Added to our list of “must stop” roadside attractions along I-10 in southern California’s Mojave Desert are Hadley Fruit Orchard’s store and the World’s Largest Dinosaurs in Cabazon, Calif.
In 1951, Paul and Peggy Hadley began selling their products from a roadside stand. To attract customers to the remote location, Paul bought slabs of lumber, painted signs in bright colors and set out to find neighbors and other property owners along the highway who would allow him to put up his homemade billboards.
Not too long after that, in the mid-50s, my family was emigrating to warm and sunny southern California from freezing, snow covered upstate New York. Five of us were had packed all our belongings into a Plymouth station wagon towing a 32-foot travel trailer. Just west of Palm Springs, we saw one of those painted signs that advertised ‘Date Shakes’ and pulled into Hadley’s. What we discovered was a bonanza of packaged fruit and nuts. We then knew for sure we were in the land of milk and honey.
A few years later, about two miles east of Hadley’s, the Cabazon Dinosaurs were created by Claude Bell, a theme park artist.
With the help of a few friends, Bell began building the dinosaurs in 1964. It is said that Bell spent the next 11 years completing Ms. Dinny, (pronounced Dine-y) the 150-foot long Apatosaurus. Construction of Mr. Rex, the towering three-story concrete Tyrannosaurus, was begun in 1981.
Both Hadley’s and the Cabazon Dinosaurs are open daily.
Hadley Fruit Orchard
48980 Seminole Dr.
Cabazon, CA 92230
50770 Seminole Dr.
Cabazon, CA 92230
General admission: $6.95; children: $5.95; military with ID and seniors: $5. Tours are self-guided.
On I-10 and the Main Street exit, 13 miles west of Palm Springs.
Read more of Julianne Crane’s writing at RVWheelLife.com
Photos: Aisles of dried fruit and nuts inside Hadley Fruit Orchard (Yelp.com/Jihan M) Mr. Rex (flicker.com)