Five Things We're Crazy About in Cabazon

1. Claude Bell's dinosaurs. You saw them in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure"; we saw them, too, and wondered if such a mythical place really existed, or if it was merely movie magic. But that was no backlot we were gazing upon -- they're real, concrete-y, prehistoric giants standing next to the 10 freeway. Claude Bell, who had a hand in much of the look of Knott's Berry Farm, made 'em. And driving to Coachella without stopping for a quick snapshot is unthinkable. Get your best "rrrowr!" pose on.

2. The Wheel Inn. The old-school diner sitting cheek-by-dinosaur-jowl with the outlandish beasties puts out big, egg-y breakfasts and a lot of hospitality, too. We like the artwork on the walls (there's a painted mail holder we've had our eye on for years), the country tunes on the speakers, the in-house convenience store that stocks sodas aplenty.

3. The outlets. Could we mention Cabazon with mentioning the outlet mall? No, no we could not. Seems like every time we're headed out that way the weather does something freakish, and we need to swing by to pick up a $8 sweatshirt or $20 bathing suit. And then we end up getting four more items we didn't plan on buying. But outlet malls work that way, we suppose.

4. Hadley's Fruit Orchards. Dates, dates, dates, chocolate candies, cashews, more dates, walnuts stuffed in dates, date-speckled sweets, mustards, salad dressings, dates. We love this roadside fruit-and-treat stand, which is actually much more full-fledged store than fruit stand, and the nice people who work there. And we are mad about the Morongo Mix, a salty, snack-y concoction that is immediately all over our fingers and shirt, even before we're back in our car. And that makes us happy. And thirsty for...

5. The Hadley's date shake. It gets its own number because it is so delicious and thick and cooling on a hot, Cabazon-y afternoon. Good stuff, not expensive, a Cab classic. It gets a big dinosaur "rrrowr" of delight, no doubt about it.

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