Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dinos for Christmas

When you drive in to Riverside, California on the 60 freeway, the first thing you see is a barren and rocky hillside with a giant woolly mammoth on top. This is the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center.

I got a good look at it, because traffic was moving slow.

By the time I was five miles from my exit to downtown, traffic was creeping along at five miles an hour.

I'm staying in a modest hotel - or, rather, motel. It's a revamped '60s 2-story Travelodge or something similar, but it's clean and pleasant and the bed is comfortable. It's just down the street from the famous Mission Inn, which, in the holiday season, is not available.

Just as well. After I checked in, I wandered down to the Mission Inn, thinking I might have dinner in its fabulous historic restaurants. But in this holiday season, the place is tarted up for Christmas, and the joint is jumping. There were hordes of elderly folks, dressed in their holiday sweaters, brandishing their Cadillac-style souped-up walkers, taking selfies in front of the glittering lights and giant Nutcrackers.

The nightmare before Christmas!
I wandered through the Presidential bar, but it was full to the brim, people laughing and drinking under the portraits of the presidents - predominated by Republicans, I noted. I passed the Kettle Corn stand, the place where you can pay to ride a Cinderella Coach, and a gift shop called Miss Tiggy Winkles. I couldn't take any more. I ended up at a taqueria down the street, with a good chile relleno and a cold Tecate.

Tomorrow I meet a professor from the UCRiverside Creative Writing Program, and observe her seminar. Then I meet with the staff administrator of the program. I'm going to walk and drive around town to get a feel for the place.

It's supposed to start raining hard tomorrow night. I'll be driving back to LA on Friday. Maybe I'll stop off and visit the woolly mammoth on my way.

1 comment:

Mingus said...

Give the woolly mammoth a pat for me.