Amarillo, Texas – May 2019 – Planting Vehicles in the Ground

For some reason the people of Amarillo, Texas like to take large vehicles and plant them in the ground.

South of town is Combine City. Since 2002 a farmer named Orville Ladehoff has been ‘planting’ old combines in the ground. Today there are 14 of them sticking up in the Texas prairie.









Slug Bug Ranch is east of town. Here there are 5 VW Beetles stuck in the ground much like the more famous one on the other side of town.










There are a few other items on the grounds that are also covered in graffiti.








By far the most famous in town, and likely in the world is Cadillac Ranch. Since 1974 these old Cadillacs have been sticking out of the ground in the Texas panhandle.

Note – they are not supposed to be in a pond, but there had been lots of rain so it appears they are partially under water.






















Terlingua, Texas – May 2019 – Pretty Busy for a Ghost Town

The town of Terlingua, Texas is billed as a ghost town, which is amusing because there are all sorts of random structures serving as homes, as well as numerous artist studios, and apparently the Chili Cook Off Capital of the World!




As with Boquillas, this was a mining town where the mines closed long ago, leaving numerous structures to fall into disrepair.





















No clue why there is a stake through a cactus.



Newer buildings are scattered throughout the ruins.






The Terlingua Cemetery is quite interesting as well. Next time you find yourself in the area stop by for some interesting sights, people, and some chili.











San Antonio – May 2019 – The Missions

There are 5 Spanish frontier missions in San Antonio, four of which make up the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The fifth is the Alamo.

We were able to visit two of the missions on our day in the city. Up first is the Mission San Jose.




The mission was founded in 1720, with work on the current buildings beginning in 1768 and completing in 1782.



The community’s life was fully supported within the walls of the mission, including this oven.




There are many homes contained along the perimeter walls.




Massive stone arches frame walkways near the church.





Mission San Jose has had more restoration than the others in the area, resulting in a more ornate interior.



The south wall of the church features the ‘Rose Window’. This window is considered one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in North America.



There is evidence of the earlier exteriors on one of the walls.



The main gate to the compound.



The church is holding up remarkably well for being 250 + years old.




Additional views of the Mission San Jose.










Just a few miles away is Mission Concepcion.



This mission dates from essentially the same time as Mission San Jose, however the grounds are much smaller.



Some restoration has occurred here as well.



Mission Concepcion is known for the fresco’s on the interior and exterior of the building.



The interior of the church is not as ornate as Mission San Jose, but elegant in it’s simplicity.



The missions we were able to visit in San Antonio are national treasures. We look forward to a return trip to the area to check out the others we missed.







Houston – May 2019 – Random Views

We had a great couple of days in Houston, coming away with a great feel for the city. This posting is to cover the random sights that don’t fit anywhere else, like the featured image above from the Sam Houston Park Village with a little church in the middle of the skyscrapers downtown.

Even though I had been in Houston briefly a couple of times previously I had never seen the Astrodome. The world’s first indoor baseball and football stadium when it was completed in the early 1960s, it still stands unused.




The Wateralls across from the Williams Tower is 64′ high, 1 foot for each floor of the nearby skyscraper.




The ‘Twilight Epiphany Skyspace’ is located on the campus of Rice University. I had read that this was a cool thing to see, but when we got there in the middle of the afternoon I couldn’t understand why. It turns out you must be there at sunset or sunrise – maybe next time.




Houston is notorious for their traffic, with over 6 million people in the area and very little public transportation. They do however have a streetcar that covers a few miles in the center of the city.




As well as crossing a man made pond in the middle of Main Street.




Discover Park has an interesting pinwheel display with a device that when you blow into it just right, kicks off fans that make all the pinwheels spin.




Buffalo Bayou Park is a nice urban park space complete with a skateboard park.



The highlight of the park though was our tour of the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. Once used for retaining water for the city, it is now a cool space to explore on a guided tour.




The city has numerous examples of public art.









I have often wondered who has the concrete contracts for road construction in Texas as they build ramps that seem far longer than needed, and never pile up dirt to make the overpasses shorter.




In the theme of ‘Everything is Bigger in Texas’ – As we left the city and reached the suburb of Katy, Texas we made a stop at a Buc-ee’s. A Texas based chain, Buc-ee’s are massive – this one has over 60 gas pumps (the photo is only showing about 1/2 of them)!



The highlight though was the World’s Longest Car Wash (according to the Guiness World Records) – the 255′ long one at Buc-ee’s easily cleaned off 2,000 miles of dirt and grime. Now it is off for San Antonio!

Houston – May 2019 – It Takes A Big Head to be President

David Adickes is a Texas born sculpture who, among other works, created large busts of American presidents for a park in Virginia. That park no longer exists, and many of the heads have made their way back to David’s studio in an industrial part of Houston in the shadow of a freeway bridge.

The overall feel of a bunch of giant presidents heads is surreal, but very cool.














































And one giant Charlie Chaplin!







Houston – May 2016 – The Graffiti Building(s)

Just southeast of downtown Houston is a collection of buildings known as the Graffiti Building. While the name is singular, the artwork is covering more than one building in the immediate area.

The topics and styles vary greatly, but most are creative and well done.


































The last three are a few blocks away, but fit the theme of this posting.










Houston – May 2019 – The Beer Can House

The website Roadside America is one of my favorites, and easily one of the most ‘classic Roadside America’ is the Beer Can House of Houston!

As you arrive you are greeted by a fence of (of course) beer cans.





In the late 1960s a retired upholsterer named John Milkovisch started inlaying thousands of marbles and rocks into concrete and wood to make landscaping features because as he said at the time ‘he was tired of mowing grass’.



For the next 18 years he flattened beer cans, that supposedly he and his friends emptied, and attached them to his house. Today the estimated 50,000 beer cans cover the entire house and former garage.




The early morning sun shining through the beer can top fence made an interesting pattern on the driveway.




It is owned today by the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, who have the interesting exhibit next to Smithers Park.




The stringers on the front of the house sing in the wind. It is said that the beer cans actually help keep the house cooler in the hot Houston summers by reflecting the sun rays away from the house.




The Beer Can House – a Houston classic!