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.