The first time I drove by hotelier Liz Lambert’s high-desert “kibbutz,” which sits on a large, flat plot of dusty land just off U.S. 67, I mistook it for a trailer park. Which it basically is, except instead of dumpy double-wides, it’s strewn with seven sleekly restored vintage trailers, from the 18-foot-long Little Pinky to the 45-foot-long Imperial Mansion. Permanently parked on seventeen ocotillo-dotted acres, each has been outfitted with a fully stocked kitchenette, woolen pillows handmade in Bolivia, an iPod docking station, indoor plumbing, and, in some cases, a private outdoor shower (the two largest trailers also have indoor showers). Though the three-year-old property’s other accommodations—two tepees and eight 120-square-foot safari tents—hew a little too closely to my idea of roughing it (two words: shared bathhouse), I knew before I went that El Cosmico is purposefully no-frills. But it wasn’t until I had the key to the teal-and-cream 1953 Vagabond that I understood what Lambert meant when she described the trailers as “land yachts” on the surrounding desert “sea.” After purchasing a bag of blue-corn chips, a yellow journal with a picture of Hindu deity Garuda on its cover, and a couple of cold Victoria longnecks from the well-stocked sundries shop, I made it back to the Vagabond just as an evening storm was rolling in. I curled up on a cushion in the trailer’s bow and watched through the picture windows as the wind, rain, and dirt swirled outside. Visibility dwindled to a few feet, and I could no longer see the main building or the picnic tables where a group of locals and guests had gathered earlier for a community dinner. I thought this must be what it’s like when a sailor finally loses sight of the shore. I never felt unsafe or alone, just in awe of the wide-open spaces around me. 802 S. Highland Avenue, 432-729-1950, elcosmico.com
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