Ice House

This Buc-ee's in Katy Has the World's Longest, Trippiest Car Wash

It was a colorful ride.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen October 30, 2017 Published in the November 2017 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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This is sacrilege, but I’ve never understood the obsessive love for Buc-ee's around here. It’s a nice, big gas station, but at the end of the day, it’s … a gas station. Then I heard that the new one in Katy had built a carwash that, at 225 feet, is allegedly the world’s longest (they are trying to get Guinness to make it official). (Editor's Note: It now is!Even better: It comes with a multicolored cleaning option. I love even a normal, no-frills carwash, so this was, as far as I was concerned, the first and best reason to visit Katy. I was in.

Pulling up to the entrance, I was saddened to see there is no “psychedelic color mode.” There is only the slightly underwhelming “deluxe.” Nonetheless, I was ready for a wild ride. Within seconds, the Buc-ee's beaver logo was splashed across my windshield, a spirit animal to guide me through this transcendent experience.

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As we soaped up, splashes of red, yellow and blue turned the world outside into a colorful kaleidoscope. It was, for a moment, as close as life gets to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Or a color run, without all that unnecessary running. The individual colors melted into pretty waves—red, swirled with a hint of yellow, mimicked a particularly lovely sunset just outside my driver side window—before coalescing into a muddy greenish brown.

But why stop at color? Why not add strobe lights? Why not install a short-range radio transmitter to play Rose Royce’s “Car Wash” on repeat, and time the lights and colors with the groovy disco beat? Each year, people into elaborate Christmas-light displays do this for free. I paid $16, and I expected a full sensory experience. Alas, before I knew it, my ride was complete, taking me back to boring reality. What a not-so-long, slightly strange trip it had been.

Also my car was clean.

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