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Author Topic: Marfa, Big Bend, Fort Stockton  (Read 199 times)

jander

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Marfa, Big Bend, Fort Stockton
« on: November 06, 2018, 11:54:04 PM »

Looks like after Thanksgiving we are going to do a trip from Marfa, TX to Fort Stockton. Via Presidio, FM 170 and the Rio Grand Visitors center.

Google puts the whole route at 6 hours, we plan to do some short day hikes, or tourist things. I figure if we can leave Marfa at 8 am we will have pleanty of time to see some sites.

I guess it will be dark around 6pm, assuming we leave the Visitors Center by 6pm, are we missing any good sites / views excitement driving to Fort Stockton in the Dark?

Anything we must see between Marfa and the Visitors center?

Thanks.
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US 81

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Re: Marfa, Big Bend, Fort Stockton
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2018, 08:03:41 AM »

Sounds fun.

The Museum of the Big Bend on Sul Ross in Alpine is a slight detour. It's nice enough/close enough that I have to mention it, but might not work into on a short November day schedule. You'll also be close to the Ft. Davis Historical Site and the McDonald Observatory, both worth a trip in their own right, IMHO.

Close to Rio Grande Village is the rock tunnel which replaced so-called Dead Man's Curve. I didn't see evidence of the old road last time I was there, but the tunnel itself is kinda cool.

Nearly everything in Big Bend is worth the stop, although it takes days to see it all. I love it all, but especially the Chisos Basin, Boquillas Canyon and Santa Elena Canyon.

US 385 is more 'high desert' terrain, but compared to Big Bend itself, you wont miss much if you drive it in the dark. Last time I was there, lots of oil traffic on the road - I think less so now.

Have ID on your person and have a nice trip!
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Marfa, Big Bend, Fort Stockton
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2018, 08:57:48 AM »

If you take US 385 north to Fort Stockton it’s pretty bland and you won’t miss much.  The only town along the way is Marathon which I thought was edging towards ghost town territory.  I thought Boquillas Canyon on the Rio Grande was worth seeing. Too bad you really can’t cross to Ojo Caliente anymore heard it was kind of fun back in its heyday. 

jander

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Re: Marfa, Big Bend, Fort Stockton
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2018, 10:08:52 AM »

Sounds fun.

The Museum of the Big Bend on Sul Ross in Alpine is a slight detour. It's nice enough/close enough that I have to mention it, but might not work into on a short November day schedule. You'll also be close to the Ft. Davis Historical Site and the McDonald Observatory, both worth a trip in their own right, IMHO.

Close to Rio Grande Village is the rock tunnel which replaced so-called Dead Man's Curve. I didn't see evidence of the old road last time I was there, but the tunnel itself is kinda cool.

Nearly everything in Big Bend is worth the stop, although it takes days to see it all. I love it all, but especially the Chisos Basin, Boquillas Canyon and Santa Elena Canyon.

US 385 is more 'high desert' terrain, but compared to Big Bend itself, you wont miss much if you drive it in the dark. Last time I was there, lots of oil traffic on the road - I think less so now.

Have ID on your person and have a nice trip!

This is great, thanks. We are spending a couple days in Marfa, and we are going to Friday Night Lights at the observatory. Definitely going to check out Fort Davis.
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kphoger

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Re: Marfa, Big Bend, Fort Stockton
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2018, 12:26:05 PM »

If you're looking for any specific info about FM-170 between Presidio and Big Bend, you should send a PM to US 41.  He was just there three years ago.  He posted a trip report, but the photos have been removed.

My recommendation for a relatively quick hike is Santa Elena Canyon, although getting to the trailhead will take you south from your route by about 45 minutes.  That canyon is so beautiful and serene, it's on my short list of favorite places in the world to visit.  You can even wade out into the Río Grande closer to the trailhead and pretend you're an illegal immigrant if you want. :biggrin: Back in the day, you could pay a guy a few bucks and he'd row you across the river (access south of Castolon) to the village of Santa Elena, Chihuahua, but the government shut that down after 9/11.  *sigh*

If you take US 385 north to Fort Stockton it’s pretty bland and you won’t miss much.  The only town along the way is Marathon which I thought was edging towards ghost town territory.

It was edging on ghost town territory back when I was last there in the late 90s.  Back then, the gas station at the junction still had analog dials.  I remember chatting with another driver who tags mountain lions for a living.  Heading north from Marathon, the head wind was so strong that we could barely maintain highway speeds in our 88 Camry—didn't even realize for several miles it was still in 4th gear because the wind noise was so loud.
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TXtoNJ

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Re: Marfa, Big Bend, Fort Stockton
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2018, 01:27:35 PM »

There's some great barbecue in Marathon these days.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Marfa, Big Bend, Fort Stockton
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2018, 01:40:17 PM »

If you take US 385 north to Fort Stockton it’s pretty bland and you won’t miss much.  The only town along the way is Marathon which I thought was edging towards ghost town territory.

It was edging on ghost town territory back when I was last there in the late 90s.  Back then, the gas station at the junction still had analog dials.  I remember chatting with another driver who tags mountain lions for a living.  Heading north from Marathon, the head wind was so strong that we could barely maintain highway speeds in our 88 Camry—didn't even realize for several miles it was still in 4th gear because the wind noise was so loud.

The day I went to Big Bend was from Deming, NM via Marathon.  It was snowing that morning and about 30F outside when I hit El Paso.  The temperature jumped to 92F by the time I hit the Rio Grand after heading south into Big Bend National Park on US 385.  I want to say it was about 60F in Fort Stockton, the wind was howling from all those wild climate variations.

US 81

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Re: Marfa, Big Bend, Fort Stockton
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2018, 07:52:37 AM »

Would enjoy hearing afterward about your trip, if you choose to share. Hope y'all have a nice time.
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