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


 An old Harley Davidson that burned in a wildfire.

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.