The Desert

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When we were planning this trip, Marfa, Texas was the apex of this journey, at least for me. I have never been to the desert. I’ve never been to Texas. And I mostly stick to cities. Marfa, on the other hand, is a small way-station in the west Texas desert, right near the US-Mexico border. It’s an old railway stop, a town in the middle of nowhere with a made up name (supposedly made up by the wife of a railway executive), some weird lights in the sky and a border patrol station. Since the 1970s, however, when minimalist sculpture Donald Judd decided to flee NYC to the Texas desert, it has become a contemporary art scene. A tiny town packed with galleries, a cafeteria that is also an art installation, with a persona that is far different from the surrounding towns. The motto of Marfa is “Tough to get to, tougher to explain” and that really about sums it up. Getting there is something else. From Austin it is 6.5 hour drive out of the city into the desert, and for last two and a half hours there is nothing except the odd bush and an occasional cow to break up the scenery.

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And then you arrive.

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And unpack your stuff.

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And if you’re us, you head to Little Pinky, a camper van at the El Cosmico campsite.

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There she is in the background.

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Little Pinky was the best!

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“Where are you guys going to sleep?”

Actually, we were all in that bed – it was more like a nest, but it was warm and cozy!

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Making the most of the blue sky and sunshine.

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At first glance, downtown Marfa doesn’t look very exciting.

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Almost all the galleries were closed when we were there, so we just peeked in windows.

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The only thing I was sad about was that the Chinati Foundation, which was Judd’s foundation, was also closed, so we couldn’t walk around the Judd sculptures. We took a few pictures from the edge of the highway, but it’s a border town, and the Border Patrol depot literally backs on to the Judd field … so we decided not to scale any fences.

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Fortunately, we then had lunch at Future Shark, which really was as good as the hype.

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And then we drove off into the desert to go to Fort Davis. Marfa is pretty amazing, but what’s around it is possibly even more amazing. It is so beautiful.

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I possibly got a little snap happy out here, but I’ve honestly never seen anything like it.

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bullet holes!

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As a fort, Fort Davis isn’t that exciting, but its setting is something else.

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Lucy with wildlife

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International relations.

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There’s a beastie in this picture….

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Mountain conquered.

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post-hike nap outside Little Pinky.

ImageMarfa sunset.

We had to leave very early the next morning, which wasn’t fun, but it did mean that we got to see a desert dawn.

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And we got to see the Prada installation in really great light. It’s actually not in Marfa, but 30 miles down the road in Valentine. We both thought that it was funnier in real life than it is in photos.

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Marfa was pretty special. I wish we had stayed longer, and I think I’d like to go back. But it was on to Albuquerque, with a couple of stops en route.

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