Sunshine State of Mind
July 2011
Wendell: We goin' in?
Ed Tom Bell: Gun out and up.
Wendell: [Wendell draws his pistol] What about yours?
Ed Tom Bell: I'm hidin' behind you.
"No Country for Old Men" (2007)

Bick Benedict: Leslie... don't behave like that... making a fuss o'er those people. You're a Texan now.
Leslie Benedict: Is that a state of mind? I'm still myself...
Bick Benedict: You're my wife now honey, you're a Benedict.
Leslie Benedict: I still have a mind of my own. Elsewhere being gracious is acceptable.
Bick Benedict: Uh, well, but... we're gracious.
"Giant" (1956)

Gittin' to Marfa -- Eventually

Lost Maples State Park

In the June issue of the Folly, we were imbroiled in the Hoodoo war, dodging Johnny Ringo's bullets. Having barely escaped with our lives, my friend Dave and I headed for Lost Maples State Park.

From Mason to Vanderpool, Texas it is about 114 miles. This should take about two hours. That is if you want to go straight there. Dave was having none of that. On his coattails, I found myself heading down US-377 towards RR-335, one of the best of the "Twisted Sister's."

RR-335 leads you right into Camp Wood, where you connect with what some rider's call their favorite sister, FM-337. It is a very scenic ride to Vanderpool, with only another 5 miles to Lost Maples.

Utopia --

Lost Maples State Park is noted for it's outrageously beautiful display of fall colors. Since this was the end of winter, we were treated to a less colorful landscape. Our campsite had both electricity and water, the bathrooms were adequate and the night sky filled with a bazillion stars left us in jaw-dropping awe. Absolutely smitten with this park's beauty, we award Lost Maples a "Biker-A".

Utopia Cafe

We arose late and sauntered 17 miles south to Utopia for breakfast. We think the Utopia Cafe is a biker-kind-o'place and I am pretty darn sure you'll think so too

The ride on FM-1050 to US-83 will make your morning memorable. Heading north on US-83, about 4 miles north of Leakey, is FM-336, the last Sister, what I like to call the Cattleguard Sister.

Cattle on the road

Be ever so careful on all of the "Twisted Sisters."

Page 2

Ho-boy, did we ever take some backroads to Marfa. I will not lay out every road we took, suffice it to say we chose our roads based more on whether we had ever gone that way or not. When it came to a decision as to whether to take road "A" or road "B", the prime deciding factor was always, "Have you ever been on this road before?" If the answer to the question was no, that was the road we took. It made perfect sense to me. Absolutely smitten with this park's beauty, we award Lost Maples a "Biker-A".

If you want to get a little more detail on our route, may I suggest firing up the computer and wandering to:

Cappy's Videos on YouTube

A snag in the plan --

I feel I would be remiss if I didn't warn you about one of the pitfalls of riding in West Texas. There are a few places that the speed limit is 80 MPH. If you have ever ridden on I-10 you'll understand why the state lets folks open up a bit. After traveling on many miles of wide-open road, by the time we got to US-90 we were in a groove. For most of this highway, the speed limit is 75 MPH. I bet you'll relate to the following. We had been traveling all day. The heat was building the further south we advanced. It was getting late in the afternoon as we pointed west. The sun was getting low and planting it's searing rays squarely in our eyes. As we approached Alpine, the speed limit reduced to 70 MPH. Dave didn't notice and I was too busy enjoying the fact I didnÕt have to lead to notice either. DPS lit us up. The trooper was headed in the opposite direction, coming out of Alpine. We pulled over. Dave was already getting his insurance and license out. I wasn't sure what was up and just sat there. I was a little frosted as the trooper admitted he didn't clock me, and sat there in amazement as he talked himself into giving me a ticket too. Whatever, be careful out there. If it isn't deer, cows or road gators, it is the DPS. The young man was not interested in hearing our story. It is about revenue and don't you ever forget it.

We were not about to let this ruin a perfectly good vacation. We were tired, needed a meal and a cold beverage ... Marfa dead ahead.

Finally, Marfa --

With a sigh of relief, we crossed Marfa's city limits. It is a town that has been in and out of the limelight for years. One of the better-known attractions is the Marfa Lights. Just east of Marfa is an observation platform that tourist flock to after dark. It is sheltered in the event of foul weather. A lawn chair comes in handy.
The Little City of Marfa

I have seen the Marfa Lights. If you find yourself in the neighborhood and have never seen them, it is worth your time and effort to pull in. Honestly, I found the comments by all the visiting "experts" more entertaining than the lights. You will have to judge for yourselves. I found them underwhelming while the total experience worthwhile.

Cattle on the road

There are a few claims to fame that Marfa boasts about but none bigger than the two movies shot on location. I am sure youÕve heard of "Giant", with Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean and Rock Hudson and "No Country for Old Men", starring Tommy Lee Jones and Woody Harrelson.

Well Buckaroo's, it is time to take Amana to the barn for a hose down and to install some goodies. I was given a GPS for my birthday. I have seldom used these gadgets before; wish me luck. I hope it takes me to places I have never been so I can share them with you.

Until next month --

Ride em if ya go em!

Bonus PIX

Mason Courthouse

Mason Courthouse

Mason Courthouse

Mason Courthouse