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Everything’s bigger in Texas, including Cadillacs. What about the cars people buried at Cadillac Ranch?
Yes, you read that correctly; Cadillacs are in the ground in Texas. This strange phenomenon didn’t happen out of the blue one day.
Someone planned this phenomenon, which is now one of the top destinations when driving through the Lone Star state. Keep reading to learn about Cadillac Ranch, so you can decide if it’s worth a visit.
Let’s dive in!
What Is Cadillac Ranch?
Your first glimpse of Cadillac Ranch might make you wonder if the desert heat has gotten to you. Fear not; you’re sane. Those colors swirling in the distance are Cadillacs. Someone buried them nose-first in the desert.
You might be questioning the sanity of the person who thought it would be a good idea to bury Cadillacs. While we can’t vouch for that, we can say that Cadillac Ranch is a unique art installation.
The brainchild of Chip Lord, Doug Michels, and Hudson Marquez, Cadillac Ranch began in 1974 when they got an idea for an art installation from a children’s book, The Look of Cars. These architects wanted to honor art uniquely, but they needed help. Enter Stanley Marsh 3, an entrepreneurial millionaire from Amarillo.
Donating 10 Cadillacs ranging from 1949 to 1963 models, Marsh made their dreams into a reality. The artists transitioned the cars from vehicles into art by burning their front ends and burying them, rear up and intact. They then placed them in order by their production date and at the same angle, facing west, of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, with no admission charges, Cadillac Ranch might be the most remarkable and weird art exhibit you will ever see.
Where Is Cadillac Ranch?
Cadillac Ranch is in Texas, but Texas is huge, so where is this eclectic artwork? You’ll find it 10 miles west of Amarillo on I-40, between exits 60 and 62 along the south side of Frontage Road.
You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see it because there will be parked cars along the side of the road. If you’ve heard rumors that it used to be in a wheat field, you’ve heard correctly. However, in 1997, it moved to where it is now, along I-40 in a cow pasture on what people know as Route 66.
Why Is Cadillac Ranch So Famous?
It’s the people that make something famous, especially rotting Cadillacs in a cow pasture. Without other people’s interest, there might not be a need for this unique art installment. But in a constantly changing world, there’s consistency and wonder in the trash that someone has transitioned into art.
Each person has a reason for stopping by Cadillac Ranch. Maybe it’s to leave their mark or wonder about others who have stood on the same path. It could be as simple as wanting to see what others have talked about.
Whatever it is that draws people into the surrealism and mystery of this art, we have to hope that it sticks around. Cadillac Ranch is famous because we want it to be.
Tips for Visiting Cadillac Ranch
To make the most of your trek to Cadillac Ranch, we have a few tips to make your visit more enjoyable and cost-effective. The most surprising advice is not to bring spray paint. The most obvious tip is to take plenty of pictures. Keep reading to learn more.
You Don’t Need to Bring Spray Paint
Yes, this is one of the rare art pieces that you can spray paint. It’s not illegal, and you’ll want to add to the art with your unique style.
However, everyone does this, which means everyone has spray paint with them. When they finish painting, most will hand their remaining spray paint over to the next visitors. Often, there is also someone onsite selling spray paint.
So if you want to save money, don’t buy any paint because there will be plenty to go around when you get there. However, if you want a full guarantee that you’ll have all the colors you want, then you should come with your paint.
You should bring your spray paint back to the car to discard later. We don’t leave trash on the floor of art museums, so why would we leave trash on the ground here? Pack it in and pack it out.
It Gets Muddy
If you’ve ever spent any time in the middle of a field or cow pasture when it’s raining, you know what happens.
When visiting Cadillac Ranch, prepare for mud. Even if it rained the day before, those puddles might take some time to clear up. If you’ve made the time to visit, you won’t want to pass it up because it’s muddy. Bring your boots; you’ll be happy you did.
Keep in Mind: It’s no secret Texas is huge! So How Long Does It Take to Drive Across Texas? Let’s find out!
Take Plenty of Pictures
You have boots and a rain jacket. You’ve added your art to the canvas. However, this art is fluid. It is constantly changing because the millions of people who visit want to add their style.
However, if you want to show your art, the only way to do it at Cadillac Ranch is through a photograph. Everyone at Cadillac Ranch is an artist, and the Cadillacs are the canvas. Once you’ve completed your canvas, it won’t take long for another person’s art to cover your own. Take plenty of pictures.
If you can time it correctly, the best time for photos is at sunrise or sunset when the light is soft, almost giving life to the vibrant colors on the Cadillacs and throughout the pasture.
Everyone is an artist here. Everyone is also a photographer, so don’t be too worried about what people are thinking. Whether painting or taking pictures, embrace the beauty and capture it all.
Wear Old Clothes
Whether you’re spray painting, taking photos, or wandering, you’re in the middle of a field, and it can be muddy, dusty, and dirty. This is not the place to wear your Sunday best.
Wear an old pair of boots, a comfy flannel, and well-worn blue jeans. This is particularly relevant if you plan on painting or getting down on the ground for a different perspective.
Keep in Mind: If you’re in Texas, you definitely You Can’t Miss seeing the Blue Lagoon!
Be Aware of the Wind
We keep saying that you’re in an open field when visiting Cadillac Ranch, and we’ll repeat it. You’re in an open field. Open areas can be very windy.
When it’s dry, the wind kicks up a lot of dust. If you prepare for the weather, the mud, and the people, your experience at Cadillac Ranch will be memorable for all the right reasons.
Is Cadillac Ranch Worth Visiting?
Cadillac Ranch isn’t for everyone. However, if you’re intrigued by a bunch of graffiti-covered Cadillacs in the middle of a pasture, then Cadillac Ranch is worth a visit. It is trash that people have transformed into art, so it’s a bit unique and eclectic.
That’s the draw of it. It’s a place where being strange is normal. It’s also a place to experience a dream someone turned into reality. One could even go so far as to say that it’s inspiring. And that seems like a place worth a visit.
Will you add your art to this installation?
Was traveling to Wyoming with my 10 yr old granddaughter and my son. I travel past the caddys 2 or 3 times a year. When I pulled over at the site, both son and granddaughter wanted to know what was up? They had never seen the exhibit. I had stashed 8 cans of paint that they did not know about.
When I showed them the paint, the fun was on.
Was the best day of “10 days in a van with Pop Pop”. My son climbed high to paint his name and granddaughter painted low.
Also, we purchased the charms that the on-site vendor had made by cutting thru the 10000s layers of paint and polishing the pieces works of art.
Well worth the stop, just make sure u bring paint.