San Angelo / Fort Davis and the Marfa Chocolatier

25 May

We’re making a dash across Texas now after our day with Aunt Joni.  We thought it might be fun to stay in a state park for a few nights – sort of off the beaten track.  We picked San Angelo State Park as our first stop.  South western Texas is in a severe drought and there are fire bans at all the parks.  The grass is crunchy, too.  San Angelo is a fairly large town that exploded in the early ’30’s with the oil boom.  It has a small river running through it with some nice homes along its banks but, like the state park, it’s mostly crunchy.  The highlight of our stay was seeing the latest “Pirates” movie  with Johnnie Depp.  Our verdict: crunchy.

We left San Angelo with high hopes for our next destination: Fort Davis.  This town boasts the highest elevation of all towns in Texas at about 5,000 feet.  It also boasts one of the largest observatories in the US – McDonald Observatory.  They’re always on the lookout for hamburglars.

We stayed at – you guessed it – Fort Davis State Park.  It was a nice improvement over crunchy but in fact they had a wildfire pass through only two weeks prior.  We hiked to the top of the lookout:

Then we looked for Bessie:

We made our way down the hillside and back to Bessie, jumped in the Mini and headed for Marfa.  When we arrived in Marfa, we walked the streets kicking tumbleweeds and came across this adobe wall:

Now, adobe is not the most permanent of building materials but in a dry, hot climate it can be effective.  These are slabs of adobe sandwiched between concrete mortar.  If you look closely you can see the adobe is deteriorating at the edges of the mortar.  Eventually, this will be a see-through mortar fence.  Just sayin’……

We came around the corner and ran smack into this:

Get out!!!  What is it with Americans and their cars?!  I just hope I don’t end up in the back of that thing!

Next, we stumbled upon Squeeze Marfa, a little cafe owned by Verena Zbinden who grew up in Zürich.  (I wonder if she knows Robert Cray’s bass player?)  Her brother still lives in Zürich where he makes the most amazing chocolates called Vollenweider (pronounced Wollen-Veider – don’t ask; it’s an Austrian thing).  Now, Marfa is a very small town and there’s not a whole lot happening there.  The closest airport is a 3 hour drive to El Paso.  I asked Verena how she ended up in Marfa.  “I used to live in Houston” she said.  I wanted to smack my open palm to my forehead but resisted the temptation.  In my mind, I was saying “No, Verena, you used to live in Zürich and you went to Houston and then Marfa – you’re on a downward spiral, girl!  Snap out of it!”  But instead, I sampled her brother’s chocolate – and wondered if the barefoot bass player ever brought some to Robert Cray…..

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