Let’s face it, I have truly never been anywhere like this week’s Secret of SoCal. As I looked around at the eclectic knickknacks and glass bottles, the unadulterated sound of wind chimes and bird chirping made up the soundtrack to my latest adventure discovered along Route 66.

This week’s Secret of SoCal is Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch.


Located in Oro Grande, Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch is the epitome of everything Secrets of SoCal stands for. I had never driven along Historic Route 66 and was shocked to see what a juxtaposition this area is compared to Orange County and Los Angeles; there were abandoned, hollowed out houses that needed more than a little TLC. However, as we pulled up to Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch, I saw care and love in every inch of his property.


This atypical masterpiece is made of bottle trees- metal poles with numerous bottles as branches. It is a free attraction and visitors are allowed from sunup until sunset. I was initially overly stimulated due to the immense amount of detail literally everywhere I turned. From the dirt ground to the clear blue sky, this authentic exhibit was sprinkled with crystal rocks, miscellaneous typewriters and innumerable rainbow colored glass bottles.


The characteristic I loved most about Elmer was his ability to see artistic potential in any and every object. There were pieces of jewelry, old scales, halves of missiles, rusted rifles, cash registers, antique street signs, boats- need I go on? The best part about Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch was how not an artifact looked out of place. As I walked around the ranch, I was in awe of Elmer’s brainchild; most individuals would have overlooked the potential of each bottle or street sign, whereas Elmer’s vision found the perfect home for everything.


Although Elmer was not on location at the time of my visit, other visitors commented that he spends a lot of time at the ranch. People from all over the world have seen Elmer’s creative genius. Travelers from France, China, Japan and people from across the country have visited Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch.


Without hesitation I can say that I wouldn’t have driven along Highway 66 had it not been for Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch; it wasn’t just a stop along the way, it was our main destination. I can’t wait to follow along the Ranch’s Facebook fan page to see updates about Elmer and his magical Bottle Tree Farm.


Check back later this week for another Secret of SoCal.

And remember- Take Care of This Moment.


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Be sure to check out a fellow blogger, Little Blog of Books, who adventured along Route 66 with me and contributed some of the photos from above!

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