Our first venture into Texas was an eye opener. The trip from Carlsbad, New Mexico to Fort Davis, Texas took us through the fracking fields of the West Texas Oil. This road was literally covered in garbage, had lots of huge potholes and was filled with massive transport trucks. So, for the first hour of driving we were wishing we were still in New Mexico. It wasn’t until we
arrived in the rolling hills around Davis Mountain that we settled into a feeling of “this is better”. We spent three days at Fort Davis, and for us, this is all we needed as there was not alot to do. The first day was a beautiful sunny day so we went for a nice long hike in Mount Davis State Park, which took us up on a spine and gave us nice views of the surrounding area.
The next day we cycled up to MacDonald Observatory. This was a great, but very hard cycle! It took us almost 28 km and 440 m in elevation just to get there! We were there to have a tour of the facilities, which was led by an amateur astronomer and included a short film on the history of the Observatories. Before heading up to the domes, we saw a few live images of the sun via their solar telescope. We got to go into the 2.7 m Harlan J Smith telescope and then the 9.2 m Hobby-Eberly telescope which is the third largest in the world. The ride home was amazing of course, because it was mostly downhill 🙂 with a few inclines near the end, just to remind us that it was still supposed to be our workout. It was a fun afternoon, just a little different because usually when we are at an observatory we are with Robert and his peeps and we have a back stage pass.
From Fort Davis we drove eastward to the “Hill Country” of Fredericksburg, Texas. This made us feel “at home” a little bit as Fredericksburg is a town with German heritage. It was founded in 1846 by Baron Otfried Hans von Meusebach, new Commissioner General of the “Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas”. The emigration was in part the liberal, educated Germans fleeing the social, political and economic conditions that later resulted in the Revolution of 1848, and in part working-class Germans. Baron von Meusebach renounced his noble title and became known in Texas as John O. Meusebach. He brokered the 1847 Treaty between the Comanche and the German Immigration Company. The treaty was unique in that it did not take away the rights of the Penateka Comanche, but was an agreement that the Comanche and settlers would mutually share the land, co-existing in peace and friendship. The native American signers of the treaty were only from the Penateka band. It is one of the very few treaties with native American tribes that was never broken. We did a guided walking tour of the town, and what was special about that, was in our group we had the great-granddaughter AND the great-great granddaughter of John Meusebach! It is a very vibrant town and was fun to spend the day walking around it.
It also made us feel like spring had arrived in the south as the flowers were in bloom and the Mountain Laurel tree was full of beautiful purple flowers. Just outside of town is Enrichment Rock State Park where a very small percentage of the 250 square kilometer rock is sticking out of the ground. However, a small percentage of such a big rock is still a very large rock! We spent the afternoon hiking up to the top and then around it in the beautiful sunshine. We started our quest for seeing the Painted Bunting, a multi coloured bird that comes up from Mexico to bread in the southern States. It is known to be in the park starting in March but alas, we did not see one.
Our next location took us south to San Antonio, Texas. We picked this park because it is located on the bus route, which was only 100m from our home! So the next morning we got on the bus and rode 20 minutes to downtown San Antonio and the Alamo! “REMEMBER THE ALAMO” “REMEMBER THE ALAMO” was a battle cry in which the bitterness of the Texans over the massacres by Mexican forces at the Alamo in San Antonio, and at Goliad, found expression. The Battle of the Alamo. In December 1835, in the early stages of Texas’ war for independence from Mexico, a group of Texan volunteers led by George Collinsworth and Benjamin Milam overwhelmed the Mexican garrison at the Alamo and captured the fort, seizing control of San Antonio. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar, killing all of the Texan defenders. … About 100 Texans were then garrisoned at the Alamo.
It was an interesting few hours. The other famous feature of the city is the River Walk. It is the downtown channel of the San Antonio River that weaves itself through the city and is now a city park. With lots of shops and restaurants it is a leisurely way to spend an afternoon. After eating at a “Texas” barbeque” restaurant for lunch and enjoying a 60 oz margarita it was time to head home.
On the road again! Today when we stopped for gas, Larry went to pay and couldn’t find his Visa. After a few moments of panic he realized that he had left it at the bar after drinking his half of the 60oz margarita! We phoned the bar and, yes, they had our Visa, along with several others! Apparently this happens frequently! so we had a good chuckle!
After spending the winter in the desert we were headed to the beach! In Port Aransas, TX with a RV site located a couple hundred meters from the Gulf of Mexico we headed out to explore our beach. We soon learned that we had to share it with hundreds of college students that were there to party their spring break away. It provided hours of entertainment for us old folks as they partied all day long. The nice thing was that by 23:00 the city by-laws said they had to continue the party elsewhere, so then it was quiet! Hurricane Harvey came through here 6 mths ago, and there was still a lot of damage. Many business were still not open, so we helped out the economy as much as we could and did some shopping and had a really nice seafood dinner!! One major outing we did this week was to head south to the Padre Island National Seashore. After a nice walk on the beach we joined a 2 hour bird watching excursion. We were introduced to 39 different sea birds, swallows and raptors with half of them being new birds to us “amateur” birders.
On our way home we stopped at a pier side pub for dinner. Along with some fresh fish from the gulf we were entertained with some karaoke. There were two separate young girls that sang and was well worth the price of admission. They were probably not any older then 12 years old, but what incredible voices! So after a week of walking the beach, a little bit of cycling and eating some fresh fish, it was time to pack up again. The next destination was Big Bend NP which was a 10 hour drive so, we were splitting it up over two days with a stop for the night in Del Rios, Texas.