Jan 8, 2006. This was certainly a driving day, we had breakfast in St David, AZ, lunch at a highway rest stop in New Mexico and Dinner in El Paso, TX. 3 meals in 3 states! We spent the 2 days in El Paso nursing our colds and getting ready for the long drive across Texas.


We saw a lot of Texas from the cockpit of the motorhome. Driving across so much open country on back highways certainly gave us a feel for how vast the country is, and how much of it is unoccupied. Much of the road we traveled looked like the picture to the right.



We found ourselves driving through little towns, like Valentine, which were all but abandoned having populations of less than 200 people.


On the 10th we drove to Marathon where we'll stay for a few days to tour Big Bend National Park and the McDonald Observatory.

From Marathon the closest grocery store was 30 miles away in Alpine, Other shopping was even farther away, people out here must have to carefully plan shopping trips as they are major expeditions!

Most of this area is open range; the chief industry seems to be dust!

Marathon &
Fort Davis 


We made our first visit to the observatory on the 11th. The area around the park and up to the observatory is in the northern reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert, with plants and animals usually seen only further south.

On Jan. 13 we visited the Observatory again to attend an evening "Star Party." Click on the title to the right to read Ron's description and see the pictures from the Observatory.  


Much of the landscape here was shaped by a combination of the upward pressures of lava flows and the erosion caused by wind and water. This makes the mountain peaks very dramatic and creates deep canyons.

This area is the north most range for many South and Central American plants and animals, and the south most range for many North American plants and animals, giving it a unique blend of wildlife.



Jan 12th was our day to explore Big Bend. Apparently it's the least visited of all the national parks, which must be as a result of its remote location because it certainly is a beautiful, and interesting park to visit. Clicking on the purple prickly pear cactus will take you to the Big Bend slide show.


From Marathon we drove to Weslaco to meet up with Anne & Paul. We stopped for 1 night in  Del Rio, TX and 1 in Zapata, TX, and on the way, and drove through the Streets of Laredo.

Our trip took us close to the Mexican border; and, again, we had to stop at inspection stations along the highway.


On the 16th we finally made it to Weslaco, where we'll be spending the next 2 months. Our first order of business was a nice dinner with Anne & Paul and some catching up.


Birdwatching is a popular thing to do in Weslaco; and, one of the most interesting birding activities is watching the wild parrots come home for the evening.

About a half an hour before sunset, the relative quiet is shattered by the squawks as fifty to a hundred red crowned parrots return from the day's feeding to roost for the night.


They don't always pick the same spot to stop, sometimes you need to chase them around town for a while. Driving around their favorite areas with car windows open is a good way to find them as the noise they make always preceeds them. These pictures are of some of the birds in Weslaco as well as pictures from 2 evenings of parrot watching.

March 17: We're on the move again, heading north today. The weather in Corpus Christi is a little cooler than Weslaco, but still pretty hot.


The campground in Rockport, a little north of Corpus Christi, has more of a traditional feel, trees, grass and a lake in the middle, not a large paved expanse like the "RV Resorts" in the south and west. This park is filled with live oak trees with bougainvillea giving it a north meets south look.


In addition to the usual park rules about quiet time and use of the pool, this park has an additional rule, "Don't feed the alligators." The lake in the middle of the campground is home to about 5 alligators (one of whom is about 12 feet long) as well as an assortment of diving and shore birds, turtles and, apparently, a few snakes. We didn't see any snakes!


March 18: The Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, then on the 19th a visit to the USS Lexington.

The Lexinigton is a retired WWII aircraft carrier operated as a museum, interestingly, like several other attractions we've visited in Texas, it operates on admissions and donations with no local, state or federal funding, gotta love that about Texans!



March 21: We drove from Rockport to League City (near Galveston/Houston) on the mostly 2 lane state highway through farm and grazing land and lots of small towns. It seems that most of our travel in Texas has been on small local roads, not interstates. We've seen lots of small towns and cities, some look prosperous, some look like they've seen better days.


The campground in League City is really nice, lots of trees and most sites have a picnic table in a shelter so we can BBQ in any weather.

On the 23rd we met with Alex & Roger, friends from my exercise class in Tsawwassen, for lunch and a tour of Galveston Island. Since Alex and Roger are from this area, so they knew all the good spots, including a great shrimp spot for lunch!


Of course, we visited the Manned Space Center in Houston where control of spaceflight is still done as well as crew training on all kinds of prototype equipment.


Mar. 28: We made the drive from Houston to the Texarkana area today. The first half of the day was rainy, but it improved after lunch.

This will be our last campsite in Texas, we'll cross into Arkansas on Friday.


This is what we call camping! We're in a secluded spot beside a lake, no internet access and no satellite TV due to the trees. Just us, the birds and some strange giant fish thrashing around in the lake!


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