Day 38 – April 7 – Onward to Marfa, TX

Three days in an RV park make it feel like home and I was sorry to leave this one. Dave was able to ride on directly from cam, so I took my time.  Had a nice conversation with Linda and Steve on the porch, sitting in rocking chairs and drinking coffee.  They are “work camper volunteers”.  This means working part time for the KOA in exchange for a free site and meals in the Kafe.  We noticed several people doing this and were impressed with the professional efficiency of operations and how clean the campground was.

We are deviating from the bike route and taking the flatter road through Marfa, based on advice from our friends Jo Ann and David. Marfa is known for its “Mystery Lights”.

The Chamber of Commerce website says:

In 1883, the wife of the president of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad named a small West Texas railroad water stop Marfa after a character in a Russian novel that she was reading at the time.

Everyone loves a good mystery. Marfa’s “Mystery Ghost Lights” were first documented by rancher Robert Ellison in 1883. There are nearly as many theories about the source of these curious lights as there are pronghorn antelope grazing beneath them. Swamp gas, phosphorescent mineral displays, ball lightning, UFO’s, secret chemicals left by the US Army, and spirits of Apache ancestors have all been proposed. Whatever their cause, these playful lights above Mitchell Flat stimulate our imagination and beckon us to adventure. 

According to the Handbook of Texas Online, “…at times they appear colored as they twinkle in the distance. They move about, split apart, melt together, disappear, and reappear. Presidio County residents have watched the lights for over a hundred years. The first historical record of them dates to 1883.

Marfa is a site for filming movies. The beautiful lobby of the restored pueblo-deco style Hotel Paisano records images from the making of George Stevens’ academy award-winning film “Giant,” starring Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, and Rock Hudson. More academy awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for the Coen borthers’ adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country for Old Men,” and Best Actor and Best Cinematography for Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood” again put Marfa on the cinematic map.


2 thoughts on “Day 38 – April 7 – Onward to Marfa, TX

  1. John

    You are a veritable fount of information. Perhaps even a font, for that matter. You must read every historical marker you come across. Good for you! You are also meeting some very interesting characters along the way. I bet there is a book in this somewhere.


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