Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Castle, Ranch, Temple, Stadium

On Friday, Melvin and I continued south towards Los Angeles but then veered off into the high desert, ending up finally at a High Desert Mavericks baseball game. Before we got to the stadium, we visited a castle, a ranch and a temple.

Our first stop was Rubel’s Castle, or Rubelia as it is also known, in the foothills community of Glendora. Comments on Roadside America alleged the local historical society that owns the site discouraged non-group visits but that was completely untrue in our case. In fact, our tour was supposed to have 27 people on it, but thankfully more than half did not show.

All visits to Rubel’s Castle are guided tours and Melvin and I found our docent’s patter of limited informative value. The narration had a stream-of-consciousness quality, emphasizing arcana and offering few insights into Mike Rubell’s life or motivation or why others supported his undertaking. The chronology was non-linear and Melvin believes factually implausible at times.

Bono is the fellow on the right.

After our castle tour, we drove back over the San Gabriel Mountains and stopped briefly at the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture, a center researching sustainable human shelter. Although the institute’s website invites visits, Melvin’s inquiries went unanswered and in person we were met by a padlocked fence. However, the detour to Cal-Earth put us in an In-and-Out Burger at the same time as Bono, the vocalist for the rock band U2, (or an impersonator) and it was fun to watch the fan reaction.

About the restaurant, I agree with a sentiment I have heard others express, which is that In-and-Out Burger is what Shake Shack aspires to be, but at a fraction of the price. Melvin was especially pleased he could get a burger “protein-style,” wrapped in lettuce instead of on a bun. We had lunch at another location two days earlier.

Nourished, briefly entertained, we drove towards Helendale and the Desert Bottle Ranch, as the sign out front reads. Art historian John Beardsley calls it Elmer’s Bottle Farm in his book, Gardens of Revelation: Environments by Visionary Artists. Ranch, farm, to me the landscape most resembles a grove of trees … trees constructed out of welded steel trunks and glass bottle leaves, but still. It was beautiful in the low, late-afternoon sun.

From that peaceful, birdsong-filled place, we went to another, the Chan Nguyen Buddhist Temple. Given the number of Southeast Asian people we had seen on the trip, Melvin and I were not surprised by the fact of the temple. Nonetheless, it looked a bit like an apparition out in the desert, especially since the driveways and parking lots remained unpaved. A congenial young man with a Mohawk and “full sleeves” on both arms prayed to have a baby with his wife.

Chowhound kanosis praised Ala' Al-Deen, but my beef shawarma had the consistency of yesterday's pot roast and perhaps the less said about dinner the better.

Summarized in a sentence, Friday’s game consisted of the Mavericks slamming Lay Batista of the Inland Empire 66ers. Batista lasted just 3.2 innings and was responsible for all 11 of the Mavericks hits and seven (six earned) runs. The three IE relievers combined to no-hit the home team the rest of the way but by then the damage was done. By contrast, the Mavericks starter, Roenis Elias threw 7.2 hitless innings while four of his teammates were having multi-hit games.
Box Score
Game Recap
It was an exciting game, characterized first by the Mavericks back-to-back three-run innings in the third and the fourth, then the pitchers duel in the second half of the game. Meanwhile, in the stands, a hottie reminiscent of Sarah Palin but taller hopped around chatting up the regulars and leading fans in the wave and otherwise acting like #1 fan.

She disappeared after an ass-wiggling contest on top of the visitors’ dugout with Wooly Bully, the team mascot.  Her husband watched the rest of the game with a couple of buddies.  Where she went and to do what would be pure conjecture on my part.

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