The American railroad is alive and well. Unfortunately, it runs through Marathon, TX directly across the street from the Marathon Motel and RV Park.

Looking out the kitchen window...

But I digress….Our drive from Austin to Marathon was awesome –the landscape of the Texas Hill Country is beautiful, especially on a sunny day, and we got our fill of rolling hills, cacti, goats and cows…and never ending expanses of land.

Texas Hill Country = Hilly.

On the trip, you can go through Johnson City — hometown of LBJ– where you can take a tour of his ranch and the other farmsteads on the property which is now the LBJ Historical National Park. You’ll also drive through Fredericksburg, a crazy little historical town that reminded me of towns on the east coast that have embraced their ‘in-the-middle-of-nowhere-but-we’ll-make-it-happen’ attitude. There are countless B&Bs, restaurants, shops and things to do there. For a little midday drink, you should stop in Hye, TX at the Garrison Brothers Distillery and experience the first and oldest legal distillery in Texas.

After a few hours, you’ll come to a lot of nothing. Small towns, fewer gas stations, but somehow, a lot RV parks:

When you hit Ft. Stockton, stop for gas. And propane. And check your truck because there’s no where to stop for the next 60 miles except a bit of this:

Another abandoned gas station.

Then you’ll hit Marathon, a cute tiny town known as The Gateway to Big Bend. Its got a coffee shop, a really nice bookstore, and a bar (White Buffalo). Unfortunately a lot of the restaurants on the town website are closed, so your food choices are slim.

We stayed at the Marathon Motel and RV Park ($25/night) which had the basic hookups set up parking-lot-style, but the laundry room was closed and it was super loud because of the train tracks across the street. Therefore, we cut the stay short and headed a day early to Marfa and the Tumbleweed Laundry.

[slickr-flickr tag=”Marathon”]