RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

Roadside Murals

More Murals:
by Chuck Caplinger
Twentynine Palms, California
Contributed by Gerald Thurman of Tempe, Arizona
Northern Desert Iguana

The lizard portrayed in this mural is the Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis. Here are some more photos of this extraordinary reptile. The lizard in the mural is thirteen feet tall and appears to be looking for his next meal. The owners of the Smoketree Building, Susan Zelouf and Michael Bell, commissioned local artist Chuck Caplinger to paint two desert dwellers in 2007. This mural of Dipsosaurus dorsalis is on the building's east-facing wall. On the west wall, Caplinger painted a giant roadrunner, Grococcyx californianus, which appears to be eating a lizard.

Chuck Caplinger was the Art Director for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, and designer and illustrator of movie posters for Lone Star Pictures. Now based on the edge of the Mojave Desert next to Joshua Tree National Park, he concentrates on oil portraits, paintings and murals of the southwest.

Some of the artist's recent murals

One of my favorite examples of his work can be found on this page maintained by the Gallery 29 site.

More information about the Twentynine Palms Artists Guild can be found here.

Visitors can swing by Caplinger's studio - it is located in one of those geodesic dome houses near the entrance to the Joshua Tree National Park. Directions: 74655 Wellock Road, Twentynine Palms. From Highway 62, turn south on Utah Trail. Go about four miles to Wellock Road. Turn east and drive to the dome house on the south side.

The Smoketree Building, on CA Hwy. 62, just west of downtown Twentynine Palms, CA.

72252 29 Palms Hwy
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277

(Thanks to Vickie Waite for providing us with the location information for this mural!)

Photographed by Gerald Thurman 12/29/08
Posted on RoadTrip America 2/09

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