Breakfast with Dinosaurs in Palm Springs

Almost the first thing I did when I arrived in Los Angeles was to leave it again.

I’d been lucky enough to be invited to spend Christmas in California with my friend Andy and his family, who live in a gorgeous home in the leafy suburb of San Marino. The day after I arrived, Andy had an appointment with some outlet malls near Palm Springs, so I went along for the ride.

Our ride, outside The Ace Motel - an ironically-cool hipster spot. The Crossfire wasn't ironic at all, though. It was just plain rockstar.

Our ride, outside The Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs – an ironically-cool hipster spot. The Crossfire wasn’t ironic at all. It was just plain rockstar. Kudos to Andy’s mom for lending us her smokin’ car!

After an evening spent hitting half the mall’s most exclusive clothing stores, we ate the world’s best pork tacos, then drank Sazeracs at the hotel bar while staring at a weird stuffed bear with a stuffed toy wolf perched inexplicably on its head.

Californian Sand Bears look a bit like pale Brown Hyenas, don't you think?

Sazerac in the foreground. Weird bear in the background. The barman told me it was a Sand Bear, but I Googled Sand Bear, and that’s something out of Star Wars mythology, so this was either an unused movie prop, or a very pale brown hyena. (Photo credit to jetlagged Andy.)

Next morning, Andy took pity on my slightly shopped-out state and announced that before we hit the other half of the clothing stores, we’d go and have a quick bite of breakfast with a couple of childhood friends of his. Since we were on a tight schedule, I was worried that it would be rude to spend only half an hour with them. As it turned out, they didn’t mind at all.

Andy's childhood friend #1: The Brontosaurus

Andy’s childhood friend #1: Brachiosaurus

Andy's childhood friend #2: The T-Rex

Childhood friend #2: Tyrannosaurus. You can tell he’s an old T-Rex, because he’s standing upright. Modern T-Rexes prefer the more fashionable (and sustainable) parallel posture.

Normally it might also be considered rude to take photos of yourself running away from your friends screaming, but it seemed like perfectly normal behaviour at the time.

Fortunately, the T-Rex was slightly hampered by the large fence that has recently been built around his bottom.

Andy flees for his life. Fortunately, the T-Rex was hampered by the large fence built around his bottom.

An unidentified dinosaur head munches me for breakfast, presumably finding the aroma of blueberry pancakes irresistible.

An unidentified dinosaur head munches me for breakfast.

Admittedly it was behaviour more fitting for young children than grown adults, but we were both spiking on sugar highs brought on by our American diner breakfast.

Blueberry pancakes for me. Waffles for Andy. Many cups of bottomless coffee.

Blueberry pancakes for me + Waffles for Andy + Bottomless coffee for both of us = A recipe for silliness

The diner was the one featured in the classic 80s movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, which I have never seen, so the true significance of the unchanged decor, the still-standing telephone booth (from which Pee Wee Herman makes a phone call) and the dinosaurs themselves was perhaps a little lost on me.

Authentic American diner interior.

Authentic 80s American diner interior.

Complete with authentic buffalo head decor.

Complete with authentic buffalo head decor.

Wheel Inn exterior, complete with movie-star telephone booth.

Wheel Inn exterior, complete with movie-star telephone booth (sans phone).

I did, however, fully appreciate the wonderful weirdness of it all, and couldn’t resist buying a dinosaur postcard from the souvenir shop. I only just avoided falling for a couple of other brilliant souvenir bargains, which I rather regret now.

This hat was just so ME.

This hat was just so ME.

One day I will have a little truck of my own, and then I know I'm going to be sorry I didn't buy this sticker.

One day I will have a little truck of my own, and then I know I’m going to be sorry I didn’t buy this sticker.

After breakfast, I had a go at pumping gas (or, as we South Africans like to say, petrol) for the very first time. It turned out to be pretty easy.

All that's really required for successful gas pumping is to resist the urge to simultaneously smoke, spray petrol over your friends and sing along to Wham. Blue Steel is allowed.

All that’s required for successful gas pumping is to resist the urge to simultaneously spray petrol over your friends, sing along to Wham and smoke cigarettes. Blue Steel is allowed.

As a parting touch, a couple of tanks pulled in on trucks just as we were leaving. What exactly tanks, diners and dinosaurs have to do with one another, I’m not entirely sure, but you have to admire a place that manages to fit so much into one breakfast.

Some of the Wheel Inn's other clientele arriving for breakfast.

Some of the Wheel Inn’s other clientele arriving for breakfast.

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4 thoughts on “Breakfast with Dinosaurs in Palm Springs

  1. Been to Palm Springs and it’s no surprise they’re all a bit bonkers. Loved your post, Ally. Write more. And defo more pics.

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