I know I
shouldn't drive all night, but sometimes it happens. And it really
messes up keeping track of the days. I guess it's a
combination of heat (I'm not used to so much prolonged heat, and my
car has no air conditioning), and driving way too many hours without
stopping--trying to see as many things as possible in a limited
amount of time. Doubt if I'll ever get a chance to do this
again, so I want to see & do as much as possible.
Front door to the Gardner Hotel & Youth Hostel in El Paso.
Randolph, Asst. Manager of the Hotel/Hostel
he's not kicking me out.)
what happened before I got to the
El Paso Hostel:
leaving the Comanche Motel & Hostel, I drove up through the
Davis Mountains. Stopped and toured the McDonald
Observatory. Then drove to Marfa to see the Mystery
Lights. I had first heard of the lights on one of those
"That's Incredible" programs. Never thought I'd actually be
here--right in Marfa, Texas! But here I stood!
arrived at 2pm. It's a very small town. I found a
somewhat vacant open field with a "Camping" sign on it. I went
to the nearest house and knocked on the door. No answer.
Walked around. Couldn't find anyone. Drove around
town. Sign in the museum door said, "Open Tuesdays".
Well, it wasn't Tuesday.
I had to find something to do from 2pm 'til 9pm. (because I
couldn't go to see Marfa's Mystery Lights until after dark).
Drove to the next closest city--Alpine, Texas. I enjoyed
looking at and being amazed at the landscape. I've seen plenty
of mountains, but I've never seen so many different kinds of
mountains until I started on this trip. Here, between Marfa
and Alpine were big, brown & gold, rolling, treeless
mountains. I was tempted to get out of the car and climb up
one to the top. But I had shorts & sandals on and thought
I might step on a rattlesnake or something.
much bigger than Marfa. First thing I did was to find a nice,
cool restaurant to go to where I could "soak up as much coolness as
possible"! Had something to eat. Drove around
Alpine. Found the Sul Ros College & sat in their library
writing letters, catching up on my journal entries, and
drinking an icy cold coke.
Contents of a flyer put out by businesses of Marfa concerning the
UNSOLVED MYSTERY OF THE MARFA GHOST LIGHTS:
Lights of Marfa still shine as bright as ever, and are as mysterious
as they were when they were first seen by early settlers who drove
their through the Marfa area in 1883.
Lights viewing site has been provided for the public on Hight way 90
by the Texas Hwy. Dept.. It is located nine miles east of
Marfa. Ghost Light watchers can go to the area and scan the
south western horizon looking for Chinati Peak. Using a red
tower light as a morker, one can know that any light to the right of
the marker that appears and disappears, is a Marfa Ghost
Light. You will know them when you see them. There is no
At 9pm I
was standing there at the designated "Marfa Light View Site" along
with about a dozen other people. Half of us had binoculars--we
shared with those who didn't.
there's one! Do you see that?" "Look over there, there's
a white one!" "Wow, that one's getting bigger &
smaller!" "There's another one!" It was a good
time. Some people stood on rocks to get a better look. I
think I had more fun watching the people! The whole thing was
the time I decided to leave it was close to 10 pm. I thought
about just curling up in the car right there on the side of the road
to get some sleep. Well, it was a thought. The closest
hostel was in El Paso--that was 195 miles away.
down the street and called my son & his girlfriend to say
"Hello" and to let them know where I was and where I was headed.
started driving down Route 90 toward El Paso. I knew it was
going to be a long night. I wished I could have driven during
daylight so I could see what the surroundings looked like. But
it was pitch black. No lights whatsoever except my car
headlights. A car or truck drove by about once every half hour
or so it seemed. I couldn't see anything except the road ahead
of me. Can't remember ever seeing such total blackness!
Whoa! A deer bounded out in front of my car! Just missed
it! Phew! A couple of hours and I'll be nearing El Paso.
noticed a light in the sky to my right. I figured it was a
beacon on top of a hill somewhere ahead. It was there for
awhile. I didn't think much of it. Then it moved.
So I knew it wasn't a beacon on a hill. Maybe it was a
satelite that just looked like it had been stationary because it was
coming in my direction. It was moving very slowly. Then
it stopped. Well, it was not a satelite. I pulled over
to get a look at it. It was a cluster of twinkling lights. I
drove further up until I was right under them. I got out of my
car to look at them. They must have been way up 'cause I
couldn't hear any noise from it. I got my binoculars out. They
were a group of closely clustered lights that seemed to blink on
& off in a series. Flashing. I couldn't tell what shape it
was. I would have taken a picture, but a flash camera is
useless for faraway night-time pictures.
unusual. But I figured that if it was anything really weird,
then the guys at the McDonald Observatory would have seen it.
have stood there all night watching them, but I didn't feel
comfortable standing there outside my car in the pitch dark in the
middle of no where. I didn't know if snakes, scorpions or big
spiders come out on the highway at night or not. Plus I could
think of many reasons why I shouldn't be standing there. My
imagination is too good. And I had a long way to travel.
George, another hosteller
made dinner & invited me to eat with him on the first day I
arrived. A native of El Paso, he spent 3 yrs. in the military
at Pease Air Base in New Hampshire. That's not far from where
me around El Paso.
volunteered to make dinner for him & Yoko the next night.
all night to the outskirts of the city. Pulled into a rest
area around 4 am to try to get a couple hours sleep. It was
too early for the hostel to be open.
I found the hostel at 7:30 am. Jumped in the shower and
settled in to get some sleep. Then I met my room mate, Yoko
from Japan. She spoke very little English. The hostel
manager explained to me that she wanted to know if I would rent a
car with her to drive to White Sands, NM. She'd always wanted
to see White Sands.
make a long story short--I didn't get any sleep. Oh well, I
wanted to see White Sands too. We took my car and drove to
White Sands--I had no idea that it was almost 100 miles away!
Yoko (hosteller from Toyko, Japan) & me getting ready to drive
to White Sands.
White Sands, New Mexico
next day, Yoko & I took the trolley to Juarez, Mexico.
Then visited George at the office where he worked. He took us
on a tour of the area.