Thursday, May 31, 2007

Oh my, the days of leisure!

This is my third day of being semi-retired. Semi because there will be some times when I will work - covering vacations during the summer and filling in during the holidays.

What have I done so far? Not much. This early evening Juno and I have been dodging severe thunderstorms in our area. In fact, we heard on the local radio station that a funnel cloud had been sighted over our town by trained spotters. Being curious (horrors the wrong thing to do) I looked out the south window and there was a funnel cloud just right over the neighbor's yard south of us! A funnel cloud is one that has not touched ground yet. The funnel cloud hung overhead for a couple of minutes slowly moving to the northeast and then dissipated.

This morning I had a stress test - a followup to a 4-hr one I had a year ago. I apparently had a weakened heart muscle possibly due to a virus at some time; and, this was a followup to see how it was doing with the "therapy" I have been on. Didn't feel like doing anything after it was over, so came home.

I haven't even done anything with Eggcarto! But that will soon end. He has a list of "things I need to do" as well as my "little house" like landscaping efforts, minor repairs, install ceiling fans. These are things I'll spend June on BUT I do plan on taking 4 or 5 days taking Eggcarto somewhere - looking at a place in northwest Nebraska or to Lake Scott State Park in southwestern Kansas.

Oh, my days of leisure!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Couple photos




Photo on left is an interesting entrance to the exhibits at the El Camino Real International Heritage Center in New Mexico; and "the group" at Mt Sunflower (4039 ft elevation) near Weskan KS.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Nipper Mother's Day 5/13/07



We lost daughter's dog Nipper today. She had him since he was just a pup and was almost 13 years old.

We miss you already Nip, but know you are more comfortable and not hurting anymore. Take care of yourself ole boy, Love, grandma.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

PS Great Mother's Day News

from daughter. She had a BRAC 1 and BRAC 2 test done for her type of breast cancer. These are genetic tests done to discover any mutations in the gene that carries the cancer she had, which could show it's head again sometime in her life and coming from this gene. Her tests results came in today and are "No mutation detected" in either test. Wow oh wow, whew. She is not 100% out of the woods for the rest of her life, but pretty dang close to it. A heck of a lot closer if she had come back with positive mutation results.

It was just 2 years on Mother's Day ago that she detected a lump in her left breast. In July she started chemo treatments and had a lumpectomy in early November 2005. She continued chemo and added radiation and then went to Herceptin. She finished all treatments in September of 2006. It's been a gradual gaining of her strength and endurance and she's doing great today - the day before Mother's Day 2007.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Finale to The Maiden Voyage

Saturday, May 12th

I noticed I forgot to post Lesson #2 and when I "published" it and it went back to the original date I wrote it, so I have copied it and inserted it here:

Showering: Wear as little as possible, especially in a humid climate when using the public shower in an RV park. That's wear "as little loose clothing" as possible, it makes the process of getting dressed go faster. No, that doesn't mean a bathing suit, at least not for me. And, go at 4 in the morning - that's when you have all the hot water you want.

Wednesday morning Jim and I went to the El Camino Real International Heritage Center. It is located about 30 miles south of Socorro on I-25 at Exit 115 and a then a few miles away from the Interstate. Well marked to get there. It is an interesting place with lots of reading to do. It is about 300 plus years of the road's development, use and history from Mexico City to Santa Fe. The Center covers the Spanish colonial period of 1598 to 1821, the Mexican national period of 1821 to 1848 and the US Territorial period of 1848 to 1912. This particular El Camino Real is known as the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro.

Back in Socorro we had lunch at the El Sombrero. As we here heading back to Jim's home I spied a Casita in a backyard. Got Eggcarto hitched up and off I left for points north along I-25. Made it thru Albuquerque before the rush hour started and headed up towards Santa Fe. Spied a southbound Casita about 30 miles outside Santa Fe off on it's own adventure somewhere with its owners. It's beautiful north of Santa Fe with pine trees covering the slopes. I love pine trees. It was cooler too.

As I approached Las Vegas (NM) I could see thundershowers up ahead. I decided to get gas and keep going as the wind was starting to pick up. I finished gassing up just in time as the wind and rain hit and hit hard. Eggcarto wiggled around back there a few times but I reminded him for his safety and security he'd better straighten up - and he did. I had no more trouble out of him.

After Las Vegas you come out of the Sangre de Cristo mountains into beautiful grasslands. You pass Fort Union Nat'l Monument and the Kiowa Nat'l Grasslands (another trip), towns with the names of Wagon Mound and Springer (neat antique/junk store there) to Raton. At Raton I got something to eat which I needed before tackling the Raton Pass. At Raton Pass you are at almost 8000 feet above sea level, down to Trinidad at 6000 feet. I had not gone down a pass with curves, etc with a trailer before and remembered to ease the burden on my brakes shift down into a lower gear. Down I went in 3rd gear and never hit my brakes once. Which is what I should have done many years ago when coming home from Phoenix. I was just so mesmerized by the beautiful Rockies I forgot how fast I had been traveling, and that's what I told the highway patrolman who stopped me. He forgave me since I had Kansas plates.

In Trinidad I spent the night in the Wal-Mart parking lot listening to the virtues of Mira Star gas and using your Wal-Mart gift card to save on gas at the pump.

Thursday I headed east out of Trinidad on US350 to LaJunta, Las Animas to Lamar passing again many points of interest - Comanche Nat'l Grasslands, Bent's Old Fort Nat'l Site, Fort Lyon and lots of what looks like interesting little town museums loaded with local history. Saw a number of antelopes, who have their own road crossing signs as do the elk in NM. Speaking of animal crossing signs, I forgot to mention in Balmorhea TX, the turkey abound around town and area and they also have their own road crossing signs!

At Granada CO I turned north on US385 towards Cheyenne Wells and east on US40 towards Oakley KS. By now I was accepting the fact that I was headed home, by Oakley I had resigned myself that home was my next stop. It was hard as I could have kept going. In Oakley, I saw what are blades, to those huge turbines used to generate electricity, going north on US83 somewhere. These trucks had 3 extra axles under the trailer and it was interesting watching them go around a corner - much like those long fire ladder trucks. Well, the rest of the trip home was uneventful if not a bit sad.

Oh, at Weskan KS on US40, I did have to go see Mt Sunflower, the highest point in Kansas at 4039 ft above sea level. I stopped there and had a short nap. It was so quiet and just invited me to put my head down.

The rest of the story consists of unhitching and unloading. You are not interested in that. Juno's dog did have one of his throwing up episodes along with difficulty in moving around - obviously in lots of discomfort and probably pain. She took him to the vet Friday morning and a small abscess was found on his liver (again). He's eating special food but after getting home from the vets, he seems in much better spirits. Today he's back to his usual self - waiting patiently for his milk from my cereal bowl and the toast crust from my toast. The vet would like to have a physical look at the area of the liver where the abscess is in the next week or so and then do what is necessary to minimize the return of the problem.

And that is where I am now - back to the routines. I feel refreshed and the next 4 months will go by fast and it will be time to head out somewhere for a few weeks again. I am glad I did it, I am proud of myself for doing it, and I am ready to go out again. I probably won't make any entries over the next 3 or 4 months, except to experiment. I will finish off with some pictures to my blog and to my Flickr site later today. Thank you to my kids, brother and friends for continued support and encouragement. Love ya all.
Emily

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Time to Move Towards Home

Wednesday, May 9th

It;s time to head home. Right now I am not ready to head home - I’ve had such a good time I want the feelings to continue. So now I know 2 weeks on the road isn’t my “time to head home” feeling. But, I have obligations to fulfill. During the month of June I will not be working but plan on devoting the month to doing some repairs and fix ups at my little house. I will work during July and August then have September and most of October off so maybe late September would be a good time to hit the road again somewhere for a few weeks before I need to winterize Eggcarto.

This has been a good shakedown trip. There isn’t a whole lot I would change with the way I initially packed Eggcarto but would work on utilizing the closet and the dresser drawers I made for under the bed for more efficient storage ; so far there are only a couple of items I won’t take again. I definitely won’t change my bed as it is very comfortable. I did not eat as much as I do at home (except at my son’s) and was glad I allowed for that, but it was awkward getting things out of the refrigerator. It seemed that whatever I needed was always in the back, so am going to make some boxes to slide out. And, there will be just a couple more items to purchase. One thing I do need is a couple of compasses - one for the truck and one for Eggcarto. I got turned around in my directions so many times.

Two nights in one place is not long enough for me. I’d set up, not do much the first afternoon or evening, explore the next day, then pack up again and move on after the second night. There are times when it’s nice to have times to just take it easy for a day, so adding at least one more night would have been nice. I am hoping to try just sitting in one spot for a week or two, after the first of the year.

Lack of internet access 24/7 took getting use to, but didn’t have much problem with my cell phone. I have a Trac phone and I learned from locals that if I had had one of the major cell phone company contracts - Alltel, ATT, etc. I would have had less service in the sparsely populated areas. Many of the locals use the prepaid phones like Trac phones. The only time I couldn’t get service was at the campground at Fort Davis, but others couldn’t get service either since we were in a deep canyon.

Well, Tuesday we were going to the El Camino Real International Heritage Center but learned they are closed on Tuesdays. Instead, Jim and I toured the Mineral Museum on campus at Tech. What an array of rocks - beautiful and in some cases unique shapes created by nature. I worked on my pictures that I have so far and put many of them on my Flickr site (see the link). We had some good rains off and on during the day and it was fun running in and out the storms.

For an early Mother’s Day dinner, Jim took me to. . . yes, you guessed it -Socorro Springs and I had my favorite pizza -ElFuego. I took a small handful of M&M’s when we got home, so the chocolate would quiet the fire in my mouth! Dang, that was good. Thank you son for my Mother’s Day meal.

This morning we will visit the Heritage Center, come back to Socorro and have lunch, finish loading up, hitch up Eggcarto and Big Red, I, Eggcarto and Friends will head north towards Santa Fe, Raton and Pueblo.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

LESSON #17

When in Socorro NM eat at Socorro Springs Restaurant & Brewery, just a couple blocks south of the 150 exit on I-25.

They have wood-fired pizza (and other items also) that is to die for. Try the ElFego pizza which has mozzie cheese, pepperoni and gobs of green chili peppers on their special crust. I first was introduced to them 4 or 5 years ago when they were in downtown Socorro and now they have built this really cool place up closer to the Interstate. It is one of my two favorite places to eat at here in Socorro. I have placed a link to their website in my “Favorite Places to Eat”.

The other place I recommend is El Sombrero on the east side of Exit 150 off I-25. They have been my favorite Mexican food place for many years. They do not have a website so just take my word for it.

Sunday, May 6

I literally blew into Socorro with very strong winds all the way from Columbus. Most of the time it was a side wind but I didn’t have any trouble with fishtailing. Twice I had a tail wind, wow. I was going to stop at the new El Camino Real International Heritage Center but with the late start and wanting to get here in time to see the flamenco dancers, I didn’t stop.

Son Jim and I went down to the plaza and listened to the mariachi bands playing and watched the dancers. I didn’t know flamenco dancing was an interpretive dance, once you have learned the basic steps. There were also 3 young dancers - one Hispanic, one Caucasian, one Asian. I had a brisket sandwich from a relatively new place here and sampled wines from area wineries. An interesting wine I tried (and bought a bottle) is made from honey. You can really taste the honey.

After coming back to son’s home, I watched various reports of the terrible tornado that went through Greensburg KS on Friday, wiping out 90% of the town. Oh my, what a tragedy for them. My heart goes out to them. Greensburg is known for having the World’s Largest Hand Dug Well. The family back at home, emailed me that the worst of the storms have gone east of them, so that is a relief for me. It is that time of the year when the changes in temperature are taking place in that part of the country becoming a breeding ground for tornados.

Socorro has really grown since I was here 3 or 4 years ago. How Jim got here is because he went to NM Institute of Mining & Technology, majoring in Astrophysics. The curriculum at the time focused on mining and technological subjects, creating a very small population and very specialized. Then about 7 or so years ago, the powers-that-be started expanding the majors available to include business and so on. Of course, this resulted in a growing population at the School over the next few years and subsequently it continues to increase. Consequently, the business community responded with expansions and new businesses; and, alas loss of some businesses. But the new and expansions appear to exceed the loss. While attending classes, Jim worked for the VLA (the Very Large Array - remember the movie “Contact” with Jodie Foster?) and then switched over to the VLBA (Very Long Baseline Array). He has been with the NRAO (National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the parent association) fulltime for over 18 years. Here’s a link to their website, if you would like more info or are curious.

We are just going to putter around. Jim is wanting to do something with his little patio so we'll go look to see what is available to work with here in town. He has laundry and exciting stuff like that to do. He doesn't go back to work until later in the week so we will have some time together.

Heard from daughter Juno, that they are escaping the bad weather. But, her dog Nipper is out-of-sorts so to speak and because of his age she is rightfully concerned. I am too because he is a good friend to me too. So all say a little doggie prayer for Nipper.

Probably won't post until it's time to leave on Wednesday. I have to be back to work on Saturday night and would like a couple of days to unpack, clean out Eggcarto and get back into a work mindframe for two more weeks. I am really going to try and work on those pictures over the next several days. I am trying. Have a good week.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Road Day

Saturday, May 5 Happy Cinco de Mayo folks

Today is travel day again, but not in any big rush to make it out of here at the crack of dawn, so to speak. Today I go to Socorro to spend some time with my son, Jim (or as his mom calls him-Jimmy). He works overnight and doesn’t get home until around 8 a.m. But, because Cinco de Mayo activities are taking place at the town plaza, he’s going to get up earlier than usual so we can go see the flamenco dancers at the Town Square at 4 p.m. The rest of the time that week spent with him is open. I know we will go eat at my very most favorite Mexican food restaurant there in Socorro a couple of times. I’ve been saving up for this.

I actually spent a quite day yesterday, sitting outside under the table canopy reading, watching the birds and the cactus blooming! It was around 90 degrees, according to my thermometer I put outside but really quite nice. A southwesterly wind was blowing and it made it feel cooler. High clouds starting coming in during the afternoon.

Columbus is interesting in that you find various businesses in the oddest places. it has a brand new Post Office, which serves pretty much as one of two ATM places. The public library is very nice for a small town and they have WiFi. I enjoyed my visit with the librarian. I visited the Museum here at Poncho Villa (spell it right this time) and it told me enough to keep me interested but not a lot of detail so that you skipped thru a lot of stuff.

On March 9, 1916 very early in the morning, Pancho Villa raided Columbus and the military camp here called Camp Furlong. Several buildings were burned and some people and soldiers killed during the raid. From here General Pershing launched his march into Mexico after Villa but never succeeded in capturing him. The Camp became a training base for aircraft and maintenance of military vehicles. Many of the remnants of those training facilities are still here. For some reason the brig is still standing while many of the other buildings are gone and just their foundations remain. There is a very thorough botanical garden here at the Park also. I went thru it in the early evening after it had cooled down.

Right outside my trailer door is a century plant with a very, very long stalk on it. I tried to put my fingers around the base of it (yes, it poked me a time or two or three) and I could not encircle the stalk. The yuccas and prickly pear are just starting to bloom where as in Texas the cactus were already blooming. I observed coming from El Paso 4 different changes in terrain. The first was volcanic, second I drove thru sand dunes, third was grasslands with lots of longhorn steers and here back to high desert. Something interesting I saw in the volcanic rock region (and I was told by Brad of Santa Fe to watch for this), was interesting little mounds of rocks alongside the highway. Some of them were like pyramids, others looked like arrows pointing, some were in circles. Brad told me that he learned that these are the efforts of one man who goes out to keep them current and they are directional signs for safe crossing by people crossing the border illegally. The Border Patrol and highway crews do knock them down, but he is right back out there putting them up.

I cannot ignore the Border Patrol. You can’t if you tried! Every third vehicle I saw coming to Columbus was a Border Patrol. You could see them out on the terrain where there was no road, they have helicopters going by every now and then. They have been very noticeable since I was at Seminole State Park. I have noticed them more here though. I think we are just a couple of miles from the border.

LESSON #15
Suntan lotion, remember to bring suntan lotion.

LESSON #16
Just like it’s okay to change your travel plans, it’s okay to do nothing, but observe and listen. It’s like watching the cactus bloom (sort of like we say - watching the grass grow.).

This morning I awoke early, fixed my coffee, did a few trip preparation things. When the coffee was done I went outside. The sun was just peaking over the horizon. The symphony of bird songs I heard, the scurrying around of the quail and cottontail bunnies, the baby birds wanting to be fed, watching the sun move across the ground, people getting up to take their dogs out for a morning walk. There goes a Western Tangier. Wow!

Until later.

Friday, May 4, 2007

And so it goes. . . .

Friday, May 4

Just finishing up my coffee and ready to have some breakfast. I look out my window and see blue sky, no signs of clouds, lots of prickly pear cactus, yuccas in bloom or about to bloom, some cottonwood trees, lots of doves, rabbits, lizards and roadrunners. It’s a beautiful morning after an eventful night here at Pancho Villa State Park.

More later. I wanted to finish up my tour of Fort Davis first. Since I don’t have access to what I have already said I may repeat myself. The town of Fort Davis is interesting. If you are into unique and interesting shopping, it is the place for you. There is a lot of restoration going on and there is a lot not. The not gives you a sense of history of this place and stirs the imagination of what it was like during the Fort’s heyday and after it was closed down. There is a strong Hispanic influence in architecture, layout of the town and the friendly feel of the local folks. It is an artisans community too. It’s on my list of places to see and spend more time at. My brother Fran would like this area.

A couple, that was from the Rally pulled in right behind me but I didn’t get a chance to go say hi. I saw several other Casitas in the Park also. Wednesday, night the 2 other couples I had mentioned from TX and LA, and I had dinner together at the Black Bear Lodge. The two men are a riot and their wives are great 2nds. We had a lot of laughs and I noticed the tables around us laughing too at some of the things we were talking about. It was fun. And oh, I took back to the trailer a really delicious piece of lemon meringue pie, so had that with a glass of cold milk before going to bed.

It was really cold Wed night and I was prepared with an extra blanket. Thursday morning we all met at the dump station and said our goodbyes. It was like Dave (TX) said we were parting like the old time westerns where 3 compadries had come together to whip the bad guys and then ride off in different directions at the end.

That pretty much brings you up-to-date on my trip so far, except for last night.

LESSON #12
Always check to make sure the caps on bottles and tubes are on tight, especially the shampoo!

LESSON #13
Try and arrive at a park before it closes so you know which sites have electricity and which ones may have the electrical boxes but no longer are functioning, especially finding out after you have set up.

Little explanation on that one. I did arrive after the park office had closed so you go find a spot and then register the next morning. There is a Camp Host but they weren’t home at the time, so I drove around looking for one with water and electricity AND some shade. I found one with an electrical box and water faucet. I got set up (which is getting much faster now), got my water hooked up and then noticed a padlock on the electrical box. Humph, I thought, must be a security issue - maybe to keep aliens from hooking up at night to charge up their spaceships and take off in the early morning hours before being caught. Since the Camp Host folks weren’t home, I put my head down for a nap and woke up around 8:30 pm and went over to the Host’s site to see if they could remove the padlock. She told me that my site and the one next to it only comes with water. Grrrrrrrrrr. It was dark and I was too tired to move again and reset up. So that’s what I did this morning. As I just mentioned, the taking down and setting up routine is getting much faster!

Breakfast is done and shower here I come. I have to remind myself that I don’t need to put as much milk on my cereal here as I do at home and that I can eat the whole piece of toast. It is a ritual with my daughter’s dog Nipper, that he gets the left over milk from my cereal and the crust from my toast.

Oh, have to tell you one more story from Fort Davis. Thursday morning I was attempting to get some pictures of the deer around my campsite as they come so close to you. Daphanie, in the campsite next to me said that on Wednesday night she had been sitting in her chair and had a glass of wine in the cup holder. She got up to go get something and when she came back out of her trailer, yup you guessed it - one of the deer was investigating her wine and drank most of it!

LESSON # 14
Don’t lock yourself out of your trailer! Have extra keys made for the trailer and truck!

While I have the chance am going to get this sent to my blog and then go do some sightseeing. Until tomorrow.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

And, it's Thursday, so that must mean road travel

Thursday, May 3

This is really going to be a long posting when i get to do it. I am at Balmorhea State Park right now. There are springs here used for many thousands of years. The Indians used the springs for irrigation purposes and in 1851 the first canals were built by first settlers, the Mexicans. Many years later, the CCC was involved in reconstruction of the pool area, as well as building a motor court and campground. The campground and motor court have been updated and re in current use. Very flat, low desert vegetation and lots of birds - probably singing so much because of the water.

The pool is huge, from 3 to 20 ft deep. The spring produces over 1 million gallons of water an hour! You swim with fish, turtles and whatever is in there. There was someone scuba diving while I walked around.

Right now am sitting about 40 miles east of El Paso at a Texas rest area with wifi. Am taking advantage of this and will send this on to and can add more later for today. I must be a road hazard to all the truckers - their speed limit is 70, vehicles is 80 and I am doing 60. Hey, ain’t in no hurry.

My plans are to continue on I-10 to El Paso, then go one of several ways to Columbus NM for tonight and tomorrow night. If I can find little state roads I’ll head across the bottom of NM; otherwise it;s up to Las Cruces and west to Deming then south to Columbus. The Public Library in Columbus has wifi, so hopefully can send some more out.

Learning more about west Texas. . . .

Tuesday, May 1

It’s May Day! Happy May Day to all you readers. Had a good shower, stuff is packed inside almost ready to go. My banged shin hurt for awhile then I finally fell asleep. And, naturally no rain since I closed the windows!

LESSON #11
In order to use the water at your camping site you are paying for, you must turn it on after hooking up! DA!

The two other Casita folks left around 9 a.m. That’s when I would have left also, but alas my door lock wouldn’t lock. So I spent an hour taking it apart, putting back together, trying it out, taking it apart, putting it back together and trying it out. Finally, about the 4th time I got it right -no let me rephrase that - it stayed together long enough for me to get it attached to the door. Finally on the road again. The other two Casitas had stopped at Langtry and I continued onward. The overcast started to clear away and it started warming up, I turned the AC on low and it felt good. Since there weren’t any radio stations I wanted to listen to (I found 4), I plugged in my CD’s and sang my way down the road. Glad it was only my 3 friends to hear me and they are deaf anyway.

The area is mostly ranching, though saw little in cattle but a lot of goats and sheep at first. I didn’t see cattle until I got to the higher elevations and less rocky terrain. It’s very barren, with mostly your succulent plants. One yucca beside the highway was very, very tall and was covered with 5 blossom stems. I had never seen one that tall - you could stand 3 men on each other’s shoulders and it was taller than that. It was beautiful. I stopped and fueled up at Sanderson on US 90 and bought some groceries. With the AC on, pulling the trailer, and climbing I managed to get 14.3 mpg. I was really surprised. Course I wasn’t driving over 60 mph either!

It wasn’t too long after Sanderson, that the other 2 Casitas caught up with me. I stayed with them until Alpine where they fueled up and I went on to Fort Davis State Park. They came in as I was finishing my registration. Alpine is the home of Sul Ross State University and what a massive presence it has in Alpine. When I was in college back in the XX’s, Sul Ross’s rodeo team was always a strong contender at the college rodeos I went to. Some years it dominated the region and the national collegiate rodeos.

This is a beautiful place, high up in elevation, mountains. The campground is quite large and accommodates all kinds of camping - they even have cable TV hookup. Up the road aways is the McDonald Observatory. I will be visiting there as well as Historic Fort Davis back down the road. We are nestled in a wide canyon where it is cooler than out on the Plains.

Just last Sunday (when we were getting rained on) they had a tornado hit right outside the Park entrance. It took out one tree apparently just bouncing down on that poor tree and then back up into the air. There had not been one recorded in the history of this particular area. The other couples and I had a late lunch/dinner at the beautiful Indian Lodge’s Bear Restaurant (there are black bear living in the area). This was built by CCC workers in the 30’s. I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow.

After our delicious meal, I came back to take a short nap before going to the Observatory for Star Night, but didn’t wake up until 8:30 and too late to go. I finished unpacking stuff and will be getting ready for bed here in a bit. Good night and sleep tight.



Wednesday, May 2

I had all the windows open last night so I could hear the “night sounds” and there were many. The moonlight came through the back window and it was cozy in here. It got cold around 5 a.m. so I turned the heater on for awhile to take the chill off.

Today, I plan on taking the Skyline Drive up the mountain, visiting the Observatory and Historic Fort Davis AND finding somewhere to send my emails out and update my blog. Am taking lots of pictures but looks like I may have to work on that when I get to my son’s place next weekend.

While waiting for my water to heat up for my shower, I stepped outside and saw some deer right across the road from my camp site. They acknowledged my presence but continued on with their foraging. Would like to have gotten a picture but they blended in with the foliage.

I met the couple next to me and they are from the Baton Rouge area - Randy and Daphanie - on their way to California. Randy helped me with backing the trailer into my spot. We visited about places to see on the way to California and I told him I was going to

Well, found a laundrymat so will catch you up on the days activities. I drove up Skline Drive to the top of a mountain and WOW what view all the way around. The gradual rise of the plains to the east to mountains, thunder clouds developing around the mountains was quite a site to see. Down the mountain scenic drive to the McDonald Observatory. Lo and behold there were my Louisiania neighbors. we had a 45 minute intro to what they do and what they look for, how the telescopes work, etc. We did get to see very brieftly a shot of the sun, a sunspot and some solar flares before the clouds blocked out the view.

On a bus we rode up to see the second telescope built on the mountain, I think it is now around 40-50 years old but is still used. The tour guide showed us how it moves up and down and around and how the cover moves to accomodate the telescope. When we came out of the show, the mountain top was in clouds so we couldn’t see much. The guide explained how the telescope works (don’t ask but it has mirrors that reflect or refract - son is going to kill me not using the right terminology) When we came out of the observatory the sun had come out, we loaded back into the bus and headed for the newest telescope. It was different in that it has 91 curved mirrors to receive (that much I remember). It is tied for being the 3rd largest telescope in the world. The scenry was of more interest to me - sorry astronomy buffs, but you can check out more info at their website: http://mcdonaldobservatory.org

From there I went to Historic Fort Davis. What a huge fort. The size drawfs me. Very nicely restored too and you are able to see inside some buildings. The parade ground is huge and at night before turning in, the soldiers would line up by their companies for review and they would have to march around the parade ground twice - the first time at a cadence of 100 beats per minute and the second time around 165 beats per minute. No wonder they slept good after that, including the band members.

Finished laundry and caught up with my Casita friends from Louisiana and Texas at the Black Bear Restaurant at the Lodge and am now enjoying this simply scrumptious lemon meringue pie with a cup of coffee. Then I’ll be ready for a shower and bed. Good night.

Am prepared for rain!

Monday, April 30th

Windows are closed tonight. I just stepped out to make sure everything is locked up and there are clouds. I am not taking any chances tonight on getting a wet bed!

Today I drove over to Langtry to visit the Tx Information Center located there. First I want to say that I was very impressed with the staff and facilities. Very neat, clean, informative and up-to-date. I was able to get my blog updated but that was it. i did get some emails in but was unable to get any out, so please forgive me if you haven’t received your response yet.

I toured Judge Roy Bean’s original saloon, walked through the botanical garden and loved all the flowering cactus and related plants. i drove around Langtry and read all the historical markers. On the way back to the trailer I stopped and looked at Bison Jump. This is where the natives would run the buffalo over the edge of a cliff and then harvest the meat and hides. They did not have horses at that time and this is how they would furnish their families food and clothing for the winters.

I stopped and looked at the high walls the Pecos River has carved through the thousands of years as it merges with the Rio Grande River. The last 60 miles of the River are through high cliff areas. The rains of last night had not made it down to the mouth of the Pecos yet but there was a mighty lot of water already. I could see the Rio Grande about a half mile to the south of where I was. Many times along the way, there was the Border Patrol stopping and looking through binoculars towards the rivers. It appears to be a constant vigil they keep.

No lessons learned today, except if you want to count the misstep I just did getting in the trailer and hitting my shin. It smarts. I did learn a little something about Texas history so that makes up for the misstep. Did you know that Texas is the only State that can fly its State flag at the same height as the US flag?

Off to the Fort Davis Mountain area. I did download pictures to my computer and did some editing on them. Hopefully, I will have better luck the next several days at getting some pictures set up, either on the site or as sets on my Flickr.com site.

Good night.