Some tourist attractions, such as visiting the Grand Canyon or going on a safari, take extensive planning and a need to save money. On the other hand, some tourist attractions require only a five minute visit and a can of spray paint. Driving along Interstate 40 outside of Amarillo Texas, we stopped at Cadillac Ranch. Don’t expect a typical ranch with cows peacefully grazing beside a red barn.
In the 1970’s an eccentric and rich rancher, Stanley Marsh 3, asked some San Francisco artists to create a unique sculpture on his ranch. This group of Hippies bought used Cadillacs for around $200.00 each and did what any of us would do. They buried the cars nose down in the dirt.
It didn’t take long for people to come by and vandalize the cars. Steering wheels soon disappeared, windows got smashed and the distinctive Cadillac fins disappeared. Instead of getting upset, Stanley Marsh 3 thought the vandalism added to the uniqueness of the sculpture. He actually encouraged people to come on his property and leave their personal mark on the cars. This usually meant leaving a mark with a can of spray paint.
We’ve driven by Cadillac Ranch five times in the last few years and never visited. Not this time! We pulled our RV to the side of the road and joined 100 or so other spray-can-happy visitors. The nearby Walmart must lead the country in spray can sales because almost every person had a Walmart bag filled with assorted colors of spray paint. It’s a good thing the cars are out in an open space. The fumes from all the spray paint would knock out an elephant in an enclosed area.
Six-year-old future graffiti thugs were thrilled to paint the cars. “Really?” asked a young girl. “Can I really put paint on the car?” She beamed while adding the hundredth coat of paint to a multi-colored Cadillac. Even adults smirked while spray painting the cars. Several of the cars were surrounded by thick, sticky Texas mud so many people lost shoes while trying to get close to their favorite Cadillac. (Including myself!)
The next time you are driving I-40 between exit 60 and 62, make a quick stop at Walmart for spray paint and then release your inner hoodlum tendencies and start vandalizing!
Sometimes attractions are easy to find along highways. (Like seeing ten cadillacs standing on their noses!) In other cases, it’s a good idea to plan in advance.Go RV’ing offers a website filled with helpful RV travel information. The site highlights scenic byways across the country as well as state and national parks that are worth a visit. Check out www.gorving.com for information to help you have a memorable vacation…with or without spray paint!