Pushing my nausea back as best I could, I agreed when Arden said she wanted to drive out to the observation area to see what was there. The folks at the gas station had said "It's just up the road 2 or 3 miles. You can't miss it."
We drove North out of town 2, 3, 5 miles... nothing. After about 9 miles we were getting ready to pull over and turn around when I saw something ahead that looked like an interstate rest area. It was the observation area for the lights - only 10 miles out of town.
Built at the old entrance to the now defunct Marfa Army Air Field, the Marfa Lights Observation Area offers telescopes for viewers to observe the lights if and when they appear. Rumor around town says people, on average, report seeing them 10-20 times a year, at various times and in various patterns, but always in the same general area. To date there has never been a thorough, sound explanation for them.
Anyway - Arden was taking pictures and looking all around the area through one of the telescopes and I was feeling worse all the time. The nausea was overwhelming. All I needed and wanted was a bed.
She finally realized I wasn't well (I was trying hard not to complain so she could enjoy her exploration of this attraction.) She drove us back into town and we checked into the oldest and finest hotel in town, the Hotel Paisano. It was surprisingly luxurious. It was built in 1930 and was remodeled by the current owners between 2001 and 2004. It has 33 rooms and suites.
We checked in and went up to our room. With apologies to Arden, I quickly got into bed where I stayed until morning. I felt like I had disappointed Arden because she originally had wanted to go back to the observation area after dark and see if we could observe the lights. But she said after seeing it she didn't really want to drive 10 miles into the desert and sit there after dark waiting for something that may or may not happen. At least not without a gun. I felt a little better hearing that - even if she was just being kind to me.
She went down to the restaurant to get something to eat and told them she needed to take it back to the room. They told her they don't normally do that and she said "My husband is sick. I need to be up there with him but I need something to eat. So please do as I ask." They did it without hesitation. One nice thing about hotels - they do like to keep their customers happy. Most of them at least.
I slept off and on throughout the night. The waves of nausea began to subside - they came less frequently and less severe - as the night went on. But sleep was difficult for another reason as well. The one problem we had with the hotel was the thermostat and air conditioning. The thermostats were in the hallway, shared by every two rooms. Apparently the people next to us were from Alaska because they kept turning the thermostat down to 70 degrees. It would get extremely cold in the room. Arden got out of bed several times during the night to turn it back up to a reasonable temperature and in a couple of hours it would be turned down again. Finally, about 4am, she turned it back up and they left it.
I dragged myself out of bed at about 8am and took a shower. That helped a little. I forced myself to drink some water and did not want any coffee. That's when Arden knew it was serious...
So we left the beautiful Hotel Paisano without me really getting a chance to see the whole thing. We'll need to go back one day - preferably in the Spring or Fall when no one will worry about the thermostat.
Arden drove us North out of Marfa on highway 17. We were headed to I-20 or the last leg of our trip home. We drove through some beautiful canyons as the road followed the path of a stream.
By mid-afternoon I had eaten about half a turkey sandwich and had consumed about 16 ounces of water. I was finally feeling more like a normal human being. Arden was still driving at that point but I felt like I could take over again soon.
We drove through past the little town of Mingus, Texas, where on the hillside on the South side of the road is Graystone Castle, a hunting and outdoor sports retreat. You can see it from the highway.
I may have to go back over there one day and check it out. The website makes it look interesting.
We stopped for gas just West of Weatherford and I took over the driving again. We had to pick up our dogs at two different places in Fort Worth. They had reservations until Saturday but we wanted to get them back now (Friday) to save us from having to go anywhere the next day. We needed at least a day to rest up from our vacation. I know you all know what I'm talking about there.
It felt good to drive again. We picked up our "children" and headed home. They were extremely happy to see us - especially Arden's dog, Allie. My dog, Gizmo, doesn't mind being boarded because at the place where I take him the owners keep him inside their home with other little dogs. Big ones have to be kenneled outside. They feed all the dogs regular dog food with a healthy dose of chicken broth on it and they play with him as if he's one of their own. He doesn't mind going there at all but he's always glad when I return. Even if he turns his nose up at his regular food for a day or two because it doesn't have chicken broth...
Allie is boarded inside with an outdoor run. She doesn't much like it and often is mad at Arden when we return. This time she was eager to get in the car and go home. Once there they were very pleased.
All in all it was a great trip. With the exception of my being sick for about 24 hours (whether it was a bug or food poisoning from the Etouffee I'll never know) we had a great time. We drove a total of about 3500 miles, saw things we may never see again, saw some great friends and met some new ones, and just enjoyed being together, away from work, household chores and the daily grind. Arden is my favorite travelling companion. We work well together.
A special thank you, once again, to Liz Blackmon and Joyce Lewis (and anyone else who helped out) for planning the retirees reunion. Thanks to Paul and Della for their hospitality and generosity. To all the friends I got to see, from the retirees in Lompoc to Cathy and Brad, and Kathy and John - it was wonderful to see you all. I'm glad we were able to connect.
Who knows where our next trip will take us? Thanks for reading.