Gone to Texas

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Gone to Texas

Postby Tom&Shelly » Sun Mar 31, 2024 12:26 pm

"You can go to hell, I will go to Texas"--Davy Crockett

We decided to take a trip down to Austin to visit relatives the last two weeks of March. It was nice to catch some warm Spring weather a little early for those of us who live in mountains!

We had reservations for Abiline State Park as a way point, but it seemed like a good idea to break it up into two shorter drives, so we planned to leave after lunch a day early and spend the first night in Roswell at Bottomless Lakes SP NM. Then, a late winter storm was predicted, and we decided to leave a day earlier still and outrun the worst of the weather. :rainy: Unfortunately, we couldn't get a reservation at Bottomless Lakes that night, so we spent the first night at Oasis SP NM near Clovis

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Best thing about Oasis is that I forgot to take a picture of it last time we were there, so I got two this time. It wasn't very windy until about 15 minutes after we got there, and then we caught the edge of the winter storm. :snowstorm: It's right on the edge of West Texas, and I suspect always windy. It was a point to stop, and it was warmer and less snowy than Cedar Crest, but I can't recommend it as a destination.

Roswell should have been better, but it wasn't. Still rainy, and the facilities at Bottomless Lakes were poorly maintained. No benches in the showers, which had water all over the floor. One men's room which was not cleaned and was, in fact, unusable.

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However, we did spend the afternoon in Roswell and visited the Miniatures and Curious Collections Museum, and the Roswell Museum. The latter has, among other things, some of the tools that Robart Goddard used for his early rocket tests, as well as pictures and information about him and those experiments. Shelly made a deal with the Miniatures and Curious Collections Museum to display some of her doll house furniture and sell them on consignment, so we even got some business done while we were there!

Abiline SP TX, by contrast was very nice, and a bit warmer, though still cool and rainy when we got there

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Good clean rest rooms, warm showers, and the trees were starting to green, so a vast improvement all round!

On our way there, we stopped at Sweetwater Texas at the National WASP Museum. For awhile during World War II, they trained women who had private pilot's licenses to fly military aircraft there. Worth maybe an hour, and a good break since we had the time.

(Continued)

Tom
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Re: Gone to Texas

Postby Tom&Shelly » Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:03 pm

At Abiline SP, we hiked a nature trail, enjoying the warm (for us) weather. Took our first showers of the trip and visited a farmers market and two thrift stores in the afternoon. Had some good rain, so I'm glad we didn't hang around the camp. 58 feels a lot cooler in humid weather than it does in the mountains!

The next day we drove to Bastrop SP, East of Austin. Sunny drive, but a little rain over the first night.

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Another nice campsite!

We drove to San Antonio and saw The Alamo

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In the exhibit hall there is a model of the mission as it was in February/March 1836, with a narration of the events of the battle. By great luck, they had the "Travis Letter" on display for a few days; a very rare event. This is the letter Travis sent to the provisional government of Texas appealing for reinforcements. IIRC, they quote it in the John Wayne movie. It ends with "Victory or Death"

On a lighter note, I imagine these guys' ancestors were there at the battle

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We had lunch down on San Antonio's River Walk, which is also a nice walk, with tourist shops.

In Austin, we saw the LBJ Presidental Library, and the Bullock Museum. I was almost a little disappointed with the library. There wasn't much on display about what Johnson did as a congressman or as President, although there were several displays on events that were happening at the time. We asked a docent about what LBJ did to earn a Silver Star in World War II, and she didn't know anything about what he did in the Navy. I was much more impressed by the George H. W. Bush museum at College Station. Perhaps, though, there is more of LBJ's history at his ranch, which is now run by the National Park Service. It is West of Austin and on our list for a future trip.

We thought of driving back to Austin to see the state capitol, but decided we needed a break from city traffic. Another time...

Tom
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Re: Gone to Texas

Postby Tom&Shelly » Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:44 pm

Buesher State Park is right next to Bastrop. Both have camping. Can't comment on the camping at Buesher, but there is a nice drive with a scenic overlook where we had lunch one day.

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So nice to wear shorts and a short sleeve T-shirt after a long Winter!

Tom
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Re: Gone to Texas

Postby Tom&Shelly » Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:03 pm

From Austin, we drove to Davis Mountain State Park TX, in the Western part of the state. Long drive in which we left the blue bonnets and other wildflowers along the roadways behind, and entered land that looks like New Mexico.

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Much, much lower than home, though...

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In what had become a common theme for this trip, it was cold and windy when we arrived, so we found a Mexican restaraunt in Ft Davis, a few minutes from the campsite. We cooked two dutch oven meals this whole trip, and I never had the chance to try out my home-made grill. We bought ourselves lots of meals! Oh well, we're looking forward to nice weather later this Spring. If you are in this area, there are only a few places to eat in Ft Davis, but more in Alpine.

Our first morning in the area we toured Fort Davis (NPS)

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Hoodoo you love? (I know, that would be better with pictures of Bryce Canyon. I'll re-use it when we get some. Or maybe I'll say "Hoodoo that voodoo that you do so well?", or something.)

That afternoon, we drove to Alpine and discovered the library has a room where they sell used books; a sure way to stop Shelly and me. We should have probably stayed for dinner, but instead drove back by way of Marfa. (Didn't ask about the lights.) It was windy when we got back and we found the only place open in town was a very busy bar and grill. Good enough!

Tom
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Re: Gone to Texas

Postby Tom&Shelly » Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:14 pm

There is a nice drive, "Skyline Drive", up to a peak at Davis Mountain State Park.

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Our teardrop is hiding near the middle of that first picture. Gives a nice idea of the campsites. The Lodge is closed, but scheduled to reopen this year.

Also, there are a few of these commercial greenhouses down there. Guess that's where the strawberries you find in stores in Fall and Winter are grown

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The second day, we spent the afternoon on a guided tour of McDonald Observatory

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Having worked at an observatory where we measured atmospheric turbulence, I'm always a little surprised (but shouldn't be) when I go to one where they simply regard turbulence as a nuisance rather than trying to learn more about it. Astronomers are a little weird!
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Re: Gone to Texas

Postby Tom&Shelly » Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:31 pm

From Davis Mountain, we drove to Pancho Villa State Park New Mexico. On the way, we saw signs for a museum I should have known about, but didn't: The War Eagles Air Museum at Dona Ana International Jetport in Santa Teresa.

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Worth an hour or more, if you are an aviation enthusiast.

Oh, I wanted to show Shelly's interesting parking job. If we had to, she could have taken only two spaces. But the lot was nearly empty.

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Pancho Villa SP is located in Columbus NM, where Poncho Villa invaded the US back in 1916

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He retreated when he found out the plumbing at the park wasn't working. We stayed

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In hindsight, we should have taken showers at Davis Mountain that morning, despite the cold. At Pancho Villa, it broke 80 that afternoon, and a shower would have been nice.

The next day, we drove up to Rock Hound SP NM, where one is allowed to leave the trail and pick up interesting geodes and other rocks. We found some nice Jasper, but no geodes.

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We had actually tried to book reservations at this park,

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but they were full so we settled for Pancho Villa. But, while at Rock Hound, we did use the showers! :twisted:

We wanted to visit the exhibit hall at Pancho Villa, which should have been open, and allegedly has artifacts of the punitive expedition, but they were closed, possibly for Good Friday.

It was very windy (did I mention that before?) so we decided it was time to head home.

Tom
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Re: Gone to Texas

Postby RJ Howell » Mon Apr 01, 2024 7:08 am

Sounds like, short of rain, you folks had some fun! if you haven't yet, the Mission trail in San Antonio is cool! Especially on an e-bike (you can rent for the day).

Safe Travels!
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Re: Gone to Texas

Postby Tom&Shelly » Mon Apr 01, 2024 10:28 am

RJ Howell wrote:Sounds like, short of rain, you folks had some fun! if you haven't yet, the Mission trail in San Antonio is cool! Especially on an e-bike (you can rent for the day).

Safe Travels!


Great idea! Thank you RJ!

We have the Mission Trail on our list of "wanna do's", but didn't have time this time around. (And after driving to San Antonio one day and through Austin traffic the next, we had had enough city traffic for awhile.) We were thinking of walking Mission Trail, but we had plenty of hikes available. We like the idea of renting e-bikes--we haven't tried those before. :thumbsup:

We did have fun. Rain/wind are the risks of Spring camping, as we all know. Woke up this morning to an inch of snow here in the East Mountains of NM, so that sort of weather isn't finished yet in these parts.

Tom
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Re: Gone to Texas

Postby philpom » Tue Apr 02, 2024 5:25 pm

What a great trip! A big belated "Welcome to Texas" to y'all! Driving out to West Texas can get a little lonely depending on where you are heading, we try to take the road less traveled.
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Re: Gone to Texas

Postby Tom&Shelly » Thu Apr 04, 2024 8:11 am

philpom wrote:What a great trip! A big belated "Welcome to Texas" to y'all! Driving out to West Texas can get a little lonely depending on where you are heading, we try to take the road less traveled.


Thank you Phil. We enjoyed it so much we're thinking of heading back in a few weeks to far West Texas to see Big Bend and possibly even get some good warm weather. (If not, there are a few museums we can visit.) Shelly has to set up her doll house display at the museum in Roswell NM, so we'll likely combine the trips.

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