We have quite an affinity for fiberglass giants who began their careers in the 1960s as the mascots of places like A&W, Texaco, Yogi's Fried Chicken, Harbor Gasoline, Uniroyal Tire Stores, and the miniature golf course down the street. As many of these finished up their careers they were either re-worked to advertise something different, or in many cases sadly destroyed due to their size. We like to think of our collection as a "retirement home" for these one-time icons of advertising.
The Harbie the Seal statues once greeted customers outside of select Harbor Gasoline stations in the southern California area. In his outstretched hand (flipper) he held a ship's lantern. These Harbies had spent the last 30+ years living quietly in a canyon above Beverly Hills, California and cared for by a wonderful couple Mac & Natalie.
Beverly Hills Harbies
After months of planning to bring them to their new home the entire road trip "adoption" process ended up happening in just 53 hours! (Keep in mind they were located roughly 1100 miles away.) Here's a rough timeline of how it all fell into place:
Sunday - We get confirmation the pickup we need for the trip is available!
Monday afternoon - Trip called off due to unrelated issue. Bummer...
Monday evening - Trip back on! Elation...
Tuesday 1:00 pm - We leave Portland, OR for Beverly Hills, CA. Random stops for old neon signs and at truck stops for both food & amusing gift shop ideas make up a large portion of the drive.
Wednesday 11:00 am - We arrive in Beverly Hills, CA. Traffic resembles the opening to the movie Office Space and the temperature is already nearing 100 degrees.
Wednesday 11:15 am - We hike up the steep road to the Harbies. We leave the truck at the base of the road as it resembles something seen on Ice Road Truckers - Deadliest Roads. We begin digging the Harbies out of the hillside. Temperature now feels close to 147 degrees. We receive occasional advice, questions, and fond musings on the Harbies from neighbors.
Wednesday 1:00 pm - We have successfully and safely extracted the Harbies and carried them down the hill to the truck. We load them in the truck and drive down the street to lay in the shade of a local park to let the effects of heat exhaustion fade to a more manageable level. We count ourselves lucky we aren't rousted by security as we look like we were dunked in a tank of 12 types of dirt and sweat. Amazingly the water fountain is actually chilled - thumbs up for Beverly Hills Parks!
Wednesday 1:30 pm - We need to make a non-Harbie related meeting. We drive the giant truck with two smiling seals through Bel Air and Hollywood. Pointing ensues.
Wednesday 4:00 pm - We leave the area headed for I-5 north. Amazingly traffic has not improved in the past 5 hours.
That really was 2 giant seals you just passed on I-5
Wednesday 10:30 pm - We stop to eat at a Denny's somewhere along the way. Jeremy proceeds to eat a sandwich that started life as a grilled cheese and is then stuffed with macaroni & cheese as well as a hamburger patty...you can't make this stuff up.
Thursday 4:00 am - After this many hours awake we begin to realize just how Hunter S. Thompson wrote those books. We stop at a rest area to sleep for 2 hours. We awake to an entire tour group surrounding the pickup gleefully posing with the Harbies for photos. In a sleep-deprived state of mind Jeremy makes the mistake of exiting the truck into the mass of people. I briefly consider sacrificing him and quickly driving away.
Thursday 7:00 am - 1:00 pm - We come up with the concept for an all-new event...Trucker Oasis! We spend hours discussing every detail of a 3-day event that will celebrate and honor everything related to being a trucker as well as those that embrace the trucker lifestyle. Also at this point we've stopped counting the number of people pointing as they pass us. Looks of open-mouthed puzzlement have quickly become our favorite reaction.
Thursday 4:00 pm - We arrive back where we began our road trip. Clear thinking will return in approximately 36 hours.
Huge thanks to our friend Jeremy for making the trip! Without his help this whole crazy trip wouldn't have been possible!
To all you you that passed us along the way and gave a wave, a thumbs-up, or snapped a photo or two we'd like to say thanks! It's kind of a boring drive up I-5, so hopefully we made your drive a little more memorable.
And, if you know of a fiberglass mascot needing a new home let us know! We're always ready to load up the truck and head out. We've been saving a spot for a Muffler Man right over there by Papa Burger. :-)
Jeff & Kelly
P.S. You can see more photos from our trip at our Facebook page located here.