an adorable ghost town, tumbleweeds, "don't pick up hitchhikers... prison area" and a return HOME... / by geoffrey nichols

last sunday we departed San Antonio for the new found hipster mecca of Marfa and from what i glean there wasn't a lot in between but west texas and my inner thoughts.

BUT!!! Marfa did turn out to be the quiet treasure i hoped it would be SIMPLY by being just that... a very quiet treasure of no discernible quality. (and yes, i fathom now the previous sentence in all its ambiguity might not render the reader with the slightest idea of what i'm hoping to convey)

simply put, Marfa is an oddly charming spot largely BECAUSE there's nothing to it. When i arrived in the very late afternoon i thought perhaps it was closed for the season and no one had told me... the streets were absolutely void of any other human life. it was like a scene from an apocalyptic film where 1 guy wakes up to find he's the last person on earth. (and i LOVED it!!!)

architecturally the place is SOOO me in that it's filled with restored art deco buildings (and some not quite restored), there are bits of vintage whimsy scattered everywhere and at times a sense that it's still 1963.

of course i WANTED to check into retro fabulous, THUNDERBIRD MOTEL, but for some reason they didn't feel compelled to ever answer the phone OR respond to voicemail (and at $250 a night i'm glad they didn't because "fuck off!")
i did however find a truly retro motel which DOESN'T charge through the roof for it's vintageness and after learning the PRADA store isn't actually IN Marfa i decided to relax and wait for darkness to arrive so i could venture back into the desert for one of the hamlet's claims to fame, The Mystery Lights.

unfortunately they didn't turn out to be the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND i hoped for, but if i hadn't gone i'd be even more disappointed. Some token exploration of town later that night was due more to the fact Pixie hadn't pooped since Austin because patches of grass are at a premium in southwest Texas, but we did find a gorgeous shrine to St. Mary and a very seedy bar which i will venture into on a future visit (and not solo)
monday morning at dawn brought another walking tour with camera in (though i missed an AMAZING opportunity to capture a freight train rumble through town with full moon in the pale blue sky because i didn't think to TEST the camera moments before!!! >;-(
(yet another reason to visit)

before rolling out of Marfa, Pixie & I visited the NPR station so we could donate to the cause (i REALLY wanted one of their stickers) and thank them for playing Bob Dylan's "Mozambique" the night before.
Now even though many people are aware of Marfa because of the PRADA store, it isn't ACTUALLY in Marfa... in fact it's about 30 miles away in a TEEEENY TINY crossroads called "Valentine" (population around 200 and change!)
I snagged a couple photo opps of the Volvo, Pixie and the Volvo, but not JUST Pixie as the sun was behind the store so visually there were major issues because of lighting.
after meeting a darling couple from Australia in the midst of a similar journey (as i type this they are ALSO in Denver!) I trudged on to El Paso where I arrived in the late afternoon to find myself waiting for a friend in a very cool "vintage whimsy" dive bar called the Monarch (which just happened to serve AMAZING iced coffee and was owned by Arsenal supporters)
Tuesday consisted of photoshoots & sight-seeing in downtown El Paso with local model and Instagram star Vixenbay aka Robin Lujan.
The UBER retro diner Elmer's saw that my final meal in the Lone Star state was quintessential Texas and then we set off for White Sands National Monument just across the state line in New Mexico which WAS visually stunning but given the midday temp and my traveling partner we weren't able to enjoy it as much as i would've liked... but DEFINITELY visit if you can!
Now, the only downside of the "WSNM" excursion was it meant i had to take a county road north to Santa Fe, which was fine during the light of day, but once twilight sunk in the prospect of oncoming 18-wheelers in the middle of nowhere was NOT all that enjoyable.

eventually we made it to the enchanting Santa Fe where we found ourselves greeted by church bells and most gracious hotel managers (even though we DIDN'T stay at the posh lodge) an early morning tour of town led to some pics, a bird crapping on my head and as we departed an "off-menu" breakfast by Chef Ever at his Tapas truck!

Northward we charged towards Colorado and by early evening we arrived in Park Hill, Denver and the calming sight of Volvos, CLINTON signs and of course... legal MARIJUANA (not that i partake, of course)

The past few days as resulted in nostalgic visits to Boulder, frustrating Arsenal viewing at epic soccer centric pub and long-overdue visits with old friends and faux family.

we will be heading off to UTAH & Idaho in the coming days and will resume blog soon.