Tuesday, 4/6/21: Davis Mountains Loop

Wanda livin’ on the edge.

Mark of Appleton, Wisconsin, came to the rescue. Let me explain. As we were making slow progress around the 75 mile Davis Mountains National Scenic Byway (there’s a mouthful), being compelled to stop every 10 or 15 feet to take a photo of a heap of boulders naturally sculptured into a particularly wild formation, or a crazy cactus with octopus arms flagging us down, I noticed that our rooftop kayak rack was askew. Hwy 118, one leg of the loop, has several picnic waysides, so I turned into the next one to examine more closely what was going on. What was going on was that both cross bars had slid completely off to one side. The kayaks were precariously hanging over the drivers side of the van.

I got my nifty collapsible ladder out and climbed up to the roof. Thule, the rack manufacturer, has cleverly hidden whatever bolts are controlling the crossbars. It is at this precise moment of perplexity, that Mark sauntered over to ask what part of Wisconsin we were from. We exchanged home towns. We were from Stevens Point and he was an Appleton boy. Well, it turned out that he used to own a Thule kayak rack once. It was a different model, but he thought that Thule standardized how the cross bars were mounted. Sure enough, after removing a couple of covers, I found the secret bolts. One bolt on each cross bar was completely loose allowing them to shift.

Of course, it wasn’t going to be all that easy. The weight of the kayaks wouldn’t allow us to re-center the crossbars. The boats had to come off. That was a chore, as the fancy lift mechanism on the passenger side had slid so far over that the rack wouldn’t come down. We had to climb up and bring that kayak down manually. Luckily, Mark of Appleton had a nice tall step ladder. He could bring down the back of the boat while I wrestled with the front as I dangled on my ladder.

With both boats removed, it was time to slide the crossbars into their proper alignment. Although they remained very stubborn, with much persuasion, we got them re-centered and locked own. Once fixed, our mystical stranger took his leave and vanished into the big wide world.

This turned out to be only one troubleshooting event of the day. I had finally found an email program that was quick easy and flawless. Well, nothing in the technological world is flawless. Suddenly, the app went haywire. We wasted a good 2 hours of prime exploration time playing around with the app and talking to the app’s tech people. Nothing worked. It wasn’t until the evening, when I tried again to play around with it, that I figured out the problem. It was a small intermittent glitch and I cleverly devised a simple little go-around. I sent out the email.

The bottom line? We did complete the loop, walked around Fort Davis, and poked around the campground’s wonderful mini-loop road and trail system. We did manage to capture a godzillion number of photos of rocks.

The Davis Mountains National Scenic Byway. The name Davis was kind of important in these parts. In addition to the mountains, it was also the name of the town, Fort Davis, and the county is named Jeff Davis. And yes, all of this was named after the Confederate President, Jefferson Davis.

The iconic Sawtooth Mountain along the Davis Mountains National Scenic Byway. The name Davis was kind of important in these parts. In addition to the mountains, it was also the name of the town, Fort Davis, and the county is named Jeff Davis. And yes, all of this was named after the Confederate President, Jefferson Davis.

Yes, we have lots of photos of rocks. In our defense, they were cool formations.

The Spring bloom has arrived.

This is a rugged territory.

Purple cactus was rare.

Bare with me, the next series of photos are of rock formations. I think they are interesitng. I hope you do to.

Oh, by the way, Mark of Appleton, had just spent a month at Big Bend National Park, implored us to go down for a few days, especially since we were so close. He was told over and over again by fellow RVers, that Texas has but three awesome places to visit: Big Bend, Davis Mountains, and the Hill Country. We’ve got 2 out of 3 so far.

So, I rechecked the weather and found that the forecast had moderated somewhat. The low to mid 90s were now being predicted. Mark of Appleton also explained that the evenings, nights, and mornings are cool. Well, as long as it was going to be in the 100s, I’m game.

I called the Study Butte RV park, the most affordable RV park outside of the National Park. Sure enough, they had a four day stretch open in their electric/water hookup area. It was $30 a night, far cheaper than other parks in the $40 to $60 range. I booked it.

So, we are heading for Big Bend after all. Yeaaaaaaah!!

In the distance, stands another Village Farms greenhouse farm complex. From what I gather, they raise produce like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers; 70% of the energy they use is recovered from landfill gas; they use beneficial insects instead of insecticide; and they use bumble bees for pollination. It is an interesting concept.

The cactus are blooming in the desert.

Rugged countryside.

What few trees and scrub brush grows in that parched land, is greening up for their Spring ritual.

Yikes, more rocks.

Broad valleys between mountains in the 5,000’ to 6,000’ range.

Fort Davis government building.

Dave and Wanda

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