Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday 10-27-10 Uvalde to Brackettville/Fort Clark Springs, Texas. We left on Hwy 90 and rode past a few plowed fields before the desert began dominating the landscape: creosote, cacti, mesquite, sage, and Joshua trees became our roadside scenery. It is desolate country and our route had no services for 43 miles. The pavement had a rough surface that caused a lot of vibration into our hands/teeth. We climbed a constant series of long hills that stair-stepped us through the desert. Around 11:30 a hot wind kicked up out of the west. We saw a number of Monarch butterflies giving their all, battling the wind on their attempt to make it to Mexico. At one point, we rode past several high tech night lights and cameras located across the highway from a Border Patrol Station where vehicles traveling east were being searched. It made us aware that we are less than 100 miles from the border with Mexico. We later discovered that the temp hit 95 during our ride which made the oasis of Ft. Clark Springs, near Brackettville, a welcome destination. Ann found this gem on the Internet and it is listed on the National Historic Registry. Fort Clark was established at Las Moras Spring in 1852 at a site long favored by indigenous Coahuiltecan Indians, and later by Commanche and Apache tribes. It was a strategic anchor fort in a cordon of army posts that were established to guard the border with Mexico and protect settlements in the area from Indian attacks. By 1875, there were 275 stationed at the fort residing in limestone barracks, officers quarters, and complimented by numerous other stone buildings that served the fort. There is a long honor roll of officers that served there: George C. Marshall (U.S. Chief of Staff in WWII), Gen. Jonathan Wainwright (hero of Bataan), and George Patton. The fort was officially deactivated in 1946. Today, Fort Clark is a privately owned retirement/recreation community encompassing 2,700 acres. The large spring still feeds Las Moras Creek as well as a 300' x 100' swimming pool that has year round 68 degree water, which we thoroughly enjoyed after a hot day on the road. Enormous oak, pecan, and magnolia trees surrounded the pool in a park-like setting. We learned that the Monarchs had just blanketed the creek days ago on their flight south. Some of the old stone barracks have been reconfigured to motel rooms. We stayed the night in the George Patton barracks directly across from the original parade ground. Many of the old limestone buildings have been renovated and are home to residents living in this lovely and unique place. Liz and Tony Hodges invited us into their home which has been beautifully renovated/decorated with the eye of an artist. Liz happens to paint fabulous colorful canvasses when she is not busy teaching students at the Alternative School in Brackettville. Thanks so much Liz and Tony!