Since we retired six months ago, we’ve mostly done every other day adventures. Drive a cool Mini road one day; take a day off; ride a cool motorcycle road; take a day off, etc. We chose this pattern to help us slow down so we could really relax and take in all the beauty that surrounds us.
This week, though, we noticed the weather for the coming weekend was forecast to be rainy and cold, so we decided to take advantage of the warm (70’s and 80’s) temperatures and save the relaxing for the weekend.
Tuesday, we made a scenic State Park loop on the Harley.
State Park loop map
We headed first toward Balmorhea northeast of Fort Davis on highway 17. The ride there is about half winding through the Davis mountains and about half diving downhill to the flat plains of West Texas. After crossing Wild Rose pass, the geography flattens out on the trip north.
Balmorhea is know as the “Oasis in the Desert” because of a natural spring pouring millions of gallons of water into the area. In the 30’s, a pool-like enclosure was built up around this spring, which is now one of the main features of Balmorhea State Park. The water is about 75 degrees year round and the deeper part of the “pool” has a rock and plant covered bottom. It’s home to quite a few fish and several ducks. It’s pretty amazing.
We found a scuba shop across the street from the park and decided to return Wednesday to dive San Solomon Springs. After a nice lunch at the city park in Balmorhea, we headed West on I-10 to Kent and then back to Fort Davis on highway 118. We stopped at Davis Mountain State Park and rode their Skyline Dive to a scenic overlook. We’d seen this road from the highway a couple times and it was worth the stop, for sure. It has quite a view of the Davis Mountains and valleys.
It was a great ride on a beautiful day.
Wednesday, we dug out our SCUBA gear and headed back to Balmorhea to dive the springs. It got to 80 degrees up there, but I was certainly glad to have my wetsuit.
The small fish in the springs schooled around us. It may sound funny, but I don’t like to be touched by fish. Most of the time diving, this is not an issue because the fish stay away. But at the spring, they were all over us and even bit my ears a couple times.
The black spots in the sand are bubbles of new spring water entering the pool. We also visited the gates where the water exits the “pool” and moves onto the canals that feed the cienega. Both were a bit magical.