Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 2 – Saturday June 9th

Here at Davis Mountains State Park.

Awoke early with first light.  Did not feel the need to jump outta bed so turned over and went back to sleep until the sun peeked over the horizon.

I unloaded the bike and prepared for my McDonald Observatory loop trip.  Texas 118 up the mountain to the observatory then down to I10.  East on I10 to RR3078 and then back to the park on TX17.  Google maps link.

At 7-ish there was a gust of hot wind that came through the campsite.  Not cool, not refreshing, but hot.  I knew then that this day would be brutal.  But I came here to ride the loop and I would.

Going up the mountain it’s easy to see the telescope domes – they stand out.

Arriving at the visitor’s center at 8:25 I had hoped that they would open at 9 – but it was not to be – 10am for visitors.  If it had been a lot cooler – it was even warm at the top of the mountain – I might have hung about, but with the heat coming on quickly I knew I had to git-r-dun.

A wonderful MC road is 118 – through high dry valleys and sparse pine forests it’s crooked and enjoyable – and nearly empty of cars on this Saturday morning.  This road cries out to be aboard one of the ‘sport touring’ bikes and not a poky V-Twin cruiser.  But it was enjoyable nonetheless.

Breakfast was amid the sparse pines of a roadside picnic site.  In this post I mentioned about the noise and hubbub of living in the city.  Here at this idyllic roadside rest stop there wasn’t a noise one but for the wind in the trees and the bird calls.  I spent about 40 minutes eating and walking around and in that time there were a total of 5 vehicles that went past – one of them was the contract caretaker that checked the garbage cans.


No contrails overhead.  No jet noise.  No barking dogs.  No lawn mowers.  Just what my soul needed as a part of the first MC ride.

No pictures – but flies!  WOW!  Everywhere and in abundance.  I stopped to drink about ¾ the way down the mountain.  Standing in the shade of a Yucca it took about 30 seconds for the flies to find me.  There were no cows, no human habitation within sight, but the flies were there.

Yeah, we had flies in SA, but not to this extent.  I’m curious as to why they are so prolific out here seemingly in the middle of no place west Texas?

I stopped in Kent – was a wide spot in the road with a Chevron station – but now it’s all boarded up and nothing is left but the empty buildings and canopy over the (former) gas pumps.  Welcome shade.  I drank some more and saturated my cool vest with water.  This cool vest goes on under your outer layer – in my case just a long sleeve shirt – and the passing breeze evaporates the trapped water keeping the body core cooler.  I will say that it works just fine.

A strong west wind – did I mention hot? – pushed me east on I10.  The bike ran really well at the 80 MPH speed limit.  Lots of comments on the VR forum about vibration at higher speeds – but it was tolerable today.

Some might say I’m an odd sort of character – and maybe I am in some ways – but I am always on the lookout for seemingly out of place – unusual – things.

Today I found a small Catholic chapel out in the middle of abandoned farms and houses. 

It’s got a history – Catholic mission when this area was a booming farm community.  But the water source – a spring – dried up in 1983.  There’s not much left but rusted farm machinery and falling down houses.

I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.


Under the Latin prayer book was this marksmanship medal.  I’d think that a mother, or sister left it for one of our fallen.  Poignant and sad too.

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