Thursday, January 31, 2019

Disappointed in Marfa (With One Lovely Exception)

January 1-7, 2019
Marfa - Van Horn, Texas

We really enjoyed the little southern Texas towns we visited at the end of 2018, so figured starting off doing the same thing in the new year was a good plan.

Marfa, Texas, is one of those quirky spots you read about in other blogs. One of those places that you have a certain picture of in your mind. Where you know there's not much there, but several unique eateries and those "might-be-alien" lights that a dozen people have seen in five years.

We head out New Year's morning from Terlingua under sunny, blue skies. At the border stop (the Texas border patrol officers are all so friendly, and even have a sense of humor!) we're warned that there is limited visibility and ice on the road ahead.

Our first "frozen fog" makes for a nerve-wracking drive.

The whole world is white and glittery.
Although the sun comes out a few miles past Alpine, the temps never get over 42 degrees.

Tumble In RV Park is a quiet stop with a self-check-in system and well maintained dirt and gravel grounds. Like all of Marfa, it's very dark here.

We don't hook up the water, but also forget to turn off the water pump which freezes overnight. And never thaws out the whole time we're here - it's really cold!

With the exception of a wonderful visit with friends Laurel and Eric (Raven and Chickadee) for a tasty lunch and a stroll along the cute little main street, our Marfa visit doesn't get much better.

The warmth of good friends on a very cold January day.
The beautiful historic Hotel Paisano

Cozy holiday setting.

It will be awhile before we get the chance again, so we're really glad we got to see these two here!
No water means bottles to drink and flush so I'm glad Marfa is known as a foodie-spot and we can just enjoy trying all the options. (We do manage to hook up to water long enough to get showers).

Nope, they're either only open on weekends, or closed for the first week in January, or closed after 2 disappointing!!

We do have a nice drive into the Davis Mountains on Thursday. Although the broom store I wanted to see in Fort Davis is no longer there, and the national park is closed due to the shut down. No open eateries here either. Sigh......

Under the "don't judge a book by its cover" heading is Marfa Burrito where we stand in line for homemade breakfast burritos that perk us up a bit!
A small herd of antelope along the road all look like they need warmer coats.

The Hobby-Eberly Telescope on the grounds of the McDonald Observatory.

HETDEX makes a 3D map of the universe when it was approximately 3 billion years old!

Towering cathedrals in the Davis Mountains.

Outcroppings among the Junipers.
It looks warmer than 45 degrees!

A beautiful blend of gold and orange.

At the grocery store I observe this young man at work. It's bitter cold and windy, he's painting the stripes by hand. And he's singing. Singing! A testimony to the power of a good attitude.
We choose not to brave 30 degree nights to watch for the infamous Marfa Lights. Maybe if there's a next time. Friday we're happy to continue west to warmer environs. Marfa was definitely a disappointment after so many great Texas stops.

Another icon I've read about in Marfa is the Prada store - but even that isn't in Marfa. It's 35 miles away along the road in Valentine, Texas.

A popular photo-op along Hwy 90 - complete with bags and shoes (probably not Prada).
We stop for the weekend in Van Horn, Texas, to watch the NFL playoffs. The water pump is working again, and we're able to stay hooked up to water overnight. It's the little things........

Large ships lined up along an ancient riverbed.

The site of the last battle between the Texas Rangers and Apache Tribe, the 175,000 acre ranch is now owned by Amazon-owner Jeff Bezos. His plans include building a 10,000 year clock in the Diablo Mountains.
While watching the games we learn that our Tombstone friends are heading to Oregon to take care of family, so I change our plans for the next ten days.

Monday we leave Texas after five weeks. 


  1. A cold way to end your TX stay. Davis Mtn was on our itinerary last fall but with a cold blast coming through we changed plans and saved it for another time.

  2. Hopefully you can come and visit us here in Arlington next time. The cold did reach North Texas. Hugs and Live to you both! ❤️

    1. Would love to come see you guys! We visited Arlington last time through Texas and it was definitely warmer!

  3. You seem to be having about as much fun in Marfa, TX as the Lowe's have been having on the East coast. Good for you to just Move On ... Next, please! Safe journey.

    1. Oh man the Lowes had ugly weather all across the country! Fortunately our cold stops were few and short.

  4. At least Marfa has some interesting dinning! A 10,000 clock? some folks just have too much money! Safe travels and stay warm!

    1. Unfortunately the burrito place was the only one open while we were there so didn't get to enjoy the other options :-(

  5. I wonder if it's just a case of enough time in Texas.

  6. Oh, you guys, I'm so sorry that your Marfa visit was a bust! :-( Such a bummer that your water pump froze (and stayed frozen!!) and that most of the wonderful little Marfa eateries were closed.
    Lucky us that you were in Marfa, though. It was just a short drive from our campsite in the Davis Mountains and we were SO happy that we got to see you! Dang, that was a cold few days!! Until next time...big hugs!! Let's meet up in a warmer locale, LOL.

    1. Getting to see you and Eric was worth the cold weather!! But next time warmer sounds really good :-)

  7. Well, you guys sure did a great job of covering Texas! We’ve yet to make it to the Davis Mountains. They look a lot like the Chisos!

    1. They do look similar! Southern Texas was a fun surprise, so glad we did that route.

  8. I'm with you on the cold weather and ours doesn't seem to be warming up very much--but at least we had water! ;) Hope you are in warmer country by now!

    1. I like "cool" weather, but that was a bit much :-) Fortunately we're enjoying warm weather in SoCal with a little rain.

  9. Sorry Marfa was a bust. Every once in awhile small town America doesn't have anything to offer. But so glad you got to meet up with Laurel and Eric. That alone makes Marfa okay! Thank goodness you finally got out of Texas! Enjoy Ezra!

    1. We were really on a roll until then! Seeing Laurel and Eric was definitely a treat.

      We're so enjoying him :-))))

  10. We took Marfa for what it was. Luckily it was warmer when we were there for a couple days. More restaurants were open. We did enjoy the hotel and there were many artists out and about. Oh well, on to warmer weather!