van horn, tx…sculpture garden and van gogh (er, ran horn)

Fancy Junk Sculpture—Gerald Scott
Los Nopales Antique Store
1106 W. Broadway Street
Van Horn, TX

I had seen a only few photos of the site, but didn’t think that I was going to be as charmed as I was.  I thought that there was a couple of welded sculptures outside a store, serving as a magnet.  I was right and wrong.  There were quite a number of sculptures, a small grotto, flowering cacti, etc. all along this stretch of road (the main road in Van Horn), next to Chuy’s (the great restaurant we had dinner at the night before.)  They are whimsical without being too cute, and intriguing in their environment.  There were so many photo ops that I had to finally get in the car and go another block.
Van Horn really is worth a stop.

Randall “Ran” Horn

Paintings & bookstore
202 East Broadway
Van Horn, TX
Arriving at Ran Horn’s Book Store was rather auspicious.  For the very first time in my entire life, I backed into something.  And did a pretty good job of it. Hit the stop sign on the corner, fair and square.  Excuses include: a blindspot, mis-judgement of sidewalk/street corner location, trying to get out of the way of a future shot…but I did bend the sign pole…and yet only broke the light cover on the bumper.  This gas-guzzling vehicle is sturdy, if nothing else. (oh, and paid for, too.)
After a head injury prompted Ran Horn to move back to Texas from Minnesota, and give up being a Baptist minister.  For over 10 years, he has been making art and homage to his favorite artist, Van Gogh, and selling books. His version of art history is at once both funny, and insightful.  Ran claims to be un-original, although his subjects created in a Van Gogh style, at times is far from it. Sometimes he faithfully recreates one of Vincent’s numerous paintings, other times the subject matter is more personal, heroes, notable events in the news, and other things that just catch his eye.  And he has caught the eye of others as well, gaining notoriety when featured in the book ” Faces of Texas” by Michael O’Brien.

He is quite a showman, with one story after another being told in a jam-packed bookstore.  Woah be unto the unsuspecting who sets their coffee travel mug down and walks away. An unorthodox “easter egg hunt” will need to ensue.

(iwo jima righting of the damaged sign pole)
Other Van Horn sites
Art Car
Magnolia Gas Station
Clark Hotel
The Guadeloupe Mountains
A detour… instead of the direct route to El Paso, a biway took us up to the Guadeloupe Mountains so that the guys could play a little catch, and I could admire the scenery and practice dribbling a basketball (don’t ask – it is a childhood failing that I ha
ve decided to attempt to right).  Next thing you know, Mike finds a 9mm handgun in the field where they are tossing the ball around!  (and I was worried about the rattlers and “jumping chollas” cactus.)
(Larry and Randy in a historic recreation)
I flagged down a park ranger (I suspect this is the first time a woman in a sundress and biker boots, with a camera and basketball tells them that a 9mm handgun was found while playing catch.)  They asked very few questions and left.  I guess we didn’t look shifty.  Then we headed on to El Paso…for drinks at the historic El Camino Real Hotel (Larry’s fine recommendation, and paid for with his winnings from KU’s victory) And then a very phuc tup Vietnamese dinner (although tasty).  (Don swears that is now a word in the Vietnamese language…I’m not so sure.)
Odometer:  1607
Cartunes: Wilco “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,”  and all of the ones I listened to yesterday…I must change them out tomorrow…