This is our second entry in a series focusing on cool places, roads or attractions that are off the beaten path. Today’s destination certainly qualifies. After all, Alliance, Nebraska, may not be the end of the world . . . but you can see it from there.
Our attraction is a wildly offbeat piece of folk art named Carhenge. There, 3 miles north of Alliance in flat farm country are 38 vintage vehicles arranged into a sculpture that replicates the shape and dimensions of England’s Stonehenge. A local farmer named Jim Reinders and other family members built Carhenge as a memorial to his father. It was dedicated in 1987 and now belongs to the City of Alliance. In an adjacent field are more sculptures made from cars and car parts. You really have to see this place to believe it.
I spent 31 years in the automotive industry, so I considered it a pilgrimage. Many of this blog’s readers are also current or former automotive professionals, so I think you’ll thank me for turning you on to Carhenge. To get there, simply take SR 87 north from Alliance.
“But Tom,” you say, “this is seriously remote.” Sure it is. But let me offer a couple of ideas. Scottsbluff National Monument, an hour’s drive south of Alliance, is a memorial to the pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail. There’s also an awesome view from the top of the bluff. An hour to the north of Carhenge in the un-Nebraska-like Pine Ridge country is Fort Robinson, an old cavalry post dating from the 1870s. It’s now a state park and has some fascinating displays. (Kids love this place.) You can actually stay overnight in one of the original buildings. From Fort Robinson, SR 71 leads north to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Combine these three attractions, and you’ve got a nice side trip on your way to or from Mt. Rushmore.
Carhenge is open daily during daylight hours. Admission is free. You’ll find a couple of hotels and eating places in Alliance. How crowded is it? You’ve got to be kidding! For more information, go to www.carhenge.com.