Dinosaurs, Bananas, & Salvation

I planned a heavily packed 3 days after AltSummit, knowing that however it went I would need the distraction of multiple stops and lots of driving to quickly get myself back into trip mode. First stop on the last afternoon of the conference? The famous Cabazon Dinosaurs. There's a brontosaurus and a T Rex in the parking lot, both towering over a Burger King and the entrance to a collection of smaller dinosaur statues and an animatronic display. The 3-story hike up through the T Rex to view the world through its teeth made the crazy expensive entry fee worth it.

After grabbing some lunch I moved on to The International Banana Museum, which was luckily open. I perused the world's largest collection of banana-related items before purchasing a banana change purse and some banana and blueberry Minion-themed Mike & Ike's for the road.

Down a long, rough, dusty road I found Leonard Knight's Salvation Mountain baking in the mid-afternoon sun. Leonard found Jesus in the late 60s during a visit with his sister in California. His particular views on religion were not easily accepted by his community at home in Vermont, so he focused on less conventional ways of getting his message out, first building a giant hot air balloon, which ultimately failed. After he admitted defeat with the balloon he moved on to building the first of his mountains - his monument to God and love. His lifelong project is open to the public.

Salvation Mountain feels exactly like what it is: a labor of love, built with passion and energy focused on a single idea. Though there were a lot of people around, there was also a certain peace and stillness in the air and in the structure, especially the small shrine-like rooms built to the right of the larger mountain.

After climbing to the top I headed for my car and the Salton Sea.