10/7/17 – Marfa to Marathon, TX

One third of the miles we are covering on this transcontinental bike ride are between the east and west borders of Texas.  That’s a lot of Texas.  Last night was another super windy night, and it was still blowing when we woke up this morning. Ahead of us was a 58 mile day, at the end of which it was my turn to shop for the next 3 meals and prepare dinner with Ken.  Riding out of Marfa, we (Ken and I) were riding into a strong headwind.  Not a good start to the day. 

Our first stop was the Marfa Lights viewing area.  It was 9 miles down the road from Marfa, so none of us ventured out to see the supposed cosmic experience that takes place there.  

Check out the map on the side of this RV that shows where it’s been
Parked in the parking lot was the Cruising Nomads RV–the coolest RV I have ever seen in my life.  A couple from Czech Republic have been traveling the world in it for almost 3 years, and after finishing the US, Central and South America, they will return home and be done.  Talk about an adventure. They were asleep when we rode through so we didn’t get to talk to them, unfortunately. I’ll bet they have some stories to tell. 

For the next 17 miles, as we rode toward Alpine, we fought headwinds–even when we were going downhill.  

The grass is shows the direction the wind is blowing

At one point, we were passed by 49 Mustang Shelbys owned by members of the Terlingua Preservation Society, which was having it’s annual gathering in Alpine.  

There was so much going on in Alpine that we forgot about the headwind.  

All those Mustang Shelbys that passed us on the highway?  They surrounded a performance automobile business in town and had people crawling over and under them.   

A talented mural painter who lives in Alpine has left her mark all around town. 

My favorites surrounded the Thai food truck where I ate lunch. 
A few miles outside of Alpine, we ran into a take-off on Marfa Prada–Marfa Target.  Okay, so it’s not an official art installation, but it caught my eye.  

The wind died down just as we started a descent that lasted through arrival in Marsthon, where we were spending the night.  We were so happy to get to the RV park early, but our joy didn’t last long. There were stickers everywhere in our large group campsite.  I found some cardboard to put under my tent to keep them from puncturing my Therm-a-rest, and all of us had to park our bikes away from the campsite to avoid flat tires.  

The second tent on the left is mine

I The only grocery store in town just barely had enough food choices for us to put together a pathetic breakfast. Our lunch fixings were even worse.  There was no way to squeeze a dinner out of what they had on the shelves, so we had to order out the only other food available in town that fit our budget–pizza.  

After dinner, some of the RVers were flying drones, so we wandered over to check them out.  In talking to them, we learned that they are both  amateur astronomers.  One of them owns the RV park, and the other is an astronomy and photography enthusiast who comes to Marathon every year to view the sky.  Being in the middle of nowhere, the stars and constellations are more visible here ethan most other places in the United States.

So these 2 guys invited us to a star party at which they rolled out 6 telescopes, a couple of them very large ones donated to the local schools by the McDonald Observatory.  The RV Park owner apparently has so much expertise and knowledge that he is the keeper of the telescopes and teaches astronomy to the school kids.  So tonight, he and his guest spent about 2 hours teaching us and about 10 other people about astronomy and telescopes, and showing us constellations, planets, the surface of the moon, etc.  We could not believe what a fascinating learning opportunity we stumbled upon in a little RV park in Marathon TX. 

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