If you’ve seen the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, then you know what the California high desert looks like. It’s the actual desert that Depp and his friend drive through on their way to Las Vegas while all whack-a-doodled out on drugs. Many non-Californians are unaware that a vast portion of California is desert; it’s not all beaches and mega cities like Los Angeles. There are quite a few desert communities (Palm Springs, Coachella, Barstow, to name a few) which offer just as many gems to see and do as Hollywood or Venice (California, not Italy, ovviamente).
The issue is they’re usually far, and you have to drive for what feels like eternity through the barren and unforgiving California desert. But it’s worth it, because you can visit places like “The World’s Tallest Thermometer” in Barstow, go to Calico Ghost Town (Calico Ghost Town: Welcome to the Wild West.), or check out the Palm Springs Air Museum. You can see things like the sliding rocks in Death Valley, or visit the movie-famous San Andreas Fault. Even more, you can visit cool stores like Charlie Brown Farms and Alien Fresh Jerky, which are the two places I’ll be covering in this blog. ☺️
Charlie Brown Farms
Don’t let the name fool you, as this is not a farm, but rather a store unlike any I’ve ever visited. It’s located at 8317 Pearblossom Hwy, Littlerock, CA 93543, and is open from 8am to 8pm. Located right off Highway 138 with ample parking, it’s about an hour’s drive from the Inland Empire and about 2 hours from Los Angeles. While I recommend a visit, be prepared for what you’re about to encounter: knick-knack heaven 🙌🏼. This place is a collector’s dream because they just have so. much. stuff. Every part of the store is packed to the gills with different sections of collectors’ items. These include the beach, police, military, the Nightmare Before Christmas, steampunk skulls, Day of the Dead, historical documents, Native American, Egyptian, African, Coca-Cola, dogs, horses, wolves, masks, and sooo much more. There is also a candy and food section, an entire room dedicated to weird and unusual sodas/drinks, and a whole separate building just for children’s toys.
They also have a more distasteful and controversial section: Nazi memorabilia. The stuff is obviously fake, and I don’t understand why any decent person would want to collect such memorabilia (real or not), but you do you.
In addition, they also have their own restaurant. It’s more of a fast food situation, where you order and then wait for your number to be called. To be honest, I wasn’t a fan. I ordered a shredded BBQ chicken sandwich and macaroni salad, and both were mediocre. After my 2nd or 3rd bite, I bit straight into a chicken bone, which basically killed the entire meal for me. Luckily, they refunded the meal. My parents both ordered the tri-tip sandwich, one with baked beans and one with potato salad, and both said they liked the food. So, you must judge for yourself!
In addition to having an inside eating area, they also have an outdoor area with tables, benches, and umbrellas surrounded by Wild West-type buildings. It’s actually a cool little place to eat at, and my 17-month-old daughter thoroughly enjoyed being able to run around unrestrained because the entire area is fenced off. 👍🏼
Overall, I enjoyed Charlie Brown Farms, and thought it was cute and fun, albeit kitschy and a bit claustrophobic. It’s a nice little place to take the family or to just take a day trip with a friend. While many of the items may not be your cup of tea, I guarantee you’ll find at least one thing that you like. There’s so much there, it’d be a miracle not to!
Alien Fresh Jerky
If you start your drive from Charlie Brown Farms like we did, Alien Fresh Jerky is about a 2-hour drive further north, up the 15 freeway. Located at 72302 Baker Blvd, Baker, CA 92309, it’s open from 8am to 7pm. It’s about an hour and 15 minutes south of Las Vegas (Las Vegas: Overpriced & Overrated.), and those traveling from Vegas to anywhere in Southern California have to drive right past Baker on I-15. Perhaps that is why the owners of Alien Fresh Jerky decided to build such a unique and expensive-looking store in the middle of nowhere. 😏
If you drive down the main street, Baker Blvd, you absolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt, cannot miss this place. The store is looming, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. The building is in the shape of a massive UFO, surrounded by giant green aliens on large light poles. Not to mention, the 60 foot flashing sign in the shape of a robot. There‘a also a car dubbed the ‘Galaxy Peace Patrol’ with 4 life- sized green aliens inside, plus a spaceship on a raised platform with a see-through alien cutout next to it flashing a peace sign. There’s a lot going on.
While the building looks gigantic from the outside, the inside is shockingly rather small. This is in no way meant to discredit how cool the place is, or discourage anyone from going; it’s just a bit jarring when you first walk in. It looks two-story outside, but it’s a single-room store, where you can stand at the entrance and scan the entire place in one swoop. Nonetheless, there was still a bunch of cool stuff and it’s right up an alien enthusiast’s alley 👽. In addition to having what they’re known for – beef jerky – they also have a wide variety of unique hot sauces with funny labels, t-shirts, weird energy drinks, beer mugs, coffee mugs, magnets, candy, and other knick knacks.
We were there for about 45 minutes, give or take a few, and the store was constantly buzzing with people the whole time. For a place that’s located sort of in the middle of nowhere, it sure did attract a lot of visitors. 🖖🏼
Overall, this place is cool, and I wouldn’t mind stopping there again if I’m ever driving to or from Vegas. However, it’s not somewhere I would go out of my way to visit again. If you’re an alien fan like myself and live in the area, I definitely recommend visiting at least once. Or if you’re just passing through on your way to somewhere else. Otherwise, just go to Roswell instead.