Last Monday we spent the day in Alpine - we were expecting a bit more since we heard that it is being overrun by artists. It is still pretty small and quite and not much to do. We did go to a few shops and met some nice people. Ivey's Emporium was one of the nicest shops and we did find a great metal Texas sign at Texas Treasures. Leaving the downtown area we went in sure of some Western Wear. We went to two shops on the outskirts of town but didn't find anything. However, on the way back into town we found Penny's Diner. Couldn't pass up a chance to have lunch in a 50's style diner. Charbroiled burgers, fries and Derek having a real malt and I had a vanilla cola. The manager sat and chatted with us a while - nice guy. Penny's Diners are around the US so we may find one again.
Tuesday was a very cold and windy day but we headed up up up to McDonald Observatory. We went during the day for a guided tour of the telescopes. First we watched a video about the sun which was fascinating. After that the group goes up to the top of the hill for a tour of the telescopes. One of them is the fourth largest in the world. Interesting but a bit dry because it is about the mechanical workings of the telescope. The best part was at the 'Star Party' that night. The first part is in the amphitheater behind the visitor center. Also a bit cool but the wind had died down. The guide points out and discusses the constellations and big stars in the sky. Then we went around to different telescopes to look at nebulas, supernovas and planets. WOW - how can one deny there is a God when you see such beauty. Following that we saw another short film that shows how far the stars really are from earth and the earth's relationship to the sun. We were truly blown away by that evening. We highly recommend this experience.
Later in the week we went to the Fort Davis National Historic Site. The site has a great history from the mid to late 1800's. It was the site of Apache Indian activity and the base for Buffalo Soldiers (Black Soldiers) and is restored very well. We watched a video and then walked around the site. A very windy day but the history and buildings are interesting.
We bid Fort Davis adieu on Thursday having spent 6 days at the Fort Davis State Park. We were NOT sad to be leaving the Javelina. As we mentioned earlier it is a nice place with very friendly people. If you go through Fort Davis we highly recommend eating at the Drug Store - big portions and great food. We also enjoyed very much meeting some local residents - Greg and Myra Mead and the good folks at Twin Souls Coffee Shop and Gallery. We found a large size Texas Flag which we will be happy to fly at home - we are leaving Texas but not in our hearts. We enjoyed our month in the Lone Star State and cannot wait to return. Thanks Texas!!
Thursday afternoon we arrived at Brantley Lake State Park just north of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Not a bad drive - just a few hours. This is another nice park - a treed area set amongst the desert and water reservoir.
Yesterday we headed to Carlsbad Caverns. We have included a few pictures but have to say that neither our description or pictures could do any justice to the truly awesomeness of the caverns. If you have never been we HIGHLY recommend it - it was one of the best experiences of our lives. Because the $6 entry fee ticket is good for three days we are going back tomorrow as well. Wow is about all we can say. The caverns are huge and take your breath away. We were there for about 4 hours. Strange but true (and perhaps only in America) there is a snack bar down in the cave - 750 feet below ground. A bit trippy because the counters etc are from the 50's or 60's. Being in the caverns gives you the feeling of being on another planet - something out of a sci-fi movie.
Today we went to the Living Desert Musuem and Zoo. After the Caverns tomorrow we are going to the Fiesta Drive-In in Carlsbad which should be fun, neither of us have been to a drive in in a very long time.