Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Marfa Trip Part 5: El Cosmico

While in Marfa, we stayed in a couple of the renovated vintage 1950's trailers over at El Cosmico.  The campsite also has yurts, teepees, safari tents, and designated areas where you can bring your own tent.

We stayed a few nights in the Spartan Royal Mansion, which came equiped with a full kitchen, and another couple of nights in the Vagabond, which had a large living room area perfect for entertaining, trailer style.

More pics on our flickr feed!

Marfa Trip Part 4: Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX

After driving southeast under the Big Texas Sky for about 3 hours, we finally made it to our destination in Marfa, Texas.  For those unfamiliar with Marfa, it served as a filming location for the 1956 film Giant and was more recently seen in No Country for Old Men.  But the primary reason that people come out to Marfa is to see the work of Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and other artists at the Chinati Foundation.

Judd's 100 Untitled Works in milled aluminum are housed in two former artillery sheds, perfectly set in context with the surrounding landscape.  There are also 15 Untitled Works in concrete on the site, which you can freely walk through at your leisure.  Also a highlight are Dan Flavin's Untitled florescent light pieces that are in 6 former barracks, which make for amazing jumping photo ops.

More pics on our flickr feed!

Marfa Trip Part 3: White Sands, NM

White Sands National Monument is just about an hour's drive outside of El Paso and well worth the trip.  Part of the excitement for those who've never visited is the anticipation of seeing a vast swath of sand in the middle of the Southwest desert.  You'll pass through the Missile Test Site on your way there, and before you know it, you see a waterless beach in the middle of nowhere.

Once you enter the park, it's pretty surreal to be in the middle of these giant gypsum dunes.  You can rent sleds at the visitor center and slide down the dunes, which we highly recommend.  There are campsites in the park as well, which we unfortunately didn't have the chance to stay at but hope to return someday, tent in hand.

More pics of White Sands National Monument, along with pics of our entire West Texas adventure, are on our flickr feed.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Marfa Trip Part 2: Bingo in El Paso

After a 16 hour overnight train ride on the Sunset Limited, we arrived in El Paso.  We found an amazing bingo hall near the airport and happened to stop by in the evening when they were just starting an intense night of bingo.

For bingo amateurs such as us, it was a bit overwhelming to get with the pace of the game, even if we only had 2 cards to everyone else's 10.  By the middle of the evening, we were getting the hang of hearing numbers called with a deep Texas accent and furiously dabbing our cards with our bingo markers.  Apparently, "G" is pronounced "chair" in some parts of bingo-playing West Texas.  Ben won a Double Bingo that night, which was pretty exciting and sort of nerve wrecking at the same time.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Marfa Trip Part 1: LA to El Paso via Amtrak

We ended 2010 and started the new year with a trip through the Southwest and a week in Marfa, TX.  Our adventure started in Union Station where we boarded the Amtrak Sunset Limited, headed east from Los Angeles to El Paso.

The Sunset Limited is the southernmost route on the Amtrak system, traveling along the border from Los Angeles to its final destination in New Orleans.

Traveling by train is an amazing experience, set at a pace that seems appropriate for grand adventures.  Trains travelling long distance have an observation car with oversized windows to enjoy the passing scenery.  A lovely way to see the country and meet some really friendly people on the way.