Along our way from Stillwell Store just north of Big Bend to Van Horn RV Park in west of Texas, we detoured off the fastest route for a few of miles to visit Fort Davis National Historic Site. This was an impromptu stop. We’d spotted it on the map and couldn’t resist the opportunity, we had the time to spare. We started our visit at the Visitors Center to watch the film and visit the museum to learn about this fort established by the US Army in 1854 shortly after both the end of the Mexican War and and the discovery of gold in California to establish and guard the San Antonia – El Paso Trail. It interprets life in this part of Texas as the Apache seek to defend their lands against encroachment by white settlers and the military seek to protect emigrants as well as the passage of mail and freight across the newly expanded United States. We walked the trail around the perimeter of the fort and visited places like the commissary and the hospital to learn more about what life was like for soldiers, officers, and their families here in the mid-Nineteenth Century.

Although no native peoples resided here full time, various bands of Apache and Comanche hunted in this area.
The San Antonio – El Paso Road was part of the southernmost major highway across the US in the 19th Century.
The troops stationed here were involved in conflict with the natives but engagements were usually the result of native raids upon herds at the post or civilian ranched
The latter part of the 19th Century was a time of intense clash of cultures as well as technological change.
The children of officers amused themselves in many ways like their counterparts in the East.
Pulled by either two or four mules, this freight wagon had a capacity similar to a modern F-250.
The foot soldier, a part of the US military since the American Revolution remained a mainstay at the frontier forts.
Early US Cavalry units were of great value across the Great Plains.

Just before we left the grounds we paused for a 21st Century moment and did a FaceTime chat with our friend Amanda aboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria just before sailing out of New York harbor on the second leg of her around the world journey!




  1. Sharon

    Hello friends! It was fun reading about your visits to Big Bend and Fort Davis. We enjoyed both of those places very much! Happy to see you’re enjoying your west Texas tour. Sending hugs.

  2. Richard & Diane Moore

    Hi Steve & Karen,
    Enjoyed your commentary and videos on West Texas. We were just in Austin and visited the LBJ Library, ranch, Texas St Capitol & history museum, & WWII Museum in Fredericksburg. (We flew from KC.) We stayed at our neice’s Lake Cabin (Lake Travis) but unfortunately the water has receded at their location and their cove is now dry.
    I was interested to hear about the eco systems in Big Bend so after I convince my wife we should go there, I’ll start planning the trip.
    Safe travels.

    Rich & Diane Moore


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



When Plans Go Awry

When Plans Go Awry

A string of unexpected problems complicated our transition from Southampton to Haarlem but calm problem solving and a sense of adventure led to unpredicted delights and a story for the ages.