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THURSDAY - We were on the road early this morning thanks to the weather forecast of 50+ MPH wind gusts later this afternoon. We'd like to be all set up in our new campsite before that occurs.

After finishing up the Fort Lancaster Scenic Loop this morning we traveled another 65-miles west on Interstate 10 to the town of Fort Stockton where we stopped at the Walmart for a few needed items.

You may be wondering where are all the photos of the second half of the Scenic Loop? Well, there are none because quite honestly the best views were right from our overnight picnic spot.

After the Walmart at Fort Stockton we still had another 42-miles of Interstate 10 to drive before we exited onto TX-17 and began the drive south into the Davis Mountains.

Texas-17 takes you directly through the Davis Mountains.

The road eventually begins to wind it's way through the valleys and mountain passes.

Very few homes could be seen from the road, but this driveway must go somewhere!

One thing that's for sure is you won't be driving up and over this cliff face.

After traveling 40-miles of mostly 2-lane road we arrived at the Davis Mountains State Park campground entrance. We visited here once before in March of 2022 before heading to Alaska.

I hadn't researched the area very well last time and we missed the opportunity to purchase advance tickets for a Star Party put on at the nearby McDonald Observatory by the University of Texas at Austin's staff.

That won't be the case this time and we should be able to check that off the Bucket List on Saturday night, if the weather is cooperative.

The last time we were at this campground we had to settle for an electric only site. This time however we were able to reserve a full hookup site (water/electric/sewer) for just $3.75 a night more.

Front to back? Not so level! Side to side, it was almost perfect.

There is zero cell phone service down in this valley,
but we've got Starlink all set up and working perfectly.

There is currently a "burn-ban" here in the campground, thanks to the high winds.

FRIDAY - The winds only reached 38-MPH yesterday, but with a daytime high of 53°F that was enough to keep us inside THE POD all day.

Today the temperatures will be roughly the same, but the winds will be 50% of yesterday's with a forecast of just 20-MPH. Time to do some sightseeing!

After lunch it had warmed up from the overnight low of 33°F to nearly 50°F so we headed out to visit the Fort Davis National Historic Site which is located just a couple of miles outside of the State Park's entrance gate.

Somehow we didn't make time to explore this location either the last time we were here?

The Visitor Center is just on the other side of that footbridge.

There is a $10 Entrance Fee here at Fort Davis Historic Site, but thanks to my Lifetime Senior Pass both Tricia and I were admitted FREE.

After showing the volunteer my pass I went about the business of getting my National Parks Passport book stamped and asked about watching the film about the park.

To my surprise and bewilderment when the film started the narrator was none other that NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? What his connection to the National Park Service or Fort Davis is I have no idea, and neither did the volunteer working the desk.

It's easy to see a lot of time and money has been spent to preserve and restore the buildings here at the fort.

There is a little museum at the back of the Visitor Center and the enlisted men's barracks have been staged to what it looked like when the fort was occupied.

We didn't spend a lot of time here, but I'm glad we took the time to visit.

This 12-pound Mountain Howitzer was used to defend the fort.

This .45 caliber Gattling Gun was used in the field to ward off attackers.

This represents what an enlisted men's barrackes might look like.

Everything neat and tidy.

Looking through the breezeway, across the Parade Field, at the row of officer quarters.

After checking out Fort Davis we drove into the actual town of Fort Davis to see what had changed over the last two years since we first visited.

We found there were several closed restaurants and hotels, replaced with food trucks and RV parks. Everything else, the post office, library, 3 gas stations and police headquarters were just as remembered from last time.

Next we drove right by the campground and headed northwest out of town towards the McDonald Observatory, we don't want to get lost tomorrow night and miss our Star Party do we?

Even from miles away it was easy to spot the observatory on top of the mountain.

The closer we got we noticed there are more than just a few large telescopes at this location.

From the top of the mountain it was easy to see the Visitor Center and the smaller telescopes on the back porch, along with the circular amphitheater where the Star Party will be held.

We drove the 14-miles back to the campground and had one more thing to do on our sightseeing list. Drive the 2½-mile long Skyline Drive up to the top of the State Park and check out the views from the two lookout spots.

We did this every night on our last visit here just to watch the sunset.

From up here it was east to zoom in and spot THE POD waiting for us in the campsite.

That's the winding and curving road that will take you to the McDonald Observatory.

Looking eastward through the window of the CCC built tower at the end of Skyline Drive.

SATURDAY - After spending all day inside THE POD we decided to head into town for dinner before driving up to the observatory for our Star Party tonight at 7:00PM.

There's really only two good choices for where to eat a sit-down dinner inside of a restaurant in town, either the $30-$40 a meal steakhouse or the $12-$14 a meal Mexican Restaurant. Guess where we ate dinner?

After a less than spectacular Mexican dinner we drove up to the McDonald Observatory. We arrived 30-minutes before the scheduled start time of the Star Party which gave us plenty of time to check out the gift shop and exhibit hall inside of the Visitor Center.

Soon came the announcement to gather outside at the amphitheater for the Star Party to begin.

The Star Party consists of a talk about what else, stars! And planets and other celestial topics about our galaxy. It's always good to learn something new, especially on a subject you're not particularly knowledgeable about.

A "YEAR" on Venus is shorter than a "DAY" on Venus!

Think about that statement for a minute! Being mere earthlings it just doesn't make sense does it?

It takes Venus 225 days to orbit the sun, that's one year.

It takes Venus 243 days to fully rotate once, that's one day.

Venus rotates so slowly, and backwards, that it's the only planet where this occurs.

At the end of the presentation there was a very in depth discussion about the constellations that were visible in the sky tonight. Then everyone left the amphitheater to view Saturn, Jupiter, The Pleiades and the Orion Nebula through the smaller telescopes that were set up along the walkways leading back to the Visitor Center.

Making our way along the path to the amphitheater just after sunset.

Being the first to arrive, I've got my choice of front row seats.

Was it worth $45 for the two of us to attend? SURE.
Do we feel the need to do it again? PROBABLY NOT.

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