• Emily Cohen Vanhoof

26. Fort Davis, TX (EN)

After a weekend of nature and discovery at Big Bend National Park, it is time to hit the road and go visit other regions. As we decide to leave at dawn, we prepare the van to start our journey serenely. During our journey, fatigue is felt early and it's time to fill up! We decide to stop in the small town of Alpine and recharge our batteries, needless to say that the caffeine has flowed freely.

In addition, the cafe in which we took our break also acts as a bookstore / library. So we take this opportunity to look at the books that it offers and make a small selection of purchases. After all, vanlife also has the benefit of having time, so why not furnish it with readings?

While I'm behind the wheel, Emily takes the opportunity to learn about our destination and does a short lecture on the original elements of Fort Davis. Apparently, this little town has an observatory, but can you guess its name? McDonald's! Nothing to do with the fast food chain but for any European, this name always rhyme with burgers!

This observatory belongs to the University of Texas, in Austin, and is used to carry out astronomical research, the rest is a little technical so I will spare you the details. However, the presence of this scientific building allows us to daydream about the nocturnal wonders of the region.

When we get to the road that leads to the observatory, we stop for a few minutes and think before taking it. Unlike the winding roads, in slalom, which allow you to reach the summit without any problem, the one that awaits, lead us in a straight line and looks like a wall.

We decide to try the impossible and pray that the van will successfully climb. But it’s not knowing our big Bertha! Despite her twenty years of age, she manages to take us to the observatory without any problems and allows us to make this amazing tourist stopover.

We are visiting the observatory and trying to better understand the daily technological prowess of one of the largest telescopes in the world. Until then, our culture was mainly limited to a few documentaries viewed on platforms, so it was interesting to discover, in real life, the multitude of instruments necessary for spectroscopy. In addition, the place allows us to enjoy an exceptional view of the valley, breathtaking!

The observatory also offers night tours, but reservations must be made several days in advance. Therefore, we decide to ignore this opportunity and leave for our sleepover destination.

Once installed at our site in Fort Davis State Park, we still have a few hours before the evening begins. As good habits are always to be kept, we take advantage of the afternoon to explore the surroundings and try one of the many trails in this beautiful park.

We decide to take the Old CCC Trail, rather special for a trail name, and carry out a hike of 4 miles (round trip), which should not exceed three hours of walking. The track is quite rocky, so we prefer to take it carefully. Nevertheless, Dov already seems to have become a pro and walks forward without slowing us down! Even if the hike took some efforts, the view we could enjoy on arrival was worth the detour; As we say, all work deserves wages!

After a day full of discoveries, we are happy to ease off and sit in the van to rest. As we discuss the day, a young couple from Virginia decides to join us and learn more about the places to visit in Texas.

Even if it is common to chat with other Vanlifers, the parks have the advantage of offering unprecedented meetings with strangers who become, during a conversation, great friends. For a few days, you will find a sympathetic interlocutor with whom you will discuss everything and anything!

However, sometimes the next day, farewells quickly arrives and we will have to get back on the road. As a great poet once said: "each one his journey, the pleasure of meeting again".

Blog dedicated to Joan Poll

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Steven est né au cap de Bonne-Espérance en Afrique du Sud. Cette étape n’est que la première d’un long en voyage. Après une jeunesse passée...


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