At 9:00 am, Texas time, my buddy Shiloh (pictured above) and I will begin our three day road trip through the state of Texas. Stopping in places like Waco, Austin, and Marfa; Shiloh and I intend to drink coffee, meet people, and just drive. I will be doing a stream of updates on this post — each one documented on Instagram and Twitter.
This trip was born as an idea to visit every coffee shop on the way to Fayetville, Arkansas. After some canceled plans and readjusting, Marfa, Texas is the main destination. The title suggests it is every bit of West Texas, but Marfa is one of those oddities that just happened. Donald Judd, a New York artist, moved to the town in 1971 to kickstart an art culture based on minimalism. It now fosters a crowd of people that seem more fitted for the West Coast.
I greatly anticipate this road trip, and hope the photos and words can help shed some good light on the Lone Star State.
After stopping through Waco to visit a mutual friend of ours over tacos and coffee, Shiloh and I continued the drive down to Austin. Having recently done some work on the Cherokee, I pulled over every few dozen miles to check everything was running well. No problems to report of so far. Austin greeted us well. My brother hosted us in his home on the outskirts of downtown. We had Thai food with Austin native Bradley Vaught, and he proceeded to take us to different parks and eateries. It helps having someone who knows their way around — it takes the stress off of planning, and allows one to soak it all in. Tomorrow is an early morning; we have to jump on the road at dawn to get to Marfa by noon.
It was bittersweet, when the drive was over. The terrain was diverse and rolling like waves. And there was this stretch where we crested the highest hill, and it was as if we really had been submerged in the ocean. Everything was flat for miles and we were in Halcyon. Until we dove again.
We had the pleasure of stopping through Alpine on our way to Marfa. After running out of gas, and having to hitchhike 40 miles — twice — we found ourselves at the Sprudge featured coffee shop, Cedar Coffee Supply.
Their minimalist, customized Slayer Espresso Machine is only one of 5 in Texas. I always get excited when I see these machines, even if they are grotesquely expensive, and occasionally gold plated. This one is by far my favorite of the few I have seen. I’m just a sucker for white.
After finally finishing the 7 hour trip from Austin, we pulled up to the El Cosmico Hotel in Marfa. We were greeted by a young hostess, which felt so out of place in the town that seemed so ancient. Come to find out, Marfa is only open on the weekends, so it was gas station tacos for dinner. We didn’t go to bed without going to view the Marfa Lights — this phenomena where lights brighten and dim in the distant mountains. Whether it was real or not, the stars were what made me catch my breath. It reminded me of this Cormac McCarthy quote.
They heard somewhere in that tenantless night a bell that tolled and ceased where no bell was and they rode out on the round dais of the earth which alone was dark and no light to it and which carried their figures and bore them up into the swarming stars so that they rode not under but among them and they rode at once jaunty and circumspect, like thieves newly loosed in that dark electric, like young thieves in a glowing orchard, loosely jacketed against the cold and ten thousand worlds for the choosing.
We couldn’t leave town before going to see the iconic Prada Marfa. It is a testament to the city; small and confusing.
We made for Robert Lee, where my uncle’s ranch is. The sand was red and would get between your toes and everywhere. Both Shiloh and I got sick with something — maybe it was the tacos in Marfa. Regardless, we couldn’t do the exploring and hiking we were hoping. We just took to the beds.
This trip revealed something that I am finding more relevant in my life. It doesn’t matter where you go, but who you go with. Even backcountry Texas can be a blast with the right person. It also helped that Shiloh is a DJ, and was throwing down some awesome music the whole ride. Oh, and nice coffee.