Posts Tagged “texas”
On the first leg of our snowbird waltz across West Texas Highway 90, we made a pit stop at the Prada Store in Valentine.
After last year’s controversy about the Prada Store artwork versus the Playboy Hot Rod billboard and the legality of roadside advertising / art, we wanted to see if this landmark was still standing.
The good news: it’s still there. The bad news: it’s showings signs of age and it may not be here next time we come through.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT)’s order to remove the structure is still being considered. For now, we’re glad that government moves at a snail’s pace. Art still rules.
Later than night we made our usual pass through Marfa (a town that thinks a little too much of itself in my book) and directly on to the Marfa Lights Viewing Station, where we boondocked for the night, hoping to catch another glimpse of the glowing orbs.
When dusk fell and low clouds appeared, along with dozens of sky watchers, we had a feeling the lights wouldn’t show up, and they didn’t. One guy who’s been there seven times said he’s only seen them two times in seven, so we weren’t too surprised by their absence.
That’s OK though. The best part about this roaming lifestyle? There’s always next time.
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There are some places we’ve been to that just get into our soul. Stillwell Store is definitely one of them.
We didn’t make it down to the Big Bend last winter but we’ve been dreaming about Hallie Stillwell’s territory ever since. Our plan was to return this coming February for at least a month – or so we thought.
Sadly, in August Stillwell was sold to a buyer who reportedly wants to keep things the same while turning it into a hunting mecca. Cynicism abounds but time will tell. It was no secret the ranch was on the market, and we understood why it had to happen, but the sale still felt like a huge loss to the region.
And then tonight, we just got the heartbreaking news that Kay Pizzini (pictured below, behind the counter), Hallie Stillwell’s granddaughter and the last of the amazing line of tougher than nails Stillwell women who kept the operation going, suddenly died without warning. We are so sad and all we can say is, look out heaven, you’ve got some kick ass women in control now.
My heart is heavy for Kay’s family and the loss of such an incredible piece of history. We had just gotten to know the Stillwell magic and now, it’s gone. Another piece of the great American west, disappeared for good.
Godspeed Kay. Godspeed Stillwell Ranch.
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Here’s a very quick video of another fun art project from our travels…
In the middle of nowhere on the way to Big Bend National Park, you may miss the Prada Marfa Store if you blink. The first time we saw it fly by, we had a classic double-take moment. I was actually more focused on the UFO in the distance, which turned out to be a Tethered Aerostat Radar surveillance balloon.
There is no door, but complete with pricey pumps and a placard describing the artist’s intentions, the Prada Marfa store has stood along this remote stretch of West Teaxs two-lane for eight years.
If you want to see it, you better hurry up!
Texas DOT Determines Prada Marfa Store Is Illegal
Texas lawmakers and the media are now claiming the installation is little more than an illegal roadside ad. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) has issued an order to remove the structure, calling it a billboard that does not fit permitted specifications.
Designed by Artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset to resemble a Prada storefront, with the intention of it slowly disintegrating in the harsh West Texas climate, the small structure sits on private land in Valentine, Texas. This small tourist attraction has definitely drawn the attention many, and certainly brought visitors to the remote area, perhaps even helping to spawn the growing Marfa, Texas Art Scene.
While she did not commission the project herself, Miuccia Prada approved the installation prior to its construction in 2005. Celebrity visits have resulted in a photo shoot of Beyonce at Prada Marfa, a write-up about Marfa in GQ magazine, and worldwide attention upon this stretch of highway often referred to as a godforsaken part of Texas—otherwise known only for its mysterious lights phenomena.
And that might be exactly why the “store” may soon be shut down. Locals have complained about the roadside art project, and apparently don’t take kindly to big brands putting up “billboards” along their back roads. This isn’t the first time a major brand has been chased out of town. A Marfa, Texas Playboy art project was the first to come under fire by the TXDOT. It appears that Prada Marfa will follow suit soon.
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We have not even left yet to return to our favorite workamping job back at the ranch for the summer, and we’re already talking about getting back to Texas next winter. So, I’ve finally uploaded this video of Kristyn Harris singing a fun rendition of ”Been Everywhere” – in true Texas fashion.
If you spend much time in Texas, see how many town names you recognize in this version of the Hank Snow classic. If you like this, you may also enjoy the Rick Moranis lyrics in his satirical adaptation, I Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.
We were fortunate enough to catch Kristyn on camera at the 2012 Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, where the cowgirls clearly stole the show. Hopefully by the time we return, I’ll have updated our Cowboy Poetry Playlist with more videos from our last visit! For more home movies of local music from all around the country, check out the Musicamericana playlist on our Videos page.
All of my most memorable live music from our past six years on the road, has been in Small Town, USA. A few highlights include seeing Virgina governors jam with the Jug Busters at the Floyd Country Store, the Grassmatics performing Deep Ellum Blues upon request at Artz Ribs in Austin, Michael Martin Murphy (of Wildfire fame) up close and personal in Lake City, and of course every trip we’ve taken back to Luckenbach, Texas. OK, Austin isn’t exactly a small town, but Artz is sure a small venue!
Where have you seen great local music in America?
Please leave a comment to share your favorite musical memories from the road. And check out the Motornomadics Music page for more travel-inspired tunes!
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By all appearances, country music is dead in America. The mainstream country pop garbage on redneck radio might seem to indicate that we as a nation have turned a deaf ear to quality folksy tunes, but all you need to do is giddy up over to Texas to know for sure that great American music is thriving.
One of our annual stops for great live music is Luckenbach Texas. During an epic Texas flood or a brisk snowstorm like the one we encountered recently, we try not to let anything stand in our way of this musical pilgrimage.
Luckenbach also has one of the best overnight camping deals in the entire Hill Country Region. For just $15 a night, you get the privilege of boondocking on the property grounds.
What could be better than having your home within stumbling distance of the center of the universe?
Not a day goes by when there isn’t some kind of live music happening. Even the bartenders get into the act.
With no cover charge during the week, that means we give better tips to the band and imbibe on better beer at the bar!
Our last visit included a night with the Doug Moreland Trio. This fun Texas band is straight-up Americana at its best. It’s amazing how three guys can create such a big sound!
One of our goals in life is to have a piece of property somewhere in central or West Texas. With LUCK and hard work, we hope it’s stumbling distance to the center of the universe, Luckenbach, Texas!
Check out the Doug Moreland Trio for some great music. We’ll have our own videos of their act soon, but for now here’s a sample:
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