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History, Mystery and the Universe HOP

Sept 18 – 22, 2023


The area you will visit is like no other. It is often called “the Gateway to the Big Bend,” and you’ll find radiant night skies, cowboy hospitality and friendly folks.

It is where the stars at night are big and bright, and the skies are not cloudy all day! 

This HOP will give you a great mix of the culture and land around the Davis Mountains and the Big Bend area.

Fort Davis is the highest town in Texas at 4,900 feet above sea level. 

Located a short drive from Fort Davis is the world-renown University of Texas’ McDonald Observatory, where you will see one of the largest telescopes in the world. It is the Hobby-Eberly Telescope and here you will have four extraordinary tours: the Telescope, the Solar, The Twilight and the world-famous Star-Gazing Party!

The Davis Mountains cover over 15,000 square miles and contain some of the darkest skies in the United States. In fact, this area is one of the largest Dark Sky Communities in the world and it is the first reserve to cross an international boundary, which happens to be the border Texas shares with Mexico.

Visit Fort Davis, one of the best surviving examples of an 1854 to 1861 frontier military post in the Southwest, located there to protect the travelers and the mail and freight wagons on the Trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio to El Paso Road, called the Chihuahua Trail. 

Also, we will learn about the Buffalo Soldiers that served at Fort Davis from 1867 to 1885 and the important role these men played in the frontier army.

Outside of Ft. Davis lies the Chihuahua Desert. It is the largest desert in North America, covering 200,000 square miles, and is the most geographically diverse dry region in the world. Stopping for pictures and a guided tour of this magnificent area, you will learn about the climate, plants and animals that make this area so fascinating and how life can be sustained in this harsh dry land.

Davis Mountains State Park was established with 540 acres, in 1933, and was one of the earliest projects for the Texas Civilian Conservation Corps. They built many of the facilities still used in the park today. An Indian Lodge sets on a mountain overlooking the state park with its white adobe walls and historic rustic charm. 

The town of Marfa is slowly becoming the Mecca of Art and tourism. In 1971, Donald Judd, an artist from New York, visited Marfa and fell in love with the small-town atmosphere. He purchased a home in Marfa, founded the Judd Foundation and the Chinati Foundation and constructed art galleries in several buildings on one city block. 

While in Marfa, you will tour Building 98, built in 1895 as officers’ quarters and headquarters for the Big Bend Military District during the Mexican Revolution. Building 98 is a historic building listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and is a Registered Historic Texas Landmark. While touring Building 98, you will see WWII German POW murals painted by prisoners who were among those placed at Fort Russell at the request of General George Patton. Mona Blocker Garcia will lead this tour. She is none other than the founder of the International Woman’s Foundation and cousin to Dan Blocker (Hoss Cartwright) of the TV series Bonanza 

While in downtown Marfa, visit the Marfa Courthouse. The Presidio County Courthouse is one of the prettiest in Texas. Notice the woodwork throughout the courthouse. Take the circular staircase to the top floor and look out a window to see the entire town of Marfa. This courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.  

Before viewing the Marfa Lights, visit the beautiful and historic Hotel Paisano. Built in 1930, it was one of the most elegant hotels of its time. In 1955 the Hotel Paisano was used as headquarters to film the classic movie “Giant,” starring James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. Other movies filmed in the Marfa area are The Gambler, Lonesome Dove, The Good Old Boys, Streets of Laredo, Dead Man’s Walk, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men and Dancer. Texas Population 81 was filmed in nearby Ft. Davis, and many locals were used as extras. 

On the way to view the Marfa Lights, stop and see the "Pillars," an enigmatic arrangement of twelve ten-foot steel pillars, each weighing over three hundred pounds, inscribed with Jason Tucker's mysterious symbols. Each image looks like a space alien. During the day, the images look like faint lines or drawings on the pillars, but at night, each image lights up, bringing the space alien to life floating above the ground. Jason Tucker grew up in San Angelo, Texas, a town northeast of Marfa.   

Complete this HOP with the Marfa Lights. Native American residents knew about the Marfa Mystery Lights long before the first recorded sighting in 1883. These mysterious dancing lights are not always there, but starting at dusk and deep into the night is the best time to see them. The orb lights can be white, red, blue, orange, or green. They appear randomly and move throughout the sky above the tree line. They will move toward you, away from you, or maybe to the right and left of you. The terrain under the lights is rough and rugged; no streets or houses are in the area. 

The Big Bend area is trendy in September and Octoberso please register for the HOP as soon as possible.  

Bring your camera, binoculars, telescope and comfortable walking shoes and be prepared for West Texas hospitality!



·         When registering for this HOP, you may pay half upon registration.

·         Final payment due - July 18, 2023


Prices for this HOP

Two-person rig:             1,375.00           

Each additional person:   695.00   

One-person rig:                875.00     


Please register on-line for this HOP. Click here:   https://escapees.com/event/history-mystery-and-the-universe-hop/ 

You may call or email the HOP Department, at: 936-329-6499 or registration@escapees.com 

Note: the HOP may sell out online before you have a chance to register via phone.


HOP Confirmation email

·         Once registered, a receipt notification will be sent via email regarding all the pertinent information, such as RV Park, address, tour dates, times, etc.

·         If you do not receive it, please check your spam files, or email us at: registration@escapees.com


RV Park

  • You will be staying in a beautiful country setting with full hookups.
  • If you want to park near friends, please indicate that on your online registration process.


HOP Registration includes:

·         RV sites in a beautiful country setting with full hookups

·         All entries into the McDonald Observatory

·         4 guided activities at the McDonald Observatory

·         A professional guide and tour at the McDonald Observatory

·         Entrance into Fort Davis Historic site

·         Professional guide at Fort Davis

·         Entrance into Davis Mountains State Park

·         Professional guide in Davis Mountain State Park

·         Entrance into Building 98

·         Professional guide for Building 98

·         Hotel Paisano with gift shop and art gallery

·         Visit the Marfa Pillars during the day and at night.

·         See the Marfa Lights!

·         Enjoy the world-famous Star-Gazing Party!

·         6 meals

·         Meet and greet socials

·         Souvenir HOP name badge

·         Professional Motorcoach

·         Professional Motorcoach Driver

·         Your HOP Hosts

·         All gratuities



 Rain or shine.

Itinerary is subject to change without notice.

This HOP includes a considerable amount of walking, so wear comfortable shoes.

Some tours are not wheelchair accessible.

*Special dietary requests cannot be accommodated

*Note This itinerary may still be amended. We do our best to secure all activities ahead of time, but when dealing with the weather, traffic, length of tours, and our local vendors' changes are sometimes necessary. .


Travel Insurance

We highly suggest you protect your financial investment on this HOP by purchasing trip insurance. 

If you or a family member has a pre-existing medical condition, consider purchasing trip cancellation or interruption insurance. Insurance can also help with covering unexpected illnesses or emergencies while on the trip. For more information, click: https://escapees.com/event/history-mystery-and-the-universe-hop/ 


HOP Cancellation Policy

If an attendee cancels a HOP,

     •    1 Business Day from Booking:         Full Refund

·         More Than 90 Days to the event:    75% Refund

·         30 – 90 Days to the event:               25% Refund

·         30 Days or Less to the event:          No Refunds


View upcoming HOPs: https://www.escapees.com/hops 

Discussion Forum:

Escapees has an informative discussion forum. To access this forum, go to: http://www.rvnetwork.com 


Escapees Club News:

The HOPs or any Escapees RV Club information can be sent to you via Club News. 

Stay informed with important club updates, advocacy issues and promotion items.  If you would like to stay updated, go to: https://www.escapees.com/aboutus/club-benefits then click the sign-up button on the right side. 


By registering for this event, you are agreeing to the following:

  • As an attendee, you assume all risk and danger relating to your personal property, RV, and attendance at the event, whether occurring prior to, during, or after the event. In the event of loss or theft, no claim will be made upon Escapees, its volunteers, employees or agents.
  • Volunteers may be directing and assisting you in your parking areas. However, it is the driver of the vehicle who is ultimately responsible for avoiding obstacles or dangerous situations and is solely responsible for any damage to one’s property or the property of others.
  • As an attendee at this event, you are granting your permission to be filmed, videotaped, audiotaped or photographed, and granting Escapees RV Club the full use of any such recordings or images without compensation.
  • By registering, you will also receive occasional email notifications of future HOPs; however, you can opt-out of these notifications at any time.
  • In addition to the above, you will be required during registration to agree that you will help provide a safe environment for everyone by complying with our health and safety rules, and to release Escapees from liability should you become ill during the event.

·         By purchasing a ticket for this event, you are agreeing to all the above, including the Escapees Covid Policy. For more details on this policy, click Escapees RV Club Covid Policy 


See you at the HOP!

Lisa Koca

HOP Director


Escapees RV Club

100 Rainbow Drive
Livingston, Texas 77351



For Cruise HOPs, call:

Escapees Travel Agency
855-757-8881 (Toll-Free)

Edited by Head Out - HOP
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