I am in a library in Marathon, TX, (destination after Ft. Davis) so there are no pictures for now. I will try to add some later.
Shortly before we were ready to leave Van Horn, I had my first flat tire! Fortunately, there were a couple of my friends who had already had too much experience changing tires. They helped me change it. The ride from Van Horn to Ft. Davis was extremely difficult. The first 40 miles was on I-10 and frontage roads, where they existed. When riding on the interstate, you finally get used to the sound of big trucks and RVs. The shoulders are wide, so I feel pretty safe. We have to be careful of tire shreds, since they have little pieces of metal that can puncture a tire. After 40 miles, our guide had prepared lunch for us at the ruins of Kent Public School. Of course I had to explore the place. If those walls could talk, I wonder what stories they would tell.
After lunch, the real challenge began as we left I-10 and headed for Ft. Davis. There were sustained winds of 20-25 mph, with 30 mph gusts. Several times, I had to get off my bike to keep from falling over. To add insult to injury, there was a steady climb in the road. Although my mind told me that there were other cyclists behind me, I really felt alone, wondering when I would see the SAG again. There was no relief from the wind. I would travel about 2 miles, then rest, then start over again. Finally, the SAG came around the corner. I had enough of the wind. So I hoped in the car. She was going back to check on folks, since we were all having such a hard time. She was low on water so we decided to go up to the McDonald Observatory (top of the climb at 6800') to get water. I decided to get out of the car there and ride the last 12 miles which were mostly downhill. Before I started down the mountain, I spent some time at the observatory's visitors center. This observatory is one of the most famous in the world. I had heard broadcasts from there on NPR (Block and Bird-Earth and Sky) http://www.as.utexas.edu/mcdonald/mcdonald.html
Finally I decided it was time to sail down the mountain. Well, there are lots of switchbacks and strong winds, so one does not exactly "sail". But, it was a good ride. On the way, I passed the Prude Ranch, a famous dude ranch. http://www.prude-ranch.com/ Looks like a place Polly might want to visit.
Finally, I arrived at our destination for two days, the Davis Mountain State Park, Indian Lodge http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/indian_lodge/. What a magical place to spend two days. We saw javelinas, birds, and other wildlife on the grounds.
On our day off, we went to the town of Ft. Davis to shop and do laundry. Ft. Davis is the county seat of Jeff Davis County. We know for whom it was named. However, nowhere is it mentioned that he has president of the Confederacy, just that he was Secretary of War. Hille and I explored the actual Fort Davis, which is one of the best preserved forts in the US. http://www.nps.gov/foda/fortdavisfrontierpost.htm In addition to other fascinating facts about this fort, several regiments of the buffalo soldiers (African American troops) were stationed there. Second Lt. Henry Flipper, born into slavery in Thomasville, GA and the first African American graduate of West Point was also there for a while. For some interesting history, see http://www.nps.gov/foda/fortdavisfrontierpost.htm
I hope to be able to come back to this place again someday.
Thanks Nancy….great journal!!!I will be experiencing this with WomanTours in 2008.Pat in Vermont