I recently took a little road trip up to Wichita Falls with a group of friends because our dear John Houston Farmer put together a showcase of bands at the machine shop where he works. (What better reason to drive five hours to the tippity-top-of-Texas-nearly-Oklahoma, right??) But, as you know, I don't need any arm-twisting to take a road trip. Which is good, since most travel in Texas is...well...just that.
We took 281 the whole way up, in search of thrift stores on the way. We found a pretty good one, in Mineral Wells, where I found an old postcard which read "Mineral Wells: Three Crazy Blocks!" We chuckled about that, until we got to the actual downtown strip, where these flags were on every other pole, with the word "crazy" in the same font:
Then we saw this old, abandoned building below.. we were convinced it was an old insane asylum (hence the "Keep Mineral Wells Crazy" slogan... which would be kinda strange but makes total sense, right??) We walked into a five and dime (one of the only things open because apparently everything is closed on Saturday in small North Texas towns??)
I asked one of the employees and she was happy to tell us all about the building, which was the famous Baker Hotel, and certainly thought to be haunted. In the 1930's and 40's, the place was a destination for stars, politicians, and oil barons to come relax in its spas. Judy Garland, Gene Autry, Clark Gable, Roy Rogers, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy-- even Bonnie and Clyde!-- were all known to have stayed there...and yet after the place closed its doors, no one will renovate the beautiful old building (though several people have started to...)
site of the famous mineral wells of...Mineral Wells
The "crazy" part about Mineral Wells had to do with the mineral-rich well water the town became known for in the 1800s (the same water used in the Baker Hotel spas). People came from all around Texas to bathe in the water and drink it for its many purported healing effects. The name supposedly originated when a crazy woman was healed by it-- and hence the Crazy Water Company was born!
old Crazy Water apothecary relics
We managed to find the famous site of the wells on a side street, where we sampled all four types of the water they bottle, which runs from #1 (no minerals) to #4 (very thick and heavy with minerals!) I bought several bottles of #3 and managed to steer clear of the many soaps, body and linen sprays, pint and shot glasses, and other various items they were selling. But we did split the bright green "crazy crush" you see above-- when in Rome, right?
Back on the road and hungry for more than just crazy water, we stopped at this little hole in the wall called Herd's Hamburgers in Jacksboro, TX. Their sign proclaimed them to be the "Best Hamburgers in the Universe"-- wow! That's a pretty hefty promise. More telling, however, were all the motorcycles out front. Bikers seem to know where to go.
One decent Herdburger and a Cherry Coke later, we drove the last stretch into... glorious Wichita Falls!!
(I kid, I kid... the city itself is pretty grey and industrial. You probably won't find yourself here unless you have a good reason.. like a mini music festival at a machine shop with a group of fabulous people...maybe some fireworks and mini motorcycles too...)
Farmer on wheels
Big Find with a small fan in front
there were lots of intricate machines that did important things I can't explain...
We always bring our bubbles to the metal show!