Oracle Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.

Oracle Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.
Oracle Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

McDonald Observatory...NOT

Ft. Davis, Texas:
Today we drove across the rest of New Mexico. Speed limit in New Mexico on I-10 is 75 mph. Wow. Trip was going well until we got to El Paso, Texas.

El Paso is a BIG city with lots of traffic. The drive was harrowing for me in my Escape pod. It was even worse for Bob in the pickup towing a 33' 5th wheel trailer! The lanes were narrow and there were droves of semi trucks on the freeway. At one point, Bob had to slam on the brakes as a semi stopped suddenly in front of him. He said he missed hitting it by inches. Today's drive wore him out.

Speed limit on the freeway east of El Paso is 80 mph. Yippee! No traffic tickets for me as that is my preferred speed. (Shhhh. Don't tell anyone.) We stopped at a rest area 35 miles east of El Paso and ate tuna fish sandwiches in the 5er. Gave the kitties a break from the car too. 

Farther east, just after we passed into the Central Time Zone and just before the town of Van Horn, I witnessed an "accident" of sorts. I-10 westbound is up higher than I-10 eastbound. At first I wasn't sure what was happening in the dirt and gravel center median above me. I watched a white pickup truck spin several times in the gravel. Then a bright red pickup truck came careening down the embankment of the median at full speed toward the eastbound lanes of I-10. It crossed both lanes of I-10 behind me and in front of the guy behind me, then went down off the side of the freeway into the sagebrush. I did not see anyone at the wheel and I did not see any brake lights on the red truck as it vanished into the brush. 

In Van Horn, I went into a convenience store and called 911. The dispatcher sent the police out within five minutes, but they could not find the white pickup in the median and could not see the red pickup in the sagebrush. I told the dispatcher that the truck was going very fast when it hit the sagebrush so it could be a little way off the freeway. They were still looking for it when I left.

The rest of our drive to Ft. Davis, Texas was uneventful. Originally a frontier military post, Ft. Davis became a stop on the Old Overland Trail. In 1858, a Butterfield Overland stagecoach rolled across the country in the first transcontinental mail delivery connecting Missouri to California. A year later, the stagecoaches were re-routed through Ft. Davis, along the San Antonio-El Paso Rd.

This evening I planned to go to McDonald Observatory for a Star Party at 9:00 p.m. (Ft. Davis has one of the darkest skies in the nation.) I was supposed to be there by 8:30 p.m. Remember that time zone change I mentioned earlier? Well, after we walked the historic walk in town, we ate dinner and I got online. I noticed that my computer had not changed the time to Central Time. Suffice it to say, I was an hour off. When I thought it was time for me to go, it was already 8:45 p.m. Central Time. I would not have made it in time as the Observatory is 17 miles from town. Bummer!

Tomorrow morning, we plan to do the scenic roads in the area and visit state and historic parks. 11:00 a.m. is checkout time from our campground so we will be back here in time to pack up the 5er. From here, we can easily make it to Big Bend National Park by afternoon. We anticipate no internet for two to three days. I'll blog again when we have an internet connection.

Here are pics from today.

Soap tree yucca along US 90 in Texas
Marfa, Texas
Where we stayed in Ft. Davis, Texas.
Our campsite: #10
Jeff Davis County Courthouse, Ft. Davis

Hotel Limpia

Veranda at Hotel Limpia

Bob checking out the bikes

Backdrop of the town of Ft. Davis.

San Antonio-El Paso Rd. Historical Marker

Old water tower.


  1. Too bad about not making it to the observatory. Steve and I really enjoyed going to the Goldendale Observatory in Washington the other night. Besides us there was just one other couple and they didn't stay the whole time as they got cold. We were able to see Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn through the telescope along with a lot of constellations without the scope. Now at Lazy Bend waiting to start our first workcamping job. All the people we've met so far are so nice and helpful. Think this is going to be a great experience for us.

  2. Hi Steve & Joan,
    If you get a chance, go to Goldendale Observatory in the daytime. We've viewed the sun through their sun telescope. Way cool!


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