A $39 Southwest flight, a rental car and a 3 hour drive from the modest 5 gate Midland International Air and Space Port, lands you in the middle of the universe, otherwise known as Marfa, Texas.
32 miles West of the Dairy Queen in Marfa, is “Prada Marfa.” Along the drive, I spot a white speck amongst the lines of stratocumulus clouds stretch along the west Texas horizon, but this speck doesn’t move and I tick down the mils toward the West Texas Prada outpost, an ever increasing refrain of “what the fuck is that” echoes within the Toyota Rav 4 as the stationary speck increasingly grows in size. The speck then begins to take the form of a blimp; now having ruled out aliens but not yet being able to identify said flying object, I’m left to ponder why the Goodyear blimp would be in West Texas. Maybe in these Covid times without many major sports going on the blimp finds itself covering a high school football game, Friday Night Lights style.
Past the large cutouts paying homage to the 1956 James Dean film “Giant” that was partially shot in and around Marfa, I see the answer to now identified flying blimp that is used by customs and border patrol as part of a radar network scouting low flying aircraft crossing the border from Mexico (Wiki- Tetherd Aerostat Radar System)
Having crossed “Prada Marfa” off the instagram bucket list, I set about exploring the rest of Marfa. There are pretty much 2 main streets in Marfa, dotted with eclectic shops, restaurants and galleries that would have been packed on any weekend in the before COVID times, but are struggling like so many small businesses. I wasn’t able to make reservations to visit The Chinati Foundation that arguably put Marfa on the map with their collection of its founder work, Donald Judd, who moved to Marfa in 1977. Next time.
The next day, following the only other other road out of town, I headed south toward Presidio and East along the Rio Grande River, traveling the scenic FM 170 towards Big Bend National Park. The picturesque and roller coaster like FM 170, where I actually saw a road runner and I have got to say cartoons have been lying and road runners(at least this one) are more like road speed walkers; also there was no coyote to be seen. My short trip only allowed me a couple hours to explore Big Bend, another thing to add to the list for the next trip…