It was a long drive for us yesterday, over 250 miles to Marfa, but we are now in Texas. It was the first time we’ve driven through El Paso on I-10, and hopefully the last. Even on a Saturday the traffic was heavy and went on forever.
We spent the night at the Marfa Lights Viewing Center, basically just a rest area with bathrooms (composting toilets, no less) right on Hwy 67. Not a bad place to stay as traffic is very light on 67, but there is a surprisingly busy train track just on the other side of the road, so beware. Since it’s free I guess we shouldn’t complain.
The Marfa Mystery Lights were first reported in 1883 by a cowboy who thought they might be Apache Indian fires. To this day there is no explanation for them, although they may just be car headlights. Just as it was getting dark we walked over to the viewing area, where a small group of people from the Laredo Paranormal Society were setting up their infrared cameras and other equipment.
Restrooms and viewing area.
The group has been studying the lights, and said this was the third night in a row they had been out there. Great fun for us, since we got to look through their $9500 night vision monocular, glasses, and infrared camera. It is amazing what you can see in the dark with those! They also had a laser which shot different colored beams up to 90 miles away. They would aim it at the lights and make them go out. Of course the lights were coming off and on anyway, so we weren’t that impressed. But they did have some cool and expensive equipment.
I managed to capture a photo of one of the lights we saw, and there were many. They varied in size and brightness and would stay on for different lengths of time. Not too impressive, I know.
But it was an unusual way to spend the evening. Today we are heading for Big Bend National Park, where there should be no train or traffic noise.