Some days, it seems like there’s nothing left to discover in the world anymore. Between Columbus, Leif Erikson, Lewis and Clark, and all the other explorers, there are very few surprises anymore. Fortunately, the United States can still provide you with the occasional moment that makes you go “huh?” One of these very moments takes place in Amarillo, Texas, at a place called Cadillac Ranch.
If you just got your first-time driver’s license and you live in Texas (or Oklahoma), you’re probably itching for a road trip. For 15 years you’ve been stuck in back and passenger seats, at the mercy of whoever is driving you around. Now that you’re behind the wheel, you want to taste freedom. You want to experience something new. You want to come back with pictures. Cadillac Ranch has it all.
What the Heck IS This Place?
Put simply, it’s art. Put less simply, it’s a graveyard of Cadillacs, buried in the ground nose-first back in the 1970s. An art group called Ant Farm took junked Cadillacs, every year from 1949 to 1963, and half-buried them. That’s pretty much it.
Cadillac Ranch is also considered to be one of historic Route 66’s cultural landmarks. It gets painted from time to time, and then quickly covered up in graffiti. Visitors are welcome, and to the best of my knowledge, nobody seems to mind if you want to put your own graffiti up on there.
Where the Heck Is This Place?
Cadillac Ranch is located in Amarillo, Texas, which is in the northernmost chunk of the state. About 5 hours from Fort Worth, 3 hours from Oklahoma City, and 6 hours from Wichita, Kansas, it can be a solid day trip, or a brief, two-day adventure.
Originally, Cadillac Ranch was located in a wheat field belonging to local millionaire Stanley Marsh 3, but in 1997 the entire installation was moved two miles away, to a cow pasture along Interstate 40, also owned by Marsh. In its new location, just off exit 60, Cadillac Ranch can be seen from the road.
Why the Heck Should You Go to This Place?
To answer questions. To see it for yourself. To have an interesting destination. You can sit back and wonder, “What were the Ant Farm people thinking?” Is it a statement about the death of American Car Culture? Why Cadillacs, and not another car? And why are they buried at the same angle as the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt?
Whether you go to place your own coat of spray paint, or you just want to enjoy the ride, a road trip to Amarillo can be a rewarding experience. So get out on the open road, and taste freedom. Experience something new. And of course, get some photos.