Sunday, February 17, 2013

Marathon Texas to Brackettvile Texas

Jeff Davis County Court House, Fort Davis Texas

We left Fort Davis Sunday morning, riding past the Jeff Davis County Court House, and through mountain valleys south to Marathon.  The scenery was straight out of a western movie, mountains surrounding grassy, rolling hills.  To an easterner who has spent the last 40 years in California, the size of everything here in western Texas is enormous.  Mountains rise several thousand feet above broad plains 30 miles wide and 40 to 60 miles long.  Yesterday we rode from Marathon to Sanderson, 54 miles with nothing but a few scattered ranches situated well of the road.  Tuesday we took the day off in Sanderson, Texas, population 875, which is the county seat of Terrell County, population 982.

Wind Driven Water Pump South of Fort Davis

Cattle Grazing South of Fort Davis 
Mountains South of Marathon Texas
Wednesday we continued on to Langtry, which may be the smallest town that we have stay in.  The hotel, which caters to bicyclist and motorcyclists, was clean and neat but left a lot to be desired, like a door to the bathroom instead of a shower curtain, a few hooks to hang stuff on and a smoke detector.  (The heating was a gas wall heater, which makes me nervous even with a CO monitor and a smoke detector.)   Finding food in these small towns can also be a bit of a challenge, particularly when your only transportation is a bike.   Wednesday night we ate hamburgers at the store/restaurant/motel.  Thursday morning we again ate at the store/restaurant/motel with the owner, who also operates three stone quarries in Langtry and an independent truck driver, who hauls stone for the owner to San Antonio and Austin. 

Judge Roy Bean's Jersey Lilly Saloon/Courthouse
Langtry is famous as the home of Judge Roy Bean, a colorful judge and saloon keeper, who was appointed by the railroad and the Texas Rangers to administer “The Law West of the Pecos”.  We visited his saloon/court room, which is now a state museum.  Since Langtry is on the Mexican border we walked down to the Rio Grand, which in Langtry forms an impressive canyon.  Leaving Langtry we crossed the Pecos River, which also formed a large canyon where it joins the Rio Grand.  

Pecos River Joining the Rio Grande below Langtry

Bridge Crossing Amistad Reservoir
After an uneventful overnight stay in Comstock, we crossed the reservoir in the Amistad National Recreational Area and arrived in Del Rio, where we took Saturday off and visited the Whitehead Museum and the Laughlin Museum.  The Whitehead focused on life in Del Rio in the late 1800s and early 1900s.   The Laughlin Museum focused on the military history of Laughlin Air Force base, also located in Del Rio.  Among other distinctions, Laughlin was the home base for the U2 spy planes, which played a prominent role in the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Much of the material in the museum has only been declassified in the last few years.  Carolyn, the military history buff in our family, very much enjoyed the museum and her discussions with the curator.

Whitehouse Museum
Wagon Wheels at Whitehouse Museum

Motel at Fort Clark in Brackettville Texas
Sunday we again headed east toward the Texas hill country, spending the night at Fort Clark, a former army fort which has been converted into private residences, a golf course and a motel. We are staying Patton Hall named after George C Patton who was once the commanding officer of Fort Clark.

Plaque at Fort Clark

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