Simple customers Phil and Ben used Goals to rebuild their vintage motorcycles. Now they’re taking them on an epic trip around the U.S. We’re featuring moments from their trip on Instagram and the Simple blog. You can also follow along with them @ThePursuitStory, and read their Ultimate Guide to Rebuilding a Motorcycle.
While heading toward Big Bend from Austin, Texas, on the westward leg of our trip, we felt like we were riding through Clint Eastwood’s set in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” Though our minds were slightly numb from the drone of our motorcycles, we experienced all the feelings of the wild west and playing cowboys on our iron horses.
West Texas is a strange place with mostly desert flatlands (save the Big Bend landscape) and gas stations with almost too much highway between them. Out among the vast emptiness of the West Texas landscape, there are gems: public land, national parks, and small towns that make this region of Texas a must-see. Below, we’ve listed budget-goals you should set to visit some of our favorite spots in the area, recommended to us by other road warriors we met heading west.
Marathon only stretches for about a mile, but it contains must-stops for travelers of every kind. A great stop is the White Buffalo bar and restaurant. It’s a bit spendy, but the opportunity to meet travelers from all parts of Texas is well worth the cost. When you’ve had your fill of venison sliders and peach mint mojitos, you don’t have to worry about wandering home. The White Buffalo is housed in the historic (and maybe haunted) Gage Hotel, where a room with two twin beds is about $95.
Terlingua is a strange place. Formerly a ghost town inhabited by a handful of desert dwellers, its proximity to Big Bend and a few solid attractions have sustained steady traffic of travelers to the area.
Built in the 1930s, the town’s Starlight Theatre is now a restaurant and bar with a stage for live music. It’s a great place to meet the locals and get a fantastic meal. If you want to order like a local, try the chipotle pork medallions.
Terlingua’s cemetery is another must-see. The grave sites are made of simple stonework with adobe or wooden crosses. The historical burial site is lit up at night, giving the area a Dia de los Muertos vibe.
How does one describe Big Bend? There doesn’t seem to be words to capture how stunning the landscape is.
There are a ton of options for camping in different sections of the park, including desert, meadow, and mountain areas. You have the option of primitive permit sites and fully equipped camping sites. Big Bend has the least light pollution of any national park in the lower 48 states, according to the park’s website. This makes it a great place for stargazing. All of these perks combined with a long, beautiful ride through the 801,163-acre park make Big Bend a bucket-list destination.
Marfa, Texas, is one of those hippy towns that are perfect for your standard-issue vagabonds. Marfa became known as an art town when Donald Judd, esteemed for his works in manipulating space and architecture, decided to make the location his home and workspace. He’s credited with fostering a creative atmosphere for this tiny town. There are multiple Judd Foundation exhibits that display some of his works. You can even take a tour of his homestead.
The Lost Horse Saloon is the neighborhood divey watering hole. Here, you’re bound to meet some unforgettable locals while shooting pool in the backroom. Try the Ranch Water.
When it’s time to tuck in, El Cosmico is one of the quirkier places to stay. The accommodations range from teepees to safari tents, trailers to yurts, and even fancy Airstream trailers. Most people who work or stay here are pretty open to meeting people. Put yourself out there and you’ll meet some incredible people.
Last but not least is the Marfa Prada store. Located a bit west, outside of town, it’s a nice little photo op stop. The store is a permanent art installation that was never meant to be maintained. So don’t be surprised when you show up to find it empty. The merchandise, however, is completely real. The shoes and handbags are all part of Prada’s fall/winter 2005 collection.
With all these fun, weird places, it’s no wonder why we met some of the greatest people in Marfa. You won’t be disappointed.
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