May 26 Marfa – Alpine – El Paso

I gathered all my stuff, packing my bag that already seems tighter, and taking a shower at Padre’s. David gave me a ride to Alpine and we grabbed lunch at Talgar’s, just across the tracks from the train station. A nice Azteca Soup and fish tacos.

I hauled my stuff to the waiting room after lunch. David hung out for a little while, then took off on his daily errands. Not too much later cowboy Ty showed up in the waiting room, there to pick someone up. The train rolled into the station just about on time. I was not surprised to see a very attractive girl in cowboy hat hop off the train and greet Ty.

I wasn’t assigned a seat, so I just got on the train and found some empty seats and claimed them. I tried to nap, still being tired. I noticed i still tasted of cigar.

I must have dozed off because it wasn’t long until we were there. Bret and his parents were there to pick me up. Bret on crutched, 5 days post-op from his second hip replacement. He said this one was much smoother than the last. Bret commented that this was the first time he’d met a friend at a train station in the US.

We stopped for a beer at Jaxon’s brew pub, then to Avila’s for a Mexican dinner and home to lounge about.

May 25 Marfa

After I got out of bed it was sometime after noon. I made it down to Padre’s to use their internet and plumbing. David, Doug, and Father Bill were having a meeting. Upon checking my email I realized that I had left my hiking boots at the late-night party the night before. They had all left by noon, but left my boots with local James Scott.

It was about 4pm by the time their meeting was over and David and I walked to a few closed restaurants before going to the Paisano Hotel at Jett’s Grill. We chatted for quite a while with the bartender Carlos, and then were joined by random locals. We retired to the courtyard and chatted there all evening. James showed up carrying my boots.

Jett’s closed up about 10pm, and we joined some others at Cochineal, a very nice restaurant. I had some potato/leek soup and several tastes of deserts that the table ordered: plum pudding, chocolate soufflé. They were very good.

After that David and I went to the closed Padre’s and played shuffleboard for several hours, jamming to the jukebox in the back room. And against better judgement, smoking a cigar. There was also a quite strong storm while we were there. It was fully over by the time we left. The shuffleboard competition was fairly competitive.

We ran into Tina Rose the next morning. She had been in a trailer at El Cosmico (near David’s) with her three fearful dogs. She said the lighting with it was impressive as well.

May 24 Marfa

I woke up just after dawn to hike to the rest room. Went immediately back to bed and woke after 11am.

Sunday was the benediction and gospel brunch for Padre’s. I got there a little late, and sat in the back yard for a while with Ty. He was reading a Blackbook article Claudia had read the night before right before she walked into the bar to find Ty standing in front of her.

David was slaving away on breakfast tacos in the kitchen, and the bar got slammed after the service. I spent most of the afternoon hanging out on the patio and chatting with various people. Talked for quite a while with Claudia who is from Houston and a long-time friend of David’s.

One of the local’s took us on a community bike ride all about town. I used David’s old bike. We ended up on a hill out of town on Pinto Canyon Road watching the sun set. We all stood in silence for the last several minutes, then headed past the closed army base south of town.

After that we went to the house that Claudia and her friends were staying at, we partied there, I left about 11pm and went to Padres where Element was playing. Great old funky R&B. That was the end of the music for the weekend, and most of the out of towners were leaving on Monday.

May 23 Marfa

I got to bed about 3:00a the night before, was woken a few times because I was slightly cold, but got out of bed by about 9:30a. I started to make my way to Padre’s, but the previous day’s rain had cleared for a scattered clouds day, and decided to return to get my hat.

Just about then, Tina Rose poked her head out and yelled over to me, offering coffee. I took her up on some tea instead and we sat on the patio outside her trailer and had a nice morning conversation, her aging dogs mostly lounging about.

After tea I walked over to Padre’s, found John prepping the kitchen, and soon Yvonne (and Avery) arrived. She had some breakfast with her, and offered me some. Some omelet, french bread toast, and waffle. A very nice addition to the Dr Pepper I was already having.

At 11:30 the doors opened and people started pouring in. It was a steady stream of people coming for lunch. The investors of course wanting to be here as much as possible. Enjoying some food and the patio outside.

I hung out a while, then borrowed Yvonne’s bike to ride around town. I only got a few blocks before I overtorqued her superglued crank and had to walk the bike back to Padre’s.

James offered me his bike and I took it back to the trailer for a short nap before heading back for my 3pm training in the kitchen.

I have never worked in a kitchen and after telling me a hundred things I needed to know, David disappeared on an errand. Undercooking burger number two was the only real problem. I made a few orders incorrectly and remade them before sending them out.

But I cooked till after 11:30, and was there till after 2am cleaning. It was almost 4am by the time I walked home.

May 22 Marfa

I awoke in the Airstream around 8:30, threw on my shoes and pants and went looking for the coffe shop. But the place I went to last September is gone.

I did stumble upon the new coffee place apparently, adjacent to the laundramat. But after hiking around a bit I decided to head to the trailer and raid my food rations and David’s RC Cola.

After breakfast I decided a nap would serve me well later that night. When I woke up after noon I headed to Padre’s, stole a shower, and had some gumbo for lunch.

Sat around at Padre’s while a gentle lumbering desert thunderstorm meandered over. Helped around the place a little, hoping for the rain to pass so I could borrow Yvonne’s bicycle and tour town.

Johnny Bush’s band did their sound check around 3pm while the back room of Padre’s with its tin roof had a constant pitter patter.

The temperature cooled off making me wonder if I wanted to bike in my short sleeved shirt. The rain continued till after dark, so that never happened.

Since it’s opening weekend for Padre’s, they’re expecting a bit of a rush, so David asked me to help at the bar for the weekend. In return I get free access to the $100+ of music, free food, and free drinks, add the free lodging, and it’s a cheap weekend in Marfa for me.

As the evening hour approached there were a fair number of nervous investors buzzing about. The Marfa regulars without tickets got bumped out and a good mix of locals an out-of-towners showed up to see Johnny Bush.

The show was amazing; Johnny Bush is a real Texas legend. The dance floor was full of two-steppers all night. The capper was of course Whiskey River, a nicely composed mellow version.

I did a lot of bussing of empties. The bar was very busy all night long, and even more toward the end when the $35 was waved and the locals started coming in after 11:15 or so. The bars close at midnight in Presidio County.

Padre’s recycles all their glass, aluminum, cardboard, and plastic. This leads to about 90% less trash for a bar. Too more effectively allow for this, there are no trash receptacles available for customers. Everything has to be bussed. There are trash, metal, and glass slim trash cans behind the bar. The glass is later sorted for color by the recycler.

I hung out afterwards with everyone after we cleaned up the place. There was briefly an accounting problem for the night, but once the $4.09 ring-up for the $409 of merchandise was noticed, things ironed out.

The newest bartender, Tina Rose, gave me a ride back to the Airstream. It ends up she’s staying in the one just next to David’s, with her three dogs. She’s in for the weekend from Austin, but is moving out here in a few weeks.

May 21 Marfa

Almost immediately after finishing a rather good sandwhich I saw David crossing the street from the train station. He hadn’t yet seen me and was greeting three other guys who were eating on the Mural patio. Various local musicians and instrument makers.

David had several errands to run in Alpine, including visiting the bank and two grocery stores. He had come in the Mercedes we had retrieved from Florida almost two years ago.

Since then the hood unmatched at speed destroying the windshield (replaced), the driver’s window has shattered (not replaced), and the sky light has jammed open.

So, we were of course treated to a rare desert rain on the ride back to Marfa.

I hung out for a while meeting a variety of locals, employees, and investors. Some were old acquaintances, some new.

Father Bill, Doug Pecore. Yvonne was training Tina Rose who seemed very familiar. Both are Austin transplants. Met Yvonne’s husband and daughter, James and 7 y.o. Avery. Sotol Johnny and his wife Beverly. Ty and Tyler. And later in the evening, (off duty) beer girl spirited East Texas transplant Christy.

When we got back with the groceries, David took over the cook duties from John.

I got a ride back to David’s Airstream with my luggage and crashed out.