Santa Fe, New Mexico to Marfa, Texas

We said goodbye to the family and headed SxSW with our destination of Marfa, TX. This was going to be a longish day in the car but we kinda like that. We got a chance to stop in some really interesting places along the way. Amy and I vowed that this road trip would been different than all the others. Whenever possible we would take the 2 lane roads, off the beaten path, stay clear of the interstates and see some different scenery. That meant that some of the days were LONG drives. Some of the roads were just slower, more circuitous and most importantly more scenic.

We left Santa Fe and headed down HWY 285 through Clines Corner to HWY 54. Along the way we stopped at Capitan NM where Smokey Bear was rescued and eventually buried after he lived his life in Washington DC at the National Zoo. After leaving and paying our respects to Smokey and visiting the museum in Capitan we moseyed down the Billy the Kid Highway to Lincoln and wandered through the graveyard and saw the tombstones that were inscribed “Pal of Billy the Kid” Seems like a dubious title to put on your final resting place considering Billy the Kid was a teenage outlaw that lost his life at age 21. I guess if you didn’t have a lot going on for you that being a pal of Bill the Kid was pretty neat stuff.

We didn’t stop in Roswell nor did we stop in Carlsbad and we kept pushing on because we had to get to Marfa for our dinner reservation. Little did we know at that point how crucial that reservation was.

We pushed on and drove through some of the most spectacularly rugged mountains as we left NM and entered Texas on Hwy 62 just south of Carlsbad driving though the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. As we entered Texas east of El Paso the terrain changed to flat and dry. We saw nothing for miles with the exception of dirt roads that went out into the horizon for miles and miles. This area is a huge fracking area for shale oil and by all accounts they are ruining the ground water and disrupting the water table permanently.


We pushed on at 90 mph through the flats and high desert of South West Texas. At the time, I didn’t realize how close we were to the Mexican border - pretty darn close really. As we screamed along on long straight flat roads all of a sudden Amy shouts, “THERE IT IS - PULL OVER” I overshot my mark about 200 feet but there it was, one of the true wonders of the world - the Prada store in the middle of nowhere Texas. See photo below. It’s an art installation that was built in 2005 and is a source of much wonderment and delight the world over.

Marfa is our destination and we were getting close only 30 miles to go.

Marfa is one of the coolest, hippest, strangest, places we have ever visited. It was a railroad town that had a military base that has none of that any longer. The only reason it is even on the map as a destination today is because of the artist, Donald Judd. He was looking for a place to move his art and studio from NYC and he found Marfa, TX. If you want to know more, do some reading - it’s a great story.

Here’s how we got from Santa Fe to Marfa.

Highways - 285 - 3 - 54 - 380 - 285 - 62 - 54 - 90