Thursday, May 22, 2008

one of those cinderella days

Theresa Disney was waiting patiently for us all day in St. Louis, before we finally worked our way to her and the fabulous art she makes.   But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The day started with gray skies and rainy streets in Jefferson City, though we did manage to snag some Starbucks without a lightning strike.  That was a positive development.  And finding Chris Akers at his barbershop in Madison, MO near Moberly was another.  Chris cuts hair, like any small town barber.  But he also plays music, repairs instruments and gives guitar lessons onsite as well.  He's a motormouth with a hearty laugh and an uncanny knack for giving farm folk what they need in the way of grooming.  Make that for giving TV Weasels what they need. For  just ten bucks I'm sporting an Akers do myself, and pretty darned happy about it.  I forgot to get a receipt, so I guess this one's on me!

Along the way toward St. Lou, we sought out (and found with sketchy instructions) a yard full of metal dinosaurs northeast of Centralia.  However, the combination of wet grass, no shoulder whatsoever and gnawing hunger made this one a very short stop.  We may regret it later.

The rain kept ebbing and flowing, and even looked for a moment like it might wash us out completely in Wright City.  But the gods were with us, allowing a good look at what's recently happened to Elvis.  You may recall that the Graceland-defying Elvis Is Alive Museum has stood alongside I-70 there for many years. Not any more.  Now the big figure of the King is carrying a cross, and the sign says something about Baptist missions!  His momma might have been proud, but the rest of us are pretty shook up.

The traffic migraine that is St. Louis wasn't as brutal as usual, so we were only half an hour late to Ms. Disney's house on the Hill.  Well, not so much a house as an old dry cleaners that's filled to the gills with art.  Angels and devils play a big part in Theresa's work (she's built them into an amazing chess set among other things) but the main message seems to be "just create." It gives her a reason to get up everyday, find raw materials in neighborhood dumpsters, and figure out ways to make something that often calls for new adventuresin problem-solving.

The chance to wander about in Theresa's "private" spaces, the ones that no one usually sees was really quite an honor.  And time-consuming too, since almost everything in them was photo worthy!   If it was, as she put it,  a "Cinderella Day" for her, we too had a truly fine time pretending to be Three Princes Charming.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

hair and there without a care

What are we doing with these cosmetologists in training?  

As much as we can, of course.  They're taking a break from studies at the Independence School of Cosmetology, which also serves as the headquarters of Leila's Hair Museum.   That's her on the right.  She's "beyond obsessed with hair" she told us.  Back in 1956 she bought her first hair wreath.  Now the walls are filled with examples of this obscure Victorian era practice of memorializing loved ones with hair art.  Using their actual hair, which some folks think is a bit creepy.  But not Leila.  

It's a one-of-a-kind history lesson, a tribute to the types of work that women were allowed to pursue in those days, and a way for Leila to spend a whole lotta money on e-bay.  She's got hair from the stars too--Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr, Ronald Reagan's on the way... as is (you heard it hear first) Mary, the Mother of Jesus!  Like Don told her, "you're gonna need a bigger parking lot."

From  Independence, we headed south, then east to follow up on a couple of viewer tips, the first one about some yard art near Holden.  And indeed, a few sizable sculptures are standing in what the sign calls the Holden Art Yard, which also claimed to be closed.  But since the work was outside and easy to see, we decided it was still open, for a few minutes anyway.

 Our other investigation took us to Sedalia.  We'd heard that a TV Repair Shop there had "a lot of bird houses out back."  We're not sure what constitutes a whole lot of purple martin houses, but we've been to Griggsville, Illinois, and this sir, is no Griggsville.  But that's OK, while in Sedalia we were able to verify that the Wheel Drive-In, forced out of its long-time  location for highway improvements, is now up and running a mile or so south. Peanut butter slathered on a burger...I called it "an acquired taste" 12 years ago.  I think that still fits.

Even with my belly full of guber, we made tracks for Tipton, to play catch in the shadow of the World's Largest 8 Ball, which once served as the water tower for the Fisher Pool Table Co.  
Sure it was a stretch, but I still think my mention of former Royal Tom Poquette was the best billiards/baseball link of the day.  Think about it...

As dark clouds gathered, we wondered if we might get rained out at Boathenge.  But the skies cleared nicely as we reached Cooper's Landing on the Missouri River.  It's a stop on the Katy Trail between Rocheport and Jeff City.  A fellow named Catfish who helped erect the Henge said it could be explained as "beer, backhoes and boats" coming together.  We admired its eloquent self, and the 3D painting of it made by 82 year old Columbia folk artist Rex Bandy. Rex wants more color in the world, and paints accordingly.  He also shared some useful tips on picking up women in grocery stores, laundromats and pool halls.  We took a turn on some borrowed bikes, then chased it all with Thai food from Chim's  at the Landing.  All true, I swear, but don't ask me about Sparky, the grumpy guy on the houseboat where some equally tasty music was being made.  I just might tell you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

so close, so cool

So here's what happens when we start to shoot a "Missouri" episode to accompany last fall's "Kansas" show.  We get about 6 blocks from the station and stumble onto a backyard garden that's growing in all kinds of ways.  Laurie and Linda are urban pioneers living in an old porn store on Troost ("old guys with gold chains still pull up occasionally"), growing tomatoes, potatoes, corn and even cotton.  Did we mention the chickens?  And Bighead, the lovely, slobbering mastiff of the house?

From an art standpoint, the sizable walls made from discarded pallets, accented with blue bottle windows, and old letters from the Osco in Westport are the most engaging.  Reuse is rampant here at what we called the "Or-house" thanks to frequent visits to the Recycling center, or as the ladies called it "the trash exchange."

Our impromptu stop made us late for lunch at Waldo Pizza, which some viewers may recall as the home of the World's Only Memorial Restroom.  The J. Stephen O'Laughlin Memorial Restroom is also the employee bathroom at the WP, and we toured it some years back while Mr. O was living (and running for mayor in San Diego.)  He's back, and working again at the 'ol pizza joint-- sporting a jazzy new mullet at that, the better to get in touch with his "inner 816."  We all squeezed in to admire his clever self-tribute, and watched him get schooled in some rock paper scissors action back in the kitchen.

Joel was appropriately excited about meetingThe Big Ball, which was about to see one of its spiritual cousins up in Weston.   Mike took us up the scenic way through his old Parkville haunts, and for a brief recreational stretch we soaked up some laid-back Weston vibe.  Not much going on in the mid-afternoon, until we rolled up to O'Malley's.  The old brewery is getting a major facelift, and here's the best thing of all.  They "found" The World's Largest Ball of String (not twine) which had been sitting in a crowded storeroom since the late 70s.   Finley Stephens wound it (quite roundly) and got Guinness' blessing.  No easy task!  Then it sat forgotten for decades.  Kudos to the Corey and the O'Malley guys for getting it where folks can see and touch greatness.

And thanks for the Irish Ales!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

yes there is a mountain

Did you know that Winnemucca has more Basque restaurants per capita than any town in the country?  And the Buckaroo Hall of Fame too, whatever that is.  But we were spending the night there because of its proximity to an outsider art site that we've ogled from afar for years and years--Rolling Thunder Mountain just off I-80 in Imlay, Nevada.

Chief Rolling Thunder started life as Frank Van Zandt, a youth pastor, forest ranger and law enforcement professional, who started building his monument to the Native American spirit in 1968.  The core of what seems to me to be a cross between The Garden of Eden, Nittwit Ridge and the Coral Castle began with a small trailer, around which Thunder (as he preferred to be called) added rocks and concrete, bottles and statuary.  Its central tower with the eagle on top rises up some five or six stories above the ground-- the whole thing his son Dan estimates covering perhaps 4000 square feet.

Dan says that he'd go away for a couple of months during his dad's prime, and return to find whole new sections of the house, which also served as a kind of museum.  Not so much artifacts displayed within, but by the structure itself, which he said was guided by "the great spirit."   Thunder mostly worked alone, or with the assistance of hippie types who would stop by to see what the heck was going on.  And Dan remembers, as much as his father liked to tell stories, he was always on the move, finding rocks and new pieces to add to his "monument."

Neither Van Zandt could be considered  much of a "permit" type, so even though the property's marked as a State Historic Site, that's about the extent of governmental help.  Dan lives in California, and does what he can to shore up the most "at risk" parts of this amazing construction, but it's a daunting task.  The many "no trespassing" signs are designed to keep people from crawling around it, while still making it possible to view.

Dan recalls that given the choice his dad would probably pick concrete over groceries, and ironically, that's the business he's in now.   But he says he still occasionally hears from some of those aging flower children that often populated the place, and from Native Americans who appreciate the passion that Thunder put into his mountain.  We do too.  Big time.

And we appreciate that our van is now heading back towards home base, eerily on schedule. We've been blessed with only one slight rain delay, and considering what's been rattling Reno lately, no earthquakes.  Now we head back, and see if any of it actually was recorded... 

Music In the Van--REM "Accelerate", Bob Dylan "Modern Times", Sufjain Stevens Come On Feel the Illinois"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

gettin' bugged at dooby's

All right, first things first.   This morning, while Don and I snoozed, Mike "I'm up at 6" Murphy took the van and got it washed.  And we didn't notice.  We're bad men, and we regret it.

On our awakening we drove that clean machine to Reno, saw a giant spider on a roof, drove downtown through its gaming hub, and learned you can't warm your coffee in gas stations' microwaves--"it's a health hazard."   Speaking of such, we also passed by Sierra Sid's Casino & Truckstop in nearby Sparks, where they have some of Elvis' guns and jewelry on display. Maybe even the infamous gun that shot out the TV, but we're not sure.  We didn't really stick around to find out.

The big event today was well north of Reno, on a scenic, isolated road that took us past a town called Nixon, which spurred  a certain camera guy to new heights.  The people at the general store wondered why we were taking so many pictures, but really, how could we resist?

Our destination, Gerlach is best known these days as home base for the Burning Man festival.   In case you don't know, it attracts some 50,000 people to the Black Rock desert each Labor Day weekend.  Art cars, impromptu creations, music and revelry (and not so much clothing) are its staples.  And Matthew Ebert is one of the folks who helps make it happen.  He's also the guy who took us out to Guru Lane, a "drive through art show" a few miles outside of town.  

The guru in question was a guy named Dewayne Williams, whose other moniker was "Dooby."
And yes, that's how he got his name.  This ex-Marine with a liberal bent would carve sayings and pithy wisdom into rocks that he sprinkled along a path that runs a mile or so.  Along the way, he also built installations, like an Elvis shrine, a womanly Aphrodite, and the Dooobyvision TV studio we're posed in front of.  It's really impressive, and surprisingly well-preserved (in part thanks to Matthew and his volunteers) but the bugs are something else! Apparently, the no-seeums start swarming just about now, and we were the perfect target for them.  At least, unlike some critters, the pain from their bites is short-lived.   Unless malaria or something else sets in, we're ready for our big finale tomorrow, Rolling Thunder Mountain, one of those "grandaddy" sites we've heard about for years.

Music In the Van--Bruce Springsteen "Magic Town",  Richard Thompson ""Live, the Chrono Show", Ringo Starr Liverpool"
Correction--The highest gas price from the other day was only supposed to be $4.69 for diesel, not $4.99 (though just give it time)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

lotsa drivin' and nobody's cryin'

The El Portal Motel in Beatty, NV isn't much on amenities--no clocks among other things!  But we all managed to get up on time and start the day at Eddie's Place, which calls itself The World's Most Beautiful Gas Station.  And it does have some pretty nice brickwork, roses and flowering shrubs to ease the stench of high gas prices!  Also lots of snacks and candies not found in your normal convenience store.  Wasabi peas and sour cherry gummies.  Yum!

Beatty's on US95, a road that's lined with casinos and bordellos, none of which got any of your public TV dollars.  Our destination was Goldfield, another of those mining towns that at one time was the largest city in Nevada. Til the gold ran out, and everyone left, leaving behind several crumbling bottle houses, and a few grand old buildings that we've seen in movies like "Vanishing Point" and "Cherry 2000."  Really, some of us have seen those, though no one saw "Butterfly" with Orson Welles and Pia Zadora, which also shot some of its scenes here.

A folk artist and art car owner named Slim Sirnes also lived in Goldfield until his death a few years ago at age 75.  His wife Carol welcomed us in to see to what's left of his sculptures and recycled artwork, the most impressive being the pieces he made with beer cans on a loom.  That's right, a loom that wove with metallic strands!   Purses, flags, dogs, images of Burning Man (which he attended a few times) and other colorful creations, some of which departed with us.

The photo above is from Tonopah, previously known only to me as a reference in a Little Feat song.  The Clown Motel sign pretty much forced me to grab that Big Ball of Tape and whirl around until dizzy.  That outburst was followed by a serious haul through the mountains and onto the so-called Loneliest Highway in the World, US 50.  It definitely has its share of scenic diversions, but the one we came for was the Middlegate Shoe Tree.  We've seen shoe trees before, but never quite like this.  It's pretty much the only vertical thing around.  Since we'd brought no footwear of our own, we opted to play some catch in its shade.  Slapping leather of another kind, you might say.

The clouds were dipping lower and lower as we passed the salt flats and Sand Mountain, the singing sand dune that might be fun if you had the time to play that tune.  We didn't, and Fallon is where we're down for the night.  This place does have clocks...

Music In the Van--Loose Fur "Born Again In the USA", "Classic Voices In American Soul",
Eric Clapton "Unplugged", Ben Folds Five "Whatever and Ever Amen", The Kinks Greatest Hits
Highest Gas Price- $4.99 (diesel) wow!

Monday, May 5, 2008

death valley dazed

Leaving Las Vegas wasn't cinematic, but it was time consuming.  They just keep building strip malls and casinos in gas stations further and further away from town.  We stopped at one, re-iced, slathered on sunscreen and talked about "Death Valley Days" and Borateem in preparation for searching out stuff in the desert.

Stuff like Cathedral Canyon, a sculpture park built into a small natural canyon near the California-Nevada line.  Apparently a Vegas attorney named Roland Wiley spent years creating it as a tribute to his daughter, but then he passed away too, and the vandals have had their way with it.  The statue of Christ of the Andes was headless, the bridge was gone, and the small grottos in the canyon walls were crumbling away too.  

We said a small thank you once again to the preservationists out there who save sites like these, and headed toward Beatty to meet one.  Suzanne Hackett-Morgan worked with Seymour Rosen in California many years back, and is now helping the Goldwell Open Air Museum stay viable in its Death Valley domain.  Technically, the artists whose work is on display here were trained.  But they came from Belgium, and saw in this inhospitable terrain a great place to drink lots of beer and make whatever they wanted.  There's a large metal miner (with a penguin), a spooky Last Supper, a giant pink pixilated woman, and as the picture above shows, a new addition that fits right in.  Recently, Suzanne managed to corral a piece from the Las Vegas Children's Museum called "Sit Here", revamped and re-imagined it and voila, another piece for the park.

Why Goldwell, when it's actually in Rhyolite?  Apparently, Albert, the Belgian who started it all back in the 80s, said "gold was what people came here for, and Wellington was the name of the mine, so, Goldwell!"  And speaking of Rhyolite, except for the old train depot, it's nothing but ruins.  The depot and Tom Kelly's Bottle House, that is.  Built in 1908 utilizing the resource that thousands of miners who lived there at the time contributed--glass bottles.  It's been shored up with a new roof in the last few years, which is great.  However, it's behind barbed wire, and no one had a key.  Not so great.

Don did take a small spill on the rocks at Rhyolite, but his skinned knee isn't going to bench him.  Best of all, we left the park with great swag --T-Shirts, cards, books, and a real appreciation for the passion that someone like Suzanne can bring to places like these.  Did I mention she likes the Jayhawks too?

Music In the Van--John Hiatt "Best Of", Minus Five "Down With Wilco", Joni Mitchell "Shine"

Sunday, May 4, 2008

is there a doctor in the house(s)?

Here's an indication of just how exciting our lives are these days.  We hit Las Vegas before dark, and the main thing on our minds was that we could probably do some laundry!  
Actually, our hotel (which was being repainted as Don discovered outside his window this morning) technically is in North Las Vegas.  That's a ways from the Strip, but we did drive down it this morning on our way to a place that encapsulates the town's history and so much more.  And it does it all in a huge, rambling structure that began as a single ranch home, thanks to that man above, Dr. Lonnie Hammargren.

Lonnie is a neurosurgeon, musician and former lieutenant governor of Nevada.  He's also an amateur archaeo-astronomer, and a guy who can't resist yard sales.  Of course, the things he's acquired are sometimes quite large-- old casino signage, pieces of atomic and aerospace history, movie sets, vintage cars.  He's built a pyramid on the roof that helps him chart the stars, he's working on a Stonehenge up there too, and, oh did I mention there's an iron lung inside a sarcophagus in the basement in which he plans to be buried?

Lonnie's chums include American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts, Vegas musicians and magicians, as well as high-profile politicians like Harry Reed, who he met when he was being sued some years ago.  He's also pretty popular at a nearby casino where he plays accordion most Sundays with the aptly named Dumkoffs.

For hours and hours we walked and listened, looked and learned.  We sat on Johnny Weismuller's old couch, heard Liberace's piano, talked about Teddy Roosevelt and Howard Hughes... it was a day to remember, and best of all, no brains needed surgery.

No music in the Van since we really didn't drive too far, but Don does report he's over the $2.00 mark in found money for the trip so far.  America rejoices!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

rockin' our way to chloride

OK, first things first, no ghost sightings from our night at the Jerome Hotel, though Don did report that one of the occupants of 402 was screaming with something other than fright.  For his sleep-related troubles, we treated him with a John Wayne lunchbox from the hotel gift shop.  On the way out o' town, we made friends with some bikers in the lot and Mike handed off our ostrich egg from the other day to someone who said they'd cook it.  I can't believe I just wrote that sentence.

After a scenic turn on 89A we hooked back up with I-40, then ducked off it at Seligman, which claimed (and we're not sure why) to be the birthplace of Route 66.  At any rate, it was hoppin' on this lovely Saturday morn, with overflow crowds flowing out of Delgadillo's Snow Cap Drive-In and many other 66-tinged businesses.

We really wanted to see Kingman though, not the least reason being its full embrace of Andy Devine.  Who, you say?  (Mike does too.)  Andy was a squeaky voiced cowboy sidekick in movies and TV, and even though he's got a major street named after him, the people we asked were as clueless as Mike.  The streets were teeming with folks looking at classic cars in some kind of retrofest, so we played some catch at a stumpy pyramid honoring the only camel train in US history.  I'm not making this up!

We'd heard that Chloride, a tiny town 20 miles north of Kingman was full of junk sculptures, but details were sketchy.  We drove its deserted streets for awhile, saw a few token attempts at recycled art, including a place advertising "crap I make", and then hit the motherlode at Sharron Gidding's Shady Ladies Antique Store.  Sharron calls herself a Chloridiot, and says the bottle trees out front of the shop are her idea of a sign.  They're unlike any we've seen before--really more like bottle chollas, Don pointed out.

Sharron hauls rocks and driftwood up from the river in her kayak, and in doing so has lost 85 pounds in the last few years.  The inside of her house has been somewhat overtaken by odds and ends that she makes, sells, or is just impressed with.  She likes to build what she calls cowgirl fences along the edge of her land, more decorative than cowboys would likely choose to make.   She's one ball o' fire, and we're pretty sure the two r's in her name have something to do with rock & roll.

Music In the Van--Gram Parsons "GP and Grievous Angel", John Stewart "Fire In the Wind".
Simon & Garfunkel Live 1969

Friday, May 2, 2008

art that truly lives on

Woke up bright and early in Flagstaff (Mountain non-DST sun seems to show up fast) with Elifante on our mind.  Our guide to this jaw-dropping sculpture village and residence built by Michael and Leda Kahn wanted to meet in Sedona at 8 AM.  I want it on the record that we hit the Safeway parking lot at the exact moment!  A good omen, and we happily followed J.D. down to Cornville, a far less busy town off 89A. 

Michael, we knew, had passed away in March, after a battle with Pick's Disease. a form of Alazheimers that had reduced him to just two words, though he continued to paint right on up to the end.  Not surprising when you start seeing the scope of work that went into the place,  all the rocks that were moved, the beams that were raised and the painting that was done in the thirty years since the couple arrived.  Completely jaw-dropping in its diversity and its execution.   Michael wasn't a morning or evening person, Leda says, he was both.

Elifante encompasses a number of non-traditional structures, like the Hippodome, where they eventually lived, Pipe Dreams (a gallery for Michael's paintings), the Winter Palace, the Bath House and so on.   There are gardens, trees they've planted, even a nennis court.  That's tennis with no net, and definitely, she told us, no rules. 

It seems almost condescending to point out the hobbit-ness of the place, but the world Peter Jackson built for the movies is eerily close to Elifante in many ways.  It's shapes and passages, 
playfulness and functionality are magical.  We've seen nothing quite like it before, and that's something I don't say lightly.  We're sorry we couldn't meet Michael, but the work he made, and the look in Leda's eyes as she talked about him spoke volumes in his absence.

We're lucky guys. and we know it.

And just to top it off, we pulled the plug early, and headed for Jerome, an old mining town at the top of a hill that counter-culture types reclaimed in the 70s.  Of course, it's also a hotbed of the paranormal, and our night's lodging spot, the Grand Hotel is reputed to be ghost central. Who'll be Scully tonight?

Music In the Van--Regina Spektor (a favorite of Larry Harris', whose "endorsement" helped convince Leda to grant our request.  Thanks, Lar)
Highest Gas Price-- $4.39 (diesel) two days ago in New Mexico.  
And while we're playing the addendum game, the CD from yesterday I couldn't name was "Actual Size" which might be the title or it might be the artist, but it was funny and pretty darned good.  Gracias Joe Khron of Lawrence, Kansas.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

winding a windy way to flagstaff

We woke up  knowing that the day was going to be breezy, but the cold was a bit of a shock. Farmington was barely breaking 40 when we rolled past Sunny, its first rate Muffler Man, mounted atop the Sun Glass Store on West Main.  Sunny was rocking rather violently. leading us to hope that the show didn't end abruptly with a large fiberglass man crushing us.

It didn't, but we almost wished it had, standing with our teeth chattering at the famed 4 Corners monument northwest of Shiprock.  We'd dreamed of playing catch there, throwing to 4 states at once, but alas... It's a Navajo owned attraction, and they think that taping there should be worth $1500.  That's right, they've had crews pay it, the guy told us.  Not us, of course, and we left with a bad taste in the four corners of our mouths.  Bummer.

Long stretches of driving through more Navajo country followed, leading down to Adalamo, AZ.  At exit 303 on I-40, the signs all point to Stewart's Rock Shop.  And not just signs, but giant homemade dinosaurs with moving parts that light up and blink!  No problem shooting pictures here.  Along with rocks and petrified wood, the Stewarts (it's really Charles' wife Gazell who runs the place) have over 100 ostriches to see and feed.  We left with the promised petrified wood sample and postcard, along with a bonus parting gift from Gazell--an ostrich egg that we'll try to get cooked up tomorrow.  No cholesterol, you know...

And finally,  a few miles further west,  Holbrook helped us score the trifecta.  That is, we've now seen all three remaining Wigwam Village Motels.  The one here is operated by the son of the man who opened it back in 1950, when it also pumped a lot of Texaco to Route 66 travelers.  As Don pointed out, that's the same year he was built, and his wiring's starting to fritz.   But overall the 15 units appear to be doing quite well.  This Wigwam was the one that Oprah visited a year or two back, but there wasn't enough room for her 18 crew members, so she didn't actually stay.  She did send a chopper back later to get some aerial shots.  We told John we'd send ours someday too.  

Music In the Van--"Jayhawks "Live at the Women's Club", William Shatner "Has Been", Dire Straits "Making Movies", R. Crumb, Dirk Hamilton, and a CD someone gave Don that I can't remember now.  (We drove a lot.)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

a gritty day in navajo land

Actually, we started bright and early in Chama, a quaint little town in northern New Mexico known best for its narrow gauge railroad.  We'd spent the night at the Cumbria Suites, which might be described as a handful of rooms added to the back of the owner's house.  But it had a three foot basketball goal on which we dunked mightily to get our pre-coffee juices flowing.  Also worth noting-- at the actual coffee shop in town, we saw that our old chums Brewer & Shipley were slated to play the Chama Fest in June.  One Toke Over the Narrow Gauge Line!

Anyway, our trip west from there on US 64 was largely uneventful except for a gas stop that yielded the slowest pump ever--10 minutes (not kidding) for two gallons.  Mike's mission to pick up supplies at the supermarket nearby was equally time-challenged.   So we made it to Farmington a little later than planned, meeting up there with Jason Beasley, a very nice guy whose father has had much to do with bringing Navajo folk art to greater visibility.

Our first stop on the route behind Jason's Bigfootish vehicle was in Upper Fruitland to visit Mamie Deschillie.  Now 87 and a little less vigorous than when she walked to Washington, D.C. in the 1980s, Mamie is the grande dame of Navajo creativity.  Paintings, dolls, cutout animals and other non-traditional images have made her famous well beyond New Mexico.  She was willing to speak with us (with interpretation by her son Jerome) but in the old Navajo way, preferred no still photos.

Forty miles south of Farmington, with more guidance from Jason, we found carver Johnson Antonio, and he had no problem with us taking pictures at all.  Due to the blustery winds that were starting to whoop, we moved the piece he had in progress and his tools inside his hogan, and watched him work the wood.  No power tools for him.  Johnson started carving after he retired from the railroad, and lovingly pours his heart and soul into these representations of many things Navajo.  Even though it's a tough life out on the reservation, he says he prefers it to being in town.

And after following Jason down more incredibly dusty roads near Chaco Canyon searching in vain for the Willetos, we'd agree that it is a very tough place, harsher than almost any we've seen.   Thanks again to Mr. Beasley for the tour, and for so deftly weaving us into the fabric of these artists' lives.  We're richer for it.

Music in the Van-- Starbucks English Invasion compilation, Ryan Adams "29", Lucinda Williams "World Without Tears"
Highest Gas Price So Far $4.59 diese

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

no country for pink coyotes

We've been to Santa Fe before--10 years ago when we visited the International
Folk Art Museum.  It's the kind of town where you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a gallery of some kind.  This time we had a couple of specific artists in mind, and meeting them was well worth any touristy inconveniences we may have experienced.

Stop #1 was Ron Rodriguez, the grandson of Felipe Archuleta, a carver whose fierce and funny tigers, giraffes, fish, elephants and countless other critters are highly prized pieces today.  Ron started in the family operation near Tesque when he was 9, first carving teeth, then painting a little, until he was making animals on his own.  Unlike his grandfather, who died in 1990, Ron's more than willing to use power tools, and also to incorporate metal and various found objects into his work.  His fiery red devil pig is one example of the less traditional forms he's delving into.
When we mentioned to Ron that we'd heard Santa Fe's famed "Fridgehenge" was no longer standing, he offered to show us the site to make certain.  Sure enough, no more GEs and Kelvinators in Druidesque formation at the landfill.  Something about a safety hazard... so we followed him into town for lunch at The Shed and to see a few more Archuleta sculptures at the Rainbow Man Gallery.  Zach down there is our personal hero for all the help he's offered, not the least of which was the use of his very own parking space in back!!!

Speaking of galleries we love, the Manitou is also on our A list for making it so easy to shoot some of Nicholas Herrera's work, which they're featuring in a show this summer.   Women with ladders who adjust lights on request is what heaven must be like...

After our time in Santa Fe we headed north to El Rito, where the Herrera family has lived for generations.  In fact, his mother's buried in a very cool shrine at the back of the house.  Nick makes no bones about the fact that he was on a collision course with disaster from drugs and drink.  In fact, a headon crash in a Yugo at 80 miles per hour helped convince him that getting his act together was essential.  A modern day santero is how he's often described, with updated takes on saints and sinners that radiate intensity.  More and more, Nicholas weaves social commentary into his work, taking artistic aim at political figures and corporate greed.

He also restores old cars and trucks, including the '39 Chevy coupe in which he raced down the road with Don in tow.  When he brought our favorite  Camera Guy back safe and sound, we showed him the Big Ball of tape, and heard the phrase we've always wanted--"su pelota es bonita."

From El Rito we cruised north past The Ghost Ranch and those rocky red cliffs that Georgia O'Keefe loved so much.  Great light and some non-Frito-Lay chips made the drive a delight.

Music In the Van--Amos Lee, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings "100 Days, 100 Nights", Jim Lauderdale "Lost In the Lonesome Pines"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

full tilt at the bone zone

Seldom do we get to retrace our steps on this show.  And if we do, it's usually at such a clip that there's no time to savor it.  But today, it was truly Turquoise Trail II for RVRR.  We'd driven scenic New Mexico Highway 14 nearly ten years ago for segments of episode #402, and ended up in Santa Fe.  This time though, we just wanted to make it through Madrid (one of the funkiest old mining towns turned cosmic seeker convergence center ever) to Tammy Lange's roadside extravaganza known as the Bone Zone.

Tammy Tattoo as she likes to be called got that name legitimately, working as one of the state's first female inkers.  In 1997 she started building an environment about halfway between Madrid and Cerillos, creating as she likes to call it "the art that dies to live."  There are indeed a great many bones out here that have been fashioned into motorcycles and other forms that you may or may not recognize.  There's her Better Bones & Gardens area, complete with the Wheel of Imagination (which one nameless tall producer walked into with his noggin) the River of Glass and Tiny Town itself.

The town's got a jail, a church, hotel and gallows, all part of her miniature golf course, though finding balls to putt with is half the challenge.  Then there's Tammy's very own bowling alley, complete with glass bottle "pins" that make every frame a lot more fun than the regular kind. "If it seems weird, chances are it is" says one of the signs that she's sprinkled around.

There has been some upheaval around the Bone Zone in the last few months, causing Tammy the stress of finding another place to live.  She can still work here on her art though, and she vows that in a month or so, the place will be looking better than ever.  She bought new tattooing gear, and hopes that the revenue stream from it will turn things around.  We left her some $$ in the donation box, and a Big Ball T-Shirt that she promised to cut up nicely.  We say rock on to that.

On the way back to Albuquerque we stopped in at Tinkertown, a sensational site near Sandia Park that we did see on the '98 trip.  Circus sign painter and carver extraordinaire Ross Ward made it "while you were watching TV" and we were humbled by his achievement.  Ross passed away in 2002, but his wife Carla still has it up and running, and to say that we were happy to see her (and it) is an understatement.   We meet the greatest people doing this show, and even though Carla says we're doing important work because we're documenting it, we know who the real heroes are. 

Did I mention yesterday that Don bought too much kettle corn?

Music In the Van--Kathleen Edwards, Byrds Super Hits (truck stop purchase)
Don's found money count to date on the trip-- $1.47

Saturday, April 19, 2008

tiling the time away

When Erin Magennes was still in high school in Albuquerque, her mother, an art professor at the University began the most ambitious project of her life--tiling the home they lived in, from top to bottom and everywhere in between.

Not just a single color, or a basic pattern that repeats.  No,  Beverly Magennes made each wall different, accenting them with flowers, birds and bursts of color, using fragments of tile that she scrounged and/or was gifted.  On the inside, all the ceilings and walls were covered in cereal boxes and coins, cigar packages and popsicle sticks.  Beautifully!  All in all, it was an 11 year undertaking.  And then Beverly moved on.  

Meanwhile, Erin was developing a love of tilework herself.  For years, she had an art car that 
carried much of the same sense of vibrant design and meticulous detail.  But the house, as she learned the hard way, was falling prey to the dangers of time and weather.  And the fact that her mom hadn't been as interested in proper technique as she was in making her vision a reality.  So Erin (who now owns a tile business) somewhat reluctantly begun the labor-intensive process of renovating the Tile House.  "It's an Albuquerque icon" she says, and a task she felt had to be done.  A year and a half later the place is truly looking great, and even though Erin tried to not be on camera, we TV Weasels knew she needed to be.  We didn't even ask how many tiles, like some pesky crews!

Our ABQ stay included a great lunch nearby at Sophia's, a small, non-descript eatery that's known for its good, hearty breakfasts and lunches.  We needed our strength for a run down to the fairgrounds to see Fidel.  That's what the locals call the mustachioed Bunyan style Muffler Man who's wielding an axe on the roof of a Vietnamese Restaurant.  Talk about cultural diversity.  That's just off Central Avenue, also known as Old Route 66.  There's a stretch of East Central where motels of yore (the ones that are left anyway) are showing their age, but none quite like the Aztec.   Apparently, some years ago a woman named Phyllis moved in and started decorating its simple stucco cabins with thrift store paintings and statuary, adding rocks, bottles, tires and assorted bric a brac.  Muy eclectico... 

The workday ended with some serious horseplay at Doc Atomic's home and studio just a few blocks from the campus of UNM.  He's a recovering scientist whose specialty is art made with castoffs of the electronic age--circuit boards, wiring, plugs, etc.  Machinas, his version of the Southwestern Kachina dolls so popular in these parts might give you a sense of his sensibilities.
He too has an art car, or truck in this case.  One that started as a picture postcard truck, then a stucco truck to match his house, and finally a Circuit Board pickup, which picked up the Big Ball for some Route 66 joyriding we won't soon forget.  And Doc seemed pretty happy with his RVRR T-Shirt, which he promised he'll take with him next week to France.  Please take some pix, Doc and let us see ourselves in Paree!

Highest Gas of the Trip--$4.29  (diesel) 

Friday, April 18, 2008

viva las vegas, the other one

How lucky are we? 

Thanks to our good friend Larry Harris from the Orange Show, we have a new pal in Las Vegas, New Mexico.   
Margaret is a great fan of folk art, and even purchased (she showed us the receipt) our book a while back, which we happily signed for her at the grand old Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas.  The Plaza was a favorite of Teddy Roosevelt's, was used by Tom Mix in some of his movies and now reputed to be a wee bit haunted.  Our stay was low-key and quite pleasant, with no ghosts to be seen at all.

The morning low did drop to twenty two degrees, sunny and crisp, as we followed/chased Margaret to one of the places she'd found for us to investigate.  It's called the Casa de Colores, which despite what Don said doesn't mean "house of calories."  The "colors" are the creation of Casey Marquez, a 78 year old who's been living in it for twenty years or more, painting both outside and in because "it makes me happy."  Casey worked in auto body repair, which may or may not explain his fascination with spray paint.  He's fond of smoking, loves his dog Spot, and  he plays a little harmonica too. Kudos are also in order for his home health care worker Yvonne, who helps him get out to work on the place and makes him stay off ladders.

Margaret's next tip took us a few blocks south of the Plaza to a homemade theme park in Bobby Valdez's yard. Concrete's the name of the game in this one--cartoon rodents, tweety birds, spiders, dinosaurs and anatomically correct caveman, not to mention an elaborate  indoor swimming pool.  The artist wasn't home but his neighbor Manuel spoke glowingly about the work Bobby has done, even though he "hadn't lifted even one little rock to help him."    He did however lift the Big Ball for a moment, just long enough to let out a quick "Jesus Christ" and put it back down.  Another satisfied customer!

Manuel also talked about more of the movies filmed around Las Vegas, from "Easy Rider" to "Red Dawn" to "No Country For Old Men"-- motivation to get out and see some more of the Land of Enchantment ourselves.  We headed out on scenic, shoulderless Highway 3, sharing space with a large cow at one point.  The road winds through the Pecos River valley and into some beautiful terrain.  Eventually we landed in Chilili, or just outside it at a small cemetery full of Horace McAfee's handiwork.  Over the years, Horace embellished the graves of family members and other folks from this small rural community, using metal and tin, much of it punched out with a nail.  It's simple and touching, and would only have been better if we'd been able to find Horace's grave too.  

Music In the Van-- Fiona Apple "Extraordinary Machine", Warren Zevon's Greatest Hits, Starbucks "From the Coffeehouse" Compilation

Thursday, April 17, 2008

aliens been berry berry good to them

OK, the Cover Up Cafe didn't quite make it, and the Alien Shaved Ice Shack hasn't opened for the season yet, but all throughout Roswell it's clear that whether extraterrestrials landed near here in 1947 or not, the local economy wouldn't be the same without them.  There is an "official" UFO Research Center in the old movie house, but it's kinda stuffy and staid.  We wanted souvenirs and silly thrills of the Outer Limits kind, which are best acquired from places like The Alien Zone, which even features dioramas with bug-eyed humanoids suitable for posing.

Scully and Mulder badges.  Check.  Roswell Snow Globe.  Check.   Alien Hot Sauce, Frisbee and Magnets, T-Shirts and Sweatshirts and whew.... let's just say that viewers like you were very generous today in helping us remember our visit.

Call it coincidence, but Roswell also  just happened to be hosting the state's Tourism Conference this week.  And Governor Bill Richardson happened to be staying at the same hotel, just a few doors down from Don.  We always bring guest gloves, so some celebrity guest catch seemed a genuine possibility, but the gov was gone before breakfast.  No pepper, indeed.

The weather took a turn for the worse during our shopping spree, so as we headed north out o' town, the skies were looking gray and foreboding.  Rain with a touch of sleet pelted us several times, and put the notion of more TV today right to bed.  Speaking of beds, we're booked at the storied old Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas (the one in New Mexico, that is) and planning to meet Margaret, a friend of a friend, and get this, an actual purchaser of our book.  Details tomorrow. We've got ghosts to deal with tonight.

Music In the Van -- Starbucks Classic Country compilation, Elko Railroad Earth Live (from Don's nephew)
New Highest Gas Price --  $4.25 (diesel)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

sugar shock

Rufino Loya told his wife he was going to make something beautiful for her.  And proceeded to do just that in and all around the yard of his small frame house near a Highway 54 off ramp in El Paso.  Mr. Loya grew up in Mexico, saw churches and shrines that fired his imagination, and even though he was working at the Levi Strauss factory (he's retired now), would come back and spend countless nights and weekends on his "Wedding Cake House" or Casa de Azucar. That's what the neighbors started calling the ribbons of shockingly white columns and spires that began to dance around the property.  "The whole house is like a prayer" he explained, and  admits he's done it partly in hopes that others would be inspired to beautify El Paso in ways of their own.   

We know some of this because of our guest translator, Adair Margo, a local gallery owner who treasures the magical world that's been created out here.  While we struggle to say things in Spanish beyond eating, drinking and other basic functions, she helped us talk art and aesthetics with the man himself.  Kudos to her, and to Mr. Loya for opening the gates to his very sweet monument. 

Did I mention the wind?  Blowing the dust.  Like crazy.  Good thing we could run over to H&H Coffee Shop & Car Wash for a scrubbing and a great meal.  For us, not the vehicle.  H&H is an institution like no other we've encountered, run by two brothers right across the street from the house where they grew up.  Maynard, the outgoing bro who showed us around, says they don't make much on the food because the quality's so high.  Chile rellenos, which Mike ordered, are their best known dish, but whatever I had (the waitress' pick) was first rate as well.  We talked Jayhawk basketball with several Texans at the counter, and watched the van get the royal treatment, including a Big Ball buffing from Shorty himself.

Then, wind or no, we headed to a small plaza in the heart of downtown.  The one they call Alligator Park.  Named for the actual gators that lived in it from the 1800s to the 1960s. There's tales of them being taken to nearby  to stay warm at night, but now they're only found in fiberglass, in a massive fountain (no water actually) in the middle of the grounds.  Grounds where, according to a very detailed sign, no projectiles can be thrown!

That's not really why we left town, but leave then we did.  Bye bye Texas, hello Land of Enchantment.  Some Roadside America tips on scrap metal cars and a welded dinosaur along the highway were pretty underwhelming, but then we latched onto Ham.  Ham the Astrochimp, who is buried in the front lawn of the Space Museum--a hall of fame worthy monkey.  Except we were just in Independence, Kansas, which claims their Miss Able was actually the first space ape some two years earlier.  Did Ham have a better agent?   Or was it the fact that he survived his ride and Miss A didn't?  An asterisk on this one, perhaps?

Anyway, Roswell's  our destination.  Who's gonna be Scully tonight?

Music In the Van--EmmyLou Harris Starbucks Compilation, Loose Fur, Finnigan & Wood "Crazed Hipsters", Neil Young "American Chrome"
Highest Gas Cost Seen--$4.29 (diesel)
Also notable--First 2008 penny found by Don in 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

ran the van man

Ran Van Horn is nothing if not ambitious.  And he's having fun .  Though he's had no art training whatsoever, Ran opened the Van Gogh Gallery on the main drag of Van Horn, Texas 11 years ago. Thousands of people a day drive past on I-10 he figures, and the price is right for rent in this part of the world, so why not?  

Ran's previous occupation was Baptist minister, but a fall and a head injury gave him a reason to relocate back to his native state, and start painting in the Van Gogh way.  Maximalist, he calls it.  Sometimes it's recreations of the one thousand or so paintings Vincent made during his short career, and sometimes it's variations on his own heroes, newsworthy events or simply things that strike his fancy.  He paints, and then lets the world slowly wander in to see, and sometimes buy.

We showed Ran the World's Largest Ball of Videotape in fervent hope he'll get the urge to whomp up a masterpiece that includes it.  We'll keep you posted.

At the other end of the street Van Horn also has an antique shop with a front yard brimming with  junk sculptures.  We couldn't find the guy who makes 'em, but we took plenty of pictures and heard Van and his friend Patricia say plenty of nice things about the sculptor, whose name is Gerald.  It's right next to Chuy's Mexican Restaurant, which proudly proclaims that football analyst John Madden stops in often and is crazy about 'em.

Speaking of crazy, we drove up to the Guadalupe Mountain National Park (the highest point in Texas except maybe Willie Nelson's bus) to play some very windy catch, and what should we find out in the midst of the cactus and brush but an old handgun.  A 9 millimeter that someone had unceremoniously ditched.  New meaning to the phrase "rock and fire."  We loved the view nonetheless, and followed it with a sprint through the Salt Flats nearby.  Grand Caravans seldom set speed records, so don't even ask.

Music In the Van--Shelby Lynne Suit Yourself", Crowded House's newest

Monday, April 14, 2008

the poop on oop

You may remember the big cigar smoking caveman from the comic pages of yore.  Or like Mike, you may not.  The folks of Iraan, Texas do.  They've got a "fantasy park" that bears his name and image because A.O.'s creator got the idea for the strip while working in the oil fields of West Texas.  This is truly a photo op rich piece o' greenspace in a town with little else to see.  And the bathrooms at the back are sparkly clean to boot!

We didn't start the day here though.  We began by dodging lawyers and lawmen in San Angelo (that compound fracas you know) on our way to see monumental sculptures with biblical themes by Donald Keeney.  Don calls his operation Message in Mesquite, and his bread butter is/are small crosses.  But it all started (and still continues) with massive, detailed  carvings that come from his love of history and archaelogy, and yes, the Bible.  They're graceful and fluid, and in some cases actually tell time too.  Way cool.  He also spoke of the many rattlesnakes that populate the grounds, but we only saw weasels.

On the post-Oop side of the day's mileage we passed the no-longer World's Largest Roadrunner, Paisano Pete in Fort Stockton, circled the contemporary art center that tiny Marfa
has become (we particularly liked the old jail)  and finished a very long day at the fake Prada store in the middle of nowhere.  It's a piece of conceptual art along Highway 90 that tickled our fancy, if not our feet.  Nice sunset over an old windmill, and on to Van Horn for more funny biz tomorrow.

Music In the Van- Various Artists "Timeless--the Music of Hank Williams", Elton John "Honky Chateau", Cat Power "The Greatest", Bob Marley "Legend", Bob Dylan's new Starbucks Artist Picks collection
Oh, and the highest gas prices of the trip so far-- $4.14 for diesel!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

trabajando en san angelo

Kinda freaky when you turn on CNN, and the first thing you see is a story from the town you're in--especially when it's an out of the way place like San Angelo, Texas.  The story of course is polygamists gone wild, and we're the only TV crew in town that's not here for the compound.
We did come for the art however, and found it all day in various forms.

First on the agenda was a quick run out to the Old Chicken Farm.  Not a poultry place anymore, but a compound for artists.  The O.C.F. even has a B&B and a great restaurant that's closed on Sundays.  Roger, one of the founding artists, kindly dished out CDs of the country pickin' that happens out on the patio too.  TV Weasels love free stuff!

The next two assignments both involved rocks and driving around town.  First we hunted for a grander than average fence made by a man named Cadena, enclosing both his home and his goats.  Then, with the gracious assistance of architect Craig Kinney, we trespassed in the yards of some very cool houses made by stonemasons in the 20s and 30s.  Craig's not sure who made 'em, but he thinks they're folk art in themselves, with decorative touches and flourishes no one would dream of including today.  We agree, and so does our own guest architect, Larry Harris (Narrowlarry to some of you) from Houston, who's joined the dog pack for a few days as well

Next we met up with a cop turned gardener turned sculptor named Bobby Peiser.  Bobby does stuff with plants, with wood, metal, stone and whatever else captures his fancy.  There's an 
olympic torch cactus, the ruins of Pompei, gates to nowhere, tiki gods and greenery with various Greek and Latin names we don't actually recognize.  Bobby's getting married again on June 5, and so happy he risks losing his status as an crusty, eccentric old fart (his words.)

All of which served as a set up for the day's final slam dunk, the Cascada de Piedra Pinta, a front yard waterfall grotto made by Jesus Zertuche.  The impeccably dressed Mr. Z. was a ranch foreman and laborer who brought materials back to his home near downtown, and crafted the one-of-a-kind tableau with snakes and dragons and bears to populate it.  The walls of his home are an amazing black and white stone extravaganza as well.  And to sweeten the deal even more, he took us inside, and played a few of the 450 or so songs he's written.  Kudos to our own Mr. Murphy for putting his limited Spanish skills to the best use possible.  Viva Zertuche!

Music in the Van-- David Lindley "El Rayo X" , Norah Jones' most recent
Trips to Starbucks--2

Saturday, April 12, 2008

a man of steel, hoss and jackie too

That's a house.  Really.  Robert Bruno's been building it since 1973 on the rim of Ransom Canyon a few miles outside outside Lubbock.  He's got a degree in sculpture, but no experience at construction.  So he's taught himself, and learned to solve the kinds of problems that occur when you're making something no one's ever seen before.
Is it a bird, plane. cow or something futuristic?  Not really.  Just something he felt compelled to do.   And the house has shifted in form constantly, he says, with beams getting moved, windows reshaped, curves flattened and so on, as he feels the urge.  But this year, something dramatic did happen to Robert.  He moved in.  Only to find that the only real difference is that instead of leaving at midnight or so, he stays!

We left long before midnight, to pay more homage to an icon of our youth whose Texas roots ran deep--Dan Blocker.  We'd seen Hoss' grave in DeKalb, but O'Donnell claims him as their own because he basically grew up there.  A nice Hoss head in a small park, and a museum with a pair of the lad's pants (from age 11) tell you this is the kind of place where a Bonanaza lunchbox like the one Don brought along would be admired.  It was, and Don (whose birthday is the same as Dan's) even offered his as a backup should calamity ever claim the museum's.

Lamesas is just a little further down Highway 87, and home to another notable piece of the past--a Uniroyal Gal aka a Muffler Jackie.  This one's been transformed into a cheerleader for the hometown Golden Tornadoes.  Her footwear's wildly inappropriate for sideline activity, and maybe it's just Texas, but her uh, balcony seemed bigger than other Jackies we've seen before. 

Last stop o' the day was Snyder, a town where a Gold Delorean once graced the bank lobby.  It's gone, but a house on the edge of town has Mr. Peanut, a Champion Spark Plug, a coffee pot, hammer and other random sculptures sprinkled around the yard.  I managed to leave my Starbucks travel mug at the gas station, but otherwise escaped Snyder safely.

Music In the Van * Addendum from Yesterday -- Tree Frog "Live At Liberty Hall" James McMurtry "Live In Aught Three"  (we heard Levelland right as we passsed by the town)
Today--"Dixie Chicks "Home", Mark O'Connor "Heroes", Wilco "Sky Blue Sky"

routinely, he says, rusting and reacting with the elements. 


Friday, April 11, 2008

This one's for the best boy

That gleeful guy in the photo is trying to make the point that Nokona, the golden retriever seen in Rare Visions credits as the Best Boy, is nestled in the pocket of Don's Nokona ball glove, at the company's factory in Nocona, Texas.  Pretty heady stuff, huh?  
We actually managed to surprise our favorite shortstop by keeping him busy with the manual on our new HD camera as we approached his leather goods mecca.  We were also a wee bit chilled from some time outdoors at the late Earl Nunnelly's field o' folk art near St. Jo. Earl's gone now, but the giant sunflowers, ladybugs and cacti forged from various implements and autos remain.  As do a great many cow pies as well, which we deftly stepped around to do our important TV work.
Kinda like the task that took us to Wichita Falls. To see and enjoy the World's Littlest Skyscraper--all four stories of it.  Seems that an East Coast scamster sold the Texans a skyscraper back in the 20s for a very good price, so good that it only 

Thursday, April 10, 2008

the big ball rolls again

Today's the kind of day that yields many miles (523 if you're counting) and no actual TV footage.  That's OK.  We set off from KC in the rain this morning, talking what else, KU basketball and obscure musical facts.  The plan was merely to get familiar with our new HD gear and place ourselves by nightfall in a spot where we could officially begin this sojourn to the southwest in sunshine tomorrow.
That place is Gainesville, Texas, which is where the photo above was snapped.  Gainesville, intrepid viewers may recall, is where we met Glenn Goode, and his frontyard full of Muffler Men some years back.  Glenn also had a Muffler Jackie, whose short skirt he'd modified somewhat in the name of modesty.
Today did yield a small disappointment.  We were expecting a phone call from an MU student reporter who's writing a story about the Big Ball, but alas,  it never came.  Apparently, she's decided, like us, that fact checking is really over-rated!

Music in the van--Van M. "Tupelo Honey",  Allison Krause & Robert Plant "Raising Sand",
John Prine "In Spite of Ourselves" , Richard Thompson "Sweet Warrior",  Rockpile "Seconds of Pleasure"

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

One for the gipper, one for the road...

It's all about balls, this time the kind you put in a hoop...Rock Chalk, we are about to put the petal to the metal...stay tuned.  
(Larry thinks that the speed limit in west Texas is 85...and that's what I am going to tell the officer.)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Here we go...

Last season at Salvation Mountain with Leonard Knight.

It's a cold one this winter as we plan our next season's, we are heading south and southwest (maybe)!  Look for us to hit the road (and start blogging) in mid to late April.