If you happen to savor the thought of experiencing the weirdest of the weird roadside attractions, then touring Route 66 through the Texas panhandle will certainly satisfy the yearning! There are enough strange oddities, ghost towns and gigantic monuments along this stretch of the Mother Road to thoroughly entertain a carload of passengers all day long. In a way this is a good thing, because without the Route 66 attractions, the drive through the flat featureless prairies of the Texas panhandle would simply bore tourists to death. Route 66 has always been the entertainment district corridor for this entire region and this still holds true even in this modern age.
Roadside oddities do not just happen on their own. There has to be somebody that ponders over a weird idea and there must be the will to put the strange vision into motion. Apocalyptic junkyard art is a visionary medium that has gained popularity in recent years, especially in places that have been left behind by the modern world. In old Route 66 towns where economic hard times have caused people to abandon their hopes and dreams, only the relics of past remain, just like a time capsule.
Old tin signs, rusty broken down antique cars and dilapidated buildings just whither away in Route 66 ghost towns that were once a prosperous place to be. The pleasant thoughts of the past, the stark reality of abandonment and fading out of existence can all be dramatically expressed in junkyard art. Junkyard art is apocalyptic in nature and this is why so many people find this medium to be so intriguing.
The Cadillac Ranch is by far the most famous Route 66 junkyard art display of them all and this intriguing roadside attraction can be found in in Amarillo, Texas! The Cadillac Ranch has been featured in many travel shows and it is a true interactive art medium. By “interactive,” what is meant is the Cadillac Ranch is a continual work in progress, because viewers of this masterpiece are actually expected to add their own personal touch. Tourists are encouraged to bring their own paint and add colorful details to the masterpiece! The row of junkyard Cadillac gas hogs that are planted in the ground are a medium for artists passing by on the old historic Mother Road.
The surreal nature of the Cadillac Ranch is like staring at an old Pink Floyd album cover for way too much time. So much can be interpreted when looking at a row of colorful old junkyard Cadillacs planted in flat barren prairie way out in the middle of nowhere. The vision of the apocalyptic Cadillac Ranch certainly is a stark contrast to the bustling city of Amarillo next door. This place is also like a graveyard on the outskirts of town, that commemorates the immortal gas hogs that used to stylishly cruise up and down good old Route 66.
The panhandle region of Texas is flat and barren, so the winds can be strong, especially during the spring season. On the day I drove through the Texas panhandle during spring, there were 60 mph gale force winds and fast moving wildfires were popping up all over the place. I visited the Cadillac Ranch in the late afternoon and the winds were still well over 40 miles per hour, so the walk across the barren plain from the roadside to the planted old cars seemed much longer than a couple hundred yards. Trying to steady the camera in the high winds took some doing too, especially when distracted by the powerful big dust devils that were passing close by.
As far as it goes, spray painting a tag on a planted rusty old Cadillac in high winds is nearly impossible to do. There were a lot of visitors that afternoon, but few attempted to add their own color scheme to the visionary junkyard art. More or less, the high winds caused everybody to behave as if they were in an outdoor art museum, because the interactive allure of using the almighty spray paint to leave some graffiti had to wait for another day. Because of the strong winds, it truly was a strange experience at one of the weirdest roadside attractions on Route 66.
Next to the Cadillac Ranch outdoor art display is the Cadillac RV Park, where the Second Amendment Cowboy and the Cadillac Ranch Gift Shop can be found. The Second Amendment Cowboy is one of the old 1960s style gigantic fiberglass Muffler Men that used to inhabit roadside attractions and businesses from coast to coast. There actually are people that do the Muffler Man tour across America, just so they can photograph every single one of these fiberglass monstrosities in all their glory. The Second Amendment Cowboy is one of the most famous surviving antique Muffler Men, so this nearby attraction is well worth checking out.
The Stoner Patriot Peace Garden of All Faiths and the VW Slug Bug Ranch are two more interactive outdoor art displays that can be found just east of the city of Amarillo. Both of these apocalyptic art displays are spray paint friendly too. By visiting all three of these interactive outdoor exhibits, a visitor with a can of spray paint can feel like famous artist by the end of the day! Nowhere else will a traveler find weird visionary experiences like the Cadillac Ranch and this is what makes touring Route 66 through the Texas panhandle such a cool experience!
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