This was the half of a trip where it really isn’t wise to try a marathon drive through a couple of states. But, since we missed our chance to see White Sands, NM on the trip out, it was now or never.
With our usual preparedness and presence of mind, we lost track of times zones and flew into the park at sunset, throwing tent, water, and flashlights into the pack, with our hair on fire.
Lesson #13 : Perfect the pitiful look. It works on nice rangers who let you into primitive parks with only moments to run miles to your site and set up before dark. But only after showing us pictures of possible detonators or explosives that could still be here from post-war missile testing. Fun.
Look, wasn’t it worth it? It’s like Lawrence of Arabia, or Tatooine there. We were racing over the dunes, squinting at the tiny signposts here and there, to find our campsite. Within a few minutes of setting up, we were in total blackout.
This was the lunar landscape I’d hoped to find here, quiet, solitary, with no evidence of people.
We left the top off of the tent so we could see every star in the uninterrupted black sky. It was just my little family in our little tent, surrounded by dunes that absorbed the sound of our late night talking.
Lesson #14: The best conversations always happen at night. Late nights after everyone was asleep I could snuggle up by my daughter and tell stories and listen to her thoughts about everything. There are no distractions on a campground. The breeze and stars seem to relax the soul and loosen the tongue.
Our truck rolled (literally) into a gas station on half-past empty the next morning, then we made our way back to Texas. Marfa wasn’t on the shortest route, but few of our stops were, and I’ve always wanted to go there. On Hwy 90 going into town are the ruins of Jett Rink‘s Little Reata windmill and sign posts from the movie Giant.
I’m not a big James dean fan, but I love roadside curiosities.
Sadly, I missed Prada Marfa somehow. What a hoot. But, maybe next time.
Some gifted students in town designed the Marfa Lights Viewing Plaza, below. This was the perfect follow up to Roswell. We went around dusk, the prime viewing time, but didn’t see any strange phenomenon, just a school teacher on a motorcycle trip.
Supper was at a gas station-turned-pizzeria called The Pizza Foundation. Good stuff.
Our mission was to find the Baptist parsonage where my grandparents were married in the ’43, before he shipped out to fight in Europe. After receiving my grandfather’s letter from the base, asking if she would marry him, my grandmother came with her parents and his, to Marfa. They attended the Sunday morning service at The First Baptist Church and went next door to the preacher’s house for the wedding ceremony.
This is the church, of course it’s changed quite a bit.
And this was once the parsonge, but is now a bed and breakfast.
After speaking to the current owner a bit, we looked for a yarn shop. I never found wool for knitting, but did wander through Katherine Shaughnessy’s shop, Wool and Hoop. I could’ve disappeared for hours in this place, just looking at her crewelwork, the wool selection, her kits and shop-mate’s art for sale. Crewel embroidery, yeah I really need another hobby. But, I did get a copy of her book for one of these days.
Next up was the Chinati Foundation. We didn’t have time or a reservation for the tour, so we wandered around the grounds, which was what I really wanted to do anyway, and I clicked away with my contraption to my heart’s content.
I don’t guess you can see the scowl on my son’s face as he saunters through Judd’s legendary art.
I have wanted to see these since I was about 20, it isn’t something you can rush and appreciate.