Day 6 – Lajitas to El Paso – Get Busy Livin’ – (276 miles)

After a much-needed night’s slumber at Lajitas Golf Resort, we packed up the car and headed down the River Road to Presidio.

View along the River Road from Lajitas to Presidio

To give you an idea of the size of the largest county in Texas of the 254 counties that represent the Lone Star State, Brewster County is made up of 6,192 square miles. It is estimated to be larger than the combined territory of Delaware and Rhode Island and more than 500 square miles larger than Connecticut. Texas really is BIG and Brewster County is an example of why. That said, this drive is one of the most spectacular in the state, in my humble opinion. The road runs parallel to the Rio Grande River and the Mexico border.

As we entered into Presidio, we were pleasantly surprised to find Fort Leaton State Historic Site, offering exhibits dating back to the 15th century. We also got to see bats that have made their home inside one of the rooms. It should be a definite stop for anyone traveling to Presidio.

Turning north to Marfa, we decided to make a quick stop at Shafter Ghost Town, which had a population of 11 according to the 2000 census. The former mining town held a lot of mystery and we would have spent more time if we could.

Marker from 1936 in Shafter Ghost Town.

Marfa, Marfa, Marfa…this town is known to be a little weird and eclectic, while still offering a rich history of west Texas. From overnight options in airstreams and teepees to the fake Prada Marfa store, located between Valentine and Van Horn, that has lent its name to the tiny store display in the middle of nowhere.

The busiest day at the Valentine Post Office is Valentine’s Day, when they receive letters from across the country requesting a postmark from Valentine. We’ve heard the post master is very accommodating in this town of 217.

Valentine city limit and population sign.

We saw the beautiful welcome mural in Van Horn and had to stop and take a photo. This area is known for historic hotels, including the Gage in Marathon, the Holland in Alpine, Hotel Paisano in Marfa, and the Hotel El Capitan in Van Horn.

As a photographer, I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this sign. It was pretty much a one-stop shop back in the day in Van Horn.

I’m a big movie buff and as we were driving by Fort Hancock along I-10, one of only a couple of interstates along our way, we decided to take the time to go into the town near the Mexican/US border. I thought we should look for the tree from the movie Shawshank Redemption that Morgan Freeman as Red talks about with Tim Robbins as Andy. We didn’t find the tree on a hill along a fence line but we think maybe this one could have been where he buried the money.

One of my favorite quotes from the movie comes from Andy, “I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Andy continued by saying, “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Could it be the Shawshank Redemption tree mentioned in the movie at Fort Hancock?

We arrived in El Paso and made a quick stop at The Outlet Shoppes at El Paso so Morgan could say hello from her co-workers from TaxFree Shopping.

The Outlet Shoppes at El Paso
TaxFree Shopping

Before heading to our hotel for the night, we drove through the Franklin Mountains on our way to dinner.

Dinner was a delightful and delicious at Sanchos Tacos & Micheladas. I’ve now grown to like tamarindo and chamoi in fruit, thanks to Debra and Morgan introducing me to it. We’ve had it at our raspa stops. Definitely adding that to my culinary favorites.

It was a great day and we look forward to day seven of our trip across Texas as we head from El Paso to Odessa.

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