“I want to go to Marfa,” Alexis said, “ it’s on my bucket list.”
“What and where is Marfa?” I responded.
“Marfa, Texas — it’s an artists’ colony and has a hotel from the ’50s completely retro but renovated. That’s where I want to stay. There is also an art installation outside of town, a fake Prada store. I want a photo of me in front of that. Marfa was written up in Sunset magazine and in Dwell magazine and it was also on “Sixty Minutes.” It’s supposed to be like Taos was for artists in the ’50s. If you Google Prada Marfa you’ll see the art installation.”
So I said: “Sure why not, I’m into art and artists and I’ve never been to Marfa.”
Marfa is not someplace you go to on the way to someplace. South and east of El Paso, 60 miles north of the border, not too far, by Texas standards, to the Big Bend National Wilderness area where my sons and I went backpacking back in the day.
So we drove to Las Cruces and stayed overnight, not much to comment on. Have you ever been to Las Cruces? The next day on to Marfa with the fake Prada store about 35 miles from town. We went past it at 75 mph. Two carloads of people were stopped to take photos. Alexis said; “Let’s go on and come back tomorrow, I want to clean up before the photo and there is a crowd now. We don’t want strangers in the photo.”
Today we went back. The big Prada-Marfa signs above the door on either side were gone. Ripped off during the night? The online photos of the installation show it with the signs in place. The displays of shoes and purses inside were still intact but the magic was gone. It’s all about the sign!
I left a copy of “Travels With Charlize” at the local bookstore and during lunch had a nice conversation with Ken Whitley, another writer, retired from Shell Oil and a Marfa resident for the last 17 years. He stopped by our table while we were eating lunch to compliment Alexis on her jewelry and her shoes. Not an uncommon event.
— By Dr. David Gross
Retired veterinarian Dr. David Gross writes about his adventures on the road with his dog Charlize.