On the outskirts of the old mining town of Goldfield, NV lies the “International Car Forest of the Last Church” – an art installation of 40 graffiti splattered, old cars, trucks, and buses buried nose down into the desert.

Junk Car Slave

Junk Car Slave

Junk Car Slave

Junk Car Slave

Chev-it!

By far the best artist in the bunch.

By far the best artist in the bunch.

School Bus Nightmare

School Bus Nightmare

AWARE

AWARE

Officially the world's largest!

Officially the world’s largest!

From the highway you can only see one, on a hilltop about a quarter mile away: a big white-and-turquoise school bus that points upward at a 45-degree angle from a steep dirt mound. It's positioned to reflect sunlight toward the highway, as if to attract curious passersby.

From the highway you can only see one, on a hilltop about a quarter mile away: a big white-and-turquoise school bus that points upward at a 45-degree angle from a steep dirt mound. It’s positioned to reflect sunlight toward the highway, as if to attract curious passersby.

The concept is reminiscent of the famous Cadillac Ranch in Texas, where cars are planted at an angle roughly corresponding to the Great Pyramid of Giza, or maybe Carhenge, Nebraska's mocking salute to England's prehistoric standing stones.

The concept is reminiscent of the famous Cadillac Ranch in Texas, where cars are planted at an angle roughly corresponding to the Great Pyramid of Giza, or maybe Carhenge, Nebraska’s mocking salute to England’s prehistoric standing stones.

But there is no apparent order here.

But there is no apparent order here.

Some vehicles are facedown as though they fell from the sky, while others shoot toward the clouds as if escaping from the planet.

Some vehicles are facedown as though they fell from the sky, while others shoot toward the clouds as if escaping from the planet.

The site's creators – Michael "Mark" Rippie and Chad Sorg – call it The International Car Forest of the Last Church.

The site’s creators – Michael “Mark” Rippie and Chad Sorg – call it The International Car Forest of the Last Church.

"I came up with The Last Church as representation of the last church being inside each of us"

They came up with “The Last Church” as representation of the last church being inside each of us.

Rippie, who owns these 80 acres, began the project in 2002, when he was in his late 50s.

Rippie, who owns these 80 acres, began the project in 2002, when he was in his late 50s.

He'd spent decades around Goldfield (population maybe 250, down from an early 1900s peak of 30,000), often sporting a wispy gray beard and dabbling in mining and other schemes – "running the high desert looking for gold, antique treasures and junk vehicles," as he put it.

He’d spent decades around Goldfield (population 250, down from an early 1900s peak of 30,000), often sporting a wispy gray beard and dabbling in mining and other schemes.

He hopped on his backhoe and dug the first hole for the forest, determined to get the Guinness Book of World Records title for the most cars planted vertically in the ground. Then he tapped his personal boneyard of junk vehicles.

He hopped on his backhoe and dug the first hole for the forest, determined to get the Guinness Book of World Records title for the most cars planted vertically in the ground. Then he tapped his personal boneyard of junk vehicles.

Sorg visited Goldfield in 2004 and decided to hang around.

Sorg visited Goldfield in 2004 and decided to hang around. He thought the town was perfect for an art retreat and was fascinated by what he described as Rippie’s “insane project.”

"My favorite part about working on the forest was the solitude it provided," Sorg said. "I was out there every day. We actually wouldn't start working until after midnight (to avoid the summer heat). Our trucks and backhoes were equipped with spotlights. The feeling was spooky and quirky.

They actually wouldn’t start working until after midnight in order to avoid the summer heat.

Over time, we learned a lot about the unique physical requirements of each vehicle, how to weight them down, and which end should be buried in the dirt. Mark would drive the backhoe and I would guide the vehicle into the hole. Then we would backfill dirt in. In all the times we did this, surprisingly, we never had any mishaps. After we met, I didn't leave until we finished planting that last car" – which they did in 2011, seven years after Sorg teamed up with Rippie.

There were no mishaps during the seven years [2004-2011] they worked together on the project.

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The junk car forest is much more than just a graveyard for abandoned vehicles.

The junk car forest is much more than just a graveyard for abandoned vehicles. It’s a venue for people who relish the aesthetic of colorful abused steel against a backdrop of colorless desert.

Murals splay across the corroding metal, created by artists both known and unknown.

Murals splay across the corroding metal, created by artists both known and unknown.

Not all the vehicles are planted: A '50s-style ice-cream truck is simply parked on the dirt, with a vintage limo on its roof. "The limousine used to sit on top of a different truck," Sorg recalled. "I think some kids must have gone out there and blown it up. I remember showing up one time and the truck was gone and the limo sat where the truck used to be. It was weird. So we decided to put the limo on the ice-cream truck."

Not all the vehicles are planted: A ’50s-style ice-cream truck is simply parked on the dirt, with a vintage limo on its roof.

Once, a mysterious fire broke out in one of the buses and brought the local fire department. "This led to the idea of having an end-of-the-world party in the confines of the car forest," Sorg said. "Sadly, it was a flop. We rented porta-potties, had food there, and lit one of the other buses on fire. Only 20 people showed up."

Once, a mysterious fire broke out in one of the buses and brought the local fire department. This led to the idea of having an end-of-the-world party in the confines of the car forest. Sadly, it was a flop. They rented porta-potties, had food and even lit one of the buses on fire but only 20 people showed up. After the end-of-the-world party, Rippie and Sorg went their separate ways.

Rippie is now behind bars, sentenced last November to two years in federal prison for violating gun laws. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, "In 1971, Rippie was adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity for a 1970 armed robbery in Colorado and was committed to a mental institution."

Rippie is now behind bars, sentenced to two years in federal prison for violating gun laws. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “In 1971, Rippie was adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity for a 1970 armed robbery in Colorado and was committed to a mental institution.”`

He was busted last year for attempting to buy a gun without disclosing that history. Investigators found 15 firearms, including assault rifles, in his Goldfield home, and more than 22,000 rounds of ammo.

He was busted last year for attempting to buy a gun without disclosing that history. Investigators found 15 firearms, including assault rifles, in his Goldfield home, and more than 22,000 rounds of ammo. The junk car forest is still open for visitors.

Ghost Bus

Ghost Bus

BUSted

BUSted

Double Dick'd

Double Dick’d

Lovers are cool though.

Lovers are cool though.

Unicorn Porn

Unicorn Porn

Antsy

Antsy

You wanna get high?

You wanna get high?

Buckle Up!

Buckle Up!

Bus Heaven

Bus Heaven