10.05.15 – Texas – Day 10, Alpine – Fort Stockton

Today we planned to head to Fort Davis and Big Bend National Park before stopping at Fort Stockton for the night.  Today we’d put plenty of miles on the clock but with good reason because there was plenty that we’d planned to see and do.

I skipped breakfast because my tummy wasn’t feeling great.  I felt like I was full and had spent all week eating too much.  I tend to get like this at some point on the holidays.  I also get fed up with eating the same foods day after day.  At home I cook every day and I cook a wide variety of foods because I tend to get easily bored with food.  I’m starting to miss good home cooking and am planning what (simple) foods I will eat when I go home!

Fort Davis National Historic Site is an amazingly well preserved example of a military post.  It is described as  bei20150510_104611ng one of the best surviving examples of an Indian Wars’ frontier military post in the Southwest. From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis20150510_102904 was protected  emigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the Trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and on the Chihuahua Trail.

It is a big site with buildings that are still standing and six that have been restored to the 1800s period that you ca20150510_103001n go into them and look around.  You get a real sense of how things used to be back then.  There were few visitors when we were there and it added to the atmosphere.  It was a gorgeous day, very hot with the broody backdrop of the mountains.

Other buildings are just ruins you can still get al sense of  of how big the place used to be.  It surprised me to learn that some officers had married quarters, although it did say that the servant girls were seen as potential brides by the single soldiers and ladies were continually having to recruit and retrain new staff!

20150510_105709The site has seems to have been taken over by lizards (you can see one on the picture of the bed if you look closely enough) and everywhere you go there are tiny little lizards darting all over the place, even inside some of the exhibits!  I wonder if it was the same back in the 1800s!

While we were there we heard the bugle call and the Retreat Parade which added to the atmosphere.  A very different experience to Fort Phantom Hill (the Fort Davis site was a lot bigger) but still very interesting and it serves to illustrate the differences between the Forts of that era.  I couldn’t name either as better than they are very different and equally worth visiting.

20150510_160915 Before we moved on, Hubby bought a National Park Passport that you can have stamped in each National Park when you visit.  He has visited plenty before and not got them stamped but it seems like a fun thing to do, especially as the next place on the list for today was Big Bend National Park where we could get another stamp!

Big Bend, as with all National Parks, is stunning.  It has such a rugged and natural beauty.  It’s absolutely beautiful.  It’s one of those things that you can describe but words and pictures don’t do it justice.  You have to be there, experiencing the heat, seeing the birds circling overhead, taking in the mountains and the beautiful desert surroundings.  It’s absolutely breathtaking!

20150510_153817I wish I could bottle up some of the environment and atmosphere to add to this blog so you can experience it for yourself.  It was interesting to find that there was a lodge in this park that you could stay in.  It seems to get booked up quite quickly but it would be a great experience to stay here.  Could you imagine the clear skies at night!

We were stopped again by Border Patrol once we’d left Big Bend and were on our way to Fort Stockton.  We had to pull over and show our passports.  This officer was far less friendly and wouldn’t have a photo taken.  He said it was because his uniform has his name on and if it is shared on social media he’d be in danger from Mexican drug cartels.  I really can’t imagine there are Mexican drug cartels looking at my facebook but I removed the picture of the first Border Patrol officer just in case.

We got to the Hampton Inn at Fort Stockton in good time.  There was a restaurant next door called Pescos Roadhouse.  It marketed itself as home cooking served family style.  I feared it may just be another family diner but I was delighted to find a delicious looking Roadhouse salad. I went for that with buffalo chicken and it really hit the spot.  I eat a lot of salad at home and have been really missing it.  I love the food out here but there is just so much of it and sometimes I need something a bit more simple.

We put together a rough itinerary for the rest of the trip over dinner.  It isn’t set in stone by any means but it will make sure that we fit in all the things that we really want to do.

Once we’d done with dinner it was back to the hotel to do some laundry, a bit like being at home really!  I love that these American hotels all have laundry facilities. It makes being on the road for 3 1/2 week a bit easier.  The only problem now was fitting everything in my case because dirty washing stays in hubby’s case in the washing bag.  I’d got used to having a bit more space in my case and had expanded accordingly!  It wasn’t too much trouble though, I just laid on my suitcase and zipped the case up that way.  Thankfully the zip didn’t burst!  I think I’ll have to pack a bit more carefully when it is time to go home though!

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