Thursday is Throwback Thursday, it is story time! Here is an old journal entry from 2/18/2011 of one of my adventures from long ago. I am sure things have changed. I do plan on visiting this place again. I highly recommend this place.
Galleta Meadows is located in Borrego Springs a small desert community located in the surrounding Anza-Borrego State Desert Park. Galleta Meadows is a private underdeveloped property owned by Dennis Avery a multi-millionaire and business man. Avery brought back to “life” the extinct Pliocene and Pleistocene animals that once roam the Anza-Borrego Desert State park millions of years ago by placing metal sculptures in his land. He has also included many animals that exist today and historical sculptures. Avery wants for everyone especially children to be amazed at these metal sculptures and become interested in the Plio-Pleistocene animals of the area. The best part of Galleta Meadows is that is free to the public.
There are roughly 129 Sky Art sculptures in the Galleta Meadows Estate. The sculptures fall into three categories; science, historical events or natural features of the Anza-Borrego desert. There is an extra category, fantasy. The sculptures are made of sheets of iron which will rust over time giving the sculpture that life-like quality. Each sculpture very in size and weight.
Ricardo Breceda is the artist behind these amazing sculptures. His start as an artist was accidental as described in “The Accidental Artist,” by author Diana Lindsay. It was a combination of events that paved the road for Ricardo Breceda to become the “Picasso of Metal.” It all starts with his unfortunate construction accident that leads him to find other means of earning money. He started selling boots to customers; those who could not pay cash would trade. One day a man traded a welding machine for a pair of boots. The welding machine was put aside for a while until Ricardo decided to learn to use it. Around that time Jurassic Park movies were at their peak of popularity. His daughter Lianna one day asked her father for a life size T-Rex for Christmas. With no artistic background or knowledge of welding, Ricardo begin making the T-Rex. With each new sculpture his skills and craftsmanship improved, each sculpture became more life-like. It was only a matter of time before Dennis Avery hired Ricardo to make the amazing sculptures and install them in his property.
Prior to visiting the Galleta Meadows I made sure I did my research. This year (2011) I want to not only share my video footage and photos in a form of a short You Tube video but provided some background information about the place I visit. Galleta Meadows is the first video with backup research. I even bought “The Accidental Artist” book to learn about the artist.
The weather was perfect for visiting the desert. We arrived early in the morning and without even looking hard we found the first set of sculptures along S3 road. The majority of the sculptures are placed near the road. Do to their distinctive rusty color they blend in with the surrounding however they are easy to find. When we arrived at the first set of sculptures we drove on the desert floor and parked. We walked up to the nearby elephants and horses. The walk was enjoyable since the kids played with the rocks and plants. It is rare to see kids without an electronic gadget in their hands these days.
As we walked towards a big eagle we realized that there was an RV blocking the view of this amazing sculpture. We asked the owners of the RV permission to take pictures of the sculpture while only being a couple feet away from their large vehicle. It was disappointing to see this great sculpture blocked by an RV and I do feel sorry for the owners because they were getting a lot of foot traffic in their campsite.
Since we did not have a map to identify the locations of each group of sculptures we started driving in the direction of the Anza-Borrego Desert Visitor Center to obtain a copy. The visitor center was busy with may visitors asking questions about trials and other interesting things in the Desert. We stayed to watch a 15 minute movie on the desert which was informative.
We continued looking for the rest of the sculptures now that we had a map. It was getting later in the day and more people were arriving to the sculptures. It almost felt like Disneyland, we waited our turn to take pictures with the sculptures. In the morning we took our time playing around with different poses to captures a sense of place in the photos but in the afternoon we started rushing to get to as many sculptures as possible. I started to do a “drive by shooting” which is taking as many photos as possible using the zoom feature in my camera while staying inside the car and driving in very low speed. We didn’t get to all the sculptures I really wanted to see the dinosaurs but the day was getting late and we still had to drive home.
At one point we drove on to the desert floor to get close to the sculptures. That was a very bad idea since the soil was soft and we were not on a high rise vehicle but a sedan. We got suck in the sand, the more my sister pressed on the accelerator the more we sank in. We started to place broken branches underneath the tires from the nearby plants since there were no rocks to create traction. We were only 100 feet away from the main road and the small dead shrub camouflaged our car well from other passing drivers. We called AAA and they were not able to help us because we were to far off from hard surface and it was considered “wilderness.” To make matters worse they said that if they sent a driver it would be about 60 minutes. Luckily there was a very nice Samaritan who we fagged down and he stopped to help us. He was very kind and didn’t call us idiots for driving on the desert floor. He immediately told us to remove the branches and said “don’t let anyone see” meaning using the branches. He was skilled and very strong. Within a few minutes the car was out of the sand hole and we gathered the kids and jumped in the car. We thanked him and he advised us to stay near the road and walk to the sculptures. Thank you good Samaritan.
After that we walked to the sculptures and we did more “drive by shooting.” Although we didn’t see all the sculptures we had fun with the ones we saw.
by Diana Lindsay