SUNSET'S MOUNTAIN MAJESTY, no reservations required

Among the special things to do in Far West Texas without being around other people is driving the 76 mile Davis Mountains Scenic Loop. Slowly. At sunset. My Dad introduced us to this family ritual when I was barely in my teens, and eons later, it's still a beloved activity that never grows old.

With Daddy, we'd count wildlife as we drove. Enchanted by open spaces, we'd forget we had ever lived in the city. As adults, Jim and I stop and take pictures. And as an artist, I return to my studio to paint those magical moments when the mountains catch the last colors of a sky so big, those mountains become mere bumps on the horizon. This one is a big oil, ranch country wearing summer green as Brown Mountain pulls sun-colored clouds into volcanic rock for the night. "

This big oil titled itself "Sunset's Mountain Majesty." I love it when a painting tells me its name early in our relationship.

Take a slow drive around the Scenic Loop and watch West Texas ranch country tuck in for the night. Count antelope. Aoudad. Mule deer. Javelina. Bobcat, if you're really lucky. Gas is cheap right now, and sunset, being among the best things in life, is free.

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