The drive from Carlsbad to Pecos, Texas was not a fun one. What we didn't know when we choose the route to Pecos, was that it was the hub for the tremendous amount of oil/gas drilling taking place in the region. With over a one hundred drilling platforms, countless pumping stations, and oil pipelines being installed all throughout the area, it was an incredibly busy road. I managed to get this photo during a brief lull in traffic. The roadsides were lined with so much trash, it felt like we were driving to the dump. In 75 miles of bad road, full of enormous potholes, road damage, we saw hundreds upon hundreds of semis and heavy pickup trucks, and only about 40 non-oil field vehicles, including the ones we were driving. How do I know this number? My friend Sheryl started counting, because there were so few! I drive a lot, and have driven some pretty difficult roads in my time, but this stretch of road had to be one of the worst. I was cut off at least six different occasions by semis pulling out right in front of me, not even slowing down as they barreled onto the highway from the side roads. If there were stop signs on the side roads, they acted like there were none and they took the right of way even if it wasn't theirs. It was nerve wracking, and I was never so glad to get off of a highway.
Somehow, Pecos wasn't quite what we had imagined. I think we expected a bit more of a cow town, the old west. There were remnants of that, but it truly has become a town of oil field workers and heavy industry from what we could see. We toured the West of the Pecos Museum to learn a bit more about the area. We could definitely tell we were in Texas! There were the large painted cowboy boots scattered throughout town, and the Texas stars everywhere!
Howdy! Welcome to Texas! We had a sample of cantaloupe jelly beans here, because apparently, Pecos is home to the "World's Sweetest Cantaloupe"! Sadly, it was the wrong season for cantaloupe, but the jelly beans were good!
On the sidewalk.
We enjoyed a stroll through the little park attached to the museum with it's lovely fountain and a bit of green!
Even the bricks in the walkway had stars on them!
My friends Sheryl and Bill and their little dog Artie. We've been friends for a long time! Bill and I have known each other since Junior High and Sheryl and I met in High School. They've truly been the best of friends for all these many years! So much fun to have this time to travel together!
A little dry desert garden, beautiful in it's own way.
We did have an amazing dinner in Pecos. On the recommendation of our hosts at the RV park, we ate at Alfredo's Mexican. It was in a tiny old house. The line was out the door, but moved fairly quickly. I had one of the best chili relenos that I have ever had!
After one night in Pecos, we gladly hit the road south towards Big Bend. What a relief to have open roads with no heavy truck traffic! Mile after mile of beautiful open plains.
Along the way, we came across this fence decorated with horse halters and this display. We had to stop and see what it was all about. Turns out that it was put there by a group who made a documentary about the horses trucked to slaughter along this road, though I can't say that we saw any. Rather a gruesome memorial, but interesting, none the less.
Soon we were heading into the Davis Mountains. What a nice change after the terrible drive of the day before!
Every turn brought amazing rock formations.
At one picnic area, we stopped to stretch our legs and explore a bit. Loved the beautiful live oak trees!
We saw a ladder backed woodpecker! (and many other birds as well!)
We stopped to spend a couple of hours at Fort Davis National Historic Site. I picked up a Junior Ranger booklet and completed it on my walk through the park! Beautiful old buildings in a lovely setting. One of the unique things about Fort Davis, is that it was home to two regiments of Buffalo Soldiers, all black units of the army during the civil war era and after.
The avenue of officer's quarters was especially nice!
As much as I have been downsizing to begin this RV life, I cannot imagine having to pare down all my belongings to fit in something as small as one of these wagons. And as I think back about the long distances we have travelled by car on this trip, it is sobering to think about what it must have been like to travel day after day, week after week, in a wagon such as this, not really knowing where one would end up, or even if one would make it to their destination. Forts such as this one, helped keep travelers and settlers safe on the frontier.
After visiting the Fort, we stopped in the town of Fort Davis at the drugstore for lunch! It is complete with big soda fountain! Definitely a fun place to stop for lunch. They also have hotel rooms available. But we had to get back on the road south as our campsites were waiting for us!
Past the town of Alpine, we entered into a broad flat plain of creosote bush desert. It seemed to go on for miles.
Then the mountains of Big Bend appeared on the horizon and just as evening fell, we arrived at our campsite in Terlingua, Texas.