Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Marathon, Texas

We are in Marathon, TX. We got up at about 7:00, packed up and headed out by 9:00. We drove on I-10 to Van Horn, stopped for lunch at Papa's Diner and turned onto Highway 90/67 to Marathon. This is the Big Bend Highway and is much more scenic than the Interstate. It is two lane (one each direction) but is pretty much deserted and the pavement is very good. I did learn by my 2010 experience and started on the highway with a full gas tank. In 2010, I started out with only a half tank and was sucking fumes by the time we got to the first gas station in Alpine!

On the way here we passed through the small town of Marfa, TX. Marfa is known for two things. One, it is here where people see the "Marfa Lights", mysterious lights crossing the desert off in the distance. Speculation ranges from a secret military testing facility to UFO's to (the official explanation) a mirage of the Interstate highway located about 80 miles away. I am going with UFO's. There is a rest area type viewing area just out of town, I suspect because so many people were stopping on the highway to watch for lights. Chris says there are always a few people overnighting there sharing a beer and watching for lights. It would be a fun place to stop.

The other thing Marfa is known for is that it was the location for filming of the 1956 blockbuster movie, "Giant" starring Rock Hudson and James Dean. All around town are signs like, "This hotel was the headquarters for filming Giant" or, "This building is where the cast and crew ate their meals during filming". All these old buildings have a fresh coat of paint and are obviously a source of pride for the residents. It was Dean's last performance as he was killed in a car crash before the film was released.

The Marathon Motel and RV Park here in Marathon is nice although pretty basic. There are 19 not quite level, gravel sites with full 30 amp hookups and a very nice central outdoor fireplace that they say will be lit tonight. The big draw is the price with Passport America members paying only $12.50 per night. They have nice showers, great WIFI and a coin laundry so we booked for two nights. Thanks Teresa, Derek and Cassia for telling us about it.

The City of Marathon has a Dark Skies policy so when the nights are clear, the stars put on a brilliant show with limited light pollution. I should have brought my telescope as it looks like we might have a clear sky tonight.

I set up the StarChoice dish for some entertainment. It was an easy setup because, using the Dish Pointer site I found the sites point directly at the satellite so it was easy to find the "bird". Four or five minutes tops.

EDIT: Oops. I just discovered something else about the RV park. It is very close to the railway tracks! I hope there are not many trains!


  1. Hopefully you'll take a few pictures while there! Ugh - about the train - we'll have to find out about that before we commit there for a month.....glad we could help.

  2. All good rv parks are built next to railroad tracks :)

    1. Funny how that works out. So far tonight there have bee four trains. The last one was at 9:00. Let's see if that is it.

  3. Looks like you found a nice spot to spent a couple days.
    Love that dishpointer site too.

  4. Interesting tidbits about the little town of Marfa, must have been a pretty exciting time for the residents back then.

    Hope you find someplace to have a Turkey Dinner tonight - as they say "when in Rome......".