Temperatures reached the high 80’s with partly cloudy skies – mostly Simpsons clouds but I saw some thunderclouds north of Fort Davis. Winds were generally mild with some stronger gusts.
Day’s distance: 186 miles
Total trip distance: 3,696 miles
My day started with breakfast at The Blue House Bakery, the cafe I tried yesterday. The breakfast burrito was delicious, as was today’s croissant. A triple 12oz latte set my mind right for the 75mph speed limits around here. 🙂
Hwy 285 south is mostly straight and until reaching Texas, seemed to have a lot of potholes. That’s likely from the tanker trucks hauling oil from the wells distributed along the highway. They seemed to represent a majority of the traffic I saw.
Here was one of the more picturesque sections.
You can cover a lot of ground going 75mph. I’m used to 55mph or slower on the “back roads” in Washington. In New Mexico, and now in Texas, many lesser highways are 75mph. The bike is running well and I’ve gotten used to using the cruise control much more than last year.
I took a break in Pecos for a chocolate shake. I wasn’t hungry for lunch but needed a few minutes off the bike.
Hwy 17 gets more interesting as it approaches Balmorhea.
When investigating campgrounds in this area, I came across Balmorhea State Park. Interestingly, the images for this State Park were of a swimming pool. Turns out the park is home to the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool, covering 1.75 acres. The water is as deep as 30 feet and the park encourages snorkeling and scuba diving.
I stopped here today and enjoyed the two hours I spent swimming and relaxing. Well worth the $7 entrance fee. The park had changing rooms but no lockers, so I left my tank bag containing the cameras, backup drive, USB battery,etc. with the park staff in the office.
My tentative plans for today, drawn up about two months ago now, had me camping in the Big Bend National Park. However, being a Saturday, I was concerned I would not arrive at the campground early enough to claim a first-served camp spot. The park is much more popular than I expected.
So this morning, I decide to stay at a campground in Fort Davis instead, and ride through the entire park tomorrow. So after the pool, I had a few more miles to ride.
Fort Davis is situated against the southeastern edge of the Davis Mountains. Many of the downtown businesses and lodgings are housed in historic buildings. The McDonald Observatory, is nearby but not on my itinerary this time.
The ‘campground’ is actually an RV park about one mile from downtown Fort Davis, but as far as I can tell, I’m the only camper here. The camp host is the only other person here.
I had dinner at the Fort Davis Drug Store (Hotel and Restaurant). I had the brisket special which was good, not great.
I have a 400+ mile day tomorrow that takes me through both the State and National Big Bend Parks and then to Del Rio. I’m looking forward to seeing these two parks.
Until tomorrow !!