Monday, April 27, 2009

Day Fifty-three, 090422 - Ft. Davis, TX

Day Fifty-three, Date Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Time in Saddle: 7:45
Distance for the Day: 72.61 miles (still in Ft. Stockton, TX)
Accumulated Trip Distance: 2326.5 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 3277’/3194’, Highest: ??, Accumulated: ??
Speeds: Avg: 9.3 mph, Max: 20.3 mph
Weather: balmy/mostly clear, becoming very warm and overcast
Expenditures: $54
Went to Ft. Davis to attend a few days of the Texas Star Party, and forgot to record my end of day altimeter stats, so the Highest and Accumulated stats are now unknown.

Woke up at 6:30am, about 30 minutes before sunrise, with a few stars still in the sky. Perfect! Packed up quick like a bunny, and got out of the church’s back alley without being spotted. I took a leisurely ride back into town, to find the donut shop where I could hopefully have a donut and continue work on the blog (I did, and I did). Got a couple of donuts, a hot coco, and a couple of jalapeno “pigs in blanket” (wieners baked into pastry) ($9). Yummy! Bill was going to show up in town sometime before noon to pick me up, to take me to the Texas Star Party location (near Ft. Davis, almost 100 miles from Ft. Stockton!), so I went back to the library at 9am to upload the blogs to the site. Bill and I exchanged a few more text messages and phone calls to arrange a pickup time and place, and I finished processing blog entries and uploading them until he arrived. This was really nice of Bill, driving nearly 400 miles for two round trips to come get me so I could attend the TSP for a day or two, and then bring me back, and I am very grateful to him for doing that. We stopped in at the market in Ft. Davis at about 2pm to get some supplies ($4), and then we continued on to the Prude Ranch, which hosted the Texas Star Party. I got the $0.25 tour of the site, which had two large, flat grass-and-dirt fields where more than a hundred telescopes of every type and size were set up. They had an indoor swimming pool (I could water-test my leaky air mattress there, yay!), a large dining room building, horse corrals with a few horses in them, a ham radio shack, several sets of bunkhouses with bathrooms and showers, areas for RV and tent camping, a building for a few vendors selling t-shirts, equipment, artwork and jewelry, and other amenities. Most importantly: free wi-fi! As you might have guessed by now, the best place for me to work was - in the bathroom. It had electricity, it was quiet most of the time, and I could work there without disturbing anyone. I paid the registration fee which included meals and a bunkbed. Ahhh, a real bed! I tested my mattress in the pool and found the third puncture; a tiny little thing that didn’t even show unless I put pressure on the mattress to force the air out of the puncture. I set the mattress up outside my bunkhouse to dry, and then went to have a very nice dinner of roast beef, sausage, beans, corn on the cob, rolls, salad, and apple pie and/or peach cobbler (I had both). The weather the previous three nights was clear and very cold, but this evening it was balmy and clouded, so there was no observing going on. We chatted with other attendees, most of whom Bill knew from previous years, and then went to listen to the evening’s speaker, Dr. Fritz Benedict, who spoke on the subject of extrasolar planet finding using the nearby McDonald Observatory's HET telescope - very interesting. His laser pointer died on him, so I let him use my 35mw green LP, and it caused quite a bit of amused “shock and awe” in the audience each time he used it, it being a bit too bright for normal presentation purposes. Each time he used it, he commented on how dangerous it was :-) We eventually went to the snack commissary to get some hot coco, and chatted with the guys who were running the commissary: Bill and his son, Oscar. We came back to our respective bunkhouses sometime after midnight, to get sleep, but I, of course, stayed up until 3am doing blog stuff, before hitting the hay.


Julie said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN! Got the stuff from A.Margaret... hope I don't lose it before u get here. HaHa. Luv ya-xoxopoo

obi_donkenobi said...

Thanks for conveying the HBD from Auntie M - you remind me, I've got to call her.

Hang in there, sis! Is it the wedding plans, the economy, or your golf swing that's driving you nuts (or all three)?

Love ya!