Ty and I just hit our 6 months of marriage anniversary! A mini-milestone, but something we are happy to celebrate nonetheless. Not long ago we were posting our first blog post--our honeymoon road trip along the Pacific Northwest coast. So in the spirt of celebration, here is what Ty called our "honeymoon part 2"--a trip we took a couple weeks ago in a region that is the geographic opposite of the lush Pacific Northwest.
We had a perfectly empty chunk in our calendar at the start of the new year, and decided to journey west. Ty had been to West Texas twice before, and often raved about his experience.. The expansive desert, the unbelievable sunsets, the quirky people.. He wanted to introduce me to this unique pocket of the world, and I was excited to experience it.
We began our journey on a clear, cold day and spent much of the day driving. We aimed to make it to Marfa by nightfall, so we only made one stop in Fort Stockton. We explored a tiny 19th century Episcopal chapel, and poked around abandoned buildings.
That night we arrived in Marfa, and decided to set up camp outside of the Mysterious Marfa Lights viewing area (which I did see! Ty, sadly, did not). Ty managed to create a pallet for us to sleep comfortably on in the back of my Kia Soul. It allowed room for an inflatable full size mattress, which was not too shabby. But despite our comfortable camping set up, the temperature dropped below freezing, with an accompanying bitter wind. Icicles sprung up on our windshields inside the car. I was not a happy camper, even hiding below the 5 blankets we brought.
Still, we were determined to explore Marfa the next day. Unfortunately, we rolled into town on a Monday morning, when much of the town is closed. We still had a lovely time, and were able to eat some of the best pizza we've ever tasted, meet the kind folks behind Cobra Rock Boots, and see the quintessential modern art flair of the town.
After our brief time in Marfa we headed south and wound up on a rugged, unpaved road in the middle of the Big Bend Ranch State Park because of the enthusiastic encouragement of a Department of Public Transportation worker. "It's a good road!" he assured us in broken English. "Ándale pues!" And so we did (and probably nearly popped a tire or two in the process). The road was bumpy and brutal at times, but the view was beautiful and the ride was memorable.
That night we found a campsite on the Rio Grande. Ty prepared noodles and a fire (what a man) while we sipped on wine and stargazed in the cool desert air. Waking up the beside the gurgling river was sublime the next morning. We ate and journeyed on to Terlingua. Terlingua is probably one of the quirkiest places I've ever been. It's an actual ghost town, where many residents are living in the ruins of an old miner's settlement from the turn of the 20th century.
We headed for Big Bend the next day, and were blown away by its immensity. I never knew such stunning, formidable mountains existed in Texas. It's cliche, but everything truly felt big. We hiked around, explored more ruins, made a popover in Bouqillas, Mexico where we rode horses and drank beer alongside the locals, and took a dip in 102 degrees hot springs.
The next day we headed toward a new favorite spot--Marathon, Texas: population 430. We spent the night outside La Loma del Chivo, made friends with locals, met a world-class cyclist who was in the midst of cycling across America in one month, and ate a hearty breakfast at Marathon Coffee. I even found several friendly desert cats who were happy to make my acquaintance.
Just as we were really getting acclimated to life on the road, we realized it was time to head home. On the way back, We detoured in Mountain Home and made a pit stop at the boyhood ranch home of one of Ty's best friends where I eagerly tried to pet a cow. We spent one last day in Ty's hometown of Kerrville, Texas (with a quick stop in Bandera, the cowboy capitol of the world). We fed farm animals at Ty's neighbor's farm, where his neighbors graciously named a pygmy goat after me, and finally, basked in one last glorious Texas sunset. It was truly the best second honeymoon we could have imagined. :)