just keep it between the lines bro...
April 28, 2017 5:15 PM   Subscribe

There is no better sports car loop in the USA-- The 75 mile Scenic Loop in far west Texas is a desolate, eye opening...damn I gotta drive.

This scenic loop through Davis Mountains traverses an ancient volcanic playground, commonly referred to as the “Texas Alps.” The loop encompasses the highest town in Texas, Fort Davis, and the tallest peak in the Davis range, Baldy Peak sitting proudly atop Mount Livermore at 8,378 feet. Dramatic elevation changes, and a hard-scrabble landscape of incredibly adapted wildlife and plants create stunning beauty.
posted by shockingbluamp (20 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
It's a great drive. There's many pics from there on my Flickr page -- we've done it a bunch, as we like to get out to the scopes at the McDonald observatory as often as we can. The star parties are excellent. The other best road in Texas is down a ways, between Presidio & Lajitas, along the rio grande.

The drive in to Fort Davis from Balmoreah isn't bad, either.

I really don't see a lot of sports cars out there, though. Maybe more motorcycles than your average road, but it's so far from anything, it's mostly us & the occasional local. You might pass 5 or 6 cars the entire drive, some days.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:35 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]

We drove up to the observatory last year -- a really nice drive, and I wish we had spent more time in the Davis Mountains. But we'd been driving east for a few hours from the Texas border before we got there, so when you call the Davis Mountains 'far west Texas' you invite a superlative excess for Van Horn and El Paso.
posted by Killick at 6:00 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]

It's weird when reality and MetaFilter collide. I used to enjoy going to McDonald's open night star parties; it's so dark, even simply looking up with naked eyes is a gorgeous ocean of jewels. There are some really lovely views from inside practically any building in the Sul Ross campus, too.
posted by byanyothername at 6:38 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]

no engine noise? couldn't watch past 0:35
posted by some loser at 6:40 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]

Van Horn and El Paso. Ultra-Far West Texas.

The whole Trans-Pecos is one of America's undersold back corners.

Alpine is a nice little town with Sul Ross University, a kick ass book store & general funk. I would move there in a heartbeat if I could find work.

Marfa has turned into a weird art community in the stinking desert, not sure why, but I'll take it. It has one of the best county courthouses in the state.

Ft. Davis is a weird blend of ranchers, scientists (lots of people work at the observatory & live there year-round) and tourists, but I love it. It's a great way point for the whole area -- two hours from there down to Big Bend, the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute is just 5 miles east & well worth the stop (hike down the Modesta canyon trail to the spring! It's wonderful!) Davis Mountains State Park, with the awesome Indian Lodge that was a CCC project, and a ways beyond the scopes on the loop, there's a great rest area at Madera canyon (mentioned in the article) with multiple picnic tables and a good hiking trail maintained by The Nature Conservancy. The view from the top of that ridge is awesome.

The road between Ft. Davis & Alpine is also a really nice drive, though the drive from there on down to the park is pretty flat after you get over one nice ridge.

There aren't enough superlatives for Big Bend, really -- the Chisos Basin & the ridges above it are a "sky island" like the Davis Mountais, with pine trees, cougars, & some amazing rocks.

I could go on and on about the River Road, but look it up -- it's got the Rio Grande on one side & Big Bend Ranch State Park on the other -- the state park is still being developed, so access is spotty, but there are more trailheads every time I go.

I have yet to get over to Valentine, & Presidio is really a dump, though we did find good Mexican food there. Marathon has the Gage Hotel & a few galleries, & is worth stopping in if you go through that way.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:40 PM on April 28 [13 favorites]

When you get to Ely, Nevada, and want to drive down to Las Vegas. You are absolutely directed to drive through Great Basin National Park, however. If you drive over to Lund, and take the road through Rachel, you shave 66 miles off the drive. This drive along alt 93, is awesome and the Las Vegas Porsche club keeps it clean, so they can close it once a year for a timed race. It goes down through Alamo, and even past Bunkerville if you want to see some of Bundy's cows, or cut over to see birds at Moapa. You also pass by the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, and if you stay over in the campground, the sunrise there is absolutely beautiful.
posted by Oyéah at 6:50 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]

Wow! Looks like a clip from Rad Racer, or Cruis'n USA.
posted by Buckt at 6:52 PM on April 28

Looks like a nice drive, but that video needed 100% more engine sound and 100% less music.
posted by dazed_one at 6:56 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]

For engine noise purists, enjoy.
posted by ZaphodB at 8:26 PM on April 28 [3 favorites]

My partner would have gone absolutely crazy in her little RX-7 on that road.
posted by jamjam at 11:24 PM on April 28

it's a nice drive, but then my route to work used to be where they shoot all the car commercials ...

though in those days, it wasn't a divided highway
posted by philip-random at 11:42 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]

ZaphodB, that's perhaps the most amazing thing I've ever seen someone do for a thread. Thank you.
posted by crysflame at 12:16 AM on April 29

Pfffffffttt. Texas shmexas you take the BQE from the Triborough all the way down to the Belt and then flick right at Flatbush and go down to the Rockaways and voila! The Atlantic Ocean! To your left, Portugal in front of you, the Carribean and to your right the burgeoning glory that is The New World...

(I thought this was going to be about the Devil's Backbone. Not disappointed)
posted by From Bklyn at 2:49 AM on April 29

Looks like a nice drive, but that video needed 100% more engine sound and 100% less music.

The video was sped up, it would have sounded like an bee trapped in a shotglass.

Kiwis always have to wrestle with a certain smugness when watching other countries' scenery vids. Oh, we say. That's really nice. You must be very pleased with it!
posted by Sebmojo at 4:10 AM on April 29

It's not a feeling we're very proud of :(
posted by Sebmojo at 4:27 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]

A great drive to get there is to head out I-10W from San Antonio and then head south on 349 from Sheffield to 90W at Dryden.
posted by AJScease at 6:20 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]

I am sitting in Marfa right now about to head out to Marfa burrito for breakfast. My wife and I are headed to Ft. Davis later today and then over to Balmorhea. I love the drive through the Davis mountains and can't wait to go up to the observatory today. It really is a great drive.
posted by Benway at 6:53 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]

I miss my BMW.
posted by AFABulous at 7:26 AM on April 29

A great drive to get there is to head out I-10W from San Antonio and then head south on 349 from Sheffield to 90W at Dryden.

I can concur that this is also an excellent little road. We passed 2 cars max when we took it. You'll be driving through the best reef limestone in the state as well -- the cave with the biggest passage & the two deepest caves in the state are on ranches off that road.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:27 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]

A great drive to get there is to head out I-10W from San Antonio and then head south on 349 from Sheffield to 90W at Dryden.

I have never done that drive but sounds amazing. We will check it out. Thanks for the heads up.
posted by Benway at 7:53 PM on May 3

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