Saturday, August 4, 2012

Backtracking a little: Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo

Somehow I missed posting our little side trip to the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo.  On one of our last days in town, Rich, David and I got up early to investigate the farmer's market that had just started. It was pretty small and didn't have a lot but we bought some produce and wandered for a few minutes. We then decided to take a quick drive out to the Cadillac Ranch, which I'd heard about for years but had never seen. 

As a true Springsteen fan, I probably first heard about the Cadillac Ranch in his song of the same name, which was supposedly inspired by the place.  The "eccentric" millionaire Stanley Marsh 3 (yes, he uses the number "3" because he supposedly believes that "III" is too pretentious) commissioned some artists known collectively as The Ant Farm to produce this work of art involving ten old Cadillacs buried in the West Texas dirt.

You have to admit that it's pretty weirdly cool.  :)

Graffiti is not banned; in fact, it is encouraged. You should have seen all of the spray paint cans strewn across the landscape.  You'd think people would carry their trash out with them!  Since our visit was spur-of-the-moment, we did not have any paint with us.  We stopped at a grocery store, not thinking that spray paint is not so readily available any more.  No luck there. So we went on out and hoped we would find a can or two with enough paint left for us.

 The paint is pretty thick on these cars and it's hard to find a new spot to write anything!

We did find a few cans with a little bit of paint left, and some nice people gave us their can when they were finished. David was tasked with doing the climbing and the spraying for us.  Thanks, Dave!

Although "NANCY" in red seems to take center stage on this canvas, David did manage to paint UNAK and J&R for us.  I'm sure it's long gone by now, after the next batch of tourists or graffiti-happy teens made their pilgrimage out to the Ranch.

Stanley Marsh is also well known for his huge series of quirky signs placed all around Amarillo.  It always made me laugh when we happened upon one of them.  Here's a link to see some of the signs: MarshWeirdness.  Check them out!  Here's a blog post about the signs, collectively known as the Dynamite Museum: Blog

Although he's known as a "prankster," Marsh has apparently been involved in some incidents that were more serious than mere pranks.  He had several lawsuits filed against him in the 1990's for imprisonment, sexual misconduct and harassment of teens, settled in 2001.  More info here.  Hopefully he sticks with weird signs and Cadillacs for the rest of his years.

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