Featured People and Places Southwest USA 2010-2011 The Road

Day 49 – Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch

Elmer, Creator of the Bottle Tree Ranch
Elmer, Creator of the Bottle Tree Ranch
Written by Wayne

The travel the last couple of days would not have been possible without my friend Nancy. She came to Vegas to clear her head, talk, and hang out and has been a wonderful friend to me. She’s covered all the expenses of the last two days which allowed both of us to get some awesome shots of the things we’ve seen and some places I was able to show her. She’s a great road trip partner.

We started off in Barstow and headed Southwest. As we traveled along Route 66 we came upon the Bottle Tree Ranch which is an amazing and inspiring location. Elmer, the artist and creative mind behind the unique sculptures is a pleasant and down to earth person. A true artist. He’s been collecting “junk” since he found a hand made rake at Edwards Air Force Base while on a trip with has father when he was young. Elmer, now in his 60’s now incorporates the stuff he finds into the yard of welded trees of iron with colored glass bottles of all shapes and sizes adorning them. His decision to leave his 9-5 job at the nearby Cement factory in Oro Grande a few years back is a blessing for anyone that has the chance to wander through his glimmering garden of wonder. Elmer doesn’t charge to visit his unique corner of the California desert. He gets about 8-10 slack jawed visitors a day as he spends his days working on his creations, with a mid day nap of course. Stop in and say hello and enjoy the colored dreamlike spot that is Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. You’ll be happy you did.

Elmer’s work can be found on Route 66 just a few miles west of Barstow on the right hand side of the road, near Oro Grande, CA.

After spending a good chunk of time at Elmer’s we headed into Victorville and found the remains of the homes the use to be used to house those at George Air Force Base. The subdivision like area is riddled with trashed homes and overgrown streets and culdesacs. The whole area has been and possibly still is used for war games and tactical training. What could have potentially been low income housing has been destroyed by war games.

After Victorville we turned around and ventured back to Barstow where we picked up Route 66 again, this time heading East. We got some shots of the old 66 markings painted on the highway. Eventually as the sun set behind us we hopped onto Interstate 40 and made our way to the 95 which lead us back into Nevada and Las Vegas for Nancy’s last night.

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