Day 2 in Marfa was all about me….. lunch at Food Shark followed by Chinati Foundation Tour.
Between the tracks and the bookstore? Check.
First Stop: Food Shark.
Any place that describes itself as serving “Mediterranean food by way of Texas” and serves it “between the railroad tracks and the bookstore” has to be good, right? Having studied the menu, I already knew what to order — the Marfalafel — and it didn’t disappoint. Three huge falafels rolled in chickpea flour with a side of greens, some hummus, and what I think might have been a sprinkle of sumac on top (my fav!), were heavenly. Deke had the Pork Pozale Verde with crispy tortilla strips on top and a side tortilla. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to order one of each so you can all share.
Table for 2. Or 20.
In addition to the delicious food, Food Shark now has a converted Blue Bird bus that they use for a dining car… the faux leather seats (they seemed so much bigger when I was 6 and actually riding a Blue Bird bus) were rearranged and small tables were added so you could enjoy your food if the winds were a little too strong to sit on the Donald Judd-designed furniture nearby.
Typically I wouldn’t suggest doing anything museum-related on a full stomach, but the Chinati Foundation is open by tour only from W-Sun, and only has tours 3 times a day, so we had to. The Foundation is outside of town, which means its about 4 minutes from the Food Shark, past El Cosmico, which had a big closed sign hanging up — I hope it’s still open!
Donald Judd cubes.
The Chinati was started in 1979 by The King of Minimalist Sculpture, Donald Judd, to bring the large scale works of a select few superstars to Marfa as a permanent museum installation — when it opened to the public in ’86 it housed just three superstars (Judd, John Chamberlain and Dan Flavin) but has added a few more in recent years. The location is an old Fort on over 300 acres and the works are scattered around the land. For more info on Judd, check out Artsy.com.
There are 15 in total.
and throughout the barracks, mess halls and out buildings — except for John Chamberlain who has his own separate building downtown on the same street as Food Shark. Having an Airstream, and therefore being interested in all-things-aluminum, I was particularly interested in seeing Judd’s 100 untitled works in mill aluminum, which were really awesome. You’re not allowed to take photos (except for the concrete cubes), or even bring your camera on the tour (they take it from you and give it back when the tour is over) so I can only give you the link and tell you that, unfortunately, it doesn’t do the works justice. They have rivet-like screws that hold them together, just like the Airstream, and you can see streaks from when they’re cleaned during the week. The slabs of aluminum are thick and although they’re all cubes, they’re all put together differently.
Valentine, TX’s only hot spot.
After the tour, we headed off in the direction of Tucson, which fortunately took us straight passed the infamous Prada Marfa. On this trip, we’ve seen a lot of tiny towns that have suffered (in many, many ways), but Valentine was truly odd to drive through. It’s almost like there was some kind of zombie situation and you’re the only ones left. The population in 2009 was 188, having declined steadily since the Southern Pacific railroad eliminated its stop there in the 1950s. But then came Prada Marfa, and art installation that went up in 2005, built of adobe that will slowly degrade over time and melt back into the landscape. Note: the cost of the sculpture when built was 3 times the average household income in Valentine.
RV manufacturers are not known for their fashion forward upholstery. We typically see a lot of browns and burgundy colors with patterns that are unattractive, but utilitarian because they don’t show dirt. In the year before we bought our first Airstream, I didn’t find one interior design that I loved.
Luckily, our first Airstream didn’t have ugly fabric, but it did have something almost as bad — powder blue upholstery. Do you know how quickly dirt and dog hair appear on powder blue?
Half way done with the covers.
I could only handle this for about 6 months, before I decided to make slip covers from indoor-outdoor fabric that wouldn’t show dirt and could be wiped down. Fabric selection took about another month, but we found a great fabric and pattern from Better Homes and Gardens (who knew they made fabric?).
These new slipcovers worked great for us! Then, when we sold the little Airstream, the slipcovers went with the new owner and we were faced, again with choosing an upholstery option for our new trailer — a task that seemed almost as daunting as picking the Airstream itself. As most of you know, we ended up with the Paprika interior on our International CCD, which, so far, has been great.
As you may or may not know, I sew a lot. A LOT. I have my own table in the community room here at the park where I have the luxury of sewing every day with a fantastic group of women who love it as much as I do. Fabric is so much fun to me and I love to browse the internet for new releases which is why I was so excited a few weeks ago when I saw this:
Circa 60 Beach Mod
This is the Circa 60 Beach Mod line of fabric from Birch and oh how I love it. I mean, I have to make something out of it, I just don’t know what. This little find led me on a little search for fabric with Airstream or Airstream related images. The following is a peek at what I found.
I knew about Vintage Trailer by Michael Miller Fabric from a thread on Airforums:
And then I saw On The Road, from Robert Kaufman designed by Ronnie Walters:
On The Road
And, seriously, how awesome is Vintage Trailers by Paige Bridges:
And Are We There Yet? from Maywood Studios.
Are We There Yet?
Almost all fabrics can be found at www.equilter.com as well. Although I wouldn’t want to do my whole trailer in these … what fun to have curtains, dishtowels or a few pillows with any of these fabrics!!
As usual, life finds a way to interrupt the best laid plans. On the same week we received the “come pick up your new Airstream” call from ExploreUSA, I received another call from my family that required me to return to NC for a family emergency. While there, after things settled down a bit, my dad and I took a trip to one of the coolest, most Airstream-rich RV shops i’ve been to since becoming an Airstream Owner (ok, it at least tied Randy’s shop at North Dallas RV).
I’ve read, heard, and seen photos from Jackson Center – and trust me, I’m dying to make the mecca – but if you’re ever in Winston-Salem, NC, do yourself a favor and swing by Out-of-Doors Mart if you care anything at all about Airstreaming and contributing to its history.
Yesterday I was talking with a co-worker of mine and mentioned how excited I am for the 2010 RV season to begin so Deke and I can take advantage of all the events the WBCCI has planned. His response was: I hadn’t realized that the primary purpose of owning an Airstream was to spend time with other Airstreams.
I guess in a way, I hadn’t realized that either.
We received our WBCCI identification number in the mail a few weeks ago…..it’s the big red number you sometimes see on the forehead of trailers or motorhomes that belong to club members. Before we bought ours, we often wondered what they meant and by the looks of the number of postings about them on Airforums.com, a lot of other people wonder too. The numbers are utilitarian and symbolic and are not to be messed with (take note those of you who just want to paint numbers on your model or affix your own random numbers). The practice of numbering the trailers was adopted by Wally Byam as a way of recognizing members from a distance on those long caravans (he was #1 of course). After you join the club, you’re assigned a number and that number stays with you, and moves with you throughout the years – it can be transferred to new Airstream models as you trade up or scale down your home on wheels. Our number is 5 digits, and with the help of Sue Chestnut, Northern Illinois Unit Treasurer, we got one that’s easy for us to remember: 17707. One is easy enough to remember, and followed by the day we got married, we shouldn’t have any problems telling people what number we are. Technically, its 17,707 – but the numbers in the club go much higher. That’s a lot of Airstream members who have joined, caravanned and made the most of their experiences in the WBCCI.
When I got the WBCCI club directory, one of the first things I did was look up who had the lowest number. Whether or not this person is the first official recipient of the number or it was passed on to them*, there’s something very romantic about imagining what the rallies were like when everyone had two digits.
As for the numbers themselves, keep in mind that in the age of vinyl letter cut-outs, instant banners and wall decals, these numbers are unlike anything we’ve seen. Their font is unusual, but does come up as the “Airstream” font (http://www.urbanfonts.com/fonts/Airstream.htm), and not all the numbers seemed to be the same size when we got them. They’re incredibly angular and severe which is only magnified by being fire engine red. The thought of putting up 5 numbers in perfect alignment on a surface 9 feet up that wasn’t even flat did not have a promising ending, but we managed. Getting the numbers on the Airstream seemed a bit of a production as we read through the two page instructions that came in the envelope. In the end we learned that water is the key – probably the opposite of what you’d think.
The Weasel looks a little different now that she has a number, but it also makes her look like a member of the team – kind of like a number on a sports jersey. In our little Airstream community, I’m glad people will know we belong to the club and I look forward to the conversations I’ll have with others about what rallies I’ve been on. I’ll keep the WBCCI directory handy on trips so that when we pass someone or see someone in a park with a number, we’ll be able to look them up and see where they’re from as well. There’s a camaraderie about all this that I look forward to.
* If you let your membership lapse you lose your number. It then gets recycled back into the mix for the next person to use. If you buy a used Airstream, you might be able to see the remnants of the old number and be able to find out who owned it in the past.
What do you do in Chicago when you can’t spend time in your Airstream? You MAKE things for your Airstream!
Chicago can be the pits in the winter. I usually try to stock up on books to read, and the newest volume of the NYTimes crossword puzzle book gets me through all of Christmas vacation. But this year I decided to turn the craft meter up to 11 and take sewing classes so that, eventually, I can redo the banquette cushions in The Weas.
I love the décor of our second home, but I’m not sure powder blue cushions work for us or our dog*. I’m the last person that would want to mess with the integrity of the CCD interior, but I need to be practical for when that fulltime thing happens and be able to have cushions that will work a little better, and still match.
I asked for sewing lessons for my birthday and Deke found The Needle Shop in Chicago. It was a little more expensive than some of the other places but the 1:4 ratio of teacher to student, plus the great fabrics that they have, fit want I needed. For $70 I took a 4 hour class which covered everything from threading the machine to taking home a pillow with a zipper! I loved it and was hooked the minute I got there. My mom sewed a lot and taught me the basics, but Im looking forward to learning about patterns and the fancier stuff that I can use later on.
When we bought our Airstream, everything was in great condition, but as we realize we’re in for the long haul, we would like to make a few changes, like the banquette cushions and probably the curtains in the bedroom area — mainly just to make it our own. Ive spent a lot of time looking at interior modifications that others have made and there dont seem to be a lot of people who change their interiors. I also did some pricing around Chicago in case I wanted to hire someone to redo the cushions, but the drawbacks are 1) its expensive, and 2) you usually have to use their fabrics, not your own.
Since I started my sewing classes, Ive had one commission for a pillow and while that isnt much, Im going to start a website where I’ll take orders because there are some great fabrics out there that just scream “Airstream!!”. Stay tuned.
*Our lovely little miniature schnauzer, Sally, passed away over the weekend. She loved the little weekend trips in the Airstream and loved her extremely warm bed parked right in front of the heater. For now, we’ll remain a one dog family with Lucy in the co-pilot seat.