We set out from Falcon on what appeared to be the nicest day of the entire week. The GPS (Germaine) was set to take us to the Wal Mart in Del Rio, TX. This is an easy six hour drive and the Wal Mart may be one of the most RV friendly Wal Marts in the system with eight reserved RV only slots near the Auto/Tire area. After an uneventful drive with a disappointing stop at an HEB in Eagle Pass to buy groceries (the store had a very limited selection clearly aimed at a lower income Latino population) we arrived at the Del Rio Wal Mart and chose our parking spot. With the temperature around 75 I was in a T shirt as we walked into the store. An hour later we walked out through the chill of the entrance to be greeted by 54 degrees and high winds. The coach was rocking and I pulled in the bedroom slide to save the topper awning from the beating. Other than trucks coming and going we had a good nights sleep and enjoyed the luxury of showering in a Wal Mart parking lot again.
By now our propane supply was below half and with long stretches of travel ahead where we have no idea where to find propane, the last Flying J we had stopped at couldn’t pump it, I was getting nervous. This was especially true because the temperature forecast for the immediate future was cold enough to require a lot of propane to stay warm. I found a campground on our route that claimed to have propane, but when I put the name into our GPS, it wanted us to retrace east several miles. This not seeming right we called the campground and determined that “RV Directions” had the location wrong yet again. We have learned that it will get us close, but not there and we call ahead to be sure. As we motored out of the Wal Mart we spotted a propane pumping station on the side of the road and circled back. This required two U-turns on a moderately busy four lane divided highway with car in tow. While we were being filled I watched another motorhome do the same routine.
By now we were talking about where to go. I know this should be decided before starting the engine, and we had decided to go to Davis Mountain State Park, but Big Bend National Park beckoned as we neared Marathon, the best turn to get to the park. From that turn it is 40 miles to the entrance, then 20 miles inside the park at 35 to 45 MPH to the park headquarters and the turn to the Rio Grande Village Campground which is another slow 29 miles and we had no assurance of a place to camp. So we were thinking about at least 180 mile detour – 90 each way – for only three nights. We would have just two days to play in this huge area and Davis Mountain SP has such great birding and wonderful trails and mountains and so here we are. Our site is shadowed from satellite 119, our Dish source of news and limited entertainment, phone service is almost nil and thus internet is not available either. Marfa Public Radio is loud and clear so we have NPR and local news, weather and music. We were hear several years ago when they “turned on” Marfa Public Radio and even attended a Willy Nelson concert in Alpine to celebrate and fund raise for the event.
We froze our first night, the temperature got down to 22! We are at 5200 feet so cool is to be expected, but . . . Water line and sewer line were frozen when we awoke, I expect them to thaw soon as the sun finds its way down to us in our valley.
While waiting we decided to drive the Marfa, Alpine, Ft Davis triangle. First stop was Marfa where we returned to The Chinati Foundation to see the restored Donald Judd Concrete Boxes stretched out over the field. When we viewed them last year there was a a major restoration underway and they reopened to much fanfare in October. This was followed by lunch at Food Shark – a lunch truck set up under a farm market pavilion next to the tracks in Marfa. It has been written up by Martha Stewart and featured recently on NPR. We first ate there last year. Great middle eastern food in the far west. A stop at the Marfa Bookstore cost me the purchase of a recent edition of Moby Dick! I am reading Ahab’s Wife or, The Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund and realize that the last time I read Moby Dick was the summer after my 10th grade at a summer reading camp (my mother thought I did not read well enough – I was the only one in the camp who had the freedom to read wherever I chose since it was clear to the staff that I needed no supervision to be sure I was reading. In any event i shall pick up Moby Dick as soon as I finish Ahab’s Wife which could be another week. It appears to be longer than Moby Dick – at least it has many more pages.
On our return to the state park we walked up to the Quail Viewing area where there are feeders to attract Quail and other birds. We found the area taken over by a mule deer which had no desire to leave. However the birds were not intimidated and eventually we saw the Montezuma Quail that are famous for being in this park – they were totally absent the last time we were here. We also saw many other birds, several that I had not noted as being seen by us in the past. These are called Life Listers as we maintain a list of all the birds we have ever seen, known to avid birders as a Life List. Some also maintain annual lists, regional lists and day lists. We are not that obsessive, yet. A single life list is kept in the margins of our old National Geographic Guide to the Birds, Second Edition. Of course our Scutch and Stiles – Birds of Costa Rica – has a separate list of the birds we have seen in Costa Rica and other parts of Latin America.
Dinner at home and prepare for another night in the low 20’s.
As we left Davis Mountain we had one unsatisfied goal. There is a work of art along side the road that we had seen before bit not stopped to photograph and had seen written up in a NY Times Travel article about Marfa. We thought it was along the stretch of US 90 between Alpine and Marfa and were disappointed to have not seen it when we drove the triangle. We determined to continue west on 90 from Marfa just in case. Sure enough, some 17 miles west of Marfa after passing through Valentine we saw this box along side the road. I will let the picture speak for itself.
There are more pictures if you click through here.
We stopped in Las Cruces and had Shabbat dinner with Stewart and Leora and Amanda and their friends from Boston. They had just been to Kartchner Cavern State Park in Arizona and we had driven by it many time and not stopped. So here we are with two tours tomorrow and then on to . . . ?