Today is the second day of the New Year 2021; earlier at Trona Pinnacles, I imagined myself, stumbling upon three astronauts, just like in the 1968 film titled, Planet of the Apes. Trona Pinnacles is one of the locations used back then, to portray life on this futuristic planet, where apes became the dominant species and humans, the endangered ones. Apes now walk, talk, all look about the same, and probably even vote, as they seem to also have a class and political system in place.
The pinnacles possesses one of the most unusual geologic wonders in the California Desert. These pinnacles of which there are hundreds all around, are up to 140 feet tall; formed with calcium carbonate – they are spires of rock that rise from the bed of Searles Dry Lake basin. They formed underwater between 10,000 and 100,000 years ago.
The Mojave desert encompasses approximately 25,000 square miles of California, southwestern Utah, southern Nevada, and northwestern Arizona.
If you plan it right you can also do like us, and fit in a McDonald’s museum visit, in nearby San Bernardino, California.
1937 – The year Dick and Mac opened up their first place selling hot dogs, orange, coffee and tea before moving onto hamburgers.
1940 – McDonald’s BBQ became the local teen hangout in the area. By 1948, the BBQ was out and only hamburgers and fries remained.
San Bernardino today is the birthplace of McDonald’s. While visiting today we heard people saying they were visiting from as far away as San Diego.
Soon after the Planet of the Apes movie was completed the Department of the Interior added the Pinnacles to their list; Star Trek saw the list and also used the same location for some of their movies.
And in a similar twist of events, around 1998, Albert Ocura, a huge McDonald’s fan, purchases this historic property and makes it both his chicken empire headquarters and the unofficial McDonald’s museum. The museum today is free and is supported by Juan Pollo and Akbert Okura. And the rest as they say, is just history.
The McDonald’s museum is located at 1398 N. “E” Street, San Bernardino, California.
The Trona Pinnacles are reached by two access points. The easiest is to head along State Route 178 for about 20 miles east of Ridgecrest, and just on the southwest edge of the town of Trona.
There, a Bureau of Land Management sign will mark the turn-off onto Pinnacles Road/RM143, and the pinnacles themselves are almost exactly 5.0 miles to the south.
The nearest food, water, and fuel is available in the town of Trona.
This is my second time here, once by jeep and once by adventure motorcycle.
“Great leaders leave a great legacy”.
– Caesar from Planet of the Apes.