— Feathers and Wax

Under the wide west Texas sky

I never thought we’d go back to Marfa. Our last trip there was amazing but admittedly a bit harrowing. It was a seven-hour drive, with us filling the boredom with podcasts and Mexican cokes as endless desert vistas roll past the windows. Being IN Marfa is incredible, but the journey there? Not much to write home about.

And for this trip we didn’t have as many days off as last time, either. But when Fred said he wanted to go back, I found some cheap flights to El Paso and a car rental and figured why not?

And now that we know how easy that method is, we might get the temptation much more often…

But one thing we were not prepared for was being chased down by border patrol. Give my regards to El Chapo.

At some point we ended up in a lane that exited the freeway, and the only other vehicles around us were semis. The only signs we’d seen said “all trucks must exit for inspection.” We assumed we had somehow gotten into an exit lane for a truck weigh station. Fred attempted to scoot back onto the highway.

Well. Pretty quickly we learned that that was a mistake.

We saw a flurry of activity at the “weigh station,” which actually turned out to be a border patrol checkpoint. Oops. One group of agents in green khaki uniforms dashed into their vehicles to block our car from going further, while half a dozen just ran across the highway to get to us, one holding the leash of a giant German Shepherd.

We stopped immediately and kept our hands visible, while poor Fred had to answer some rapid-fire questions about why we thought we could skip the checkpoint. “Are you harboring immigrants in your trunk?” “Are you American citizens?” “Are you carrying any weapons or drugs?”

Yikes.

Pretty soon it became clear that we were just a couple of dumb gringos who weren’t used to traveling this close to the border. They let us go with a stern warning to never be that stupid again. Yeah, that’s a guarantee. Perhaps some barricades and better signage would keep this from happening again? Just a thought.

That day there were winds of upwards of 30mph blowing around. Dirt blew into our eyes while we took these photos at Prada Marfa, we could see dust devils off in the distance, and Fred had to dodge dozens of tumbleweeds careening across Highway 90 while we made our way to El Cosmico, where we were staying for our first night.

I wish I had snagged a good photo of this, but as the day wore on we saw rabbits hopping around El Cosmico! I was truly over the moon about this. And I’m definitely jealous that Fred got to see one up close later that night as he headed to the bathhouse.

Tired from the three-hour drive from El Paso and still stunned from those crazy winds outside, we unpacked in our adorable yurt and hung out in the lobby area for a while, drinking beers and reading the local newspaper until we felt like braving the outdoors again for dinner at Stellina — that’s a new restaurant in town that turned out to be truly amazing.

We followed dinner up with a cocktail at the new Hotel Saint George. I can’t express how trippy, for lack of a better word, it felt to be sitting in the lobby of a truly swanky, hip hotel in Marfa, of all places. The Austinification of that little town is certainly continuing apace, and I don’t really know how I feel about that. Part of me wishes it had stayed exactly the same as it was back in 2014.

At least El Cosmico has stayed the same. And thankfully the winds were a little less harsh once the sun began to set.

Day one was in the books. Tipsy on margaritas, tired from our travels, and soothed by the sound of the wind battering the sides of our yurt, we called it a night.

More about our trip to Marfa:

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Thanks for reading Feathers and Wax! x

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