Day 19(Saturday,May 7):Van Horn, TX to Marfa, TX–79 miles
May 9, 2011 § Leave a comment
Today’s ride is done. It should not have been that difficult, however the heat, the headwinds, the bumpy road for 20 miles, the total absence of any services and ultimately the long distance of 79 miles, made for a tiring day.
Nonetheless, we are settled into Marfa, a conundrum in the middle of West Texas in the high Sonoran Desert. We saw two other towns today, both ghostly, and then we arrive in sparkling Marfa. It was once a quiet ranching community and then the movie “Giant”,starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean, was filmed in the local Paisano Hotel in 1956. The hotel itself, opened in 1930 and a National Historic Landmark, is a magnificent structure, art deco adobe in style, and a defining presence for this town of 2,200. Renowned minimalist artist Donald Judd made this his home in 1971 and thus Marfa became an artists enclave, complete with numerous studios, galleries and 16 restaurants to feed everyone. Despite all of the above, the town is best known for the Marfa Mystery Lights, a “paranormal phenomena “. The city has even erected a viewing platform for these ghost lights…..There is also a film festival, our luck on this weekend. If we have the energy, we will see what it is all about.
Also of interest, just as we approached the town, we saw a huge area of blackened grassland. This is where the Rock House fire, burning 300,000 acres, which caused our detour off of Road 118, started. It started as an electrical house fire and then spread due to the unrelenting winds and the devastating drought.
We are back from Dairy Queen, grocery shopping and dinner, in that order. We had a great meal at upscale Maiya’s, a respite from the fast food, quick mart fare that is usually our only option. The server requested we park our bikes in a car spot on the street rather than the sidewalk. Joe was most amazed at the female dress du jour around here: a petticoat and cowboy boots. We rode our bikes as we are a mile out of town: total mileage for the day–82 well earned miles.
Trivia for the day– “No Country for Old Men”, a Coen brothers Best Picture Academy Award winner for 2008, was also partially filmed in the area.