Now all we need is some Peyote!

First off, Texas is huge, so we had to make some decisions. The first was, “where are we going to park the RV?” and the second, “how long were we going to stay?” We decided to park in the Dallas area and spend two weeks in the state. That gave us a few days in Dallas, a couple in Houston and San Antonio, and a day exploring the Western Hill Country.

So, our first stop after a weekend in Dallas was Houston in southeastern portion of the state, and since we were saving money on RV gas (the trip would’ve cost $330 in gas alone round trip) we decided to splurge a little and take advantage of one of the country’s most unique motels, and an important piece of Americana – the Teepee Motel in Wharton, TX. At $130 for the two nights, we were still well in the black, and had a chance to enjoy kitsch at its finest.

This motel was originally built in 1942 and featured 10 concrete teepees. In the 1980s, waning traffic and shoddy construction led to the entire site falling into a state of disrepair and soon it was abandoned. In July 2003, Bryon Woods, a local diesel mechanic, won the Texas State Lottery, and at his wife Barbara’s urgings, sunk some of his money into the Teepee Motel. With some hard work and refurbishing of the one-room teepees with the sparsest of appointments – white walls, a simple bed, television, couch and tiny desk – the motel re-opened in 2006 as a motel and RV park.

When we arrived to check in, we were excited, but Barbara did not seem as excited to see us. You see, winning the lottery does not necessarily make for a good business person, which is why many lottery winners lose their winning quickly to failed investments. Her short words and look of impatience made it clear that this “investment” was more than she had bargained for. She assigned us Teepee #5 and we rushed away from Barbara to settle in.

The small room held all the amenities we needed. There was a comfortable bed with a quilt, a new couch and most importantly a TV hanging on the wall (It’s the little things for a couple living on the road – and we enjoy our few rare evenings of cable television.) The renovation could have focused more closely on the theme – maybe a few murals or Native American paintings or dream catchers, or at least “themed” quilts – but overall, I guess it’s the outside that brings them in and the wonderful customer service that keeps them coming back.

All in all, we’re glad we did this now before it falls back into disrepair.