Road Side Stop: Buddy Holly Crash Site

Bye, bye, Miss American Pie…

Seriously, my kids are in love with this song.  So you would think when we told them we were going to the place where “the music died”, they would be uber excited, right?  Well…no.  See, they were a little skeptical after the frying pan stop, and had kind of decided mom was a little nuts.  But I was looking forward to seeing a monument to the memory of the late great Buddy Holly, so we drove out into the middle of nowhere near Clear Lake, Iowa, looking for the site of a plane crash not quite 60 years ago.  The conversation went something like this:

  • Where is it?
  • The GPS says it’s right up here.
  • But we’re in the middle of NOWHERE.
  • I know!  But that’s what it says.
  • This is just a corn field.  It has to be the wrong place.  The road ends up here.  We must have passed it.
  • No, it’s got to be up here…wait!  What was that?  Was that it?
  • What?  I didn’t see anything!
  • No, trust me…back up.  There was something on the side of the road. 
  • (Backs up car)  You mean THAT??
  • Ummmm….yeah.  I think that’s it.

“It” was a pair of glasses.  Just a pair of glasses.  No plaque. No sign. Lots of corn.  And a pair of glasses.  I mean, it makes sense if you know who Buddy Holly was, but they could at least put a sign out there.


Don’t let C’s smile fool you…they were NOT impressed.  I officially lost any credibility I had as trip planner at this point.  Thankfully, things would improve before long.  But this was hard to come back from, and they will never let me live it down.  You can’t say we weren’t making memories though!

Since we were close to Clear Lake, we decided to drive on into town and see the Surf Ballroom, where Holly, Ritchie Vallens, and the Big Bopper played the night before the crash.  And that’s when something really strange happened.  As M started up the car, American Pie came on the radio.  And it ended at the exact moment we pulled up in front of the Surf Ballroom.  How crazy is that??


(Look!  There’s a plaque here!)

**I’ve since read on wikipedia that supposedly there is another monument further into the cornfield that is marked by the glasses.  However, if it was there, it was not marked, and we would have had to cross a fence to get to it.  So, I’m a little skeptical on that.  If you know better, please let me know! (Although I doubt the kids would agree to go back and check it out!)**

By this time, we were all a little hungry and ready for a real stop.


2 thoughts on “Road Side Stop: Buddy Holly Crash Site

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