Marfa - Day 2

A note about Marfa: Monday and Tuesday are slow days for Marfa. These two days are the town’s rest period, their time to recover after the rush of tourists on the weekend. 

I did not know this. I thought I was rather clever coming Monday through Wednesday to avoid the crowds and the prices of peak times.

Many of the restaurants and museums are closed or on reduced schedules/menus. The Chianti Foundation is closed Monday and Tuesday. Some restaurants are only open on the weekend.

I ate lunch at Capri, the restaurant at the Thunderbird Hotel, but they had a limited menu, so I’m going back today. When I was there yesterday they’d started smoking some kind of animal – I’m thinking it’s beef or pork – in preparation for today’s full menu.

Then I drove to Prada Marfa. A note about Prada Marfa: It is not in Marfa. It’s in Valentine, TX, a 30-minute drive west of Marfa. I went anyway. It was… interesting.

Me, a random car, and U.S. Border Patrol in front of Prada Marfa

Me, a random car, and U.S. Border Patrol in front of Prada Marfa

The most interesting thing about it is that when I drove up there were two U.S. Border Patrol vehicles sitting across from it. Like the first thing people sneaking over the border would do is go to Prada. Welcome to America!

On the way to and from Prada Marfa (Why not Prada Valentine? That has a nice ring to it), I passed the Tethered Aerostat Radar System. Coming and going, when I drove by, little tornadoes started up and blew tumbleweed in front of my car. Nowhere else did this happen. Interesting, right?

Because of the restaurant situation, I ate dinner at the Hotel Paisano again, and it was good again. I chatted with someone who'd lived in California, had a big corporate career, big corporate life, keeping up with the Jones', then she came to Marfa and started a completely different life. Hope to interview her soon for The Bliss Tour.

I had ice cream at Frama/Tumbleweed Laundry, a combination coffee shop, ice cream parlor, and laundromat. Obviously.

Marfa has a newish Marfa Lights Viewing Center. Last night after the sun set, finally, I stood outside in the nicely chilly air for two hours waiting to be dazzled. I was not. Maybe the lights were taking a day like the rest of Marfa after a weekend of working hard?

Still it was fun. There were people from all over asking each other “Is that it? What’s that? Look! A jackrabbit! Are there snakes out here? Where you from?”

I stayed in one of the hip trailers at El Cosmico last night. With my own toilet and sink! Ahhh... But I have to admit, even with all the modern plumbing, I preferred sleeping in the safari tent. There was something restful about the sparseness of it and the heavy white canvas billowing.

The trailer has an outdoor tub. I'm not sure why I reserved this instead of one with a shower. Availability? It was too cold and late last night, but this morning I had a little adventure taking a bath for the first time in... I have no idea. 

The outdoor tub for the Branstrator trailer at El Cosmico.

The outdoor tub for the Branstrator trailer at El Cosmico.

It wasn't bad. Technically, this is Day 3 in Marfa, but I'm leaving the trailer and the desert and headed back on Austin in a couple of hours.

I'll let you know what happens. Spoiler Alert: a lot of driving.

Marfa - Day 1

I’m here in Marfa, TX. To get here you drive to the middle of nowhere then hang a left. Also, it’s hot. Then cold, and then hot again.

Yesterday, I got up at 5:30am, intending to take off at 7:00am. I didn’t leave until almost 8:00am, which put me in the middle of Austin rush hour traffic. I decided not to stress so I told myself “It’s the journey not the destination.”

I usually hate this saying because when you’ve payed for a plane ticket to and lodging in a specific place, it kind of is about the destination. But I made an exception and I kept that attitude for the first three hours of the journey. Then I was over it.

When I saw the windmill giants on top of what-I’m-going-to-call mountains, I thought about stopping and taking photos. Then I passed them going 90, listening to Fool Moon to keep me awake. I’d have a twinge of regret as I passed a photogenic rest stop or “picnic area” (Define “picnic”?), then the twinge was gone as I sped toward my destination.

The bar at Hotel Paisano - Maybe james dean drank here

The bar at Hotel Paisano - Maybe james dean drank here

Marfa is famous for being the location for the movie Giant back in the 50s (I had dinner at the Hotel Paisano, which served as the headquarters for cast and crew during the filming). More recently, No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood were filmed in Marfa. I have seen none of these movies.

Marfa is also known as an artists’ colony with lots of small galleries and art installations (although apparently I’m not supposed to call the “i-word”). Today I’m headed to Prada Marfa, a not-installation on the outskirts of town.

Marfa is also well-known – at least among travel writers – because of the place I’m staying. El Cosmico, with its trailers, teepees, hip trailers, and solitary yurt, is a hipster destination in its own right.

Safari Tent 1 - Where I stayed my first night

Safari Tent 1 - Where I stayed my first night

Last night, I stayed in a safari tent – a comfortable bed and a couple of chairs. (I missed reserving a teepee by hours, because I’m not very decisive.) Tonight I move to one of the trailers. I’m really not one for camping and shared facilities, and in the trailer I will have my own toilet. I am happy.