Visited on September 20, 2014
Located on a stretch of old Route 66 in Oro Grande, Cal., Elmer Long’s Bottle Tree Ranch is one of the great reasons I enjoy driving through places I’ve never been. I had the opportunity to stop and take a few pictures recently, during my "Goodbye God, I'm going to Texas" roadtrip.
Elmer and his father used to wander through the desert and find things (a pasttime I enjoy myself), and bottles were a favorite object to find. Elmer would keep notes concerning the objects found and their location. Years later, when Elmer became the sole beneficiary of his father’s vast bottle collection, he was faced with the decision as to what to do with them. The Bottle Tree Ranch was born. There are some 200 trees in the bottle forest, along with all kinds of interesting things scavenged by Elmer and his father over the years. They sparkle in the sun and make music with the wind. It’s a pretty amazing place to visit. I particularly enjoyed looking at the weathered relics atop many of the bottle trees.
The Bottle Tree Ranch is open from dawn to dusk and the admission is free (donations are welcome). It is definitely a unique spot to visit along Route 66 and I’m pretty sure I’ll be stopping by again. Below are a few photos I took during my visit.
All these images were taken from outside the fence. Looking back now and after reading up a bit more on the Bottle Ranch, I kicked myself several times for not going in through the open gate and exploring the grounds. I might have been able to meet Elmer. Next time.