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Cadillac Ranch: Texas-size lawn ornaments

An intrepid reporter with a car full of gadgets arrives in a gale force wind at the Cadillac Ranch in Texas. Nothing says Texas like honking huge cars half-buried in a field.

Cadillac Ranch
Just hook up some booster cables and these should be good to go. Amanda Kooser/CNET

TULSA, Okla.--Welcome to the second installment of the Geek's guide to Route 66. I've been giving a lot of thought to how this iconic highway ties in with CNET's Crave blog, and I keep coming back to the second part of our mission statement--that bit about "other crushworthy stuff." Well, I'm totally crushing on the kitschy paean to big American cars that is the Cadillac Ranch.

Caddilac Ranch graffiti example
Share your love on a rusted out Cadillac. Amanda Kooser/CNET

Located just outside Amarillo, Tex., the Cadillac Ranch features 10 classic Caddys buried nose into the ground and fins to the sky in the middle of a field. The cars are covered in thick layers of colorful graffiti. Visitors come from around the world to ogle this very American version of Stonehenge and add their names to the ever-evolving art project.

Usually, I grab a discarded paint can and add my own message. Today, however, gale force winds removed all of the debris from the area and made it hard to even stand up against the massive force. Perhaps on my way back I'll be able to tag "Crave wuz here" across a protruding fin. In the meantime, I'm still picking little bits of Texas out of my teeth and hair.

How does the Cadillac Ranch tie in with tech? You can talk about cars as one of the most impactful inventions ever created. You can sit back and muse about what the Cadillac Ranch says about our culture, our obsession with the road, and how that obsession sometimes leads to being stalled out, nose down in a field while the winds and plants continue on around you.

The Cadillac Ranch is cool. It's crushworthy. It's Route 66. My modern hybrid car delivered me to the door of this installation of car tech turned sculpture. I'm another tourist on an information highway that has been in existence since long before the Internet ever came into being. Maybe times haven't really changed all that much after all.

Related link
• Geek's guide to Route 66, part 1

I'm not completely lost in dreams of Detroit steel, however. My collection of gadgets got some good use today. I used my Canon SD850 IS Digital Elph during the Texas dust storm to catch a few bleary images of the Cadillac Ranch. It's an old enough camera that I didn't mind if the 60 mph dirt blast caused some scratches.

I'm writing to you from a hotel room here in Tulsa that I booked on my Verizon 3G iPad 2 while flying down the road. Don't worry, I was in the passenger seat. That was the second time the iPad 2 came to the rescue during the first day of this journey from Albuquerque to Chicago and back.

The first time came when I was parked on the side of Route 66 at the Cadillac Ranch. I glumly recalled that I had just renewed my auto insurance, but forgotten to print out the cards for the glove box. Then I had the gadget epiphany that I could just hop on 3G and download the cards to my iPad. So I did. Now I'm all set should anything unfortunate occur. I'll just flash my iPad.

See you down the road just a little ways. Next on the agenda is the Big Blue Whale of Catoosa, Okla. It's a grand maker project from before makers were cool.

dog at Cadillac Ranch
Here's a dog for scale. Notice how tiny the Caddys are. It's a really big dog. Amanda Kooser/CNET