Right Palm Up, Left Palm Down
In 1984, a ten-year-old boy encountered a mysterious 20-foot-tall fiberglass statue named Louie in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Eight years later, he spotted an identical statue in Tucson. A third sighting outside a run-down convenience store made it a trend. Thus began a scavenger hunt to discover the origins of Louie and his brethren. Only one rule applied: No searching for them on the Internet!

Right Palm Up, Left Palm Down

The Log of a Cross-Country Scavenger Hunt by Gabriel Aldaz

Meet the Characters

This page is devoted to the Muffler Men in the order that I encountered them in my scavenger hunt. The names of most statues are widely accepted, and the numbers roughly correspond to the book chapters. The map and descriptions were accurate in 2009, and are being updated in 2023 with your help! Click on the numbers on the map or the names on the right to learn more about each one.
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El Salsero

Malibu, California

El Salsero

A Burger Boy hoisted a juicy quarter-pounder atop a Frostie Freeze along the Pacific Coast Highway. When the restaurant became a La Salsa franchise in 1987, the soda jerk needed an extreme makeover. Famed artist Bob “Daddy-O” Wade cleverly transformed Burger Boy into El Salsero, now a landmark in posh Malibu.

Location: La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill, 22800 Pacific Coast Highway
Type: Service station attendant with modified arms, sombrero and serape
Accessories: Food tray
Spotlight: Replica commissioned by Dennis Hopper for the International Exhibition of Sculptures and Installations (Venice, Italy, 2003)
Damage: Lost beer bottle, basket of chips, green chile, and bowl of salsa
  • El Salsero

El Salsero’s food tray, previously the bottom half of a burger bun, has lost its beer bottle and other contents (2009).

2023 Update

El Salsero is still standing, even though the La Salsa restaurant closed years ago and the building has remained vacant ever since. At this point, he is in desperate need of renovation.

El Salsero 2023
El Salsero stands in front of the whitewashed La Salsa restaurant. Photo courtesy of Casey Schearer.