Saturday, February 17, 2007

Finding Salvation At The Center Of The World

So, on Friday we did our big 10+ hour roadtrip. The "J" showed up at 7:30 am, we loaded up the car with water and snacks and headed south. Our route took us through Los Angeles, past the Salton Sea, and nearly to the Mexican and Arizonan borders. We had a great time. The "J" provided the snacks and witty repartee (HHAAAAYYYY!!! ... Well, you had to Bee there Honey to get this joke but the Drone of our Buzz made us all laugh).

The first of our two destinations was Felicity, CA, location of the Official Center Of The World. The "town" of Felicity was founded on 11 March 1986 by Jacques-Andre Istel. The town was named after his Chinese wife Felicia. There is too much to explain in this post so follow the links and discover the wonder that is Felicity, CA. Besides being the center of the world, Felicity is home to marble memorials to the Korean War, The French Foreign Legion, The History of Flight (Especially Parachuting), and the History of the World in general. There is a section of the Eiffel Tower's stair case. The main attraction is the center of the world marked by a metal disk in a pyramid. The arm of a sundial, an arm modeled after the arm of God from the Sistine Chapel I might add, points to the pyramid, the memorials, and the Hill of Prayer beyond where a Church is being built. We arrived at lunch time so we decided to have a sandwich at the Restaurant at the Center of the World. We were a little surprised by the our hostess - Felicity herself! After lunch we looked through the gift shop - and a more eclectic gift shop the world has never seen - while we waited for the next tour. Tours ($2.00 per person) let you enter the pyramid, stand on the exact center, and receive your certificate. You can often get your picture taken with the Mayor but today he was busy with a big celebration that was going to take place on Saturday (Darn it!). We watched the DVD about the founding of the town and how the idea came from a children's book written by the Mayor before we entered the pyramid and stood on the center. We walked around the marble memorials before we raided the gift shop. Many of the memorials in this mish-mash collection of tributes are still incomplete. I am sure that if we went back in 10 years it would still be incomplete. I wonder, will it survive the passing of the founders? Pictures are here.

There was a news crew in Felicity. They asked if any of us wanted to give an interview but we all chickened out and said no. We were filmed while we stood on the center.


The second destination was near Niland, CA. - Salvation Mountain. This was actually quite impressive. Leonard Knight had built (from Adobe) and painted a colorful monument to God's Love. Everywhere you look there are little details that fascinate and inspire awe. Even his cars, truck, and tractor are painted and decorated. The sun was at the perfect angle and the entire "mountain" was shining. We walked around and, in some sections, in the sculpture. The inside was filled with a web of brightly painted log and branches - All just fascinating. Our luck was a little bad here in that we just missed Leonard who was in town. We donated some paint that we had at the house. More pictures are here.

The drive home was mostly in the dark. It was a very long day. I let the wife take over the driving after we ate at In N Out. The drive was too long but we all had a wonderful time.

I had a great time. This goes to show that your destination does not always have to be serious to be satisfying. Sometimes we all need some cheeseball.

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