As a California kid riding along in the back seat of our family station wagon, I’d often see cars with bumper stickers advertising the Trees of Mystery, with its huge statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox plunked down in the middle of the redwoods. Other signs beckoned you to visit the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot, where the law of gravity has been repealed.
As I got older, I regularly drove from my home in Silicon Valley to my parent’s house south of LA. A major milestone along the way was the Casa de Fruita, with its prolific billboards advertising a can’t-miss opportunity to enjoy a variety of dried fruit. Over the years, the place expanded, adding the Casa de Restaurant, Casa De Gas (and Casa de Diesel), Casa De Diner, Casa De Vino , and the Casa De RV Park. Apparently, there is now a Casa De Petting Zoo, complete with a Casa De Cow, Casa De Buffalo and Casa De Camel. Unbelievable. Located along Hwy. 152 south of San Jose (near Hollister), the parking lot is always full of out-of-state license plates and tour buses. Clearly the owners have a good thing going.