Thursday, October 15, 2009

Davis Mountains Day 1

Mural in the lobby of our hotel in Alpine

A Welshman is born with the romance of the hills in his heart and the song of the mountains in his soul (shame I can't sing for toffee though), and they are certainly one of the things I miss most about home. So it's always a thrill whenever I get the chance to return to them - that's why I've been looking forward to this trip ever since I booked it.

We left Austin this morning riding high on the back of an amazing sunrise and the promise of adventures to come. We stopped off at a bakery in Fredericksburg and enjoyed a delicious breakfast in a beautiful old courtyard. We made several more stops along the way, but the time flew by and we found ourselves closing in on Alpine by mid-afternoon.

Then a couple of miles outside Alpine I got pulled over for speeding. I got out of the car, handed my license and insurance over and the highway patrol guy asked where we were headed. I told him we were on our way to Alpine for the M2M marathon, and it turns out he's a runner too. We got to talking and he was a really nice guy, so I asked him what the course was like (it goes right along the highway we were on). He gave me a few inside tips (hilly first half, mostly downhill second half, watch for the wind), then he pointed to some blue chalk marks on the ground and said he thought that was going to be the start line. We both wondered at the odds of me being pulled over right at the race start line, talked a bit more and then shook hands.

I got off with a warning.

After we got settled into our hotel we decided to explore a little, so I took highway 118 up through Fort Davis. It was a lovely meandering route through the mountains complete with some amazing fall foliage. We ended up at Davis Mountain State Park and decided to explore the skyline trail. Here are a few photos we took along the way.
Me and Gavin at the first scenic overlook

Nancy and Gavin - note the "will you please stop pointing that thing at me" fake smile pasted on Gavin's face

Me and my boys - do you know how hard it is to get two kids to look in the same direction at the same time?

Nancy and Gavin at the highest point of the trail

I love these two photos of Gavin

Nancy and Gavin at the "bridge" overlook - it was a long way down!!!

By the time we were done we were all a little hungry, so we went back into Fort Davis (which is a really cool little town) and stopped for supper at a place called "Murphy's Pizza and Pasta" which a friend had recommended. The food was wonderful - three of us feasted like ravenous dogs while Dylan looked on wistfully and had to make do with baby milk (sorry buddy).

Dusk was setting in as we left the restaurant and we headed West on highway 17 toward Marfa. It turned into such a memorable drive. We were enraptured by one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen, showcased by the mountains and compounded by the loneliness of the road (empty for miles in both directions). I stopped at one point and took a few photos but they really don't do it justice - the evening had an almost eerie quality to it.

Though that may have something to do with the fact that were about to stop off to look for the famous "Marfa ghost lights". I love my ghost stories and had read all about these. They didn't disappoint - we saw a red light and several white ones floating around a fantastically starry sky. It was a beautiful night in the mountains.

Everyone was tired out and they all crashed when we got back to the hotel (even Dylan), but I wanted to write this up in case I forgot any of it. Today was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. I can't wait to see what tomorrow holds.

Oh, and there's the small matter of the marathon on Saturday too!!!

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