Monday, March 9, 2009


This guy greets you as you enter the ghost town.

I swear I'm going to do my best to say only nice things about Calico, but this gift shop was creepy. Imagine dolls with eyes that seem a bit too real and knick-knacks that may or may not have human hair and that's what you get here.

Jeb: "Hey Cletus, you know what we could put on top of the roof?"
Cletus: "Nope."
Jeb: "Some fake Indians."
Cletus: "Yeah, that's a good idea."

This restaurant is large, serves beer and had a cute waitress. Oh yeah, and zero customers.

This sign tells you all about stuff you thought you cared about until you actually read it and then realized you didn't care at all.

This one too.

This is pretty neat. Turns out the guy who started Knott's Berry Farm, aka Mr. Walter Knott, was responsible for re-creating the Calico Ghost Town. I think there was also something about a time capsule that may or may not be opened fairly soon.

If I could grow a moustache, I'd look like this guy. And who doesn't want smooth lips?

Did someone say "beer garden?"

Leave it to me to find the most interesting thing at a replica ghost town to be the cat that wanders in front of the cafe where employees who should be working smoke and talk about how they aren't working.

If there's such thing as Zen in San Bernadino County, this is probably it. Atop this mountain, you can look down on Calico and get a killer view and an even more serene panoramic shot of the surrounding area. I spent a few minutes up there "just being, man."

This is the beginning of the mine that you have to pay an extra $2 to get into. I mean, if you already drove all the way there, you might as well pony up. But if you don't, you're missing a low-tech laser light show that teaches you all about rocks (exciting!) and some more of those fake people who are supposed to create atmosphere, only the miners aren't Indians. See below.

Seriously, what's wrong with me? I drove to bumfuck nowhere to check out this town that I've thought about stopping at for years and all I can do is take pictures of cats? I've got five of those little monsters at home ferchrissakes! But I am a sucker for felines. I saw the first two and was trying to pet them, but ferals don't like people. Then a women wearing a period piece dress came over and explained to me how she wished someone who come and take them to get fixed. I almost asked why she didn't do it, but this is Yermo. I didn't need to ask. She then showed me all the other black and white kitties and explained to me that, yes, they did have names, but no, she did not remember them. I tried doing the slow backwards walk, the one that tells most people you are leaving, but she wasn't getting it. I damn near hoofed it back to Long Beach before she figured out that I was trying to bail.

As you can tell, I'm practicing for when Vice calls me and begs for me to write their Dos and Don'ts. But in the meantime, I'll get serious for a second. As kooky as Calico Ghost Town is (and believe you me, it's kooky), I had a good time. This is my first ghost town and I was well aware that this is a re-built version of what the town used to look like. Some ghost town websites poo-poo Calico for not being authentic, but I was a newbie and enjoyed myself enough to recommend it to others. Besides, you get to stop at that killer Del Taco in Barstow on the way.

Whether it was constructed 100 years ago or last week, there's some great craftsmanship at Calico, the kind you don't see everyday in a big city. In fact, this was probably my favorite part of my trip. I must have looked like a weirdo staring up at ceilings for minutes on end, completely unaware of the useless leather junk they try to sell. That, and the fact that I was alone on a Wednesday afternoon and there were more employees than visitors really put me in the minority. Well, that, and the fact I have all my teeth.

In what's got to be a sure sign of the apocalypse, Calico sells veggie burgers for all those vegetarians stopping through Yermo.

On the way home I stopped at the Tanger Outlet Center in Barstow and got something like 10 Old Navy shirts and a sweatshirt for like $30. Yes, I am a fashionista sissy.

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