Rancho Deluxe - Keeping Mason City Weird
Be careful what you start. I’d venture a guess a majority of us have gone down the path. We start up a hobby or activity or collection and before you know it, it’s taken over.
One of my (numerous) paths was Christmas exterior illumination. I was the Clark Griswold of the town in which I previously lived. It started with a pair of those white silhouette reindeer and evolved into 100+ handmade pieces, I never believed in that blow mold stuff you buy at the discount store, and more than 10,000 lights.
That was outside. We traditionally had a half dozen different Christmas trees lit up inside.
That’s kind of how Rancho Deluxe, the Original Bicycle Garden got its start.
Back in 2003, Max Weaver decided to build a little shade garden for his wife near their home in Mason City, Iowa. He completed that, and has just kept on building.
Today, Rancho Deluxe is a menagerie of all that is weird and wonderful. Taking what others have cast off, Weaver has created a supersized outdoor space that is combination art installation, gathering place and performance space.
Stretched across a half-acre piece of property at the end of a dead end street, the space is filled with not only a countless number of bicycles, as the name attests, but also hubcaps, license plates, unwanted signage, metal sculptures and even a small boat. Large concrete blocks, maybe three feet across, have been painted with all sorts of images.
The many pieces have been created both by Weaver as well as others from the Mason City area.
There’s even a performance space in the back that gets used during the warmer months.
Iowa PBS did a really nice, short, video of Weaver in 2021 that explains it all:
Rancho Deluxe is easy to find at 500 2nd Street NE in Mason City, or just put Rancho Deluxe into your GPS, mine took me right there. Weaver doesn’t charge anything to enter and is happy to have visitors.
By the way, Weaver hasn’t stopped building. Rancho Deluxe continues to evolve and grow so no matter how many times you’ve been there, you’ll always see something new and different.