Big Bend, the Rio Grande, and Chinese Trinkets

Rattlers

After Balmorhea Springs State park (where I get a great soak, albeit in 40F weather), I head south again through Fort Davis where there is this Snake Museum.  I don’t want to pay to see a rattlesnake–I stepped on one once and that was enough.

Alpine Mural

Alpine, Texas is the gateway community to Big Bend National Park and it is a very nice town–full of art galleries and many fine murals, like this one.  Lawrence Sullivan Ross, a Confederate General founded a Sul Ross university which adds a nice dimension to this town.  This is my base-camp.

Lost Alaskan RV

And how could I pass up this place.  I check in to site B-12 and later move to B-11.  These campgrounds have rules!  Full hookups, too!

WPA Post Office

What really attracts me to this town are the murals, and here is one done by the WPA that still resides in the old post office building in the center of town.

Mexican Maiden

Here’s a contemporary building mural by Stylle Read known as”Big Brewster” which is one of at least six in Alpine.  Here is a link to the rest.

Holland Hotel

The major street through town is West Holland Avenue which boasts a beautiful old hotel, not surprisingly called the Holland Hotel.  Even more coincidentally, it was built by a John R. Holland.  He had a son and a daughter, Crystal, who was murdered there in 1916 along with another person, one of three deaths in the hotel’s history.  It’s claimed to be haunted.  It’s a beauty with a great steak restaurant, but no grand piano….

Mr. Holland

Here’s John and a couple other cowboys in front of the hotel about 1915.

Alpine House

I notice this backyard as I walk around town–great place where many people take pride in their community!  Well, it’s off to Big Bend National Park where I’ve two talks to give…..

Hacienda Cabins

Big Bend is quite a beautiful place with the Chisos Basin hidden just below Casa Grande Peak.  These cabins were built by the CCC, of course and were the basis of our Big Bend WPA style poster.

The Window

If one turns around 180 degrees, this is “the window” looking down several thousand feet to the Chihuahua Desert.  The CCC cabins and this “window” are the basis for this design and Brian Maebius, my computer guru, pretty much nailed this one the first time around.  Here is our competition…..

Impact Poster

This is put out by Impact Photographics who bought out the “Retro Ranger” brand several years ago.  The Retro Ranger was photoshopping all my designs so I politely asked him to cease & desist, which he did, then sold this “brand” to Impact.  Now, I’m not afraid of competition, in fact I welcome it because the more they publish, the better we look.   And it makes a better marketplace for the visitor to our National Parks.  However, what I do object to is…..

DOI Seal BB

….when the competition lifts the Department of the Interior seal off my Department of the Interior poster, commissioned by the DOI itself, and sanctioned by the Secretary of the Interior, herself.  We worked closely with the DOI and DOI Museum to craft this silkscreened print of the 75th anniversary of the DOI Building, and then Big Bend park approves this Chinese lithograph at a roaring $30.  Sorry, but the NPS cannot approve the use of a DOI seal without permission, and neither could I.  I think the NPS has an obligation to educate their visitors and I’m going public with this.  Grrrrr…

DSCN6607

This is another one of my pet peeves, off-shore printing of what I call “trinkets” which usually are magnet, patches and stickers.  The bookstores are filling up with this stuff, every store is beginning to look the same and most of it comes from only one source…..

Made in China 1

Here’s another one…..only $3.95!  Everything I do is Made in America–period.  When I came out with a red, white and blue banner “Made in America” Impact put up this page on their website within a week.  I’m not going to comment on the content of this page, but I will anyway:   with a careful read, one could possible realize that there is a huge mark-up on these cheap products.  I challenge Impact to dump offshore trinkets and get down to quality products.

Made in China 2

This is blatent.  The NPS and their cooperating associations can do better for the visitors.  BTW, I gave two talks, one at Chisos Basin Campground and one at Rio Grande Village–and packed the amphitheaters!  For those of you who are new to my site, I talk about the early park history of their poster series, made by WPA-CCC.  You can preview it here.

Rio Grande

Well, back to the Park with this reflection of Mexico in the Rio Grande.

Terlingua

I return to my base camp in Alpine but visit Terlingua enroute.  It’s an old Cinnabar mining area which became a ghost town and is now inhabited by a hippie colony and other artists.  It’s a hoot!  For the next month I’m Amtraking from Austin to Spokane to attend our annual NPS Bookstore Tradeshow–and guess what I’ll be talking about?   Stand by!!!

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