Local Pride: The Bottle Tree Ranch

The Bottle Tree Ranch created by Elmer Long is one of the most impressive attractions along Route 66. Photo By Al Morrissette.

By Ashka Patel

High Desert Daily

(Victor Valley) –The Bottle Tree Ranch created by Elmer Long is one of the most impressive
attractions along Route 66, featuring hundreds with bottle-filled trees.
Elmer Long is the quirky artist behind the now famous Bottle Tree Ranch.
He looks a lot like one of the guys from ZZ Top, but he’s really a
fascinating man who loves greeting and getting to know the people who visit his
roadside masterpiece. As a kid, Elmer used to travel through the desert, with
his dad, who would collect any objects they found, and keep extensive notes
about their location.

After Elmer’s dad died, he was left with a sizable collection of colorful
bottles, but he had no idea what to do with it. One day, it hit him – he
decided to build his first bottle tree. He got to welding and after he
completed his work, knew that he had to go on. Elmer Long started the Bottle Tree
Ranch in 2000, and since then has created over 200 scrap metal bottle
trees.

Visiting the Bottle Tree Ranch of California’s Mojave County isn’t just
about admiring the beautiful art installations, or hearing the sweet melody
created by the wind going through the bottles, it’s also about meeting the
artist. Elmer Long is just as fascinating as his bottle ranch, always
welcoming guests and willing to strike up a conversation. He always complains
about how people now prefer the interstates, even though they are completely
soulless, compared to the old routes. He longs for the old days when people
also traveled to discover the towns and wonders along the roads.

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