An Expedition to Marfa, Texas

An Expedition to Marfa, Texas

     Updated 7 December 2001  URL is

Get Thee to Marfa!by Magdalin Leonardo, email Marfa pages are:

All text and images © 1998 Magdalin Leonardo.

Getting to Marfa isn’t easy, and it isn’t fast…at least not for an Easterner. But it’s a town well worth visiting, and if you’re a Dean fan who also happens to enjoy road trips, you’ll love it even more.From New York I had to take two planes. The first one flew into Dallas. From Dallas, I flew a smaller plane into Midland (no bigger than a subway car I might add). If you’re coming from points further west, you may want to fly into El Paso; it’s closer. Either way, it’s about a three hour drive from the airport. That’s how long it took me to get from Midland to Marfa. What a trek…but what an adventure!The ride was a little disappointing at first. When I got off the plane at Midland, I have to admit: I thought Texas was UGLY! Nothing but miles of desert sand for as far as the eye could see. It reminded me of that early scene in "Giant" when Leslie (Liz Taylor) flirts with Bick Benedict (Rock Hudson) at dinner…LESLIE: "Isn’t Texas green, Mr. Benedict?"BICK: "Well, no ma’am, not altogether."

That’s putting it nicely. You see, for the first half of the drive, the landscape is horribly flat, dry and barren, filled with nothing but oil drills that bob up and down the desert like giant cockroaches. (Okay, maybe it’s not the best analogy, but I’m from New York, remember?)

      The only saving grace for me was seeing my first windmill–it looked just like Jett’s! I finally felt like I was in "Giant" country…now if only the scenery would improve.

     Luckily, the speed limit on the Texas freeways is 70 mph, so I got through the boring plains pretty quickly. By the time I reached Pecos, the bland scenery started to change. Turning south onto State Road 17 from Interstate 20, I was greeted to a gorgeous burst of color on the roadside…a sign of better — and more beautiful — things to come.

      The brown desert sand became dotted with green — I even saw some trees! — and towering mountains surrounded me on all sides. I soon realized that Marfa itself is carved into those mountains, and the closer I got, the more excited I became.

When I finally reached my destination, I didn’t see any "Welcome to Marfa" signs, but I did see the towering Marfa courthouse. From there, it was only a few blocks to The Arcón Inn, where I’d be staying.

It was 3:00 pm. I had left my house at 4:00 am to catch my first plane and had been in the air and on the road for nearly nine hours. Hallelujah! I had finally arrived. Time to explore Marfa!

All text and images © 1998 Magdalin Leonardo.

NEXT:The Arcón Inn

Continue Your Voyage:

  1. Overview: Where the heck is Marfa?
  2. Getting There
  3. The Arcón Inn
  4. Reata Ruins Part One
  5. Reata Ruins Part Two
  6. Little Reata
  7. El Paisano Hotel
  8. Borunda’s Bar and Grill
  9. Part One, Faces and Places
  10. Faces and Places Part Two
  11. Faces and Places Part Three
  12. “Jimmy Beans”
  13. Part One, Reata Restaurant, Alpine
  14. Reata Restaurant, Alpine, Part Two
  15. About the Author


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