hey Pete! Yep, it was pretty cool. He used to be a boat captain and knew about the Ruben E. Lee's demise. He is very interesting. Looking forward to our hike!

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  20. What an interesting place! A photographer's paradise.

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    1. It sure was Marleen. Some of my photos didn't come out very well. Middle of the day, and because I was following him around, I didn't want him to have to wait around while I was setting up shots. .

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  21. What a great collection, I could spend hours day (Or maybe days if I had dibs on that waterbed)

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    1. Me too Jeff! The huge California pepper tree was amazing in it's own right, what all was under it was even better.

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    2. I forgot to say that just a short walk from where the bed is, he has a couple of kayaks in one of the large ponds in the area.

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  22. I absolutely LOVE places like this. You took some wonderful photographs. And Pete the owner looks just the part of the eccentric "junque" collector. Keep an eye on my blog, I went to a place rather like this last October but haven't published the photos yet, now you have prompted me to get on with it. Love the plane on the roof. And the porthole window. That next to last pic of the horse looks as though Pete's collection is quite near a main road.

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    1. Me too! Oh yeah, he fits right in. He has a ton of background stories relating to many of the items he has. It is right on a road but it's a back road and not very busy.

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  23. What a great place. Beautiful photos.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Polly! I appreciate it.

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  24. Hello, what a fun place to explore. I would love to check out this place and all the cool stuff. Looks like an awesome collection. I am glad you were invited in. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and new week!

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    1. Hi Eileen! I had a blast following him around. I hope you have a great week also.

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  25. If I would get into place like this I would consider myself in heaven. The giant chicken, the Muffler man, the old Harley Davidson; what the great treasures you found. And you created wonderful photographs as memories of this fantastic place.

    My warmest wishes to you, Pat for 2018.

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    1. Thanks so much Kaya! I'm sure that you would love the place. I hope you have a great 2018 also.

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  26. Great post! I have a bit of a soft spot for places like this as well (they remind me of my study!)

    Always good to connect with somebody who has been through the same kind of thing as you. Looking forward to more posts!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Thanks Stewart! It kind of reminds me of my garage. Unfortunately, most of what I've gathered really is just junk.

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  27. ouch! That is just toooooo much! I always get a feeling of overwhelming at places like that, I want to escape. But great if things are used for filming.

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    1. I would feel overwhelmed if it was all mine, but in this context I loved it!

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  28. What a find! This place is amazing!

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    1. It sure was James! I hope to get back there soon.

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  29. What an eclectic collection of quirky things!

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  30. Oh my gosh we would love this (visiting not owning ).....I'd forgotten about American Pickers -- we used to watch it and now I want to look for it again. (We don't watch much but Netflix nowadays). We always have enjoyed meeting quirky people (and consider that word a compliment)..... For some unknown reason, because it wasn't the same thing at all, this all kind of reminds me of Salvation Mountain near the Salton Sea. Did you ever visit there while the creator was alive?

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    1. Hi Sallie! Yep, I did meet the creator at Salvation Mountain. Talk about quirky! I totally agree with you about quirky people, especially so when they create things. Love 'em!

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  31. Very cool place with lots of interesting things to see and photograph. What a great find.

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    1. It sure was Bill. I hope to be there again in the next week or so.

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  32. Oh my! Talk about a "special place" this one tops them all!....:)

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    1. It sure does! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Hope to see you here again.

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  33. Wow! That's absolutely jaw - dropping! This is his private residence? What a character! What a collection! Man, I hope it's preserved for future generations somehow.
    Love that alien looking creature, that looks a bit like an ant-eater. Fascinating. The whole she-bang!
    A big call indeed, about being your favourite place. Love to walk around there myself!

    I know the David Lynch film, but didnt know there was an actual Inland Empire place. I remember the Spielberg film too. (RIP Belushi)

    This is the first time Ive heard you say you are a Vietnam Vet. I missed it if you did. Love to talk more to you about that. Fodder for another post perhaps?
    My uncle fought there and my dad was supposed to go but I came along and he got out of it. He was in the Army Reserves though and was away on camp when I was born so didn't see me until Day 4.

    Great post Patty.
    Cheers mate.
    Respect to all Vets. (inc. my Grandfather WWII).

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  34. Wow! That's absolutely jaw - dropping! This is his private residence? What a character! What a collection! Man, I hope it's preserved for future generations somehow.
    Love that alien looking creature, that looks a bit like an ant-eater. Fascinating. The whole she-bang!
    A big call indeed, about being your favourite place. Love to walk around there myself!

    I know the David Lynch film, but didnt know there was an actual Inland Empire place. I remember the Spielberg film too. (RIP Belushi)

    This is the first time Ive heard you say you are a Vietnam Vet. I missed it if you did. Love to talk more to you about that. Fodder for another post perhaps?
    My uncle fought there and my dad was supposed to go but I came along and he got out of it. He was in the Army Reserves though and was away on camp when I was born so didn't see me until Day 4.

    Great post Patty.
    Cheers mate.
    Respect to all Vets. (inc. my Grandfather WWII).

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  35. What a find! I bet you were so happy to connect with this wonderful artist. It was meant to be! So cool! The guys from that pickers show are missing out!! ;)

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    1. I was so happy Sandy. I loved that place. The guys from American Pickers did recently visit. Hope to see it on TV soon.

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  36. I went "Wow!" at the first photo, then as I scrolled slowly down, I kept thinking "Wow! How many more bizarre artifacts are there?" Great stuff Pat. You certainly know how to find 'em.

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    1. Thanks Dennis! I was amazed by what I did see, and there was so much more that I didn't. I usually have do so a lot of hunting and/or research to find these places. This time though, it was blind luck.

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  37. Wow!! What an amazing collection!! I've always wondered where they get all the things they find, and how they get them to their yard! Paul Bunyan would be a good example of that. Curious and fun. I can only imagine the stories in that yard!

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    1. Hi Amanda! Paul Bunyan probably walked there. JK! Yep, the owner had so many stories related to the stuff he had.

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  38. A fantastic visual smorgasbord of cast off items no longer valued by their owners. I have always been interest in finding these places. The last one I visited was in Flagstaff,AZ. The only way we could visit it was by being driven in the back of his windowless van. We were there to buy a back bench seat frame for my 1966 V.W. van. You seem to have a nack for finding these unusual places. Great post! Thank you, AZDave.

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    1. Hey Dave! I agree, and I love these places. Especially so because the owner had a story for almost everything I saw. A few weeks ago we went to a place that was so big, the owner turned it into a museum. He must have had almost a hundred model T's and model A's. Tons of other things also. Thanks for the comment Dave...

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    2. Keep it coming, love your blog. P.S. The airplane in the picture, "another airplane" is a homebuilt RV3 single seat aluminum kit plane, which is still in business ("Vans Aircraft") in Oregon. Take care, travel on. Dave

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    3. Very interesting! Thanks again Dave!

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