Heading to Marfa TX and the Tumble In RV Park we continued to following US 90W. Marfa is famous for the Marfa Lights (this link is to a good description and several good hypotheses but the video image is in my opinion highly suspect. There are other good images online however.) The lights are why we wanted to visit. As it turns out we were there for Ed’s 63rd birthday so we figured it would be a great present and so “they” would certainly come out to play! After dinner when it was dark we headed out to the viewing area and with a few other couples waited patiently for the magic to happen. An hour plus later, cold and no lights, we packed it in. On the positive side the stars, Orion and the Milky Way were magnificent!
Next morning we head off again on 90W. The landscape continued to be barren and rather ugly. We’d see some sheep or cattle periodically but not much. Then way out in the distance we saw what looked like a hot air balloon. A bit later we both agreed that wasn’t right it had to be a blimp…..a bit farther down the road we agreed yes absolutely a blimp but something was peculiar.
Then Ed spied what had to be the docking station and some buildings. We stopped and got out the binoculars because something was definitely strange, it wasn’t moving. Ahah!….it was tethered, and maybe 1,000 ft up! We drove a bit closer to the docking area and the sign by the gate answered our questions……Tethered Aerostat Radar System, US Customs and Border Protection! Guess what they’re looking for? 🙂
At Van Horn, still in Texas we continued north on US 54 and the landscape became wonderful as we traveled beside the beautiful Sierra Diablo Mountains. These were the first mountains to show a bit of red color and the drive was delightful and greatly needed after the flat dry cactus wasteland we’d been in.
At the Guadalupe Mountains National Park we hung a left onto the Texas Mountain Trail US 180/62. Fairly quickly we were out in the open plain again and then salt flats. Scattered across the plain north for a long way are what are sometimes called the Guadalupe Lakes. Control of this valuable resource led to the salt wars of 1877.
We headed on to El Paso and Interstate 10 on our way to Las Cruces NM for Ed’s birthday dinner in the old town section at a nice restaurant, La Posta de la Mesilla and 3 loads of laundry in the AM! BTW….except for a section on the 375 connecting loop that goes through the Franklin Mountains this piece of road has nothing to recommend it.