Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

Two rows of used cars parked at a used car dealership's lot.

The Ugly Truth About Buying Used

Unless you’re looking for a private sale, finding a pre-owned vehicle worth considering probably begins with an online search. Maybe you’re searching “used car near me”, or narrowing your search to specific automakers, dealer groups, or basing it around your price range. As long as it gets you where you need to be and helps you find the right fit for your lifestyle and budget, there’s no ‘wrong way’ to go about it.

So, adventure-seekers, that means it’s okay to seek out a dealership based on its suitability for a road trip. And yes, in case you’re wondering, we’re going to talk about some of the used dealerships in close proximity to oddball national landmarks perfect for those #goldenhour selfies and #humblebrag travel posts.


Why not.

Amarillo, Texas

Back in 1974, an art exhibit was built consisting of ten Cadillacs, representing successive generations, all planted nose down in the ground at equal distances and angles. Called ‘Cadillac Ranch,’ the location has been tweaked slightly over the years, but the graffitied Cadillacs have become a recognizable staple of pop culture and entertainment backdrops. And speaking of cars, why not head over to Bobby Duby Motors, voted last year’s Best Used Car/Truck Dealer in Amarillo.

Cottonwood, Idaho

As the invitation goes, “spend the night in the belly of a giant beagle.” That’s right, the ‘World’s Largest Beagle: Dog Bark Park’ consists of a bed and breakfast built into a house shaped like a dog. Accompanied by other dog tributes of various sizes, it’s a quirky, fun place to see. Then you can swing on over to Gortsema Motors in nearby Grangeville. All in all, it’s about 18 minutes and 15.4 miles of drive time, and well worth the trip.

Four dogs are playing at the Cottonwood, Idaho, dog park while their owners look at a used car near me.

Baker, California

Commemorating the record-setting 134-degree (Farenheit) temperature achieved by Death Valley on July 10th of 1913, the ‘World’s Tallest Thermometer’ is an electric steel tower that stands 134 feet tall and weighs an impressive 76,812 LBS. This, of course, is a near-perfect segue, as there will inevitably be hot deals and plenty of (Detroit) steel to be found at Bob Baker Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Carlsbad. Okay fine, they may not be as close in terms of proximity to one another as some of these examples, but life is about the journey not the destination.

Red Wing, Minnesota

The Red Wing Shoe Museum offers visitors a glimpse of the ‘World’s Largest Boot,’ a 638-D sized waffle stomper that weighs over a ton and is infamously “too big for the Statue of Liberty to wear”. It makes a fun visual and, fortunately, lacks the offending smell one might associate with a shoe of its size. And if you’re worried about stinking up the house, House Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM can be found right there in Red Wing, it boasts ample inventory and lots of positive reviews.

Cawker City, Kansas

The ‘World’s Largest Ball of Twine’ is one of those very American landmarks that has been fascinating road-trippers since 1961. The product of years of twine-wrapping, it stands over eight feet tall and weighs over 5,000 lbs. It may not be the only jumbo ball of twine out there, but it’s the world’s biggest. And speaking of homespun charm (see what we did there) there are plenty of choices for used cars in and around Cawker City. From Becker Autos, to J&S Auto, to Beloit Auto and Truck Plaza. Take your pick and find a vehicle you can get wrapped up in.

A map of Cawker City, Kansas, is shown.

Alliance, Nebraska

Just north of alliance, Carhenge has been described in countless ways, with endless speculation reminiscent of the European stone circle which inspired it. The eye-catching photo op emulates that structure, albeit using vintage American cars instead of stone monoliths. But setting aside claims of mysticism, Carhenge is actually one man’s memorial testament to his father, and what a testament it is. And speaking of family institutions, Cover-Jones Motor is a great family-owned dealership inside of Alliance, NE town lines.

Scottsboro, Alabama

It’s not the only one of its kind, but it stands among the first. We’re talking about ‘The Unclaimed Baggage Center’ in Scottsboro, AL which allows shoppers to peruse an inventory of luggage, and items found in said luggage, that were lost during travel and never claimed. For those who enjoy flea markets, consignment shops and thrift stores, the UBC is a must visit location – simply because you never know what you’ll find, in terms of both products and deals. Depending on how much cargo space you need to haul your findings, you might want to peruse the inventory at KC’s Used Cars.

Austin, Texas

Nestled deep within the Lucky Lizard curio shop in Austin, TX, is a curiosity known as the Museum of Weird. The family-owned business embraces the weird, the haunted and cursed, attracting visitors and road-trippers from all over. Displaying everything from shrunken heads from Amazon Indian tribes to a mummy that’s over 3,000 years old, the museum also pays tributes to Texas Bigfoot, the Elephant Man, P.T. Barnum, and the stuffed remains of a two-headed calf that was stillborn in 2014. The museum itself is rumored to be haunted, and some of the items featured are historical elements that the current owners believe to be cursed. You can even find live ‘freakshow’ performers to keep you entertained with such stunts as sword swallowing and hammering nails into their own heads. Not quite your thing? No worries. If you want to visit Frank Kent Country – a great dealership known for high-quality used vehicles – you can do so stress-free. After all, Austin isn’t exactly ‘next door’ to Corsicana (it’s about 150 miles away), so you won’t have to worry about being attacked by an “authentic” chupacabra skeleton that may (or may not) come to life.

A tree in the woods has a "Caution Bigfoot" sign on near Austin, TX.

Creede, Colorado

What weighs 600 pounds, stands 40 feet in height, and would prove cumbersome at twirling spaghetti? Well, if you’re from Creede, Colorado you might answer the ‘World’s Largest Fork.’ Step aside, Springfield, Missouri with your paltry 35-foot fork – we can only assume portions are bigger in the Centennial State. And if you’re still craving a jumbo portion of spaghetti, stop at City Auto Plaza in Canon City first, to make sure you have a problem-free journey to and from the pasteria of your choice.

Amber, Iowa

Like a billboard for whimsy, the tale behind the eastern Indianan ‘Hula Hoop Tree’ is surprisingly simple, in the endearing way that all innocent fun is. According to modern legend, two hula hoops were found in the tree after a storm, and the collection of hoops adorning its branches has continued to grow over time. Passing through? Why not stop at the local dollar store and pick up a hula hoop of your own. Find a home for it on this iconic landmark and be a part of its continuing legend. Then hop on over to Rick Auto Sales in Cedar Rapids for some of the best deals in the area.