Sunday, November 2, 2008

Night number 3 in Texas...

Yep, you read that right - third night in Texas! Tonight, though, we're in El Paso and could see Mexico from the highway! During yesterday's drive we were amazed at the number of windmills we saw. Mind you, they are 400 feet tall! I wouldn't want to live near one, but I think we will see more and more in the future as the US moves towards it's goal of independent energy sources. We arrived in Alpine yesterday afternoon and spent one night there with friend, Eleanor. What a pretty area! There are mountains all around the area. It's very peaceful and quiet - though Sul Ross University is there. Eleanor has lots of bird feeders out, but some very different birds than we see in St. Charles! About 15 minutes after we arrived at her home the wild turkeys arrived! Much to our amazement, they even ate from the same type of finch feeder that we have! It was quite a sight to see such large birds on a perch! Today neighbor Barb joined Eleanor, and us, at Indian Lodge (at Ft. Davis State Park) for brunch in their Black Bear Restaurant. The lodge was built in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps - a method of work created by Franklin Roosevelt during the great depression. My father was in the CCC when he was a young man/late teen. Interestingly, a gentleman and his wife were waiting to go into the restaurant with us (they don't open until 12:00 for brunch) and he told me that his brother had been in the CCC and had helped to build Indian Lodge, where we were! Brunch was tasty, and enjoyed by all, to say the least. After brunch we went up to McDonald Observatory to tour around a bit. McDonald Observatory is a classic observatory run by the University of Texas - Austin. It is home to an 82" telescope built in the '30's; 107" built in the '70's; and a new technology 10 meter built in the '90's. We were able to go in to see the new HET (Hobby-Ebberly telescope - 10 meter) through a visitors gallery. They have beautiful grounds there, including an outdoor amphitheater for public observing. After that we were back to Eleanor's to pack up and hit the road. Each stopping place has found us hunting down Annie from where ever she is hiding, to load into her cat carrier. Today was no exception - finding her in the under carriage of a swivel/rocking easy chair! The only time we're sure of getting everyone loaded is when we are in a motel room with fewer places to hide. We considered staying a second night in Alpine, however it's good to get a couple of hundred miles further down the road. Tomorrow should bring us home to Tucson by mid afternoon. At that point, we should have logged somewhere in the vicinity of 2000 miles. It will be good to be home!

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