Scenic USA - California

Bottle Tree Ranch

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Bottle Tree Ranch - Oro Grande, California

Photos by Scott Dommin
Scott's PBase Gallery

     From the outskirts of Los Angeles and San Bernardino, Route 66 marker at Cadiz, CA Interstate 15 heads northward through the San Bernardino National Forest and climbs into the San Gabriel Mountains. After the high point at Cajon Summit, the highway drops into the Mojave Desert. Here at Victorville, sightseers may leave the super highway and follow along a section of old Route 66. Rt 66 Motel Sign at Barstow, CA Between Victorville and Barstow you may enjoy the Mojave's serenity, a peaceful break from the metro area to the southwest. Here among the desert's canyons, mountains and mesas, expect to find old homesteads, abandoned towns and mines, clear skies and strong winds.
     Even though precipitation is sparse, Joshua trees, juniper, cholla cactus and mesquite are scattered throughout the desert. Catclaw, Cholla Cactus desert willow, cheesbush and cottonwoods line the dry washes. One thing you may never expect is a bottle tree forest. Nearby Oro Grande, Elmer Long, the bottle man, has kept the family tradition alive. Now retired, Elmer delights in showing off his roadside attraction. Old Truck at GoffsInheriting a bottle collection from his father, Elmer decided to fill his two acre site with steel trees, decorated with bottle leaves. Tickled by the desert winds, the bottle trees seem to play their own interpretation of a symphonic overture.
     Most of the old Route 66 restaurants, motels and gas stations are closed and lying in ruins, but to Route 66 fans this section of the Mother Road is a little extra special because of Elmer Long.

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