As you might be aware, we had a marvelous time at El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas, the first night of our honeymon, so we decided to bookend our honeymoon with another stay at our new favorite trailer park/campground/rabbit preserve in the desert. We got out of Ft. Davis early. Walking down the stairs at the side of the restaurant while they were serving guests felt a little like a walk of shame, but with way more luggage.
We had a little time to kill before checking in, so we walked around the square, took a few pictures, and checked out the Paisano Hotel. I didn't realize it at the time, but my mother visited this hotel back when it was serving as the home base for the crew during the filming of Giant. You know, the movie starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean? She rushed to get the autograph of character actor Chill Wills, which is kind of awesome, don't you think? If nothing else, it explains a lot about our family.
I'm sure this is in part due to the dreaded specter of gentrification, but Marfa's downtown is remarkably vibrant for such a small town. So many small Texas downs are slowly dying from death-by-all-the-young-people-moving-away, but Marfa's square doesn't have a single boarded-up storefront. Instead, there's a courthouse that looks like a dollhouse.
After we wandered around a little and hit up a rock shop (named "Rock Shop"), we checked in to a lodging: an old Branstrator trailer. This sucker was much cozier than the Battleship, which was in some more fun; it felt more like "camping" than "staying in a weirdly-arranged guest house." The bed much smaller and backed into a corner, so getting up to use the restroom in the middle of the night took some doing. The front end had a sofa recessed into a nook, which is pretty much the best thing in the world for relaxing. We finally worked out how to make the minimalist radio work and tuned in to public radio station, which was everything you'd want a desert public radio station to be (minus Cecil).
It was heavenly.
I don't know that I have the skills to express just how relaxing and wonderful this place was. We're already making plans to go back...and checking the housing prices. Unlike some of the other towns (Ft. Davis, I'm looking at you), we felt welcome and very much at home the entire time. No rush, nothing we had to do, but so many things we wanted to do, including just sitting on the little porch of the trailer, drinking a beer, and petting one of the very friendly El Cosmico cats.
We grilled burgers again, because, well, why wouldn't we? There's a communal cooking area, which we should have checked more closely before buying supplies, because campers seem to just leave their salt and pepper and condiments and such in the panty and fridge rather than throw them away. The burgers were, of course, terrific, especially since I thought to buy a green chile at the grocery store and grilled that sucker up too.
Once the sun went down, the stars did their thing. We didn't see quite as many as at Balmorhea, but at least I had the pleasure of watching them from an outdoor bathtub. The overfill drain was a wee bit aggressive and there's not a lot of hot water to be had (the desert cools off very quickly), but man. This was another case of crossing something off my bucket list that I didn't even know was on it. I bet half the stuff on all of our bucket lists is written in invisible ink and we don't even know we want to do it until we do it.
In general, the trip was a disappointment with regards to wildlife viewing (the copious amounts of roadkill notwithstanding). We had our best luck at El Cosmico, where we saw dozens of rabbits, a couple of roadrunners (which I insist on calling "chaparrals" because Spanish sounds so much better in this case), butterflies aplenty including several monarchs, and a couple of cats which weren't technically wildlife, but we missed petting cats, so their presence was more than welcome.
At the risk of erring on the effusive side, the staff at El Cosmico were spectacular. We had a light burn out when we first arrived. I went to the front desk to report it, and the service man was at the trailer before I got back. The folks are friendly, helpful, and their attention to detail is uncanny. It's an expensive place to spend a night in a trailer, but I feel safe in guaranteeing that it will be the best night you ever spend in a trailer.
I can't believe Nicole found this place. I can't take any of the credit at all. Her sense of places to go and stay which are "us" has made this easily the best vacation I've ever been on. No resorts, no flights, no obligation, just the two of us, a car, a map, and a few pins with the word "maybe?" attached. I didn't know this was my favorite way to travel until this week.