We left Austin on Sunday afternoon and tonight are sitting in a truck stop parking lot in El Paso, the last major town in Texas before crossing into New Mexico. We spent the past two days roaming around the West Texas desert, and what a place it was to roam. But first we’ll recap on a few things before we dive into our desert adventures.
We left McKinney Falls State Park (Austin) last Friday morning and drove south to San Antonio for our show at the Alamo Beer Co. Christ, what a place! They even had a stage for the band and gave us a hearty bar tab to drink away (which we did, naturally). There was also a Louisiana southern-cookin’ food truck parked onsite from which we inhaled a cat fish po’boy – it was a very delicious night all ‘round.
Saturday we headed north/west to Dripping Springs (the gateway to Texas hill country) to play a double header. The afternoon started at a rustic little winery and the evening found us playing at their off-site wine tasting room under a beautiful night sky. After the gig(s) we made our way back to the heart of Austin and Zilker Park. We (maybe illegally) stayed the night at this beautiful city park and got to check out the famous Barton Springs. Sunday was interesting as the annual (and apparently uber important) Austin Kite Festival kicked off. Shit for this event was so serious that the National Guard was directing traffic in the park, so by 9am we got the hell out of there.
That afternoon we played at the Cherrywood Coffeehouse, which was a really cool spot. Huge outdoor patio with a great stage, lots of craft beer on tap and really, really good homemade peanut butter cups. We were debating staying in Austin another night but decided to start our trek West and ended up splurging for a nights stay at an RV park in Fredericksburg. The town boasted a picturesque and long-stretching main street, filled with all kinds of great little shops/cafes/breweries and such. We’ll definitely be stopping there again on the next go around.
After leaving Fredericksburg we put in a solid four hours of drive time before pulling into a rest stop for the evening. Tuesday morning we made it to Fort Stockton and met a couple of RVing folks from Sudbury (Hi Jim & Jude!) in the McDonalds parking lot. We chatted for quite a while, swapped road stories and frustrations and learned we were making the same drive (all the way to Cali then on to BC). Hopefully we’ll cross paths again. While in Fort Stockton we filled up on gas, stocked the fridge and headed out into the desert.
Alpine was the first town we arrived in, located about an hour south of Fort Stockton. This was deep south USA, even more so than the Rio Grande Valley, with so many old trailers and vehicles to be fawned over. We stopped many times to snap shots of the great sights that perhaps only we could appreciate. Once we had Alpine covered we headed even further south into the desert to the ‘middle of no where’ town of Marfa. This placed stopped in its tracks sometime in the mid 1960’s - it was incredible. We checked out all the back roads and alleys looking for anything interesting and stopped on numerous occasions to gawk at rusty junk piles full of gems. We checked out the local thrift shop, the vintage trailer park and the old downtown complete with the original Theatre and City Hall buildings.
As the day turned to afternoon and the weather grew questionable we decided to head back North, stopping at a viewing area where folks could watch for the mysterious Marfa lights that can be seen on clear nights dancing over and around the mountains that surround the area. We saw nothing but tumble-weeds, so we made some dinner and headed back to Fort Stockton for another night at a truck stop.
Wednesday started with bad news… The show at The Garage was cancelled due to some unforeseen issues. We headed to the venue anyway because it looked so darn cool and we were not disappointed. Situated in an old machine shop, the garage is a coffee shop/listening room run by a super-friendly (motorcycle-loving) husband and wife team. We chatted and drank some tasty coffee drinks then set off for the 4+ hour drive across the last of the west Texas desert.
So here we are. Hunkered down at a Love’s truck stop, illuminated by the CAT Certified Scales sign and sippin’ on beers, trying to remember the individual days that have passed us by. We’ve been in Texas for just over a month and are looking forward to moving on to new territory. Discovering new parts of Texas (the gorgeous hill country and the mountainous, sprawling desert of the West) has been great and the folks have treated us kindly. Our New Mexico adventures start tomorrow in Las Cruces for a show at a brewery (but of course), followed by a brewery/distillery in Silver City on Friday and then we’re Arizona bound for a few days of shenanigans in Tubac with some kind folks we met by way of our CBC radio interview.
We’ll catch you here again soon.
Amy & Brad