Highway 90 West - a trip into the past of the Old West

9/24/2016; San Antonio to Marathon, Tx

A lot of straight road barely interupted with remarkably similar small towns.

My next planned stop is Big Bend National Park.  My last visit, in 1999, was cut short when my friend got heat exhaustion on a hike.  I've wanted to go back ever since.  But to get there, I have about 350 miles of Southwest Texas to drive - Texas is a really, really big state!

Highway 90 consists of miles and miles of road running alongside rail road tracks.  The railroad, crossing a large part of the southwest was completed in the late 1880's.  A bunch of small towns and, I presume, the highway, sprang up next to the tracks.  

The small towns seemed a lot alike.  South of the tracks and Hwy 90 I found the usual fast-food joints, gas stations and markets.  North of the tracks would be the historic downtown - buildings so old that I half expected to hear the sound of spurs as I strolled down the dusty sidewalks.

Between towns, I was kept company by circling turkey vultures and ravens.  I imagine they find a lot of fast food along the road too.

Amistad National Recreation Area.

Del Rio is right on the border with Mexico.  So, it makes sense that the Amistad Dam was a joint project between the US and Mexico.  The resulting reservoirs back up into 3 rivers: The Rio Grande arm extends up the river 78 miles, The Pecos River arm extends up the river 14 miles, The Devils River arm extends up the river 25 miles.

Total shoreline is 851 miles (compared with entire Texas coastline of 367 miles).

In the summer, when temperatures reach 100 degrees F, the reservoirs can lose 131 million gallons of water each day - amazing!

I stayed in an RV Park right across the road from the lake.  I enjoyed the swimming pool and on-site laundromat.

Langtry, Tx  -  Home of Judge Roy Bean

Traveling through Langtry, one can easily imagine life in the late 1800's.  The Chihuahuan desert seems timeless, even as I know that the landscape has been transformed (and not in a good way) by over-grazing and hunting. Still, the hills, the cactus, and the endless blue sky must be much the same as it was a hundred years ago.

Marathon, Tx

Marathon, Tx is where I will leave Hwy 90 and drop down into Big Bend National Park.  Marathon is quite small but very picturesque.  Lots of stucco and cactus.

Marathon RV Park and Motel, where I'm staying.

Marathon RV Park and motel

Outdoor cafe at the RV Park

Central courtyard

Marathon - the Gage Hotel has been here since 1887.

Outside patio at the hotel

The Gage Garden is open to the public and good for at least an hour.  In addition to the central garden, there are a couple paths out into the desert featuring native plants.

There were lots of small nooks with private seating as well as larger gazebos and areas that could serve to host weddings or other large groups.

Well, it would hardly be Texas if there wasn't a cow!

This is apparently the season for butterfly migrations in Texas - for 2 weeks, I've been surrounded by several different varieties of butterflies - thousands and thousands.  Sometimes while driving, it seemed like it was snowing from the number of butterflies in the air.  Today, these gardens were full of small yellow butterflies and larger black butterflies. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

We Love Comments!!