Nothing is more salient than nostalgia. In fact, our strong sense of memory has us snapping away with our phones on every trip, vacation and holiday just so we can look back and jog our fondness for the past. It’s also what connects people to Old Pal. The classic packaging feels like the times with a familiar old friend when Zig-Zags were the preferred papers to roll up a doob in the back of a pickup truck. Our smokeable time machine is what also introduced us to our friends, Glen Steigelman and Steve Halterman, the purveyors of The Station, a 1940s gas and service stop converted to a curio shop just off the dusty road to Joshua Tree.
While it’s been a few years since we first shook hands (their Christmas parties are legendary!), Glen and Steve hosted a stop on the Cosmic Collider’s maiden voyage during Coachella 2019. The rolling home turned into a mobile Mary Jane magnet attracting passers-by who climbed aboard on many stops along the way to spread the Old Pal gospel in all its dream weaving glory.
Through the roll-up doors, The Station shares a similar aesthetic with a carefully curated assortment of throwback headshop hits, patches to bedazzle any denim jacket and wares from ceramicists and loco locals who keep the desert feeling as weird as you’d expect it to be. Glen and Steven are legends in their own right so outside of blowing a big kiss to them for carrying a selection of Old Pal Provisions, we asked them to share more about being cool dudes in the desert with impeccable taste to boot. Stop by sometime to pick up some OPP and kick it under the watchful eye of Big Josh whose vintage vibes ride high under the desert sky.
How did you two meet and eventually end up in the land of tumbleweeds and horny toads?
Steve and I met back in 1996. We were both seeing a show at The Moguls in Hollywood and have been together since. We bought our first JT place in 2004, a half built cabin that needed a lot of TLC so we started coming out every weekend to work on it. Two years later, we had the opportunity to buy the house we are currently in and love and will retire in. It’s everything we thought we could never have and more. We moved out here full time in 2011 when we bought The Station, which was another crazy project.
The Station’s curation is really something special. We’re not asking for the treasure map but how do you procure all that wonderful stuff?!
In our minds it’s pretty simple—just keep buying the same stuff we’ve always been buying and fingers crossed people like it. Our sweet spot is between 1968 and 1982 for music, art, cars, books, magazines, furniture, dishes etc. We shop a lot in every place we go and every chance we get.
Your stoner section is even better than some well-known head shops. How do you hunt for such toker treasures?
We are obsessed with everything from head shops, from the vintage pipes, bongs, psychedelic posters, books, t-shirts, even video head cleaner, haha. We are always on the lookout and amazed at what was out there, crazy shit!
Do you find more people are interested in that stuff now that weed is legal in California?
There definitely is greater interest. So many young people buy our weed-related vintage books, magazines and we are really bringing back the black light poster. We sell a million pipes and had some amazing vintage deadstock bongs go through here. I think conversations about weed also flow pretty easily in The Station and we hear a lot of, “Oh shit, I remember that! I had that when I was a kid or this was the first bong I ever used.”
Steve, how did you get into making stainglassed art and how would you describe that style?
I grew up with a mother who had her own stained glass company so I have always been around it. When I was looking for a new craft to do in our desert place I asked my mom, who gave me a crash course in her second bedroom all while she smoked cigarettes. Two cartons later, I had a six foot window that we installed in our bedroom. I guess I get my inspiration from 70’s occult paperback covers and Rod Serling's ‘Night Gallery.’
Speaking of personal style, Glen what’s up with always having such a crisp Packers hat?
Cheese runs through my veins. I grew up in Northern Wisconsin and love the Pack! It’s funny when people come looking for me and say they were told, "just look for the Packer hat.”
Your house is the envy of desert dwellers and anyone who has peaked inside. Can you tell us more about the aesthetics in your own home?
To sum up our house: There are too many old cars, too much wood paneling, too much California ceramics, too famous of a pool, too many parties, too many hangovers and a chocolate lab that is too cute. But seriously our house is mid-century ranch style in the boulders. Definitely a homemade home interior and filled with stuff we’ve picked up over all the years. People tell us it feels so comfortable, which is the best compliment we could get.
No doubt, the Yucca Valley community has exploded in the last decade and we love seeing headlines celebrating La Copine’s ‘Queer Oasis’. Is the LGBTQ+ scene thriving in the high desert as much as it is down the hill?
The hi-dez queer community is strong and growing everyday. Steve and I are proud to be one of the many queer owned businesses and we love seeing couples hold hands and just being themselves having fun in our shop and including The Station in their wedding weekend plans.