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June 1st: Road trip to the west.
Yesterday was a bash of all sorts of events. I’m glad we had a soft bed to allow it all to soak in. Started at 6:00am noticing the milky way fading in the sky, and hoping it was almost dawn so I could wake and shake the sand from every surface of my skin. The previous night had been a bittersweet mix of beautiful eye-popping stars and bursts of windy sand covering whipping across my skin as we slept in our sleeping bags. We made good time as we packed up, eating our last breakfast in the mountains as the sunshine spilled over the mountains, and left our campsite before ol’ Sol popped out. Despite nearing the last quarter tank of our gas, we headed 12 miles back down a mountain road to the Chimneys to see indian petroglyphs. The sun was kind, and stayed behind a mountain for the first 1/4 of the hike while at our backs, and on the way back, a thin cloud lessened the burden of the warm desert sun.
We left the Chimneys trail back through the 12 miles of mountains and through another 13 miles to get out of the park…only to find the closest gas station…out of gas. Fortunately there was another one not too far away :) although our car easily could have made it another 20 miles to the next town- what a trouper, little Stella (our Mazda)!.Rode through some beautiful strange desert towns and onto Texas 117, one of the most stunning and wheel-clinching drives I’ve ever experienced. Vast mountains all around you are the only thing that give comfort as the road disappears into the sky and you have to question where the road will go as you drive over the peak. After 50 harrowing miles with mountain after mountain of epic views, we arrived in the strange, historic town of Presidio, only to turn, form there to our destination of Marfa.
I hadn’t really known what to expect from little Marfa, but I was captivated immediately. We had to u-tun to visit El Cosmico- a hippie destination that my boss had told me about, that’s a sort of mix of primitive camping and elegant luxury hotel. We looked around inside at the incense, soup, bandanas, and new-age books for sale, and taking a recommendation for the best eatery in town, drove, skeptically, about a half a mile to the Food Shark. We were blown away by the Marfalafel- a gourmet treat that rivals any of the attempts at falafel I’ve had in Brooklyn. After eating under the metal roof of the “auditorium” downtown, we walked around a little, soaking in the homey-ness of this little town, and appreciating how many locals bike and walk everywhere. We even saw one old man riding a road bike with a little black spotted dog in the back. He passed us twice, actually, much to my entertainment. Alas, after a long browse through the book shop, we screeched out to Fort Davis- another small down with a surprisingly warm, ‘trendy’ culture. We stopped at a little market to get some food for the following days, and I was blown away at the options! Black bean and cilantro tamales, fresh goat cheese (to sample!), and bulk nuts and local vegetables. Even the people were way down to earth. We got a loaf of sour dough, two large florets of broccoli, a cheese sample, and a big tub of humms for ~$7, and had some nice chats with the locals. Finally, we headed out to Indian Lodge in the Davis Mountains, to shower- after 5 days of sand, sweat and salt sticking to our skin. We had a competition to see who made the water dirtier, and I think I’m proud to admit that I lost. :) After settling in and eating our meal on the porch, watching the sun rays disappear behind the mountains, we headed over to the McDonald Observatory for a Star Party. It was cool looking through all the telescopes they offered, though I as surprised that Saturn didn’t look any bigger than through our telescopes at TOS. Had a nice chat with the guide, though, and then watched a mindblowing movie about the power of 10’s. Made it back to the hotel around 11:30, much later than our sunset bedtime as of late, and crashed.
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