Route 66: Cadillacs & the Half Way Point

We’re marking the 5th anniversary of our Route 66 road trip – driven July 2008 ~

Driving across the Texas panhandle was nothing to write home about – no offense meant to any Texans out there, it’s just how we saw it.  We spent the night in Amarillo and the next morning we hit the freeway in search of the infamous Cadillac Ranch.  Now – it should be said right up front that the Cadillac Ranch (sounds a little like the name of a brothel, yes?)  is not technically on Route 66, but because its been around for a long time, it has – over the years – just become associated with the route.

The leaning tower of Texas?

The leaning tower of Texas?

In 1974 a wealthy man buried 10 shelled out Cadillacs, front down, into the ground.  Why?  Because he could.  Now it is a graffiti art stop.  Anyone can take a can of spray paint and leave their mark on the cars.  There is no signage so you need to know what you are looking for and which exit to take to access the frontage road (Route 66). After parking alongside the road one has to walk out into an open field to reach the cars.  At some point the man who buried the cars painted them all pink to honor breast cancer, but the pink is no longer visible because of all the graffiti.

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We were wishing we had thought to buy a can of spray paint!

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Kind of crazy, huh?!

We reached the 1/2 point of the trip in Adrian, Texas…. 1,139 miles to Chicago and 1,139 miles to Los Angeles!

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Something that has really been brought to light for us – while making this journey – is the effect the building of the interstate highway system had on small town America.  Rural towns along Route 66 once thrived because of the business brought on by the passing motorists, it’s what kept the towns alive.  While many towns have managed to survive, the building of the interstate brought about the demise of many small rural towns.  One can find the evidence along Route 66.  Here are a few photos demonstrating the effects of progress…

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Next up – New Mexico!

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12 Responses to Route 66: Cadillacs & the Half Way Point

  • Ester says:

    Hi Patti,
    thank you for always sharing your thoughts and travels with us!
    I’ve driven along Route 66 two weeks ago, and I really felt the same as you…I felt really astonished by reading the story of some places, and then seeing what was left of those towns!
    Sometimes I felt even really sad aboout it…

    Read you soon,
    Ester from Italy

    • Patti says:

      Thank you, Ester! I’m so glad to know that you’ve driven Route 66 – it is an amazing experience that is somewhat difficult to describe in words and photos. When you make the drive you “feel” the spirit of what once was.

  • Mike says:

    I’m sooooo enjoying Route 66 series of posts from you! I’m just getting concerned about when it ends! I told you before of my complete fascination and infatuation with the history behind the route. I still can’t remember the name of that book I read. I saw Cadillac Ranch of one of the tv reality car shows I watch. But, the pictures of the old buildings are sad in one regard for a glorious day of life before the Interstate. I always try to pretend to go back in time when I see nostalgic photos like this. Love the post as always, Patti! :)
    Mike recently posted…Phoenix, My Golden Retriever, Stealing My Ball Cap AgainMy Profile

    • Patti says:

      Thanks Mike! We saw so many abandoned buildings along the route and it really drives home the point of what used to be. But on the flip side a lot of towns have formed Route 66 Associations and work to keep their town going by promoting their little piece of the route. It’s such an amazing journey, I’m grateful for the experience and someday I’d love to make the drive again. And I hope you get to make the drive – with Phoenix of course!

  • Hi Patti,
    Oh my God, didn’t know that there was a leaning tower of TX. Interesting! And oh, oh my God, those 10 buried Cadillacs are so so wild! They look pretty cool though. However, it’s sad to see the negative effect if progess.
    Marisol@TravelingSolemates recently posted…Melbourne ImpressionsMy Profile

    • Patti says:

      Ha! Ha! Thanks Marisol. I just called it the Leaning Tower of Texas because it was so funny to see it out in the middle of no where – I don’t really know why it was leaning.

  • Jackie Smith says:

    thanks for visiting our blog today. Loved this post! We’ve passed some interesting sites like “Nowhere” signs in Nevada and Arizona on road trips but this had me laughing out loud. . .you’ve topped the quirky list!
    Jackie Smith recently posted…WAWeekend: Chelan ~ The Land of LakesMy Profile

  • memographer says:

    Driving Route 66 and visiting Cadillac Ranch are on my to-do-go list for a while. Just can’t wait! Thanks for a nice reminder. Enjoyed the post and pics. Cadillacs are getting really colorful :)
    memographer recently posted…EuroTrip 2013: Czech Republic and BelarusMy Profile

    • Patti says:

      They are colorful. I think if we ever pass by again I’ll be sure to have a can of spray paint so we can add to the fun! Thanks so much for reading!

  • I love graffiti art! Thanks for sharing~
    Irene S. Levine recently posted…What is Swedish food? More than meatballs…My Profile

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