Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Museum for Travelers and a Cycling Event for Everyone!

Today we're featuring the photography of Dan Baeza showcasing the Clark Hotel Museum in Van Horn.  The museum tells the story of early travel in Far West Texas and the history of Van Horn and Culberson County, which is steeped in cross-country travel and hospitality to travelers.


Read more about the Clark Hotel Museum, and the "Front to back, back to front" story here


#30DaysofBiking
We want to give everyone EARLY notice of a great cycling event in our Texas Mountain Trail region, a fundraiser for the Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County.  Mark your calendars and start planning to take part in the October 4th, Wheels and Heels for Meals event!  Participants will be raising support for the Food Pantry as part of their involvement in the event...which is definitely a WIN/WIN/WIN!!

From the calendar entry on our Texas Mountain Trail regional events calendar: 
Wheels/Heels for Meals is a charity bike ride from the Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County to Valentine and back. Other shorter rides are also available. There are 2 pit stops along the way and lunch is served in Valentine. This year, a walk has been added. The entry may walk 2 to 8 miles. At the end of the day, there is the traditional cook out at Dolce Far Niente. - See more at: http://texasmountaintrail.com/events/fort-davis-wheelsheels-meals#sthash.yLHMoPnx.dpuf
Wheels/Heels for Meals is a charity bike ride from the Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County to Valentine and back. Other shorter rides are also available. There are 2 pit stops along the way and lunch is served in Valentine. This year, a walk has been added. The entry may walk 2 to 8 miles. At the end of the day, there is the traditional cook out at Dolce Far Niente. - See more at: http://texasmountaintrail.com/events/fort-davis-wheelsheels-meals#sthash.yLHMoPnx.dpuf

"Wheels/Heels for Meals is a charity bike ride from the Food Pantry of Jeff Davis County to Valentine and back. Other shorter rides are also available. There are 2 pit stops along the way and lunch is served in Valentine. This year, a walk has been added. The entry may walk 2 to 8 miles. At the end of the day, there is the traditional cook out at Dolce Far Niente."

Sound like fun?  Put this one on your calendar and stay tuned for more information throughout the year!

Monday, April 14, 2014

#30DaysofBiking: An Easy Ride in Big Bend National Park

 An easy ride in Big Bend National Park offers terrific vistas and around this time of year, some views of blooming cacti.  Mostly gently downhill, about 20 miles, the ride begins at Panther Junction Visitor Center and continues to the small visitor center past the turnoff to Hot Springs.  The road is paved and smooth, and while there is vehicular traffic  (but not much!) the speed limit is 45 miles per hour so it is easy for everyone to "share the road."

Here's the park map.

An easy way to ride this route in a group is to shuttle cars.  Drive one car down to the Visitor Center between Rio Grande Village and the Hot Springs, and then drive back to Panther Junction to start the ride.

The elevation drop is gentle, making for an easy ride.  Panther Junction's elevation is 3750 ft., and your destination is 1850 ft.  Enjoy zipping downhill! Once you arrive at your parked car, consider a little detour to visit the Hot Springs for a soak!


Travel Spotlight!
What's blooming at Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center just outside Fort Davis?  The Texas Mountain Laurel!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dining Along Historic Highways presentation today at the Viva Big Bend Food Festival!

Today, as part of the Viva Big Bend food festival, we'll be presenting a FREE program about "Dining Along Historic Highways" at the Hotel Paisano in Marfa at 4pm.  
We'll be sharing old photos, recipes and samples of food from the region, with a special emphasis on the 1930s when the highways were being paved and some of our historic hotels (still in operation) were just beginning to serve travelers.  Come join us!

#30DaysofBiking
Many travelers learn Marfa is a great place to ride a bicycle...and some of our hotels have bikes for loan or rent.  We found this lovely photo from early Marfa as we were doing research for our "Dining Along Historic Highways" presentation, see above!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Marathon's Cycle-Friendly Hotels (and great places to stay, even if you don't bring a bike!)


Courtyard at the Gage Hotel
Today, we're featuring the Marathon, TX hotels that are participating in our Texas Mountain Trail cycle-friendly hotels program...the historic Gage Hotel and the charmingly unique Eve's Garden Organic B&B:

Gage Hotel, 101 W. Hwy 90, Marathon, TX Phone: 1-800-844-GAGE  www.gagehotel.com
Cycle-friendly features include: oversized rooms for stowing bikes; pool/fitness center/spa services; daily pasta and vegetarian dishes, organic salad ingredients grown in garden onsite; snacks/packed meals and emergency bike repair at French Co. Grocer around the corner. Very safe location, gateway to Big Bend National Park.
Gage Hotel
Eve’s Garden Organic B&B, Marathon, TX (located at Ave C & North 3rd St, one block north of Highway 90 in Marathon.) 432 386 4165 or cell 432 386 3479. www.evesgarden.org   A peaceful boutique B and B tastefully constructed of recycled and re-purposed materials (primarily papercrete). This family run business features; hand-built rooms, indoor gardens and courtyard, fire pit, star gazing deck, and courtesy room (with complimentary coffee, tea, cocoa).  Amenities also include in-room mini-fridge, romantic electric fireplace, A/C, private bath, fresh flowers from Kate’s organic greenhouse, and a gourmet organic breakfasts, featuring locally-sourced eggs, milk, veggies, etc. 
Eve's Garden Organic B&B
Eve’s Garden Organic B&B, Marathon, TX (located at Ave C & North 3rd St, one block north of Highway 90 in Marathon.) 432 386 4165 or cell 432 386 3479. www.evesgarden.org   A peaceful boutique B and B tastefully constructed of recycled and re-purposed materials (primarily papercrete). This family run business features; hand-built rooms, indoor gardens and courtyard, fire pit, star gazing deck, and courtesy room (with complimentary coffee, tea, cocoa).  Amenities also include in-room mini-fridge, romantic electric fireplace, A/C, private bath, fresh flowers from Kate’s organic greenhouse, and a gourmet organic breakfasts, featuring locally-sourced eggs, milk, veggies, etc. 

To see the entire list of our region's cycle-friendly hotels, visit www.texasmountaintrail.com/bike
Eve's Garden Organic B&B

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Our Annie Londonderry/El Paso story teaches kids about cycling!

San Antonio and Magoffin in El Paso
When El Paso looked like this, a very special cyclist passed through the city on a grand adventure.  Annie Londonderry was the first woman to cycle around the world, and in 1895 she had the red carpet rolled out for her by El Pasoans.  They loved watching her cycle (it was the height of the Victorian bicycle craze) and hearing about her worldwide exploits.

We've showcased the history surrounding her visit to our region's largest city in this blog, and were most honored when Bike Texas used our research to build their new kids online game, Annie Londonderry's Big Adventure. This is an online educational module that uses technology in a fun way to teach 4th-6th graders bike safety education, digital literacy, and social studies including Texas history and contemporary issues. Click here to get to the game's home page. 

Our original blog posts used by the game are here and here!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

A Bike's Story at the Museum of the Big Bend

For our #30DaysofBiking feature this month, it is a pleasure to retell this story from a couple of years ago:

There's a GREAT story hanging aloft the main exhibition hall of the Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine.  The Museum's Historian/Curator, Matt Walter, tells us:

"In 1892, F. P. INGERSON rode that bicycle from Sycamore, Ohio, out to Barstow, Texas. There, he married a Miss Carson, a schoolteacher in Pecos, TX. She is the one who donated the bicycle to the museum, in 1938. It’s an EXPERT COLUMBIA, made by the POPE MANUFACTURING COMPANY of Boston, MA. These bicycles were nicknamed “Pennyfarthings” because of the size difference between two English coins, the penny and the farthing."

Mapquest tellls us that's a journey of 1,500 miles...in a car, they estimate it would take 23 hours today.  What do you think the journey was like for Mr. Ingerson?  We understand that since he was a carpenter, he carried his tools on his bike, so he could work with him for his journey....that would have been quite the load!

Our thanks to Matt and to the entire staff of the Museum of the Big Bend, who are terrific friends and supporters of our Texas Mountain Trail organization.  The Museum is one of the best small museums you'll find anywhere.  Plan a trip there soon!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Dining Along Historic Highways: Viva Big Bend Food Festival on Saturday!

Our Texas Mountain Trail non-profit is happy to be participating in the Viva Big Bend Food Festival this Saturday, with a free program with photographs, recipes and samples on Saturday at Marfa's historic Hotel Paisano at 4pm.  Everyone is welcome! 

Today, we feature images from the Paisano's sister property in Van Horn, the Hotel El Capitan, now fully restored and operating as a hotel and a place to have dinner at the Crossroads of the Texas Mountain Trail.
#30DaysofBiking
One of our favorite roads to cycle is the first 30 miles or so (which are paved) of FM2810 heading southwest from Marfa.  Called "Pinto Canyon Road," this scenic stretch was featured in the film "No Country for Old Men," and has little vehicular traffic too, making it great for bicyclists.