Leaving a Mark at Cadillac Ranch

Just off I-40 to the west of Amarillo is one of the most iconic pieces of classic roadside Americana. If you’re speeding by at 75 mph, it would be easy to miss the 10 Cadillacs with their tails sticking high into the air. Yet, the jumble of parked cars and near constant stream of people across an otherwise barren cow pasture indicates this is something worth pulling over for.

Installed in 1974 by a group of artists known collectively as the Ant Farm, Cadillac Ranch is one of the best known pieces of public art in the nation. A recent study by the local Chamber of Commerce estimates 1.3 million people visit every year. These aren’t just Americans either. As you spend time around the cars you’ll notice from the wide variety of languages and accents that they come from all over the world. With spray paint can in hand, they’re all eager to join in this bohemian tradition.

What’s the attraction? It’s simple. There are so few places in the world where you are encouraged to let your creativity loose and leave your mark. Cadillac Ranch allows you to explore your inner graffiti artist if only for a brief moment.

If you’re planning on visiting Cadillac Ranch, here are some tips to help make your trip memorable.

– You’ll want to bring your own spray paint. Nothing is worse than getting there and realizing you can only be a spectator.

– Most of the colors on the cars tend toward the bright and fluorescent. If you want your mark to stand out, it’s recommended that you bring an unusual color like turquoise or even a metallic choice like silver or gold.

– If you forget to bring paint, they sell some at the Second Amendment Cowboy Gift Shop just down the road.

– Be sure to take a picture. With so many people visiting, your mark is sure to be covered over soon after you leave. But with a photo, it can live on in your memory forever.

– Be sure to take your trash with you. It’s become rather commonplace for people to leave their empty cans on the ground, but it ruins the vibe for others visiting. There are two dumpsters conveniently located just outside the gate you use to enter and exit the pasture.

– Enjoy your time. Be creative. Don’t rush the experience.

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