Across America – May 2019 – Random Scenes Part 1

The following are interesting scenes that didn’t fit any of the other postings.

Lajitas, Texas – The only place to stay was a golf resort, but it had a great sunset.




Texas border area – We saw a few instances of the border patrol in action, including going through 2 checkpoints along the highway. Strangely the checkpoints were at least 40 miles from the border.





Marfa, Texas – This town is an artist enclave for New York artists. How and why a bunch of New York artists decided to go to a small west Texas town is far too long for this blog.




Fort Davis, Texas is a historic town with a former frontier fort. Today it has a couple of cool re purposed buildings.





Pecos, Texas – For about 100 miles in any direction from Pecos were new fracking oil wells. The landscape was filled with these towers burning off natural gas, as well as truck traffic jams and RVs parked in the desert for the workers. The high pay also caused our most expensive hotel night in Carlsbad, New Mexico as the demand for housing far exceeds supply.









Roswell, New Mexico – While I have a posting for the UFO industry of Roswell, there was also a very cool airplane ‘boneyard’.







Portales, New Mexico – When we were driving into town the billboard for Burger King said ‘next to the airplane’. They weren’t kidding.



Hereford, Texas – Beef capital of the world. I think they are correct.





Canyon, Texas – A Giant Cowboy



Amarillo, Texas – Much cleaner energy source.



Canadian, Texas – Lonesome train blues.



Near Shattuck, Oklahoma – Folk Art along the Highway.





Fairview, Oklahoma – We were looking for some Good Eats, but needed to find somewhere else.



Jet, Oklahoma – One of our disappointments was being unable to check out the Salt Plains National Refuge – where you can dig around for crystals in the salt flats. Much of Oklahoma was flooded, and it flooded the salt flats.

The cows however were making the most of their new beach.





Somewhere in Oklahoma – The Perfect Farm Photo

Part 2 in a second posting.






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.






















Big Bend National Park, Texas – May 2019

Big Bend National Park is one of the more remote parks in the continental United States, but with some effort – we arrived!




The early morning drive down from Marathon provided an excellent sunrise, giving the mountains great coloring.








Eventually we made our way back down to the Rio Grande River Valley.



Our west Texas days constantly provided interesting cacti views.



The Rio Grande in this area is really just a decent size creek, but the kayaks were setting out for the day.



Our first choice for hiking along the river, the Santa Elena Canyon Trail, was closed due to wildfires, so we headed instead for the Boquillas Canyon Trail.




As we made our way along the river an elderly man on the Mexico side serenaded us with songs in an effort to get us to come down to the river bank so he could sell his wares.



The canyon walls continually closed in until we couldn’t go any further unless we went in the river.




We returned to cross the border into Mexico (detailed on the next post) passing more colorful mountains along the way.




With wildfires closing a number of the more popular spots in the park, we chose to go up into the basin and check out the Window View Trail. Again we were treated to interesting vegetation.








Being in the basin we were surrounded on all sides by the mountains.




This view is ‘The Window’.




While it was disappointing that the wildfires impacted the park, there was plenty to see and do for the day.






Langtry, Texas – May 2019 – Views of a (Mostly Former) Town

Langtry, Texas is a town in west Texas, but just barely. In the early 1900s it was a busy place as they built the railroad nearby. Today it is a post office and the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center (detailed on another posting).



Most of the buildings in the area have been abandoned.















Those that remain have a sense of humor, as evidenced by a sign pointing toward the Rio Grande that says ‘Mexico’ this way.





The town does have a beautiful view of the Rio Grande Valley, and the cliffs and caverns across in Mexico.









And with that we took the lonely road west.




San Antonio – May 2019 – Historic Homes and Buildings

As a historic city San Antonio had a decent amount of older homes and buildings in the center of the city.

The King William Historic District is just south of downtown. It has a great collection of restaurants and shops, but the highlights are the beautiful old houses.







As we reached downtown we passed by a couple great old buildings.





A classic clock, which we appear to have caught at high noon.



Nix Hospital s housed in a very fine example of an Art Deco building.






There are still a couple vintage theaters in town.





The Post Office and Court House is located across the plaza from the Alamo.





The Tower Life Building was completed in 1927. This eight sided classic Art Deco skyscraper also housed San Antonio’s first Sears store when first opened.








The Drury Hotel occupies the former Alamo National Bank building. Located along the famed Riverwalk the 24 floor building has many impressive details in the lobby.









We chose instead to stay at the Gunter Hotel, another great old hotel.



The Gunter Hotel is famous for being the location that blues legend Robert Johnson recorded most of the 29 songs he ever recorded. The bar celebrates the fact that he recorded in room 414, by calling themselves the Bar 414.



Despite the fact that Robert was from Mississippi, he was brought to San Antonio by a talent scout for Vocalion Record, Ernie Oertle. A producer from the label, Don Law, set up a recording studio in room 414 and 413 of the Gunter Hotel.

The drawing below is from an album cover of Robert’s music that was re-released in the 1960s depicting this recording session.



This is the room today, with the small white chair in the corner where Robert was sitting, facing the wall for the acoustics. How do I know this? This was our room for the night!!!

When we arrived every cushion was turned on end, every drawer was open. I immediately assumed it was Robert welcoming us! We spent the night hanging out listening to Robert’s music, either his original or the hundreds of covers from the Stones, Clapton and others.





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.