The Southern Tier is a famous route for cross-country cycling, stretching from San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida. Our journey along this route has been an incredible experience so far, and on day 15, we set out on another adventure from Van Horn to Marfa, Texas. We took a picture with our SAG team, all in match shirts thanks to Erin!
Marfa is a small town located in the high desert of West Texas, and it is known for being a major center for minimalist art. However, between Van Horn and Marfa, there was nothing but miles and miles of open road. The route took us along US-90 E, passing through small towns like Valentine, Texas, and Ryan, Texas. It was disheartening to see these once-thriving communities reduced to mere remnants. We couldn’t help but wonder what had caused their decline, and we suspect it was the placement of I-10, which rerouted everyone around these towns.
We knew we had to be prepared for this leg of the journey, as there were no services along the way. We packed extra water and snacks and made sure to have all necessary supplies on hand. We had to ride 75 miles with everything we needed, which made the journey all the more challenging.
As we cycled through the open desert landscape, we spotted a surveillance blimp hovering in the distance. It was a surreal sight and added to the already otherworldly atmosphere of the desert.
As we got closer to Marfa, we started to see some of the town’s famous art installations, such as the Prada Marfa and Giant Marfa. Prada Marfa is a permanent sculptural art installation by artists Elmgreen & Dragset. The installation, in the form of a freestanding building—specifically a Prada storefront—was inaugurated on October 1, 2005. The artists described the work as a “pop architectural land art project.”
Giant Marfa is a plywood tribute to the 1956 James Dean/Liz Taylor film “Giant,” erected by artist John Cerney in October 2018. Parts of the movie were filmed at this spot.
These art installations were welcome sights after miles of nothingness and got us excited to explore the town and learn more about its artistic history.