Sunday 22 April 2012

Texas: Big Bend - Marathon

Thursday, February 9.: Going to Marathon
Erik suggested we could do some more sightseeing in the morning, and leave for Marathon in the afternoon. I on the other hand had figured one thing out from our trip down from Midland - and that was that we might need the day unless we wanted another midnight arrival. Thus we started out early, and as predicted after having surveyed the landscape both upon arrival and the day before, we had to move at a rather leisurely pace up the hill to Panther Junction. The hill mightn't be steep but the Wagon did not like any kind of incline when pulling that trailer, no matter how unnoticeable to any other car.

That said, we got to P.J. with only two stops, one road side and one at a small grove of cottonwoods that had grown up around a well. Imagine living out here, in this beautiful desolation! I could do it and love it, no doubt, but just as doubtlessly I would become even more eccentric than I am at a rapid pace. And the people that dug this well, set up this windmill, they lived out here without any kind of modern amenities, scraping a living out of the desert. Tough people, no doubt about that.

While rolling slowly up the hill, Erik suddenly asked me if I had eaten breakfast. Somewhat surprised I realised I had forgotten, just having drunk two cups of coffee. He had done the same, so we stopped at P.J. for a sandwich in the trailer (trying to dodge the flies), as well as topping off the gas tank before heading off back to what can, with a little imagination, be called the civilisation.

Rolling down from P.J. towards Marathon we counted mile markers to find out exactly how long the hill was, having come up it at night. 10 miles, where 1 mile in the middle was flat rather than downhill.

The last cool-down stop in Big Bend was at the ranger center at the park entrance, where we waited for a while before rolling out. Now the road took a turn for the hillier, up and down, up and down, and the stops were frequent. Suffice to say I got good close-up looks at a vast number of mailboxes...

During one stop, at a picnic area, a border patrol officer turned around and came back to ask if we were OK, having seen the hood up. We later encountered the same man at the border patrol check point, where they all had a good look at my Norwegian passport. The question if we were both American citizens came out as a statement and an arm was already lifted to wave us on when we spoke up. Interesting...

Back in Marathon we found Marathon Motel, and the space allotted to Erik's stay (the plan being that he would stay for a month). #13. Neighbours: On two sides, none, just a view of the landscape, on another side a hispanic jew (Hey, Erik, did you ever figure that one out?) who sometimes played very load music but were very courteous in his initial admiration of the car and trailer.

We then headed out to have a look at the place, found a grocery store with a small selection of groceries, a larger selection of ice cream, blankets, and other tourist attractions, two bars, a pizzeria and a restaurant that looked (and probably are) expensive. That evening offered pizza and tequila, before walking back to the RV park in the dark, encountering large deer on the way. Another night in the trailer...