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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Move Over Cadillac Ranch--Now It's Airstream Ranch

You can visit Stonehenge in Europe or the United States. But there's only one place to visit the Airstream Ranch--just west of Plant City, Florida.

It's all the brainchild of a local RV dealer--yeah, the same guy who painted advertising signs on the sides of cows and turned them loose in a pasture near his dealership. But this time, Frank Bates may really be on to something. With "A" frames in the ground, and bumpers pointed skyward, a row of seven retired Airstream trailers glints in the Florida sunshine, perhaps causing as much wonderment in passerby as do the ancient stone formations in Wiltshire.

Bates wants the attention, and sure, he'd like it if you'd stop on by and purchase an RV. But in Frank's mind, this is art. Even if the neighbors don't all agree. One critic sums it up, "You can only dress up a pig so much." Local government officials aren't exactly in agreement either. While Environmental Protection officials don't have a squawk, code enforcement officers are firing off a letter telling Bates his exhibit constitutes an unlawful collection of debris. Bates says he'll fight to keep his art on display--right where it is.

You can read more about it in the Tampa Bay Online.

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  • We almost bought at Bates RV. The used RV needed extensive brake work so we changed our minds.
    They kept a large amount of our cash deposit.
    We were not happy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:47 AM, January 12, 2008  

  • This 'stonehenge' looks really silly - do we need any distractions on the I.4 after this past week. This Company offered us 50% of book value for our RV when trying to buy a newer model and they had not even seen it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:10 AM, January 12, 2008  

  • I think its cool!!! bought 3 airstreams from bates had good experience

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:45 PM, January 22, 2008  

  • This dealer caused me and my family a lot of trouble and would not take responsibility. We had to go to the RV maker to get Things made right. Art or not, no matter I do not trust this man or his dealership one bit. SHame on him and them!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:35 PM, January 23, 2008  

  • Well, they say that art is in the eye of the beholder. All I can say is that, from the posted picture, it looks as much like art as many other things I've seen in museums. I think I like it....

    Of course, if I was traveling on the freeway, and got into a chain-reaction pile-up caused by rubber-necking drivers checking out the art, you can be sure that my opinion might change.

    Maybe the powers that be would like it better if he put up a huge big ugly fence, like around a junk yard, to screen his object d'art from view other than from Bates RV's own property.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:08 PM, January 23, 2008  

  • Has Bates thought about the danger he posses to the public by his exhibit?

    I drive by his exhibit everyday on my way home. It almost never fails that I see someone parked on the side of the road or running across the lanes of Interstate 4 to take pictures or just look.

    Art or trash; safety trumps.

    This exhibit has all the potential to cause someone's daughter, son, husband, wife, father, mother, family member or friend to get seriously hurt or killed.

    Only a few weeks ago there was a 30+ vehicle pile up in this same area.

    A high school is scheduled to be built at the McIntosh exit and a weigh station with on ramps for large trucks is currently being built just West of the Bates exhibit.

    Think about it. School buses, large trucks, rubber neckers, sightseers and this exhibit all mixed together.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:00 PM, February 01, 2008  

  • Mr. Bates was quoted on the article "Cadillac Ranch legacy not buried but many other things have been" by Sean Thomas/Morris News Service as saying, "Its a Texan thing, we just like to bury crap."

    I wonder if all Texans agree with him. I would like to think that Texans like most Americans are law abiding and get permits for projects they intend to build and furhtermore do not put the lives of the public at stake.

    People are stopping on the side of Interstate 4 to take pictures and the possibiltiy of someone losing their life is great.

    If Frank Bates wants to bury something, he can bury his idea of the Airstream Ranch.

    Frank Bates likes comparing his idea with Cadillac Ranch but there is no comparison.

    Cadillac Ranch is like a ranch setting in the middle of no where and it breaks up the wild open scene and does not put the public in harms way. Bates's project on the other hand is a small piece of ground next to Interstate 4 and violates zoning regulations because it is in the middle of a subdivision. Maybe if he truly thought his project was art and not an advertisement he too would put up his project in a remote area.

    The Cadillac Ranch is all by itself with no Cadillac dealer near by. It so happens that Bates's Airstream project sits on a small piece of land adjoining his Airstream dealership.

    It seems that Mr. Bates is shady. Following are some facts:

    1: He calls his project "art" instead of advertising. Why? Because he has it located on property zoned for single family homes and he wants to advertise by calling it "art" and therefore saying the County is violating his ammendment rights.
    2: He continues to fight his many code violations. The code enforcement was established to protect the welfare of the public. He does not care about the public?
    3: He has been made aware of the safety issues his project has created. He has been made aware of people stopping on Interstate and crossing lanes but he continues on.

    If this man deals this shady outright in the public eye, what does he do behind the scenes?

    I don't think I would ever buy from this man. I would take my business elsewhere.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:30 AM, February 04, 2008  

  • Bates's so called "Airstream Ranch" is a joke.

    Don't waste your time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:33 AM, February 04, 2008  

  • When a death happens Bates may be buried.

    Attorney's will chomping at the bits.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:32 AM, February 06, 2008  

  • I would hate to see my Airstream end up like this.

    Check out my blog at http://airstreamcamping.wordpress.com/ if you want to see some more practical uses for an airstream.

    By Blogger mlang905, at 6:48 AM, February 07, 2008  

  • Where are the metal scrappers?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:12 PM, February 07, 2008  

  • Saw it. Loved it. Florida drivers are too interested in talking on the phone or eating their big macs to notice. Get over it and let art lovers enjoy it. By the way I own an Airstream and know all dealers are likely to put the screws to you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:28 AM, February 13, 2008  

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