641-Pee Wee Herman – Cabazon, CA

As a kid my parents would infrequently take us for a trip to the desert. Along the way we would pass the dinosaur rest stop and invariably have to stop In Cabazon, CA. I’ve been inside these creatures as a kid as well as an adult. It’s one of those things you can go back to – up until now. Read the following story stolen from the web of how PeeWee’s Great Adventure has become a Creationist boondoggle.

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From the interstate highway, the uncommon view of two giant dinosaurs, on an arid plain surrounded by mountains, is an irresistible magnet. But tourists are not the only ones compelled to stop. Well within LA’s convenient day-drive sphere, the Cabazon dinos became media darlings in the 1980s, appearing in everything from Coke commercials to rock videos to the film Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

They were built by Claude Bell, who ran the Wheel Inn on I-10. Claude took eleven years to build Dinny, a giant apatosaurus and arguably the largest dinosaur in America. A small museum in Dinny’s belly still sells souvenirs.

Claude’s next project, a giant Tyrannosaurus with a slide down its tail, was nearing completion when Claude died in ’89. More sculptures were on the drawing board, including a Woolly Mammoth. The Tyrannosaurus was never completed and, according to the museum manager in Dinny’s belly, “it never will be.”

Update – August 2005: New owner Gary Kanter, an Orange County developer, is using the dinosaurs of Cabazon as a platform for his Creationist viewpoint. Working with Pastor Robert Darwin Chiles, they are transforming the Cabazon Dinosaurs “from tourist stop to place of worship,” according to a story by Ashley Powers in the Los Angeles Times.
(Stolen from “Roadside America” web site)

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