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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Weekend Road Trip I Would Recommend Again ... and Again

It's been a while since I've done a travel piece, but a few days ago I got to escape to my favorite weekend getaway — Fort Davis and Marfa, Texas. 

Sitting on the roof of the Indian Lodge, I look out through the valley of the Davis Mountains. It is quiet. The only thing I can hear is my fingers tapping my computer keys. I feel clean, raw, pure and more fully myself out here. I don’t know anybody, and nobody is expecting anything of me.

Wispy, high clouds brush the blue-gray, autumn sky. A cool breeze tickles my bare feet and lifts my hair. The sun slowly sets over the pale gold winter grass and mountains reflecting peach hues off the high clouds.

I love it here in West Texas.

Lunch earlier that day           
For lunch we stopped at the Pizza Foundation in Marfa. It is some of the best pizza I’ve ever had — thin, chewy homemade crust, big slices and even bigger flavor.The cheese has so much flavor that I didn’t want to add salt, ranch or parmesan. I also ordered a Greek salad that was so fresh and not too strong in flavor. Sometimes that happens with Greek salad.

The small, refurbished gas station was packed with European tourists. I think they were all in the same group, and I wonder if they came out of the huge tour bus parked on I-67. The strangeness of this in a tiny West Texas town is part of being in Marfa. Why did 20 Greeks come here?  Surely not to try the Greek salad.

But like everything else in Marfa, the food is only part of the experience. It’s something about being in a town of population 2121, 215 miles from the closest airport where miles of desert mountains and nothing surround you. And the tiny foodie town has two of the best restaurants I’ve ever been anywhere (and New Orleans was my second home as a kid). A writer for the New York Times agrees. Read his article by clicking here.

After Lunch
After lunch we explored the oxymoronic town — a place where highbrow meets unibrow. A shop with $400 imported silk and alpaca sweaters run by a chic German woman in Oliver Peoples glasses faces an old hardware store with products made in the 80s. Art galleries with the finest minimalist paintings juxtapose a tired resale shop.

And new places have opened since we were here a year ago. Two new homes, an art school and a lunch spot are the first new sights we spot. But it’s time to leave because we’ve decided not to stay in Marfa this trip. We are staying in Indian Lodge in the Fort Davis National Park about 20 miles north.

Fort Davis
There isn’t anything posh in Fort Davis except what Mother Nature has designed. The white lodge is fixed against the ash blue ridges of the charred mountains. Six months ago everything here burned in one of the worst wildfires to hit Texas. We come to watch the sun rise and set, hike and sleep.

To be continued ... (the best restaurant in the world for dinner, coolest bar I've been to, and a beautiful sunrise in the mountains)

Restaurant Cochineal

Private wall built with glass chunks

Installation in the back of the Marfa bookstore

between stops

Indian Lodge

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Lesson Learned from Ron Washington

I know the Rangers lost the World Series again, but failure is a part of life. It's especially a part of baseball. But some people can't live with failure. I was reading an article in Atlantic Monthly last week about how the Angels' pitcher, Donnie Moore, committed suicide because he couldn't accept his failure.

Finding this article seemed to confirm that failure was the theme for the week—at a dinner party I had last night, one friend said her New Year's resolution was to "fail more." She said if you don't fail then you aren't trying. Washington's failure got our team to the World Series not once, but twice two years in a row.

I'm posting this article about accepting failure by one of my favorite writers and a friend of mine, Michael Mooney. I think we all have something to learn from Washington and how he faces challenges in his life. After all, "he do what he do."

Ron Washington: He Do What He Do by Michael J. Mooney