Davis Mountains

February 14-27

We were soooo glad to be somewhere else after a month-long stay in Big Bend.  Don’t get me wrong.  We loved Big Bend, but a month just about anyplace is too long for us.  Davis Mountains State Park outside of Fort Davis, TX was just the change we needed.  A little bit cooler and glorious trees!

Davis Mountains State Park

We’re learning a thing or two about full-timing RVing.  One of them is that we need to pick some places for wintering that aren’t quite so remote for long periods of time.  As you recall, for cell service, church and groceries, we had to drive 50 miles one way from Lajitas.  That was quite an investment, so we only did it once a week.  Well, it turns out that Davis Mountains State Park is in a valley and you can get cell service only if you drive to one of the overlooks.  The good news is that is only a few miles up the steep hill and we can at least do that every day during our two week stay.

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A little windy and cold sometimes, but there is indeed cell service and we can use our hot spot at the overlook.  Our place for dueling computers.

The views from Skyline Drive are pretty good, so we really don’t mind making the trek each day.

Star Parties

There’s hiking at the park, too, giving us our first glimpse of the McDonald Observatory.  That’s the main draw for this area which is home to some of the darkest skies in the country.

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Way off in the distance you can see the research telescope domes on top of Mt. Locke

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And the close up.  These domes are at the observatory about 13 miles away from the state park.

The researchers host “star parties” several times a week and we were able to attend the “Twilight Party” and the “Star Party”.  At the Twilight party, we saw a superb demonstration of the phases of the moon and learned about the moon’s surface geology.  The Star Party was a great follow up with seven different telescopes set up to see both far and close moon views, the Orion Nebula and a few other star clusters.  And yet, I can still only identify the constellation Orion without help.

The Davis Mountains

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The 75 mile scenic loop drive gave us a great view of the surrounding Davis Mountains made from rhyolite lava lows 35 million years ago.  These rocks look so different than what we saw in Big Bend.

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This is a good representation of the column-like formations and is a backdrop behind the real fort in Fort Davis.

A few more shots from our hikes around the park.

Dog Bowl In The Desert

The park also had two bird viewing areas.  They put out seed and something that looked like peanut butter twice a day to attract the throngs of birds.  I enjoyed looking through the window views, but found out we had the best views of all right from Lucy’s front windows.  Jackson’s dog bowl was a favorite spot for all different kinds of birds.  Put out a water bowl in the desert and they will come.

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I think this guy is a Scrub Jay and he’s about to be ousted from the preferred water perch by this bully.  Yes, I think the Acorn Woodpeckers are pretty, but they are kinda mean to the other birds.

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These two seemed to be getting along pretty well.  The other bully?  That would be the brilliant red cardinal.  All the other birds came and went without squabbling until woodpeckers or cardinals came on the scene.  And when it was time to leave, we picked up the bowl only to find a nice little ring of bird droppings in the shape of the water bowl.  Hopefully those birds will find another watering hole now that we’ve departed.

Two weeks was more than enough time here, but I did manage to get my teeth cleaned and I got a great haircut from Flora.  Of course we couldn’t do any of this in Fort Davis.  Nope, all that civilized stuff required a drive 30 miles back down the road to Alpine.  Also the place for laundry.  So, let this be a lesson to us.  Next year, we’re spending our winter downtime in a tad bigger place where we can be on the grid the entire time, and enjoy a few amenities close by.

Next up – our last stop in Texas at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site.  See you on the way!

 

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6 thoughts on “Davis Mountains

  1. Love your posts. I feel like I am learning some good tips from you guys. When we were traveling on the long trip it was nice to hit a spot that had good cell service but at times it was rare Safe travels.

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    • Hey Linda! We’re happy to pass along the things we learn. May save someone the trouble later. I’m ok with being without cell service sometimes, but not for weeks at a time. Surprising how many places that covers. Hope you guys have some trips planned this year. Let me know where!

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      • We just got back from Charleston, SC and on the way visited Savannah and St. Marys Ga. I had lived in Charleston back in the 70s but it is really different now!!! We stayed at James Island County Park (full hookup, lots of trails, on the Stone River) Lots of snowbirds. Close to everything. A bit busy outside the grounds but nice. In St Marys we stayed at Crooked River State Park. Full hookups again (they are presently upgrading the park to all full hookups) lots of pull thru sites.We rode the ferry to Cumberland Island National Park for the day. Wonderful!! That was on my list to see the wild horses and they did not disappoint. Red Gate RV Park in Savannah was the other park and it was different. It is also close to downtown but is really a farm/event venue. Nice staff and you basically have the run of the place. Look up these places online ; you might like them when you come this way. Next week we are going to Topsail State Park in Destin; one of our favorites.Safe Travels

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      • Glad you got back out there on the road. All nice places. We’ve stayed at Crooked River and Topsail and liked them both. Thanks for the other RV park ideas. Will keep them on our list. Take care!

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  2. Great bird photos in the water bowl. Definitely keep me posted when you figure out what the location is for next winter.

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