December 30, 2008 – Traveling to Western Texas

The scenery today was just incredible!! We traveled from the hill country to the plains to the canyons and back to flat land. Take a look:

This country is so beautiful and so different in every area. Days like today, I thank God for blessing me and enabling me to see all of this.

We stopped in Fort Stockton to see the world’s largest roadrunner at 22 feet long and 11 feet high. And someone dressed him for the holiday (isn’t he cute!):

We are now at another Escapee Park in Pecos, Texas. We were going to stay a few days but found out that this is not a destination park but a stop over park so no activities. Also we did go into town and it is so sad – so many things are closed up. So we have decided to head to New Mexico tomorrow towards Carlsbad Caverns.

Miles Traveled: 328 miles
Routes Traveled:
TX: US-87; TX-29; US-83; US-190; I-10; US-285

December 29, 2008 – Enchanted Rock

The temperatures are really interesting. We woke to 27 degrees and by 11 AM it was near 70 with beautiful blue skies. But when the sun goes down so does the temperature – rapidly.

Today’s adventure took us to Enchanted Rock State Park. A little history from the board:

“This 640 acre dome is made of solid granite. The Tonkawa Indians believed ghost fires flickered at the top and they heard weird creaking and groaning which geologists now say resulted from the rock’s heating by day and contracting in the cool night.

A conquistador captured by the Tonkawa described how he escaped by losing himself in the rock area, giving rise to an Indian legend of a “pale man swallowed by a rock and reborn as one of their own”. The Indians believed he wove enchantments on the area, but he explained that the rock wove the spells: “When I was swallowed by the rock, I joined the many spirits who enchant this place”.

The dome:
Yes, we climbed to the top!

More views from the top and along the way:

These are called weathering pits and vernal pools. About ¾ of the world’s entire population of Rock Quillwort lives only in these pools on Enchanted Rock.

We spent the rest of the day enjoying the sun, the blue skies, and the warm temperatures.

Tomorrow we are heading towards west Texas.

I will leave with one more tidbit of information that I found really interesting.

How Long Will Litter Last

Cigarette Butts: 1-5 Years
Aluminum Cans and Tabs: 500 Years
Glass Bottles: 1000 Years
Plastic Bags: 10-20 Years
Plastic Coated Paper: 5 Years
Plastic Film Containers: 20-30 Years
Nylon Fabric: 30-40 Years
Leather: up to 50 Years
Wool Socks: up to 50 Years
Orange and Banana Peels:
up to 2 Years
Tin Cans: 50 Years
Plastic Six-Pack Holders: 100 Years
Plastic Bottles: Indefinitely

December 28, 2008 – Cross, Town, and Stonehenge II

We woke this morning to rain and thought we had brought the rain with us. But it stopped by 9 and off we went to a day of sightseeing.

Our first stop was Cross Mountain. Here is a little history from the marker:

“This Marl and Limestone Hill, elevation 1915’, was an Indian signal point, advancing news of the intrusions of white settlers. The hill was first recorded and described by the German Geologist Dr. Ferdinand Roemer in 1847. A timber cross found on the hilltop of the same year suggests that Spanish Missionaries recognized it as a landmark on the path from San Antonio to Mission San Saba. John C. Durst (1825-1898), arriving with his family in 1847 from Germany, received a town lot and 10 acres of land, including this hill. On finding the cross, he named it “Kreuzberg”, or Cross Mountain. The Easter fires on Cross Mountain and the surrounding hills recall a German tradition of burning the old growth to make way for the new, and also commemorate the 1847 treaty made by John Meusebach and the settlers to establish peace with the Comanche nation.

In 1849, a bohemian priest, Father George Menzel, erected a more substantial cross as a symbol of redemption and civilization. Easter sunrise services were held on the mountain for many years prior to 1941. In 1946, the Very Rev. F.X. Wolf threw the switch to illuminate the permanent cross of metal and concrete build by St. Mary’s Catholic Church.”

The cross:

Notice the rays of sun in the background:

Me in front of the cross:

Views from the top of the hill (notice the cactus):

From there we explored the shops in town – I just love the buildings:

The streets of Fredericksburg are known to be the widest in the state. They were designed this way so there would be enough room for an oxen wagon to turn around.

Admiral Nimitz birthplace:

Admiral Nimitz Hotel:

We had lunch at the Silver City Restaurant – great food. As we walked in, Pierre and Dan wanted their picture taken:

Since it turned out to be such a beautiful day we decided to take a ride to Hunt where we found this – Stonehenge II:

A little history from the board:

“In 1989 Doug Hill tipped on end a massive limestone rock onto Al Shepperd’s field. After looking at the rock and joking about it for months, Al and Doug decided to build an arch behind the rock to make it more visible to passers by. When the arch was built, Al was reminded of the original Stonehenge in England. He commissioned Doug to design and build a Stonehenge. Stonehenge II is not a replica; it is about 2/3 the size of the original, and it is not oriented to the sun, as is the original. It is, however, Doug Hill’s impression, in steel and concrete, of the nearly 5000 year old circle of stones on the Salisbury Plain.

The Easter Island statuary, for Al, was a natural partner for Stonehenge II. He had visited Easter Island and now thought the mystery of the construction of those magnificent statutes was a complement to the mystery of Stonehenge.

Al Shepperd died in 1994; since his death, his family, with the help of the great neighbors, has maintained the statuary and grounds.”

Me holding up the stone:

Andy tickling the statue’s nose:

Notice the halo on this statue:

More pictures of Stonehenge II:

And yet another cactus:

What a wonderful day!