Monday, July 3, 2017

Kill Bill Church Road Trip

Road trip to the Kill Bill Church.
We loaded the car with cameras, a vegan picnic and water. Double check the coolant it's 100 degrees this morning in Lancaster. The owner has a website, tripadvisor, local bloggers post the address and there's a google page for the location which is no longer an active "church." 

What we didn't know is the owner has the website to get film companies to rent. There's a hostile element with locals who suffered in the 2008 downturn and abandoned property is vandalized, graffiti'ed, bones picked and sometimes burned to the ground for sport. There's a reason why houses out among Joshua Trees have bars on the windows - locals see visitors as roving  tranchulas.

A wildfire scarred and took a number of Joshua trees along the road. The black against blue sky and white heat is an eerie greeting to rural Lancaster. 

This abandoned garage across the street has an open door. It's an example of what happens when people leave a building. The windows are stolen. Old glazing is sought after for greenhouses in wetter, richer counties.

On the road was this adobe house. It stands open to the desert
I'm glad you read down this far because now here's the story. 

The Kill Bill Church has numerous No Trespassing signs. There's a wire and posts that remove to allow the frontage to appear empty when staging photographs but up as barrier to prevent visitors from parking close. The owner parks a open frame junk truck in front to block photographers. There are signs about no photography. When we arrive, we respectfully park down the street, not in front of houses and walk back in the heat across the street. We're interested in the garage directly across the street. Three people: two men and a woman are on the porch, inside the no trespassing signs. They are taking cell phone images and shouting. The woman messes with one of the posters tacked on the stucco. She's tugging on the paper to take as souvenir.
The building has motion detectors and cameras. Suddenly an old silver Mercedes speeds to the side of the building forming a dust devil.
A man jumps out and begins yelling at them to "get outta here, can't you read the signs?" 

The three some stand their ground with hands son hips. The behemoth black guy charges forward to the Mercedes guy, while the smaller man pulls out a 22 behind his back. Bravery comes from crowd numbers and a loaded gun.

Daughter and I run for our car, leaving a tripod across the street. Once in our vehicle, we watch the drama of small figures a block away unfold. I don't have any bars for cell service. This is the desert outside of Lancaster.
"If I call 911 will it go?" I ask.
"Leave it alone a minute, Mom."

The threesome backs down. They get into their Mazda and slowly drive south, honking and finally away from our viewpoint. We sit and wait. 

The Mercedes guy goes into the church. He's inspects, to see if they broke in.

We wait longer, while the tripod sits in front of the garage in the sun. I realize that on the ground also is a camera bag with film. I tell daughter, I'm turning the car around but she is to wait in the driver's seat and start beeping the horn if anything happens.

Knowing the Mercedes guy is inside and angry, I quietly walk back to pick up the tripod. A car passes. Wind blows as it slows in front to stop and take a picture of the #KillBillChurch as they say on Instagram. 

I fold the legs of the tripod. It makes a clicking sound; but no, it's the Mercedes guy with metal in his hands across the street. 

"Sir, we weren't with those people."

"You have to pay $500.00 to take pictures."

"I don't have that kind of money, I'm sorry." I bow my head and step backwards with the tripod in hands.

"I apologize those people weren't kind, but I don't know them."

He says nothing, turns his back to me. I grab the film bag and hustle, acting calm to the car.

Once inside the air conditioning I sigh. It's tough to live in the desert.

We drive on in silence and drink our bottled water.

Caroline Gerardo Copyright  © 7/3/2017 All rights reserved

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