Bill and Kit Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #19
Wednesday, February 25, 2009:
Broke camp and continued west on US-90. Stopped at Langtry, TX just beyond Dead Mans Gulch and visited the Judge Roy Bean historical homestead. Arriving in this no mans land in the late 1800’s, Roy Bean, a justice of the Peace, appointed himself “The Law West of the Pecos”. A very colorful character, he built a combination saloon, billiard hall, courthouse, jail and town hall. With a six shooter at his side and an old Texas law book, Judge Roy Bean dispensed his unconventional form of justice as he saw fit. Using drunks from his saloon as the jury and usually biasing his decision toward the litigant that paid him the most cash his western justice was dispensed. (Let’s see, that differs from today’s legal system, um….how?) Now old Roy was infatuated with an actress and singer from Jersey, England by the name of Lilly Langtry. In order to entice Miss Lilly to come to the western frontier he called his homestead “The Jersey Lilly Opera House”….however she never took the bait and came to America to visit her obsessed fan, Roy Bean.
Back on the road, its noon and 87 degrees…..gonna be a hot one today…..but, you know, it’s a dry heat. Cranked up the trucks air conditioner and continued west. Beginning to see some of the mountains that western Texas is known for. There continues to be greener vegetation and a lot more variety and quantity. Passed through Alpine, Texas by late afternoon on US-118. Pulled into Davis Mountains State Park hoping there were camp sites available. Once again “Road Magic” was working for us as we entered the ranger’s office 5 minutes before closing and were told that there were 2 sites available. The ranger said to pick one and register in the morning…..so off we went. The first site was small and on the main road, however the second site was perfect! At the end of a spur road, large and private. Notice the trees! Davis Mountains State Park. Later we went to a ranger talk on the “original stimulus plan” the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which built this fine park in the 1930’s. There were many facilities built by the CCC where young men worked for $25.00 a month which $5.00 was theirs to keep and $20.00 was sent to their families. My Uncle Dewey (more on him later) was a CCC member and I remember hearing stories of his adventures.
Thursday, February 26, 2009:
Registering this morning and chatting with the very friendly park staff I discovered a new term; “Winter Texans”…..that is what the folks in this region call “Snow Birds”. I kinda like that title; think I’ll go and buy boots, dinner plate sized belt buckle and a ten gallon hat.
I went for a hike to the summit of the Davis Mountain (named after Jeff Davis of civil war fame, not sure why?) and Kit stayed around our Little Plastic Box on the Prairie to watch for Indians, take a walk through the grounds and met some of the neighbor pioneers.
The hike was about 5 ½ miles with an elevation gain of about 1500 feet. The summit resides at 6002 feet and was windy, cool and offered some great sights.
On the far ridge I noticed what looked like Indian Smoke Signals.
Returning to camp I showed my pictures to one of the rangers, an American Indian. His smoke-signal-ese was a bit rusty but loosely translated it meant. “Dufus paleface on far ridge with trophy scalp”.
Leaving you for now, healthy, wealthy and wise (well….one out of three ain’t bad) we remain on our trek west to………….who knows where!
Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit