Easter at Davis Mountains State Park, Texas.

Easter sunrise, 2017.

Witnessing the sunrise on Easter morning was an unexpected gift.  After two visits to the McDonald Observatory, I thought I had exhausted my quota of celestial events.  Maybe they all prepared me for this one?

In any event, I woke up Easter morning before dawn and spotted Venus, the morning star, just above the horizon.  I realized that it might be clear enough to drive up Skyline Road at Davis Mountains State Park for sunrise.  From that vantage point, one can view the wide open valley that includes three counties (Jeff Davis, Brewster, Presidio) with 30% more area than the state of Vermont and a total population of 20,000.  This is sparsely populated west Texas. Continue reading


South Florida to Arizona – Day 7, 8, & 9


The unique Buc-ee’s sign outside of the Rosenberg, Texas store.

Day 7.  February 3.  Today’s 285-mile drive was relatively uneventful and much less stressful than the earlier travel days in this road trip. From Brazos Bend we went north to the town of Rosenberg, Texas and stopped in at the local Buc-ee’s, the Texas convenience store chain. The saying here is it’s not a real Texas road trip without a stop at one of the many Buc-ee’s stores. They are open 24/7 and known for, among other things, their super-clean restrooms, remarkably friendly staff, and Rosenberg was no exception.  On our way to San Antonio, we passed the turnoff for New Braunfels,Texas where the Buc-ee’s there is the largest convenience store in the world at 68,000 square feet. The store features 120 fueling positions, 83 toilets, 31 cash registers, 4 ice machines, and 80 fountain dispensers. Texas through and through! Continue reading