The Big Bend area has always been one of the most alluring places in the South. On one highway, a trio of towns-Marfa, Alpine, and Marathon-show that untamed geography stirs an inspiring spirit.
In Marfa, vintage bicycles replace horses. Camp himself owns more than 10 throwback Schwinns and Flyers. After a night’s sleep at the Thunderbird Hotel, a motor court revamped with minimalist looks (and record players), I rise early and pedal through town on a hotel bike. I pass the high school, the silver water tower, and the pinkish 1886 Presidio County courthouse―all signs of Big Bend normalcy. Large cherry red letters mark one gorgeous white building―JUDD―near Maiya’s, a sleek Italian cafe, and down from the hacienda-like Hotel Paisano. I stop near the single flashing signal by Marfa Book Company and Marfa Public Radio, where NPR programs mix with station manager Tom Michael’s local news and interviews.
photo: The Thunderbird Hotel rents bicycles to guests for town cruising.