Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Friday, 29 May 2009

Cruising West Texas

Fort Davis, Texas

We've been cruising the highways of the plains and mountains of West Texas. The picture below is a lobby of a hotel in Marfa, Texas. The cast of "Giant" stayed here while the movie was being filmed (James Dean, Rock Hudson). I saw Giant with my parents in the old Tampa Theatre before it became a historical relic.

We visited the Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine, Texas. It's at a very nice Texas State University. I could live in Alpine. Maybe I could resume my teaching career? This is a picture of the Rio Grande that was n one of the HDTV exhibits in the museum.

The roads here are my favorite kind: two-lane, well-maintained and light traffic. They have an elaborate rest stop on US 90 between Alpine and Marfa where you can see "mystery lights" every evening. I saw some of those myself back at Seminole Canyon during the thunderstorm. It appeared to be a phosphorescent bird of some sort flitting about between lightning strikes.

I had to laugh at this sign in the museum. It was certainly true for me. Viet Nam? Is that a real place? Laos? Cambodia? How about Cebu City in the Philippines? Johnston Island? Guam?

We enjoyed our visit to the McDonald Observatory, run by the University of Texas. They only do spectral analysis. One telescope has a 372 inch mirror and a very clever money-saving design. They've come up with a theory to explain the somewhat empty, fuzzy center of a number of brighter, larger galaxies. They think that in many cases, revolving binary black holes act like an egg-beater and fling stars away from the galaxy center with gravity waves. They're setting up for an experiment tonight to try to learn more about "dark matter".

We run across some strange plants on the desert roadside. There are two mechanical problems. We have a flat tire on the Toyota. The local gas station doesn't have my size in a new tire , but they sell me a used radial with lots of tread for $15. I love small towns they are so honest and basic.. My camera finally died. It was damaged in a fall I took at Gibraltar last month. I buy a new one in the Alpine Radio Shack. The clerk says I am the second person in three years to give her both ID and a credit card at the time of purchase. I ask her if Alpine has as much credit card fraud as Miami and she laughs and says she knows almost all her customers by name.

Here are a few cactus flowers.

We see a lot of open road as we cruise the Davis Mountains. My favorite place was Alpine, a small town with good food and a modern state university. Fort Davis is nice too. High, cool with Uncle Buck's liquor store and a public library that sells used books to gypsies like us.

We're leaving Texas in the morning. However we will stop in El Paso on the way out to get my new Z-coil spring shoes.

1 comment:

  1. Doubt I could live in Alpine, loved Marfa and the area you are exploring. Good luck with the shoes....SIL