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The first stop was to Bo and Linda Johnson's house to see Travis, Chase, Tanner, Taylor, Niki and Duncan.

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Cool pool with a beach!

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All of the mothers were busy.

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Travis learning how to drink coke from his sister.

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The "pet" spider.

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Mimi and Travis

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Sunrise the morning we left for Austin and points west.
We had been camping at a park on Georgetown lake.

The next stop was the Sullivan place in Austin to see Quinn and his new family.

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Travis came down to see Quinn, and found Nana is lots of fun.

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Nicolle and Quinn

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These guys are a lot of work!

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Poor mom - can't even eat her own lunch.

Then off to South Llano River State Park to spend the night (Junction, TX area).

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We left the trailer connected to the car, ready for a quick departure the next day.

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There were plenty of wild turkeys, deer and........

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... Jackrabbits

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Entry point for tubing

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Not very much water, but there were a LOT of kids in the river every afternoon.

Finally here! - Davis Mountains State Park.  We are looking forward to COOL nights and mild, dry days.

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Campground - our trailer on the right.

Friday and Saturday were full, but there were only 2 other trailers on our loop during the week.

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Skyline drive goes to the top of this ridge and continues to the overlook where we had good cell phone service (about 2 miles).

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Web page upload location at the end of skyline drive!  The city of Ft. Davis is in the valley below.

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Panorama view from the top of Skyline Drive.

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Interesting "column" rocks near city of Ft. Davis.

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These are cool cactus plants.

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A young mule deer in the campsite.

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Sunday we took a tour of the McDonald Observatory.
This is inside the 107" telescope building on Mt. Locke
(mirror and working end).

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The new 400" Hobby-Eberly telescope on Mt. Fowlkes (and Doris on the phone!).

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This telescope is used entirely for spectroscopy.
Note that it floats on air berings.

We did not see much exciting stuff in Marfa!

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Card production started on Monday.

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Cute tent "complex" for small kids!

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Monday night was clear and cool (jackets!).  This is not a cloud - it is the Milky Way. 

Lightning on Sunday night - not much star gazing!

Day trip to Big Bend

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Mitre Peak near Alpine

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Terlingua is West of Big Bend

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Terlingua cemetary

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Some still live here. Note satellite dish!

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You use what you have for insulation!

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West entrance

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Beep!  Beep!

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Recent rain produced a lot of color.

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The trip into Chisos Basin was well worth it.  It was clear and 76 degrees at noon!  There is a campground and a lodge inside the basin.  This is the place to be during the summer.

Pan to see entrance to the Chisos Basin area.

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Bear and Mountain Lion warning.

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Road into Chisos Basin.  This is a 10% grade; it is not recommended for large travel trailers.

Panther Junction - the main park Visitor Center (East of Chisos Basin).  The landscape from this point East is flatter and hotter with gentle rolling hills replacing the rugged mountains of the West and Chisos Basin.

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Daily temperature chart located at Panther Junction.  Note the elevations and temperatures.

Wednesday night we stayed up to see the Perseid meteor shower.  The night started out very clear, and several spectacular meteors were seen.  Most were very bright and left glowing trails.   About midnight the clouds rolled in, so we could not observe the peak time after 2 A.M.  It was still well worth looking!  About 3 A.M. the thunderstorm started with high winds and lots of lightning.  This is the "rainy" season in this area, but the days and early evenings have been great, and mornings are cool and clear (about 60 degrees every morning).  Not bad for the middle of August!

Day trip to Balmorhea State Park (close to I-10)

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The focal point at the park is a spring fed pool.  One million gallons of spring water flow into the pool every hour, keeping the temperature 72 - 76 F year round.

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Doris confirmed the pool temperature!

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The pool has turtles.......

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... and fish.  There are even a few catfish!

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These guys watched us eat our picnic.

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There are camp sites and a full service motel at the park.

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Thursday night was another great star viewing time.  There were many great meteors left over from Wednesday's Perseid shower.

12 images were added together to produce this picture of the Andromeda Galaxy.  Each image was taken with a D-60 camera, 8 seconds @ f/2.8, 204 mm, 800 ASA. 

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Baby mule deer - very cute!

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Doris checking out our "escape route" the night before we were to leave.

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This ditch was dry until the day before we left.  It was dry again a few hours after this picture was taken.


Some final thoughts about this area:

I had always thought that Big Bend park and this area of Texas were too hot to visit in the summer.  While it is true that the low plains are hot and dry, the Davis Mountains above 5000 feet are always cool (about 60 degrees or below) at night and pleasant during the daytime.  There was never a time when it was not comfortable to be outside.  Although much of Big Bend is too warm for much activity during the day, the Chisos Basin area is large enough to spend an entire vacation there.  The camp ground was almost full (mid-August), and there were many others at the lodge.  There were many hiking trails in this area, and the scenery was spectacular.  Check out the temperature chart above!

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East of Ft. Stockton, there were MILES of power generating windmills on the hills north of I-10.


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Doris' navigation position (palm, map and cell phone)

Final stop - Kerrville area for some antique shopping and German food

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There were deer everywhere.....

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... and they wanted to stay for Mimi's bacon and eggs!

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There were lots of babies.