I’ve written a lot about how the road has a mind of its own. For 4 months now I’ve repeatedly tried to make road trip plans, only to have them change in every single instance. I’m happy to report that things have always worked out for the better. I’ve met new friends I wouldn’t have met had I stuck to my “plan.” I’ve visited some new favorite little towns I wouldn’t have seen had I stuck to my “plan.” I’ve had some of the most magical experiences of my life that never would have happened had I stuck to my “plan.” So you’d think by now that it would be very easy for me when road trip plans change. Well, it’s not. I’m human after all.
This entire trip I’ve had my heart set on visiting a tiny little artist town named Marfa. Marfa is located in the high desert of West Texas. It seems to have more art galleries than people, and it is famous for the Marfa Lights, an alleged paranormal phenomenon that supposedly can be seen in the sky on clear nights. I’m not sure why aliens would want to hold a UFO discotheque in far West Texas, and now that I’ve had to cancel my Marfa excursion I suppose I won’t be finding out any time soon.
The reason I had to cancel Marfa is because I’m stranded. I started driving to Marfa yesterday just as Texas was being hit with a freak winter storm. The freeways were becoming icy, so I had to stop for the night in a town called Ozona, located somewhere in the vast region of emptiness between San Antonio and Marfa. I had planned to get up early and continue on to Marfa this morning, but awoke to Princess being covered in snow and sections of the freeway being closed due to snow and ice. So I’m stuck in Ozona for a second night. The hotels in Marfa are booked tomorrow night, which means I’m skipping Marfa because I refuse to spend a single minute longer in Ozona than I have to.
Let me tell you about this town. It started with my piece of crap motel room last night. The carpet was stained, the bathroom light didn’t work, the TV was broken and the piece of tin built into the wall that was supposed to be a heater clanked its heart out while it tried its best to churn out a bit of heat. The worst part? The toilet couldn’t handle toilet paper, so all toilet paper had to be put in the trash can next to the loo. I’ve traveled enough in third world countries to be fairly comfortable with this practice, but really, I never expected to encounter this in a U.S. hotel for which I was paying $79 plus a $10 pet fee. I’ve found a new hotel for tonight, and am happy to report that it is clean and I’m not afraid to sleep on the sheets.
Determined to make lemonade out of this big spoiled sour lemon that I’ve been served, I bundled up and took Yoda for a walk around the city this morning. This took all of 10 minutes. Yes, it is that small. However I did discover that the center of town has a large statue of Davy Crockett. I took a picture and set off to unearth the connection that Ozona has to Davy Crockett. It turns out there is none. Nada. No connection at all. A city worker told me that Crockett never even visited this area. The statue is here because someone donated it to the park.
The one building of interest in town is the Crockett County Museum. Yes…a bit of culture! I went in and was greeted by a chubby elderly Mexican woman who runs the place. She seemed excited to see a visitor. She asked for a $2 donation and then told me to give her a minute as she shuffled off to turn on the lights and turn on the heat. Apparently they rarely have anyone wander into the museum, so they keep their electricity bill down by keeping most of the building dark.
The most exciting thing I noticed in the museum was an antique permanent curl machine. It looks like a torture device for Medusa. The museum also seems quite proud of the slipper manufacturer that used to be located in the basement of the building, and they have two glass display cases filled with slippers. For some reason they also have a set of false teeth displayed. I didn’t have the heart to ask the elderly museum worker why, because, well, she was missing a couple teeth herself. Oh yeah, there’s also the wheelbarrow filled with sand that you can dig through to find genuine Indian arrowheads that all happen to say “Hecho in Mexico.”
When I checked into my second hotel today I asked the clerk what there is to do here. She paused, then said, “Well, we have a Dollar General.” And then, “There is also a gift shop at the truck stop 7 miles east on I-10.” As if that weren’t enough to light my fire, she added, “I wish we had a Salvation Army because it would be fun to shop for thrift items.”
I give up. Unlike most of my posts, I can’t find the positive spin or the lesson of the road with this one. I’m headed to Las Cruces, NM tomorrow. Perhaps that’ll be my lemonade. I hadn’t intended on going, but since I’m no longer headed to Marfa I need to land somewhere for the night. I know nothing about Las Cruces, so shoot me some ideas if any of you have ever been. For now, I’m off to Sonic Burger to find some dinner. It’s the best restaurant in town.
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