Serendipity (Part 4)
Joe and I left for Sanderson before the dawn cracked. It was the first Friday in May and less than 3 weeks after we had first stumbled across the Desert Air Motel. This was to be our first official visit with the ole motel. We quietly rolled into town around 11am and planned on circling the joint, scoping out the town, and getting a general better feel for the community.
Our plan for a stealthy reconnaissance of Sanderson was pretty quickly derailed. As soon as we pulled into the Desert Air parking lot, the manager (granddaughter of the owner) walked out of the office, so we pulled over and introduced ourselves. She was followed by her little daughters, who as kids do, bluntly asked if we were buying the motel. Well... maybe, we just got here... A few minutes later, Mr. Stone (the owner) pulled into the parking lot, and a few minutes after that Kenn (the broker) pulled in. I guess word travels fast, but it is a small west TX town.
After a quick tour of the motel, Kenn offered to drive us around the town and give us a personal tour. For such a small town, it has a rich and interesting history. In its heyday, Sanderson's economy was bolstered by the railroads and oil. Both of those industries have since all but dried up. But, given Sanderson's location on TX HWY 90, and its proximity to Big Bend and other west TX tourist sites, it's managed to maintain. Ranching and hunting also provide a fair amount of commerce for the town.
Kenn showed us many of the town's landmarks. There is the old Princess Theater, currently shut down, but with plans of being refurbished and reopened. We saw the old train depot, currently being restored to its original design (for a purpose unknown at the moment). Kenn showed us the town park and pool, the local school (Go Eagles!), the hiking trail through the hills, and more...
We ended up at the visitor center where we met Randy (curator of the visitor center). Randy is a wealth of knowledge and clearly loves this little west TX town. It was a pleasure talking with him and hearing stories of the town and town folk. If you end up in Sanderson, stopping by the visitor center and visiting with him is a must.
The longer we stayed in Sanderson and the more we learned about it, the more we started to fall in love with this town. Many of the people we met had lived in Sanderson the majority of their lives, others bought vacation homes there and eventually moved out full time. You get a sense of pride and love for this little west TX town. You can feel that it is only a matter of time and Sanderson will become a destination for tourists looking to visit west TX and longing for an authentic west TX town.
We spent the evening exploring on our own, and we ended up at Julio's Bar. We shot pool with Julio for an hour and then retired back to the Motel to crunch numbers and discuss the details of this prospect.
The next morning we met with Mr. Stone and began discussions. Ultimately over the next few weeks we came to an agreement on the purchase of the Motel.
We are super excited to start this adventure and plant some roots of our own in West TX. Visit our website and read a short bio on our two families. Also, sign up for our newsletter, we'll be writing blogs about our work on the Desert Air Motel and stories about west Texas and its culture, ecology and spirit.