For “Travel Tuesday”, let’s visit Fort Davis again.
It is in Big Bend Country
“Named for the Big Bend National Park, the westernmost region of Texas boasts pristine parklands, wide open skies, popular hiking and camping areas, and the beautiful Davis Mountains. Relive the days of the Wild West or experience the international culture of old El Paso. Discover the Park Lands of the Texas Big Bend Country.”
Fort Davis National Historic Site
Fort Davis, Texas, Escape to the Mountains
“Nestled in the heart of the Davis Mountains of West Texas, Fort Davis is a place of majestic beauty, where wildlife abounds among the high desert vastness.
Named a 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destination®, by the National Trust for Historic Preservation®, history and culture are apparent throughout the community and opportunities to learn and explore await you. Fort Davis National Historic Site, which is one of the best restored military forts in the southwest, helps explain the historic significance of this small town.
A visit to McDonald Observatory gives you the chance to look through telescopes and view celestial bodies in one of the darkest night skies in the United States. From here one can see the Milky Way with the naked eye. The scenery from Davis Mountain State Park or the Nature Preserve is one that you must see to believe. With so many choices of places to hike, ride bicycles, horses, motorcycles, walk or drive you will find Fort Davis to be an unforgettable experience.
Although there aren't that many folks in this mile high community, the people you will meet are friendly and helpful. A local broom maker crafts 1800's style brooms, and other unique shops embellish the downtown area. Fort Davis boasts the oldest Inn in West Texas along with many other charming places to stay. The quaintness of Fort Davis will take you back in time.
Due to its low humidity and a mild climate, Fort Davis is a great place to visit year round. There are no traffic lights, no chain stores, and no shopping malls. In fact, Fort Davis is just one mile long. Here you can find tranquility along with the chance to learn about the many different facets of this mountainous region including rare species of wildlife, distinct rock formations and exceptional plant life.
Fort Davis, Texas...Experience Life!” http://www.tourtexas.com/content.cfm?id=30
Davis Mountains Hummingbird Festival
Friday, August 9, 2013 (All day) to Sunday, August 11, 2013 (All day)
“The Hummingbird Capitol of Texas will host the Davis Mountains Hummingbird Festival with multiple viewing sites throughout the area. An opening reception and evening get-togethers to discuss "who saw what" will be held at the Limpia Hotel. Lectures with birding experts and site-specific tours will also be available to participants.” http://texasmountaintrail.com/events/davis-mountains-hummingbird-festival
Perseid Meteor Shower Party
Sunday, August 11, 2013 - 8:30pm to 10:00pm
“Join us for a Perseid Meteor Shower Party from 8:30 to 10 p.m. at Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site, 6900 Hueco Tanks Rd. #1, El Paso, Texas 79938.
Rangers from Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site and Franklin Mountains State Park will lead presentations and activities about the Perseid meteor shower, constellation folklore, and our vanishing dark skies. Then, view the cosmos through two provided telescopes or sit back and enjoy the meteor shower! Participants should bring a flashlight, folding chair or blanket, and water.” http://texasmountaintrail.com/events/perseid-meteor-shower-party
But this is why it is intriguing to visit Fort Davis again, during this hot August, because it is:
Cooler in the Davis Mountains than anywhere else in Texas.
“As a bonus, in the summer, it's often cooler in the Davis Mountains than anywhere else in Texas. We have four seasons (milder than the rest of Texas), seasons almost devoid of severe weather of any kind. It’s not likely you’ll see us on the Weather Channel. During times when the rest of Texas is broiling, flooding or experiencing other natural weather phenomena, this little town and the surrounding countryside are cool, dry and peaceful. Like Santa Fe and Colorado Springs, we're on the Front Range of the Rockies.
At an elevation of 5050 feet above sea level, Fort Davis is the highest town in Texas. Folks 'round here say "Enjoy Denver's altitude without the snow." Part of the high desert region known as the Chihuahuan Desert, the mountain setting of our little town is surrounded with a unique mixture of alpine and desert flora and fauna.
Fort Davis has an unusually moderate climate with a summer average high temperature in the mid 80ºs (f) and winter average low/high of 30º/50º (f). The low average summer temperatures and low humidity make Fort Davis a refreshing summer oasis of cool breezes. Clear skies and pure mountain air are a most pleasant surprise for any visitor expecting the stifling heat of the rest of Texas and the Big Bend region.
Snow is unusual in winter, but the occasional inch or so in January is not unheard of for the Fort Davis area. Summer monsoons arrive in July and continue until September. We are not talking about a lot of rain, as the average annual rainfall is less than 17 inches. The monsoons bring moderate showers accompanied by thunderstorms in the late afternoon that cool down the day.
Some visitors say our vistas look like New Mexico or Chihuahua, Old Mexico; others claim the striking rock formations and miles-long vistas here remind them of Australia. Fact is Fort Davis is pure Texas, as genuine as the working cattle ranches on the outskirts of town, as unpretentious as the adobe homes and ocotillo fences of its neighborhoods.
Fort Davis is as real pioneer as the original El Paso-San Antonio stretch of the Butterfield Company’s Overland Stagecoach Line road, or Overland Trail, running right through our town. Matter of fact, the only existing unpaved portion of the original trail still in use today is one of the town streets, traveled daily by our townsfolk.
It's a special place to visit. Fort Davis, Jeff Davis County and the Davis Mountains are reminiscent of an earlier old west Texas—a Texas before 90-minute commutes, traffic jams, chain stores and graffiti-scrawled walls.
A Texas of spinning windmills, buzzards sunning on weathered fence posts, oaks clinging to rugged, lava mountainsides, pronghorn antelope grazing with great herds of fine, Texas cattle, families riding together on horseback, and magenta sunsets that will stop you in your tracks. Hummingbird feeders nearly outnumber the people in Fort Davis. And traffic is tied up only when a family of javelinas (collared peccaries) moseys across the highway.” http://www.fortdavis.com/areainfo.html
“The precursor of the town was a rough-and-tumble settlement known as Chihuahua, which formed just southwest of the military post of Fort Davis after it was established in 1854. The fort was on the site of an earlier Indian village, which the earliest Anglo-American explorers of the area called Painted Comanche Camp. When Henry Skillman contracted to carry the mail from San Antonio to El Paso in 1850, a stage stand was established near the site of the future town. E. P. Webster, a native of Illinois, and Diedrick Dutchover, a Belgian immigrant who had fought in the Mexican War, rode with W. A. (Big Foot) Wallace to escort the first mail coach to the site, by way of Fort Concho. Webster remained in Limpia Canyon as the first master of the stage station there and may have been the first white settler in the area.
Dutchover rode as a guard for two more years before settling at Fort Davis. During the Civil War, when Confederate troops withdrew from the fort, they left Dutchover, who had maintained strict neutrality while establishing a small sheep ranch near the post, in charge. Almost immediately the Apache chief Nicolás attacked the settlement. Dutchover, a Mexican woman with two children, and four Americans hid on the roof for three days while the Apaches looted the fort. On the third night Dutchover and all the others, except one of the Americans, who had fallen ill, slipped out and began the long trek to Presidio, eighty miles away. One day later the stage arrived to find a ravaged fort and the American dead on the roof, apparently of natural causes. Dutchover and the others staggered into Presidio four days later. The Belgian later returned to Fort Davis and was employed as a hauling contractor.
Although one local historian insisted that "Fort Davis never was a wild town," the place had its share of colorful legends. One involved Dolores Gavino Doporto, who as a young woman became engaged to a goatherd named José. While José was out tending his goats she would communicate with him by building a fire every Thursday night on the low mountain just south of town. Shortly before their wedding day José was killed and scalped by Mescaleros while tending his goats in or near Musquiz Canyon. Dolores, overcome with grief, continued to climb the mountain and build her fire every Thursday night for some thirty or forty years. When she died in 1893 she was buried near the path she had worn on her lonely trips up the mountain, which became known as Dolores Mountain.
Around 1900 the mild climate and location amid the Davis Mountains made Fort Davis a popular summer resort for wealthy Gulf Coast families. Around 1908 the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway proposed building a line to Fort Davis, but the locals protested that it would attract low-class people, and the line was never built. In the late 1920s a group of Oklahoma oilmen decided to turn Fort Davis into a Western movie center, with Jack Hoxie as featured player, but the Great Depression ended that plan. Later attempts to attract visitors met with more success.
In May 1946 David A. Simmons of Houston, former president of the American Bar Association, bought the property on which the old fort stood with the intention of restoring it and opening it to the public as a year-round resort. Simmons died in 1951, before his plan could be realized, but in September 1961 Fort Davis National Historic Site came into being; the 460-acre site was formally dedicated in April 1966.
A few years later the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, headquartered in Alpine, opened an arboretum on a 300-acre tract of land on State Highway 118 just southeast of Fort Davis. Both these attractions, as well as the nearby Davis Mountains State Park and the University of Texas McDonald Observatory, have helped make tourism an important part of the Fort Davis economy.”
On This Day:
Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Aug 6, 1945:
“The United States becomes the first and only nation to use atomic weaponry during wartime when it drops an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
President Harry S. Truman ordered that the new weapon be used to bring the war to a speedy end. On August 6, 1945, the American bomber Enola Gay dropped a five-ton bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. A blast equivalent to the power of 15,000 tons of TNT reduced four square miles of the city to ruins and immediately killed 80,000 people. Tens of thousands more died in the following weeks from wounds and radiation poisoning. Three days later, another bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki, killing nearly 40,000 more people. A few days later, Japan announced its surrender.
If U.S. officials truly believed that they could use their atomic monopoly for diplomatic advantage, they had little time to put their plan into action. By 1949, the Soviets had developed their own atomic bomb and the nuclear arms race began.”
Johnson signs Voting Rights Act, Aug 6, 1965:
“On this day in 1965, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act, guaranteeing African Americans the right to vote. The bill made it illegal to impose restrictions on federal, state and local elections that were designed to deny the vote to blacks.
Although the Voting Rights Act passed, state and local enforcement of the law was weak and it was often outright ignored, mainly in the South and in areas where the proportion of blacks in the population was high and their vote threatened the political status quo. Still, the Voting Rights Act gave African-American voters the legal means to challenge voting restrictions and vastly improved voter turnout. In Mississippi alone, voter turnout among blacks increased from 6 percent in 1964 to 59 percent in 1969. In 1970, President Richard Nixon extended the provisions of the Voting Rights Act and lowered the eligible voting age for all voters to 18.”
Ray and Shay had to go somewhere, so it was a good morning for me to take off to the next town and get all the paint that we needed.
Now, Lowes sells the same paint that we have been using for years at a higher price, as it has primer in it. But as we are going to be painting a lot of bare treated wood on the screen porch, the paint lady recommended using primer, too. We always use primer anyway, the paint goes on much better, and primer is cheaper than putting on two coats of paint. Then she mixed up the blue/grey paint that we will be using for the screen porch trim. So that two gallons of paint and a gallon of primer put a big dent in a $100 bill !
Four years ago, Ray had repainted the hood of my van with Duplicolor, but the color wasn’t quite ‘duplicated’, and it didn’t look good or hold up. I didn’t worry about it at the time, as I had bought the van as a stop-gap while looking for what I really wanted, a white van with all the buttons. I never dreamed that this old Aerostar van would be so reliable. As I was going past Tascos, I stopped and asked them if they had any paint the right color. It is a navy blue with a hint of sparkle in it, which the Duplicolor didn’t have. They said they would mix up a can of spray paint the right color. The paint man got the color code off my van. It was interesting to watch him make it up in a special room with an observation window. But it is supposed to be used over a special really dark grey primer. Oh! Oh! That took the change from the $100 and more.
By the time I had bought tags for the van, and a few veggies, there went another $100 !
Krogers has the refrigerated “FreshPet” cat food $3 cheaper than Petco. So at least I saved some money somewhere, yesterday.