After leaving Austin we continued our trek west and decided to take a slight detour south along I-10 to see the town of Marfa and hopefully catch a glimpse of the controversial mystery lights. There is a picnic area and viewing center right off of the 90, where a long line of RV’s fill the parking lot just before sundown.
The Marfa Mystery lights are one of those legends that include possible alien activity, government conspiracy, and scientific theories of atmospheric refractions. In reading about the lights, we discovered that there is still no clear answer as to what they are or what causes them. Many who doubt the mystery of the lights suggest that they are simply car headlights moving down the 67 which runs south from Marfa. This particular theory seemed to make the most sense to us after seeing the lights. However, while we did see the yellow-whitish glow of possible headlights, we did not see any red tail lights at all. Also, according to articles outlining the history of the lights, they were first reported in the late 1800’s when there were no cars. Thus, the lights are still a mystery.
We spent the evening passing around a pair of binoculars and debating the theories of the lights as we viewed them in the distance. A new friend, Mike Radcliffe, who owns Thurston’s Lobster Pound on Mount Desert Island in Maine, joined our little party and made for a lively discussion of the phenomenon.
The next morning we drove the short distance to Marfa to procure ourselves one of the famous breakfast burritos at Marfa Burrito. I had read that celebrities such as Matthew McConaughey make regular trips to the tiny Texas town to cure a craving for one of these burritos. We now know why. In fact, as I’m writing this, it’s been at least a month and half since tasting the homemade goodness and I have an overwhelming urge to make a serious detour.
Marfa Burrito is nothing more than a ramshackle building set off of the main strip where the 90 runs through town. Painted plywood and tin seem to haphazardly pull together what seems to be a building. Inside is a collection of old furniture and walls filled with memorabilia, as well as tacked up photos of random celebrities hugging the famous owner and cook, Ramona. There is a order window cut into a door dividing the kitchen from the dining space, where Ramona sits and takes takes orders from the long line of customers filling the front room. Behind her is a busy cooking space where we can see a round tortilla grill and a huge industrial griddle, where several middle-aged hispanic women scrape eggs and meat and cheese together before dumping the mixture into the huge homemade tortillas. The burritos are then wrapped in wax paper and one of the women yells out the order before unceremoniously handing the package to the patron. Shaun and I sneaked a grin at each other after observing the ritual, already excited for what those long steaming packages held.
The menu is burritos and is comprised of only a few options. We would highly recommend the chorizo, egg, and cheese burrito. After placing our order, we grabbed a styrofoam cup of the free coffee set out on a sideboard and found a table in the rear dining room, which is another questionably constructed space. Finally, we heard our order, “Dos chorizo y huevos”!
Unwrapping the burrito like a cherished gift, we dig in and are immediately satisfied. The warm tortilla is a little thicker, almost naan-like, and holds the cheesy, salty, and slightly spicy egg and chorizo mixture. It’s perfection.
After our food induced stupor, we slowly made our way back on the road and continued our drive westward. About 35 miles outside of Marfa, we came upon the insta-famous art installation of a Prada store in the middle of the desert with nothing else around.
Texas, you’re a weird place, but we like you and your burritos.