Saturday, February 15, 2014

Marfa Texas

The decision on what road to take to get to our next destination is usually not really made until the morning we set off. One of our goals is to not have hard and firm dates for being in any particular place in order to change plans as we discover places where we want to linger along the way. This time, however, a frozen pipe and flooded basement required one of us to return home to coordinate with the insurance company and the contractors that would be doing the initial repairs. Because we are traveling with Dot, the cat, the other would stay behind rather than subject the elderly Dot to the trauma of air travel.
Welcome to Marfa
Marfa Town Hall
Yes, the beer was cold. 

Waiting while his cowboy to finish his beer outside the Lost Horse

We knew that Marfa and Alpine, Texas were two towns we wanted to visit. These two small towns in far West Texas have drawn a large number of artists there to live and work. Each one has quite a few art galleries and a lively community. The decision for Sarah to stay in Marfa at the Tumble In RV park was easy. We spent two days together exploring Marfa then Sarah took me to Alpine, 25 miles to the east, to catch the Amtrak train to El Paso from where I would fly home.
One of the colorful murals in Alpine

Marfa has been a place of interest for a very long time. It earned special attention when people began seeing odd lights in the night sky. Beginning in the nineteeth century several times a year these lights, variously described as floating orbs that would magically appear then disappear. Early observers dismissed them as distant campfires. Later they were thought to be some sort of bending of the light from automobiles just beyond the horizon. Over time all plausible explanations have been eliminated. Now, the most widely accepted, yet unproven explanation is that they are a phenomenon that results from a particular atmospheric condition found only here in Marfa. No matter what the cause, the lights draw enough curiosity seekers that a very nice viewing area has been built just east of town where people can park and safely watch and hope to catch a glimpse of the lights. Sarah did watch for them and believes she saw them one night. She described them as short streaks of light that hovered then moved off to one side or the other than vanished only to repeat again shortly thereafter.
An art installation just west of the Town of Marfa

To occupy her time while I was away, Sarah volunteered for the local public radio station, KRTS. The Tumble In RV Park was just a short walk from town and was convenient for Sarah to get to without having to drive. She worked as a receptionist, answering the phones, greeting visitors and taking music requests from listeners. 
Sarah at work for Marfa Public Radio

When not at the radio station she visited the nearby town of Alpine to stroll the art galleries and talk to other artists. She also visited the studio of Tom Curry, and artist whose work we both admire and who has been featured in Yankee, Newsweek and Atlantic Magazines. We saw his work at the CatchLight Art Gallery ( in Alpine.
While we knew his work as painter, Sarah discovered that he is also an accomplished sculpture. She was able to visit with him at his studio/gallery.

Gates by Tom Curry at his studio. He uses a technique called papercrete.
The Mary Joan as seen from the Amtrak train on my way to El Paso from Alpine
This is the second Border Patrol Blimp we have seen in our travels near the
Mexican border. This one was between Marfa and El Paso

Sarah met me in El Paso and we are now continuing our journey.

Stay tuned.

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