Tuesday, March 28, 2006

San Antonio, Tx

We visited the Alamo on Monday, March 27, 2006. While there are only two of the original buildings left, it was well worth the visit. No photographs are allowed in the chapel or the museum, so I was only able to shoot pictures on the outside. The museum has a lock of Davy Crockett's hair, his gun, vest, the ring Travis gave to a little girl before the final battle, and numerous other articles. There is also a short film made by the History Channel about the Alamo. After our visit to the Alamo, we took a boat ride through the San Antonio Riverwalk. Great way to see the Riverwalk. Our tour guide was great. After the boat ride, we went to the Imax theater and saw the 3d film, "Ocean Wonderland" Wow, what a show. If you get a chance to see it, do so. We are camped at Braunig Lake RV Resort just about 10 miles from the Alamo. Gary has managed to catch fish in Texas. The resort has a pond and Gary is out fishing right now. As always, for more pictures, click on the link for our travel photos.

Alamo, San Antonio, Tx

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Langtree, Texas

We stopped at Langtree, Texas on our way to San Antonio. The state of Texas has preserved Judge Roy Bean's Saloon and home. There is no charge to go through the exhibit at Langtree. The state also has a botanical garden which we walked through. I have included a few pictures here, and as always, more are available through our travel photo link.

Judge Roy Bean's Home, Ocotillo, Judge Roy Bean's Saloon, courthouse, billard hall

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McDonnald Observatory, Ft. Davis, Tx.

We enjoyed our visit to the observatory. We arrived before lunch so we could view the exhibits and take in all the observatroy had to offer. We paid for the 2:00 tour and movie. We really enjoyed the tour and since we had paid early, we were among the 14 passengers in the shuttle which our tour guide drove to the 107' telescope. After the tour, we had dinner and went to the program they have before they bring out the telescopes for the Star party. Our guide pointed out all the constellations and many satellites. Using the telescopes, we were able to view Saturn and numerous stars. Researchers who want to use one of the many telescopes at the observatory must submit their requests 4 months in advance. If selected, it will only cost around $2000 a night to use the telescope. From the top of the hill, we were able to see into Mexico. The exhibits were all hands-on.

Road to McDonnald Observatory, 107 telescope, telescope

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Davis Mountains State Park

We are currently camped at Davis Mountains State Park. Today, we had 3 deer visit our campground. I have included a couple of pictures we took today. You can view a Yucca plant and our RV. We will only be here for 2 nights before we move on to San Antonio, Tx. Tomorrow, we will go to an observatory.

Davis Mountains State Park, Ft. Davis, Tx

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Fort Davis NP, Rex Allen Museum, Cochese Stronghold

We have been busy. Visited the Rex Allen Museum in Willcox, Az and the Cochese Stronghold in Arizona. Today, we visited Fort Davis NP, in Fort Davis, Tx. The fort was named for Jefferson Davis when he was Secretary of War. From 1854 until 1891 the troops at the fort protected travelers on the San Antonio-El Paso Road. It was remodled about 3 times. Buffalo soldiers served at the fort from 1866 until 1891. The first black graduate from West Point, Second Lt. Henry O. Flipper served at the fort from 1880-81. The soldiers at this fort pursued Comanches and Apaches. We really enjoyed our visit to the fort. They had a video narrated by Kareem Abdul Jabaar which told about the history of the fort.

Fort Davis National Park

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Cochese Stronghold, Arizona

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Chirachua fiddle, Chirachua Museum, Willcox, Az

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Whiskey Bottle Collection, Chirachua Museum, Willcox, Az

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Rex Allen Museum, Willcox, Arizona

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Saguaro National Park

The Saguaro National Park is located east and west of Tucson, Az. We visited the East part of the park. To tour the park, we took a drive on the eight-mile Cactus forest Drive, which is a paved one -lane road. The saguaro cactus is an interesting cactus- no 2 are alike. The growth is very slow. By the end of a year, the saguaro seedling may measure only 1/4 inch. After 15 years, it may be barely a foot tall. It begins to flower after 30 years and by 50 years, it may be as tall as 7". After 75 years it may sprout its first branches or arms. In 100 years, it may have reached 25 feet. They may live 150 years towering as high as 50 feet and weighing 8 tons or more. Birds, such as the gila woodpecker and gilded flicker, dwell in nest holes they make in the trunk of the saguaro. Then other birds, such as the American kestrel, warblers, cactus wrens, elf owls and screech owls, make their homes in the holes. The park is also home to other members of the cacti family. We saw many of the saguaros which had so many thorns on top that they looked like the top was covered with a layer of snow. You can view the other cacti and a picture of what a dead saguaro looks like in our travel photos on the web.

Gila woodpecker, western kingbird, saguaro cactus

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Colossal Cave Mountain Park

We visited the Colossal Cave Mountain Park outside Tucson, Arizona. We took the cave tour and also visited the La Posta Quemada Ranch. The cave tour was interesting. The cave is huge but is not a living cave. There is a lot of damage from visitors. This cave gets thousands of visitors each year. In the past, the cave was used by Indians and outlaws. It was also used for a Walt Disney film. Also in the park we were able to visit La Posta Quemada Ranch which was a working ranch for 128 years. They have a riding stable and you can take a riding trip if you want. It also has a small museum and information about the Conservation Core workers who worked on the Colossal Cave. Besides the ranch, there is a telephone booth that the railroads used years ago. If you want, you can also use the sluice to try and find gemstones.

Colossal Cave

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Titan Missile Musuem

The Titan Missle museum is located about 20 miles south of Tucson. We were able to go down into the command center and go through a simulated lauch. Sure didn't take much time to lauch one of those things. The missle that is in the silo has a window cut in it so that when the Soviet satellites pass over, they can see that there is no payload in the missle. The Titan II is the largest ballastic missle used by the US. The warhead was over 9 megatons or 9 mill tons of tnt. It could be delivered anywhere within 5500 miles in less than 30 minutes. Besides being used as a warhead delivery system, the Titan II launched the Gemini astronauts, the Viking Probe to Mars, and the Voyager into the outer solar system. Most people that the Titan II prevented a full-blown conflict between us and the Russians. If the Russians or the US launched the first warhead, the other country still had time to launch theirs so it was a no win situation. A lot of people think of the Titan Missle as a war deterant. Very interesting museum and well worth the visit.

Titan missle setting in its silo, command center

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International Wildlife Museum, Tucson, Az

We visited the International Wildlife Museum in Tucson. What a great place to see. They have animals from all over the world. I could not believe the butterfly and moth collection. They have a room called McElroy Hall that is full of animals. I really liked the way they had the animals displayed. They had a mountain in the middle of the museum with all types of mountain goats. I took lots of pictures but only posted 4 on the blog. The insect you see with two different wings is a gynondromphhy. This is an occurrence of male and female halves in the same individual. The rhino I posted a picture of was shot by Teddy Roosevelt in 1909. They also show different movies in their theater.

pictures from International Wildflife Museum

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