When I decided to go on this road trip to participate in the Allen Oldies Band Marfa Invasion Tour I made a conscious choice to leave my vehicle behind and cast my fate with some friends. Typically I don’t like the idea of not having my own transportation in a situation like this but after much agonizing I decided that the stress of driving the 10 hours by myself would be greater than the stress of not having my own car so I decided to go for it.

I was picked up at 7:30 on Thursday morning and we headed out. Everything was going well. We stopped in Luling, TX to gas up and get some food at Buc-cee’s.

After that it was smooth sailing to Junction, TX where we stopped for some BBQ and then on what I thought was going to be a stop in Ft. Stockton for another bathroom break and petrol.

After we cleared the multiple exits to Ft. Stockton with their signs promising food, bathrooms and GASOLINE it became apparent that we would not be stopping and since I was a passenger and the driving logistics were not up to me I didn’t say anything figuring it was not my place and that there was an alternate plan.

After we turned off of I-10 on to 67 it was obvious by the commotion in the cabin of the rented minivan that the low fuel light had come on. Discussion turned to how many miles could be driven once this had happened and a decision was made (by my hosts, not by committee) to press on in hopes of finding a gas station between our current location and the next town which is Alpine.

Let me just say for the record, there are NO gas stations between Ft. Stockton and Alpine Texas. And it should also be noted that a minivan with 6 passengers and their luggage can go about 25 miles. Much less than the 40 or so needed to get to Alpine.

We did, in fact, run out of gas.

After pulling over one of our hosts got out of the van and was able to quickly flag down a passing motorist. A woman in a van travelling with an infant child. I was surprised at her willingness to help and before long our hosts were in the van and off to find gas leaving myself, Jim Henkel, Bill Shirley and Tricia behind to wait and watch our stuff.

It occurred to me as our hosts were heading off with a complete stranger that this seemed remarkably like the beginning of a bad horror flick…

Bill introduced us to a card game called Tichu which we played to while away the time as we waited for rescue and distract us from the dangers the surely lurked all around us.

We played Tichu and we were even visited by a DPS officer who checked in to make sure we were OK. While hot, it is a dry heat out here in West Texas and we were never really uncomfortable. After about an hour our hosts returned with gasoline and profuse apologies.

All in all it was not a horrible experience and it wasn’t long before we rolled into Marfa and got settled.

Of course Marfa is a small town and word of our experience got around and there has been a bit of good natured ribbing over the last few days.

Road Trip To Marfa – Day 1

8 thoughts on “Road Trip To Marfa – Day 1

  • July 10, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Awww. So many of my favorite people in one van!

    Thank Pink Jesus that you’ve listened to me and could survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Right? 😀

  • July 10, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    You were fine where you were, thankfully you didn’t make it into the Zombie Republican Vampire area, those guys are the WORST!

  • July 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Should’ve told you to fill up in Ft. Stockton no matter what. It’s the last gas. We always fill up there on our way to Big Bend.

  • July 10, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    That is SO funny. I’ve been going out that way since the 70’s so I know the area fairly well. Yeah, once south on 67 you’re on your own till Alpine. EVERYONE gets gas in Ft. Stockton if you’ve below 1/4 tank.
    Funny thing is – looking at the map you’re right near my wife’s Dad’s ranch. It was due east of you. A good 45 minute drive over dirt roads at the foot hills of the Glass Mountains.
    Hope you have fun. It’s a great place. Try the brewpub in Alpine. Very good.
    On the way home hit Fort Davis and Balmorhea. Balmorhea State Park has a great swimming pool fed by springs – in the middle of the desert!

  • July 11, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Hey Y’all,

    What, no Marfa Space Alien sightings?

    Good thing you did not run out of gas on the same spot in 1963…you might have spent days there before seeing another person. Those were the days before I-10.

    Ring in Study Butte.

  • July 13, 2009 at 9:49 pm


    the brewpub in Alpine closed last September and has yet to resurrect,

  • August 8, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Just talked to the Allen Oldies Band-mobile which had gassed up in Alpine & was half-way to Ft. Stockton. Lesson learned. I don’t think they’ve dipped below a 1/4 tank the whole trip.

  • September 26, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Every dang time I talk to someone who is on the way west to Marfa, I send them a link to this and warn them about the very important Marfa Light on their dashboard.

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