After leaving Big Bend National Park, we had a night to spend before our next major destination. When we just have one night we need to kill, we don’t like to do the traditional campground thing if we can help it. We prefer to stay somewhere free on those nights, and in places where we won’t have to unhook the trailer from the truck. For these types of stays, there are several options we look to. Sometimes, depending on where we are, this can include retail options (like Walmart, Cabela’s, Cracker Barrel, etc.), Harvest Hosts locations, highway rest areas, or public BLM land. For this night, we decided on the Marfa Lights Viewing Area that is a rest area along Highway 90 near Marfa, TX.
While doing the research that led us to this location we were excited to learn about the mysterious Marfa Lights, also known as the Marfa Ghost Lights. This is a phenomenon that was first reported in the 1800s and hasn’t been completely explained. Some theories that have been presented to explain the lights are that they are a mirage caused by sharp temperature gradients between cold and warm layers of air, that they are atmospheric reflections of car lights, or that it is merely car lights on highway 67. Others believe in more paranormal explanations such as ghosts or UFOs. No matter what causes these lights, WE SAW THEM! After dark, we went up to the viewing platform and looked to the south-southwest. Off in the distance were bright points of light that were moving around and fading in and out. At one point, we saw as many as 6 of these lights. We observed them for at least 15 minutes and they were still going strong when we called it a night and went back to the camper. We are ok with not knowing exactly what caused them; we are just excited we had the opportunity to see them. Sadly, we did not take a picture, so you will just have to take us at our word on this one.
We didn’t know it before our visit, but Marfa is also known as an art hub. Above are pictures of two of the art installations we passed on our way out of town. The first is the “Giant Marfa Mural” by John Cerney which honors the movie “Giant” that was filmed in Marfa. Aside from the mural, this installation also includes some set pieces taken from the movie set. The second is “Prada Marfa” by Elmgreen and Dragset. It is made to look like a Prada boutique and contains Prada merchandise from their 2005 line. We HAD to stop and get a picture here for my (Heather) uncle who has been talking about the “Prada boutique in the middle of nowhere in Texas” for MONTHS. Sorry, Uncle Richard…it is just an art installation. No Prada for you this Christmas!
Marfa, Texas just goes to prove that you never know what amazing, unique, artistic, or just plain strange things you might find in the places you least expect!
Until next time!