Airstream Ranch on Florida’s Interstate 4 + July 4th Baked Beans Recipe

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Note: Since I posted this blog in 2016, the Airstream Ranch has been removed! I’m so glad I got these great pictures of it before the powers that be saw fit to demolish the site. Sigh.

On a recent trip from my apartment to Orlando via the Interstate-4 corridor, I glimpsed something out of the car window! It looked like several travel trailers, Airstream brand to be exact, upended and partially buried in a row! I was so surprised I forgot to photograph them, but I got this snapshot on the way back.airstream ranch RV sculpture

As I shot the photo, I resolved to go back and explore this marvel when I had more time. And so I did, as you can surmise by the photo at the top of this article. Obviously I was much closer for that one!

So I made a plan to visit this site. In the meantime, I did many internet searches about it and came up with the following information:

  • It’s called the Airstream Ranch, after the famous Cadillac Ranch in Texas.
  • It was the brainchild of Frank Bates, who owned a nearby RV dealership.
  • Bates constructed it in honor of Airstream’s 75th anniversary in 2007.
  • There are seven “and a half” trailers in the collection (7.5 = 75th anniversary).
  • The neighbors HATED it and demanded it be removed.
  • The issue ended up in court where Bates won the right to keep the Airstream Ranch standing.

Since I love the idea of the Cadillac Ranch so much, I consider the Airstream Ranch to be one of the coolest things Florida has to offer.

And it provided the perfect subject to practice my HDR photography technique. HDR stand for High Dynamic Range, and, briefly, it means that several different exposures of the same image are blended together. The result is that you can see much more detail than you would in a straight photograph.

The black-and-white photograph at the top is an HDR shot. While that one is obviously digitally manipulated, some may not be so noticeable. So, here’s a before (straight) shot using average exposure:airstream ranch

And the HDR version of the same image:airstream ranch I-4

I LOVE this process! The colors are richer and the details just pop out. You can click on the photos to see larger versions and see what I’m talking about. It’s the same technique I used on the photograph of the Lutz train station in a previous post. Betcha didn’t even notice that one!

Now that I’ve gotten you all excited about HDR, here’s a few shots of the Airstream Ranch that are NOT HDR (don’t worry, there’s one more at the end):airstream bottom trailer airstream detail I4Why the 2D cow, I don’t know! airstream ranch cow cutout Airstream Ranch detailI read that people were initially allowed to tag the trailers with spray paint like the Cadillac Ranch, but Bates is quoted as saying the resulting graffiti consisted mainly of gang signs, so he stopped allowing it. airstream ranch detail2 airstream ranch detail3airstream ranch individual airstream ranch florida

In researching the Airstream Ranch, I discovered it was on property owned by the RV dealership. I went to the dealership to ask permission to photograph the collection. I was told I wouldn’t be shot if I found my way to it via the backroad. Well, I’d already been to the backroad view of it anyway. And there may or may not have been a lock on the gate and I may or may not have climbed over the fence. Either way, I got the shots!

And here’s your last HDR:airstream ranch hdr dramatic

And here’s my famous baked beans recipe for your Fourth of July celebration! Happy Independence Day!

Print Recipe
Baked Beans (Karren's Famous) Recipe
Savory and sweet baked beans, a perfect side dish for a barbecue or fried chicken dinner.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 to 2 hours
Passive Time 1 to 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 to 2 hours
Passive Time 1 to 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Open pork and beans and pour off excess sauce; remove pork fat cube. Place beans in heavy saucepan. Add ketchup, onion and brown sugar; stir well. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until beans are warm through. Pour warm beans into 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Place bacon strips over top of the beans. Place in pre-heated oven, uncovered, until bacon sizzles well, 1 to 2 hours. Turn on broiler for 2 minutes to crisp the bacon. Remove and serve hot or cold.
Recipe Notes

Use plain, canned pork and beans, not barbecue, smoked or any other flavor. I like Van Camp's pork and beans, though it makes little difference. I also prefer Hunts tomato ketchup, but, again, there isn't much difference between brands.

I usually double this recipe because these beans make fantastic leftovers.

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Photo for No Apparent Reason:Ballet sculpture Denver

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3 Responses

  1. B.C Pfnar

    Ha! I just realized after looking at the pictures like 4 times that the cow wasnt real. LOL

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