By Maggie -- May 12, 2014
We're still trying to wrap our brains around Marfa, TX. What is it about this nothing in nowhere town that makes us want to never leave? It feels like the town is an abandoned movie set from the 50's that is inhabited by actual people now instead of actors and set designers. Artistically-driven humans from all over the world are crawling around like little shore crabs by the pier, making homes out of old airstreams and restaurants out of run-down gas stations. You can glance out a building and think absolutely nothing of it, then glance at it again and see that it's a colorful Swiss breakfast cafe full of women wearing feather hats and eye patches and sparkly dresses. Is everyone acting in their own play right now? Is someone filming any of this?
Unfortunately we came to Marfa on a Monday, which is Marfa's day of rest. So is Tuesday. And Wednesday. So really, if you're going to come to Marfa, just know that nothing is open Mon-Wed, and you'll be greatly restricted in your shopping and hipster-watching during the day. We set up our camp at Tumble In RV Park, on the outskirt of town, but close enough to walk to the only bar open on Mondays, Lost Horse Saloon. I'll first describe Tumble In, then Lost Horse. They're two completely different vibes and yet they compliment each other so well - that's maybe why Marfa is so perfectly weird-tastic.
Tumble In RV Park is the first "RV" park we have ever been to. It's trust-based and has no one on the premises who runs it. You pull in and check yourself in at a vintage orange and white travel trailer. You put your credit card info on a small form, jot down how long you plan to stay, and put the paper in a locked box. Then pick a spot on this flat, small dirt lot, and that's it. When we arrived we were pleased to see RVs and trailers that were older than the 1980. No humongous rigs, no obscene third-wheels that made you want to run the other way. Every trailer on the lot was older and had a personality - how refreshing! The park has a minimalist, mid-century feel and has the basic things you would need: clean showers with hot water, flush toilets (YAY!), electric, water, etc. We especially enjoyed making dinner and eating just as the sun went down - magic hour is really magical in this part of the world.
The only major downside to this RV Park (especially for me, the self-proclaimed Lightest Sleeper in the World) is that it's positioned right next to a VERY active railroad track. Trains plow through every hour here... Why!? Why would you put an RV park next to a railroad track? The little amount of sleep I got was peppered with nightmares of getting into grisly car accidents and being swept away by tornadoes, all because of the huge trains that passed us only 400 feet away.
After spending the day walking around town, we decided to make dinner (italian meatballs, please!) and walk over to the Saloon and grab a drink. It was 8pm and the bar had a handful of cowboys drinking beers on the back patio, cursing and talking about what crappy food their ex-wives used to make them for dinner. Ryan and I sat there with our drinks and tried not to stare at anyone, which was difficult. These guys were juicy people-watching material. Dirty, hairy, huge cowboys with missing teeth and covered in tons of leather, each with a dog by his side and three empty bottles in front of him. Before we knew it, the bar had filled up with more people, and the cowboys moved from the back patio to a table near a small inside stage to listen to a few open mic musicians. When we followed them inside we noticed something peculiar. We weren't surrounded by cowboys anymore. Young slender women with flowing sheer dresses and pink and purple hair where hugging and kissing some of these cowboys. There was a girl dressed in a red kimono robe who was chatting up a guy wearing spurs on his boots. It was like stage actors from two totally different tv sitcoms were taking a break from their roles to hang out for a bit before Act Two. A small, hyper cowboy latched on to Ryan and they played a few rounds of pool. Ryan swept each game, and from then on his nickname was the "Minnesota Kid" after the famous pool player. I met a girl from New Zealand who had been in Marfa for a year, working as a bartender a few nights a week. She was hilarious and sweet. Last call came quickly, and her and her friend from North Dakota were kind enough to give us a ride back to our campsite in an old Bronco.
So like I said, we're still trying to understand Marfa. Neither Ryan nor I can put it's coolness into words. The melting pot was like nothing we've experienced in a long time. We may need to go back a few more times to really get a better understanding :)