April 8-9, 2019
It is always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings, especially when you spot an interesting item just off the road. That is what happened last year as we drove westbound on I40 towards Santa Fe. I had seen pictures of an art installation called “Cadillac Ranch” but didn’t really pay too much attention to it until we spotted it, right of off I40, as we were passing through Amarillo. We made a mental note and decided to include it as one of our stops on this year’s trip.
Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation where ten Cadillac cars are half buried, with the trunk area up in the air. It was conceived in 1974 with older Cadillacs (late 60’s, early 70’s), that at the time we’re still running or junked. They project out of the ground at a gravity defying angle, and on the day we were there, they seemed to be drowning as the area was half submerged in water from the previous days’ rain.
It is a lot of fun to approach from the dirt road and see spray paint cans available for the public to add on to the graffiti that already covers every inch of these cars. Originally they we not painted, this interactive component is a recent addition and as you can imagine very popular. The cars are covered with thick layers of bright color paint and names of countless people that have been through here. It’s almost like a Jackson Pollock painting, up close you see marks and lines and from afar it comes together cohesively. The installation has been featured in many popular culture movies, album covers etc. Pixar’s animated film “Cars” depicts this installation as a mountain formation.
This art installation has put Amarillo on the map and is imitated by local merchants around town. Our RV campground displayed their own version which we thought was extremely clever.
Another fun thing to do in Amarillo (for us at least) is a visit to Jack Sisemore’s Traveland RV Museum. This was on Leo’s must see list and I have to admit, it turned out to be very enjoyable.
We arrived to what was is in fact an RV dealership and actually met Jack Sisemore the owner. It turns out Leo also needed a part for the RV, and Jack himself helped him out. He then showed us to the museum, which is located behind the dealership’s showroom. Jack began collecting and restoring all types of RVs from travel trailers, motorhomes, original airstreams, etc over 25 years ago. There is a 1975 Itasca, which was the first ever built as a prototype, and it sat in the Winnebago’s welcome center for over 20 years. Also a 1948 Flexible Bus which was used in the movie “RV” with Robbin Williams, displayed in mint condition with the movie running on a TV next to the rig. We were really surprised as to how roomy this bus actually is. The museum also has an impressive collection of vintage motorcycles including a 1940’s vintage Harley Davidson like the one Leo’s father used to ride in Cuba. We took a picture to show him as he will get a real kick out of it.
After these two stops, we had completed all the interesting things to do in Amarillo! Well there is an art Museum, but unfortunately it was Monday, and as all museum goers know, museums all over the world are closed on Mondays.
So we returned to our motorhome, Leo spent the rest of the afternoon tinkering with the rig, and I took a nice nap before our 5 o’clock happy hour.
The next morning we were off to Dallas, Texas.