Being There Now: The 60 Freeway Mastodon

Is there something in your life that you rush past every day wondering what's it's like up close? You never have time to stop and check it out, but you see it as you go by and wonder about it. For some it could be a store or a park or piece of street art or a building facade. For some Angelinos, for example, it could be the Hollywood sign. They see it from afar but and they have an idea what it might be like up there, but have never taken the time to go see it up close. They just wonder about it.

In my adopted home town, our Hollywood sign is an enormous rusty mastodon sculpture by the side of the 60 freeway. I pass it almost every day as I'm rushing off somewhere, have for years, always wondering what it's like up close. One day I decided to search for images on the internet. I thought it would be a good shortcut. But alas, it seems as if everybody just stands at the bottom of the hill with their cameras and tries to zoom in. That's not at all like being there.

Wooly Mammoth sculpture

Here's what it looks like in Google street view. It's a prominent landmark, but relatively far away, and for someone like me who loves monumental things, prehistoric megafauna, outsider art, metal, public oddities and roadside attractions, I finally had to grab my camera and go see this thing up close. And not standing by the side of the freeway and zooming in. I had to go be there.

I was not disappointed! 


The sculpture is part of the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center, a sort of combination amateur natural history museum and outsider art exhibit. They have this mastodon, plus a dozen or more monumental dinosaurs made out of various materials. They also have an excellent cactus and succulent garden, a gift shop and mineral exhibit, and some other seemingly random things.

I learned again a lesson I have learned many times before: don't just wonder about things. Go and find out for yourself.