Look up almost any top-ten list for the most remote places in the United States, and West Texas makes the cut – typically near the top. Within West Texas, Candelaria is often cited as the most remote city – with a population somewhere between 50 and 75. Sitting on the Rio Grande in the midst of the Chihuahuan Desert, the town is the official end to Farm Road 170, also known as River Road. Five dozen kids ride a school bus over 100 miles round trip each day to go to school in Presidio. Check out this news article published last year about the need for a local school.
Candelaria is also the primary reason I chose to locate Artemis in West Texas. Click on the link above and read the posts from several years ago from former residents remembering growing up in this tiny ghost town and sharing stories about crossing the border with no issue before 9-11. It’s hard to imagine life in such a remote area, but the appeal is definitely there.
After spending several days in Terlingua and Marfa in late June, we’ll spend a night at the Chinati Hot Springs, just outside Candelaria. To get there, we’ll make the two hour and 15 minute drive from Marfa on Pinto Canyon Road, which is supposed to be one of the prettiest and most remote drives in Texas. Four wheel drive or a high clearance vehicle is required. This two hour drive is what I’m most looking forward to on the trip. This is the part of Josie that I most identify with – the desire to drop off the map, to live in isolation, away from cell phone towers – unplugged from the grid. I’m anxious to talk with the people who make this their home; to find out what draws them to the land and keeps them there, in spite of hundred degree days, drought, wildfire, limited access to shopping (Wal-Mart? I don’t think so.), water shortages, no cell phone reception, loss of power, etc. Could you do it? Would you want to do it? I aim to find out.