Monday, January 18, 2016

Tombstone, Arizona, December 2015

On our way from Las Cruces, NM to Tucson, AZ, we detoured to Tombstone. Very, very touristy.

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, December 2015

We stayed for a couple of days in Las Cruces, New Mexico. One of the highpoints of our stay was to visit White Sands National Monument. The sands are gypsum and are, indeed, stunningly white. 

Visitor Center -- PWA construction in Adobe

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Threatening skies

360 Degree Panorama

Prada Store art installation, Marfa, Texas, December 2015

About 30 miles west of Marfa and in the middle of nowhere is the famous Prada store, a permanent artwork.

Driving the Rio Grande, Presidio, Texas, December 2015

Following recommendations of the staffer at the Marfa Visitors Center, we made a day trip south from Marfa to Presidio and then down the Rio Grande to Lajitas and north again to Alpine and back to Marfa.

The landscape along the Rio Grande is stunning, to put it mildly. The contrast of the river and the mountains behind is great indeed. 

There was considerable history in the region, with the forces of Pancho Villa operating in the USA in the early 20th century as well as in Chihuahua at Ojinaga

Close to Presidio is Fort Leaton, which was a private fort and trading post from the late 1840s. 

Fort Leaton

Fort Leaton

The Rio Grande

The Rio Grande landscape, as enhanced by Google Photos

The resort at Lajitas

The resort at Lajitas

Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas, December 2015

The Chinati Foundation holds key works of art from Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and others. In the 1970s, Donald Judd acquired the former  Fort D. A. Russell in Marfa to house his work and work of his friends. The buildings of the fort have been converted as exhibit spaces. The work can only be seen with a docent -- we spent three hours at the Fort and at the Foundation's space in the downtown of Marfa. Truly amazing.

At the foundation, there are 15 untitled works in concrete, 1980-1984. You walk to see the works in their natural setting. The other works cannot be photographed.

Main offices at the Foundation

Part of the Fort

15 untitled works in concrete, 1980-1984

15 untitled works in concrete, 1980-1984

15 untitled works in concrete, 1980-1984

15 untitled works in concrete, 1980-1984 from a distance

Marfa, Texas, December 2015

In West Texas, we stopped at Marfa, which is an amazing little town filled with more than 20 art galleries. We knew nothing of Marfa but friends recommended it and we were very pleased to stop there for five nights. There is so much to do in the town and the area. I would love to return. Here is some of the cityscape.

The courthouse at night. 

The Ayn Foundation

Palace Theater



Hotel Paisano

Cycling the San Antonio River, December 2015

We had a few days in San Antonio, as we were trying to move quite quickly in a westerly direction. On a perfect day, we rode from the San Francisco De La Espada mission up the San Antonio River towards the city. The river authority is working to restore the river to its former self, with floodplains, tree planting and a lovely bike path that runs all the way to San Antonio. Great also to see police cycling on the path.

San Antonio River

Sculpture beside the bike path

Sunday, January 17, 2016

LBJ Library, Austin, TX, December 2015

Lyndon Johnson was a complex individual who caused so many positive developments -- but the spectre of Vietnam will always hang over his legacy. I loved reading the Caro history of LBJ and, like many others, am waiting for the final volume. So, visiting the LBJ Presidential Library was high on my agenda for Austin, TX. The library was not quite as hagiographical as I had expected and well worthwhile to visit for a few hours.

The holdings can be seen from the second floor. Impressive and no doubt designed to be impressive.

A replica of the Oval Office .. and three TVs for LBJ who watched all the news shows, often simultaneously.

The Lincoln Continental

Cycling Austin, TX, December 2015

The Colorado River runs through Austin, TX. It has been damned and a lake created. One of Lady Bird Johnson's efforts was to create a bike path, at a time when this was unusual in US cities. We rode up and down the bike path on the northern side of the lake. This is an excellent resource. 

Bike path

Temporary public art

The lake

Culture in Austin, December 2015

Austin is known as a hive for youth culture. We were able to take in three cultural activities in Austin.  

A real fun event was the launch of the Naked Feminists, which is a comedy on the web. The writers and performers organized at the The Institution Theatre. An excellent evening of stand up comedy, music and the first episode of the show. 

The cast of the Naked Feminist

We attended a great performance of Dracula from  Different Stages held at Vortex, which is an excellent small theater,  bar and restaurant (OK, a food truck). It was done quite traditionally in terms of the script -- but not the staging. 

And then for something completely different, we attended the Christmas concert of the Texas Early Music Project (TEMP). Which was of the highest standard. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The trip is over

We completed our long trip across Canada and the USA on January 6th, flying back to Honolulu. Our truck and trailer is now in long term storage in the Inland Empire of Los Angeles.

Some key statistics on the trip:

  • 22,000 miles travelled in the Chevy Silverado
  • 10 Canadian provinces visited
  • 20 US states visited
  • Stayed at ~50 campgrounds and boondocking sites
  • And explored countless parks, art galleries, museums
  • Attended countless cultural events
  • Ate at many, many restaurants both good (actually, in many cases, very good) and not so good

I will work on loading up photos from our trip across Texas and into New Mexico, Arizona and California.