Route #66: Bottle Tree Ranch

If it hadn’t been 106 degrees in Death Valley (still, far better than 124 degrees on July 11th this year…), and if we hadn’t blown a tire due to heat damage, we would not have slept in one of the biggest truck stops in the US:  Barstow, CA.  Furthermore, we would not have been on alternate Route #66 at 6 AM where we could limp along at 30 mph to Victorville, for a matching replacement tire. Without this juxtaposition of events, we would have missed the very whimsical, Bottle Tree Ranch.


One doesn’t expect to find an art installation on a 2 lane highway in this barren high desert arena. Elmer Long has lived at that sight for 42 years in Oro Grande, collected over 400 bottles in the desert and roadsides, and created a fantastic and delightful “forest”.

Art from found objects is always unique, often goofy, sometimes with a theme; Bottle Tree Ranch is a celebration of the history of car travel in the 1950’s when Route#66 was a swinging cross-country route.

 Sculptures made of car parts, gas pumps, abandoned toys, musical instruments, and….just unidentifiable weird and beautiful stuff, it is free and open to the public.

So, wander around and enjoy his “trees”.  Long live roadside art, making  us slow down, and enjoy the ride.


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About Sally

A Studio Artist and painter trained at Stanford university, Sally has since then graduated from a long career as an Attorney with the Public Defender, and returned to painting. Living in Mexico with her son for a year, they adopted a feral dog, Lety. Sally's son left for college and their dog adopted her new best friend, Steven.

5 thoughts on “Route #66: Bottle Tree Ranch

  1. Rickibecca

    I love love love travel that uncovers these native artists! Thank you for sharing the photos and story. Some day maybe I’ll … nah, it’ll never happen. Ciao!

  2. Kathy Farley

    What a wonderful treasure! You never know what you will find once you slow down and start lookin’ ! We live vicariously through your travels.

    Kathy Farley (and Shem too)


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