Stairway To Heaven – Randy Rhoads

Photo by rbieber

A picture of the Randy Rhoads section of the book "Stairway to Heaven: The Final Resting Places of Rocks Legends"

I found a book called Stairway to Heaven : The Final Resting Places of Rock’s Legends. This is such a cool book of photographs of the grave sites of many of rocks departed.

I had such a kick going through all of these pictures. Not sure why, but this kind of thing has always facinated me.

“Fly” to Randy Rhoads Grave Site on Google Earth

Jonna had mentioned to me the other day that the beta for Google Earth was over and that you could now download the application. I had tried to grab it during the initial beta, but was not allowed to download it.

Well, I finally got a copy of it, and have been playing with it for a bit this morning. One of the first things I wanted to do (aside from the normal “Hey I can see my house from here” exercises) was find the Randy Rhoads grave site on it, with the directions that Jonna had gotten Tom the Architect and I when we were in California.

Typing in the address didn’t quite do it, which I’m finding quite a bit on Google Maps and Google Earth. In each, typing my home address puts me down the street a ways. Luckily, the pictures of our neighborhood are recent enough that our fences are visible in order to identify the house.

Anyway, I did some “flying around” San Bernardino and I think I found the actual location and marked it. So, if you’ve got the application installed, go to Randy Rhoads Grave on Google Earth. If you do not have it installed yet, go get it. It’s quite fun to play around with and adds a whole new dimension to mapping.

Additionally, some quick Googling around got me to a place where someone has done the work to find the Bruce Lee grave site as well. The actual Keyhole placemark can be found at this link directly, but I would recommend reading the whole posting. It’s pretty cool and has a Quicktime VM look around the grave site included as well.

The Randy Rhoads Grave Site Excursion

Randy Rhoads Grave Site - Closer

Tom and I are in Anaheim, CA on a business trip. Since we were somewhat in the neighborhood, we thought we would initiate a pilgrimage to the grave site of Randy Rhoads, one of my favorite guitarists. This visit, like the Bruce Lee grave visit three years ago was another one of those “things I need to do before I settle down for a dirt-nap” list items.

We did all of the pretravel prep and flew into Anaheim. After checking into the hotel, we hit the road to visit the site.

When we did the initial mapping of our route, we mapped the name “Mountain View Cemetery”, printed out the directions and never had a second thought about it. Until we got to Beaumont, CA, just outside of San Bernardino, CA.

Well, after a lot of driving and asking of directions we finally found the Mountain View Cemetery in Beumont, CA (there is one), but Randy Rhoads wasn’t buried there. We then figured, “well, maybe there is another Mountain View Cemetery in town”, so we asked around, stopping at a fire station (which was empty), and finally querying a local policeman after he finished issuing a ticket.

There was indeed another cemetery, and Tom put the pedal to the metal to get there before we lost daylight for picture taking. We got to the cemetery at the end of a dead end road, and, once again, Randy wasn’t buried there.

At this point, we needed someone with an internet connection so we called my lovely wife to figure out where the hell we went wrong. She confirmed that we were, indeed, in the wrong town. Since daylight was gone, we started the 60+ mile drive back to Anaheim. Needless to say we were a tad disappointed that our quest went unfulfilled.

On Sunday, after the conference sessions, we embarked on another attempt to find the grave site, this time with directions that Jonna was sweet enough to email to me last night. A short 50 minute drive later we pulled into the cemetery in San Bernardino, CA, found the monument (which is right inside the gates) and paid our respects.

The grave was something to behold, most of all because it’s quite obvious as you look around that people visit there pretty frequently. It was reminicent of the Bruce Lee grave visit, as we found incense and fresh flowers there as well. This monument was covered in lipstick left by fans (I’m assuming female), and there was even a note left inside the monument under the bench. It was a very cool experience.

As we were heading back to the car, after taking all of our pictures, a car drove up and stopped in front of the monument. A young couple got out of the car with their small son, and walked up to the grave and also paid their respects. I just had to take a picture of it from the car, I thought it was so cool. After 23 years, people still stop just to pay their respects to this young guy who made such a mark with his playing, and his love of the instrument.

We got some great pictures, which I’ve posted in a photo set on Flickr. We also learned a valuable lesson:

Make sure you know where you are going, EXACTLY, before you print out directions. If you aren’t 100% sure, ask your wife. Left on our own, the original road trip that Tom and I went on was extremely reminicent of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.

Update on August 7, 2005

Find the site on Google Earth.