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Big Bend and the Gage Hotel

Last year we spent a week in Big Bend National Park and loved it so much we decided to return again this year. This year we had a few extra days and spent time in the adjoining state park as well. I’ll be posting a summary of each day’s doings and photos over the next week or so.

Day One



Marathon is a long way from Beaumont, 700 or so miles, two tanks of diesel and one and a half books. The first was the Painted Belt by Arthur Conan Doyle—an interesting story about the earth passing through a poisonous gas belt which rendered the entire world inert for twenty eight hours with the exception of Professor Challenger –not Sherlock Holmes–and a small band of friends. The second book is Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. We’re only half way through that one. Hardy has a surprising dry wit and the story, although a very simple plot, has proven to be captivating.(late note: I gave up on the book about midway as I wished to shake some sense into the characters as they seemed to never learn from their mistakes)


Last night we stayed in Boerne; it seemed to take forever to get around San Antonio with several miles of my least favorite driving—two narrow lanes with cement pylons on both sides and everyone driving ten to fifteen miles over the posted speed limit. I have two motorcycles tied in the back of my F250 which makes changing lanes or doing much of anything quickly challenging.


Lots of fog this morning made driving interesting this morning followed by rain in Fort Stockton. The wind buffeted the truck about on the road but there wasn’t much traffic beyond San Antonio.


Now we are in our room at the Gage, huddled under comforters waiting until our dinner reservations at 6. I see some snow flying about in the courtyard; the wind whistles through the tree branches and a blanket of dry leaves rattles across the tiles knocking up against the door of our room. Glen tells me it is only 4 degrees in Eastman; it looks like that outside our window.


Our room is adobe with an old door that doesn’t quite meet in the center. Cowboy accessories hang on the walls—a pair of chaps, an old canteen, a photo of thirty men all in cowboy hats and string ties standing in front of a newly constructed windmill and barn, a lariat showing signs of use, while the huge shower is Mexican tile. The center courtyard has leather basket chairs and tables, carved benches, huge ropes of chilies hung on the walls and a fountain dribbles water valiantly. We are not far from Mexico and its influence here is clear.


Tomorrow we go to Terlingua. We hope the rain and the flood they had three weeks earlier will mean the desert will be in bloom. At the least we hope for warmer weather.


More Photos can be seen at at




One Comment Post a comment
  1. Monica Smith #

    Marathon is one of our favorite place . We eat at the Gage as we have an RV and stay a block west. Did you eat at the Burnt Biscuit? It is our favorite stop for homemade donuts. One July 5th we went to Marathon and attended the local dance in the state park, a real slice of the old west. the only time we stayed in Terlingua was an RV park that was very run down but they had a bar and restaurant built of rocks and a theater all very Gothic. It rained that night and the bar leaked so there were pans everywhere. Quite an experience west of the Pecos!

    January 1, 2009

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