Davis Mountains State Park, Fort Davis, TX April 11 – 18, 2024

Tin Roof…Rusted

We left Potters Creek on Thursday, April 11th and drove a little less than 3 hours to Stadium RV Park in Sonora, Texas for a one-night stay. This stay had a first for us. The “park” was actually a scattering of sites in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The owner offered a full hook-up (FHU) site for $30 (which is a great price for a private park) but it had to be paid in cash. None of those things was a first for us. The first for us was the site was under a covered roof! We’ve never stayed under a covered roof site before.

It would have been cooler if there had been a heavy rainstorm or hailstorm or snow. Or if we had been there for several hot, sunny days. But we were only there for one night. Still, it was something new and the owner was a very nice guy. We had a quiet night under the cover.

Friday morning we pulled out from under our first covered roof and drove almost 4 hours to Davis Mountains State Park in Fort Davis, Texas for a six-night stay.

Davis Mountains State Park

Our site was a pull-through (thanks Cindy!) gravel site that was fairly level, as well as a nice amount of room for Cindy’s screen room. Fire danger was “Extremely High” so a burn ban was in effect. No campfires 🙁 We had FHU of 50 amp power, potable water and sewer connection at the site, one reason we chose this spot. We, or rather I, had a specific task to perform during this stay. Unfortunately we had no T-Mobile signal, less than one bar (is that even possible?) of AT&T and a little bit more of Verizon. That little bit was enough for browsing and email, but not much more.

After we got set up, we walked up to the Interpretive Center and enjoyed using the bird blind they had set up to see some of the many species of avian creatures that call this place home at least part of the year.

Saturday Park Programs

Saturday morning we were up and out the door early for a “Beginner Birding Program” at 9 am. There were approximately 10 other campers there with us for the presentation by Ranger Charlie. I found it interesting. I’ve never known much more about birds other than robins and cardinals are red and I like eagles. But over the years Cindy has taught me all that she knows and after our class we both know a little more. What was especially amusing is that some people get REALLY excited about birds and some of them were in our class. Ornithologists rise up! Ah, I shouldn’t make fun. I like them too, just not THAT much.

Later, at 2 pm we went on a “Meditative, Mindfulness Desert Walk” with a couple of other people that was another interesting program run by a local specialist in meditative and mindfulness living named Synsorae Eutsay. We spent about 2 hours walking around the base of a mountain in the Davis Mountain Range while practicing breathing techniques, mindfulness exercises and meditative routines. Our trek took us across a dry creek bed and a small glade that was set up with benches where we relaxed for a while. We also got to see some White Tail Deer, Yucca plants in bloom and some beautiful Barrel Cactus.

Fort Davis Lunch Adventure

On Sunday and Monday we hiked around some different trails in the park. We saw some Mule Deer (so named because of the size/shape of their ears) and Agave cactus. I tried to make some tequila, but no luck. We also discovered the park’s amphitheater and a cool looking concrete walking bridge.

Late Monday morning we drove 4 miles into Fort Davis. Cindy wanted to visit a rock store (I kid you not!) and I needed to have a better signal so I could upload some blog posts and materials. We arrived at the rock store around 11:30 am but they were already closed for lunch, so we thought we’d get some lunch as well.

It was truly a quest, and not a successful one.

Fort Davis is a small town and, while there were NO fast food places, they did seem to have a lot of restaurants in hotels and stand-alone establishments. We thought we stood a good chance of finding something to eat.

The first four places we went to were closed permanently, the fifth one only offered a buffet (which looked days old) until 1:30 when they would let you order off a menu. We almost went to the solitary food truck across the street but decided to try the “deli” at a convenience store. They offered a sandwich (turkey, ham, etc.) though NOT deli style but rather what you would buy from the pre-packaged meat section at their convenience store) on your choice of bread (except it was packaged bread like you’d buy at their convenience store on the bread aisle) and a microscopic cup of fruit for $9.95. But we were hungry and they had nice large tables we could set our iPads on to upload/download things while we ate. It was pretty disappointing overall. Afterward we wished we’d tried the food truck, but in a town this small I wasn’t sure they even had a health department to make sure everything was up to spec. Though admittedly the same could be said for any of the food establishments in town.

We also stopped at the over-priced grocery store where we grabbed some lemon extract Cindy needed to make some cookies and pie, then she went to the rock shop while I sat in the truck finishing my blog, photo and video uploads.

When we returned to the campground we drove up to see the Indian Lodge and Black Bear restaurant, but both were being remodeled and the road to them was closed. We turned around and took the Skyline Drive up to the top of one of the mountains in the Davis Mountains range and looked down on the campground to the West and Fort Davis to the South. We had also hoped to see some of the Pronghorn Sheep that frequent the area, but no such luck on this drive.

Sanitizing Our Water Tank/Lines

This is our last stop at a site with full hook-ups (water, electric and sewer) before we will have to use our onboard water so Tuesday April 16th in the late afternoon I began the first part of sanitizing our fresh water tank. It’s been about six months since I last did so and we haven’t had to use our own water for drinking purposes so the tank has the potential of being a party for bacteria. I added the proper amount of bleach and filled the water tank all the way to the top so that the solution covers the entire inside of the tank. Then I turned on the water pump and went to the bathroom sink, kitchen sink and outside shower to run water through those faucets until I could smell the bleach solution and let it sit overnight. We had already stockpiled some filtered water for us to use the rest of the day and into the next morning.

McDonald Observatory Star Party

That night Cindy and I drove 15 miles to the McDonald Observatory where Cindy had booked us entrance to the “Star Party” they offer where you can sit in an outside amphitheater to hear about celestial bodies in the dark for about 45 minutes. The presenter pointed out constellations in the sometimes clear sometimes lightly clouded night sky above us. I’ve never understood or “got” constellations. Ever since I was first exposed to them as a kid I felt like they were just drawings made to follow a very loose pattern of stars. I can see and understand the Big Dipper or the Little Dipper as they pretty much follow the shape of what they are describing. But Ursa Major doesn’t look like a big bear to me, I don’t see the bull in the Taurus constellation and the ram in Airies is invisible to my eyes, much less the 85 other constellations that claim to represent animals, mythological figures or some inanimate object. At least not without a LOT of imagination thrown in.

Then you get to go to the telescope park and stop at as many of the 8-10 telescopes they have aimed at various star systems in line of sight from the northern hemisphere as you wish. We were cold (it was 50 degrees) and Cindy was in the beginning throes of some kind of bug or head cold, so we only stood in line at three of the telescopes. The first one was a cluster of stars that was difficult to see, but the second one was a close up view of craters on the moon and the third was a star system that I believe the attendant said was 13 million light years away. Despite the somewhat cloudy conditions, Cindy and I were amazed at the clarity of the view in this telescope. It almost felt like you could have been just hovering out in space in the universe and looking at the stars.

Rounding Out Our Stay

Wednesday Cindy was in bed the entire day and felt miserable. After I took Bella for a walk I came back and dumped and flushed our black tank, dumped our gray and galley tanks and then dumped and flushed our fresh water tank sending all the flushed contents of each tank down the onsite sewer. Something you just CANNOT do at a park-wide dump station, unless you want to piss off other campers by tying up the station sewer for more than an hour. It (and the water lines to each faucet/outlet) is now pristinely clean and we won’t be afraid to brush our teeth or drink water from it when the need arises.

I made us a light lunch (Cindy’s tummy wasn’t interested in anything heavy) and then drove 4 miles into Fort Davis to fill Voyager with gas from the one, over-priced ($3.69 a gallon for unleaded) gas station. When you’re the only one within 20 miles in one direction and 45 the other, you can overcharge all you want because you have a captive clientele. Doesn’t mean you should, but that doesn’t stop greed. Same with the one grocery store in town.

Then I stoped by the post office to mail a small, padded envelope package ($5.40 for it to arrive by Monday, sheesh!) and to sit in the parking lot to use the stronger wi-fi signal in town to take care of some online things, like getting some photos and a video uploaded as well as a new blog post scheduled.

Another light meal for dinner and then, while Cindy dozed and rested in the recliner next to me, reading a new book. We really enjoyed our stay at Davis Mountain State Park. They have a LOT of educational programs for campers and visitors and the park is well-maintained and staffed. It was too bad the lodge and its restaurant were closed from remodeling.

We wished we could have gone to a program on Thursday, the day we left. They have a local no-kill animal shelter that brings their dogs to the park for campers to walk through the park. It’s fun for the dogs AND the campers. This is a great idea/activity and we wish other state or local parks would do something similar.

Thursday we packed up and headed to our next stop, Radium Springs, New Mexico! I hear it’s one hot place!

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