It was during our last visit to Texas that we got the news about everyone in our Brooklyn apartment moving out at the same time, so we didn’t get to explore very much. We saw a bit of El Paso, hung out in the tiny town of Junction, and had a great visit to Austin – but that was it. In a state the size of Texas, that isn’t much.
I decided we should go check out Marfa because it’s an arts hub and everyone always takes pictures of that fake Prada store, so as navigator I navigated us there. The interior of the Prada store was smaller than I anticipated and filthier than I imagined, but I also didn’t take into account that they didn’t hermetically seal the place before leaving it and there’s a lot of dust out there. In photos it always looks deserted but when we arrived there were a number of cars and people waiting to take pictures. A group of students were so involved with posing in front of the place that another guest finally had to shout at them to PLEASE MOVE FOR JUST ONE MINUTE so the rest of us cold take the iconic “Prada in the middle of nowhere” shot. Mine didn’t even work out properly because one of the girls wouldn’t walk far enough away. Ah well. It was still cool.
Our initial reaction to Marfa was that it’s Bushwick in 2010. There’s a store called The Get Go that’s literally just Brooklyn’s Natural. They have the same shelves, the same products, all that was missing was a sandwich counter and being open 24 hours a day. The coffee shop that’s also a laundromat reminded us so thoroughly of the Archive (a coffee shop that was also a video rental place) that it was disconcerting.
The two things friends who had been there before told us we had to do were have a drink at The Lost Horse Saloon and eat at Marfa Burrito. At The Lost Horse we grabbed some Lone Stars and sat outside where almost immediately we started hearing snatches of a conversation happening a few feet away. “…BLM land”, “Black tank…”, and “camper” were all overheard before we got up and introduced ourselves. We met Stephen who has been living on the road for almost a decade and in a van for the last six years, Stephen’s Dad who lives in a truck camper, and Rob and Chelsy (and their boxer Fay) who’d been on the road for just three weeks! After a few hours and Stephen’s father building us a fire in a bucket, a third couple joined us – they were also traveling in an RV. Somehow, in a town the size of Marfa, we magically ended up in a bar filled with other young RVers. After chatting for much longer than I think any of us expected, Kyle and I called it a night and headed back to Sandwich who was parked about a block away. In the morning we emerged and headed to Marfa Burrito for a massive egg, cheese and chorizo burrito for just five dollars. We ran into Stephen and were once again forcibly reminded of Bushwick in 2010 – the friends you made at the one bar around the night before are eating breakfast at the same place you are because it’s the only place to do it.
While the Marfa Mystery Lights have been mostly debunked – yes, they’re probably just headlights from highway 67 – that doesn’t stop them from being cool. On our second night in town we parked at a viewing area nine miles east of town and bundled up to watch the lights with Rob and Chelsy.
I am not exaggerating when I say bundled up, it was the coldest I think we’ve been since that mountaintop in Wyoming back before we entered Yellowstone. Our teeth were chattering but the lights were interesting – they moved in ways that didn’t make sense, they popped in and out of view, they certainly didn’t look like headlights. Also, if they’re headlights, why was there so much traffic at 9pm on a Tuesday? There’s a reason they’re still called the Mystery Lights.
The next morning we woke up early and headed to Alpine to go to another coffee shop slash laundromat, this time to actually do laundry. There was a fancy hotdog stand parked outside with outstanding reviews, so when our laundry was done and lunchtime rolled around we got some awesome food before continuing East towards San Antonio.
We stopped at a deserted rest stop listed on All Stays as “A depression era rest stop with no amenities.” We were the only vehicle there. There was a gazebo for some reason and an abandoned taxidermy deer head. It was one of the weirder places we’ve ever stayed which is saying a lot.
If you missed the announcement in our last blog: We’re moving to Beacon NY! Wooooo! Yaaaay!
There’s bunches of new stuff up on my Etsy! Check it out! Pick something up! Help us pay for gas!