Where the Clunker Stands Tall
Just outside Alliance, Neb.--Michael and I did the math: Thirty-eight clunkers at $4,500 a piece comes to a total of $171,000.
That’s what the vehicles that make up Carhenge – stacked to resemble England’s Stonehenge – would be worth under the Cash for Clunkers program that ends today. As a goodbye to the program that has stimulated so much debate along our travels – we met a convenience store clerk who bragged about a new car he bought under the program on the same week a waitress lamented how it did her no good without decent credit – Michael and I decided to stop at the Nebraskan monument of broken-down gas guzzlers. So what if the vehicles hadn't run in years (and wouldn't really be eligible for the program), if ever there was an ode to the clunker, this was it.
Once rejected by locals as more junk than art, the site has now become a part of the American road trip, drawing travelers from 50 states and 24 countries last year. On the day we stopped there, so did a Virginia family. They wore t-shirts and sweatshirts from places they had just driven through: Michigan, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
“Sometimes I think the tendency is to go toward the major tourist attractions, but we try to seek out the unique,” David Salerno, of Suffolk, said.
“That’s the sort of the stuff I love to learn about, the weird stuff that no one knows about,” his 11-year-old daughter, Ariel, said. “Did you know there was a hall of records behind Lincoln’s head on Mt. Rushmore?”
She and her 8-year-old brother Benji played on one of the slate-colored cars for about half an hour before their parents told them it was time to get in the minivan
Next on the family's list of sites to see was the ball of twine in Kansas.
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