From dunes to the mountains…back to the birds!
We were really quite shocked as we pulled into the Monahans Sandhills ( yes hills, not dunes;) State Park. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect only being a hop and a skip off of the very busy I 20 but the road into the campground takes you further and further back, away from highway noise and the train whistles. We backed into a spot surrounded by sand and no close neighbours, talk about happy cats, rolling and digging…heaven! This was a one night stop so we hopped into the truck to run into Monahan 5 miles West for diesel and a quick stop at the grocery store, forgot it was Thanksgiving eve, full of busy harried, unhappy looking customers. Brings out the best in people doesn’t it;)
Glad to fuel up and return to the park to await the moonrise. Climbed to the top of a dune near the trailer with a glass of wine, a fold up chair and my tripod and camera and waited. It was incredibly hazy but a beautiful evening sit to and watch the full moon coming up.
A really worthwhile stop, even for a night to take in the sites. Lots of people clamouring around the dunes. There are no marked trails and the front interpretation center was being remodeled so didn’t do much other than poke about around the trailer. A deer wandered past behind the dunes and I followed a ton of trails of small animals in the sand. The wind was from the North, in the morning we awoke to the stench of petroleum, wind was from the South where a huge refinery of some sorts sits, not pleasant but we were ready to head South a bit to Fort Davis.
It wasn’t a big jump, we planned it that way stopping at the dunes. A far different view than one we had several years ago after heavy rains, it is very very dry. We’d planned on staying in a RV park in Fort Davis as the park had been fully booked but the front desk staff said to call the morning of, “You never know” and how glad we were we did. A pull through had come available, for three nights! Woohoo!
We had planned on staying two but really wanted a rest and at least one day of only walking, no driving! The very cheerful desk staff checked us in, open fires prohibited in the park due to the dryness, no surprise there, but when we reached our site, another camper was in it and they didn’t look like they were getting ready to leave…sigh…went back to the front desk and they called the park rangers who paid them a visit, took them another hour and a half to leave. They said their truck had broken down and were waiting for someone to arrive, but it was an A class and a pop-up trailer. They finally borrowed a hitch and moved the pop-up with the A-class. Front desk ladies were not happy, seems they had taken this spot this morning, taking down our “reserved” sign…the neighbours noted that. Patience is indeed a virtue:) they were kind enough to come over and tell us they were trying to resolve the problem:)
Did I mention they have bird blinds;) Our camping site was in the center. In the future, as we will be back, I’d take 18, 20 or 21 facing the arroyo. Here the trees are alive with birds, live oaks and small pines along with plenty of cover with mesquite. I didn’t get to see the javelinas, another birder saw them early in the morning. No hummingbirds…yet!
Wonderful to sit and rest and watch all the fluttering about:) I followed my favourites around for a few hours…The Acorn Woodpeckers. Watching them gather acorns and then find precisely the exact spot to stash those acorns is very amusing! The electrical poles are full of acorns!
We had considered spending a night watching for the Marfa lights, but that will have to wait for the next trip. A cold front coming through dampened our spirits to sitting outside in the howling wind and we opted to check out the area first with the truck and take our laundry into Alpine.
What we did discover is we could camp here overnight and keep an eye out all night is need be! We started our laundry and had a coffee next door at a lovely coffee shop, and lunch from the “Cow Dog” food truck. Wonderful hotdogs, everything fresh and made to order as well as home-made mashed potato patties with green chillies and cheese! YUM!
The other food truck we wanted to go to-Tri la bite…was closed for Thanksgiving;)
It is always with a heavy heart I leave here. I could stay weeks, maybe next time:) We took the back road out of Fort Davis towards Marfa, cut across on the Texas 166 that meets up with the 90 and then back to steady traffic on the I 20. It was pretty straight, a few curves, but not the winding road leading past the McDonald Observatory.
We passed the Prada Store, a piece of architectural art, mocking perhaps mass consumerism? Read about it here: Prada Marfa. I’ve been told it gets so crowded you sometimes can’t get a shot…not today! ah, right hand shoes and handbags with no bottoms…
Our next scheduled overnight was at another Harvest Host, Sombra Antigua Winery, just across the border into New Mexico. These are long straight freeways full of semi’s and a few billboards;) The only God in West Texas appears to be oil.
The Sombra Antigua winery is located well off the 1 20. Quiet roads leading past pecan groves and cotton fields lead you this spot. It was fairly busy this Saturday, live music and wine tastings. We went and dieseled up before partaking and upon arriving at the turn to the winery followed in another DRV trailer. It had Florida plates but turns out they were a lovely pair of Canadians fulltiming like ourselves, what was the chance we would pull in, in almost identical trailers? Love them, had a few glasses of wine and great conversation. Garth and Debbie, we will meet up again!
For today, I’ll leave you here, a few more stops and jumps and we’ll be back to the Pacific Ocean! Saludos amigos and stay tuned!