The Vagabond Novelist

My Journey. My Dream.

Day 10: Adrenaline-Fueled Shopping

blue map of TexasThe journey through the high plains is a search. A quest for understanding about what it is that draws people to the desert. One only needs to see the beauty at sunrise or sunset to feel the pull, but that doesn’t explain the real attraction. Being “pretty” doesn’t suffice.

I’ve been trying to listen to the universe for clues. If an idea pops into my head, I ask why. There might be a reason and it may be important. Yesterday, I wondered if I should get a cooler. It was a simple enough idea since I was going to be living on a school bus for four days.

That thought rambled around my head for a while until around eleven o’clock when I busted out the Universe’s answer service (Google) and started to investigate. I had no idea what sort of rabbit hole I was going down.

Fort Davis, Texas is about thirty minutes from Alpine. The population is 1201, elevation is 4892 feet, and they have a historical landmark, which not surprisingly is… a fort.

This is NOT their story. (Actually, I’ll talk about Fort Davis later.)

Fort Davis Outfitters Feed and General Store was my destination. I wanted a cooler and a whole lotta other stuff. I didn’t know exactly what stuff but I knew I wanted it.

I’m not a huge fan of shopping but on this day I was a force to be reckoned with. The Vagabond Novelist made it clear that he wasn’t afraid to wildly impulse-buy or talk in the third person. Once these ground rules were established, we unleashed the dogs of commerce.

Day 10 ShoppingI wish I hadn’t forgotten the name of the woman who helped me but I do remember that she and her husband own the place. He was helpful too. The coolers were on the top shelf and both his wife and I were suffering from short.

Once the cooler was identified and brought to the counter, I went nuts. There was a really cool flashlight that I couldn’t imagine living without. We put it on the counter. “What about a stove?” I asked.

There were several choices and I bought the one that I thought looked nice. A little quad-pod thingy for setting hot things on was next and then some propane. A combo knife-and-spoon pocketknife and spatula were grabbed. They were placed next to the flashlight at the counter.Day 10 Fort Davis V

I noticed another flashlight. It was pretty neat, too. They both had lantern features. When I set them next to each other it seemed they instantly bonded. I had to have them both.

A sleeping bag decision took less than thirty seconds.

Because I am prone to hugging all cats, and apparently mountain lions prefer not to be hugged, it was suggested that I pick up a Klaxon air horn to let them know they should leave before I try to aggressively snuggle with them. It’s called respecting nature.

At this point the shopping became a blur and I might have blacked out from all the fun I was having. In the end, we just piled everything into the cooler. I paid my bill and was on my way.

As I said, I’m not a shopper, but buying camping gear has as similar a rush as going on a woodworking tool-buying spree. On a scale of 1 to 37, I have to give them a solid 35. Note: I don’t think they have a website, so to experience the same shopping bliss as I did (when in the area), Google them or refer to Facebook (

AlpineTxHikeFull of impulse-purchase adrenaline, I went off to figure out if there was a Fort in Fort Davis. There is and it is fantastic. I walked all over the grounds looking at placards and enjoying the sunshine. History has always intrigued me and it was easy to imagine the life lived at this fort in the Old West days. I’m not really sure what years those might be, as I didn’t write it down and I can’t be bothered to look it up, but it was probably at least four or five years ago.

My favorite part was the hike up into the mountains. The view was lovely and there were lots of things to photograph. Also, I had cell service, so I went on the walk while chatting with my author buddy.

The Vagabond Novelist gives Fort Davis a 30 out of 37, and thinks it’s definitely worth a few hours of exploration. I do recommend bringing a bottle of water though, as things are more spread out than you might imagine.

Tomorrow, I head down to Terlingua to live on a school bus at Tin Valley Retro Rentals.


Day 9: My Horse Would Have a Name


Days 11-13: Desert Time

1 Comment

  1. Steve Hardin

    I just have to wonder if Frank, Daehan, Minguk, and Manse would like waking up to a Klaxon air horn . . . I expect not.

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