Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center/ Marathon

Trip Start Feb 09, 2013
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Trip End Jun 30, 2013


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Flag of United States  , Texas
Friday, March 22, 2013

1.       Thursday, March 22 -  I had to get a picture of the sunset at Seminole Canyon State Park and then in the morning a sunrise picture.   We left the canyon around 9:30 am and headed west on 90.  This is canyon country and we saw some beautiful views of canyons as we traveled along.  Of course we had to stop in Langtry, TX about forty miles up the road.  Langtry is named for Lilly Lillie Langtry the international star.  Judge Roy Bean was fascinated by her and never met her but she did come to visit about two months after he died. 

     Nearby Dead Man's Gulch is where the silver spike joined the transcontinental tracks of the Southern Pacific’s sunset oute on Jan 12, 1883.  The tracks went from New Orleans to San Francisco.  Judge Roy Bean came here because of the railroad and ran a saloon, store and was the "law west of the Pecos".  He ruled this frontier in the last decades of the 19 century dying in 1903.  There are many stories about his unconventional rulings that were given out in the saloon/billiard hall that he called “Jersey Lilly”.  He was so much of a legend that there was even a TV series about him back when I was young.  He even built an opera house on his property.

   After he died his property was not kept up and it was boarded up and just left like much of the property in TX in some of these towns that have been vacated.  The state of TX purchased the property and opened it up to the public for free to visit the saloon, court room, his opera house and house.  They even have built a brand new visitor center in front of it and added a Cactus Garden on the property with the names and what they can be used for.  It is a worth while stop and very interesting.  Actually when you turn off route 90 to the left coming from the south into Langtry there are so run down houses there and you think the visitor center is there but you need to travel down the road a little passed the church to find this museum and visitor center.

  Leaving the visitor center we drove miles and miles and miles of what I call Apache country.  Hills and mountains of dry, gray, dirt and land of cacti all over the place with some ranches and fence.  It is really stunning and it just goes on and on.   I can not picture myself crossing this in a wagon train or on horseback.  There is no water but of course the Rio Grande has been dammed here so that might be the reason.   I just can picture those Apaches waiting up there to attack.

  We saw on our drive of about 130 miles some bikers on ten speed bikes traveling along this road.  I could not believe it and where are they going to get water.  We even thought that if we had a blow out here we would still be here days later.  There is nothing out here but views.

  Driving into Marathon where our campground is located we needed to get diesel before our driven into Big Bend National Park tomorrow.  We have been paying $3.83 and guess what – we had to pay $4.59 here – thought George was going to have a heart attack.  Some girl from Ohio even snuck into our spot as we were waiting to get the diesel.  George had to talk to her boyfriend and say didn’t you realize that we were waiting her for diesel.  They moved quickly.  George still has that stern teacher look and voice. Ha Ha

  I reviewed the campground below but it is our last night for awhile with electric, water and phone service.  It will be worth it though driving into Big Bend and along one of the most scenic roads in the nation.  A lot of RV’s traveling along east and west and everyone heading to Big Bend.

Friday, March 22 –Marathon Motel & RV Park, Marathon, TX     This is a motel and RV park in Marathon one of the gateways for Big Bend National Park.  It is good for an overnight or longer stay.  We paid $12.50 with Passport America. There are 19 sites with full hookups and some tent sites.  Cable and Wi-Fi are also offered.  The sites are on hard pack dirt and it is close to town with some cute restaurants and two gas stations.  On the grounds there is a bath house with one shower but it is clean.  The motel is done in the Adobe style and there is an outdoor little park with an outside fireplace, wooden seats and cacti surrounding it.  It is cute!  If you want to sit by the fire at night they will light it for you.  Very friendly and informative check in.  They no longer have a restaurant on the grounds. This was a one night stop before we drive to Big Bend National Park tomorrow.
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