Loaded up the car and took off for the East. It took me two and a half days of 12 hrs. each to get to Ft. Davis, TX for the Texas Star Party. Stopped one night in Barstow and one in Demming, NM. Four of us from the club made it to Texas for a seven night stay. Here's Fred and Al in front of Fred's Sprinter.
Ron, Jeff and Fred.
This where we all set up, on the lower field. All the RVs (Fred and Al) park there as well as most of the tent campers.
Here is my site right next door to Jeff. The dust was so fine that there was no way to keep it out when the wind came up in the afternoons. Had to shake out the sleeping bag every couple of days. One fantastic feature of this particular star party is that they run power lines out in a nice grid so that anyone who needs power has it available.
Al's observing site.
Here's Al all comfy in his RV.
Prude Ranch, near Ft. Davis, is where the star party is held. It's a working dude ranch with horses and everything. Right next door to the lower field is the Nurse's Station, just in case.
Right next door to the Nurse's Station is the snack bar. They would stay open to about 3:00 in the morning for snacks, coffee or hot chocolate. That was a nice touch.
In the same building as the snack bar there are showers and an indoor pool. In the afternoons when it around 90 degrees outside, I would go swim laps for half an hour. The water was reeeealy cold, but felt great! Perfect for lowering your core temp. a bit. Then - all refreshed for dinner.
A couple of fellows head over to dinner in the main building. You could sign up for the meal plan and get lunch and dinner each day. Really convenient and the food was very good. Especially the desserts.
Jeff, Fred, me (Ron) and Zoltan Levay, (yes, that's his real name). He hung around with us for a few days. Zoltan has been with the Hubble program since the beginning and was a major player when it came time to process and prepare many of the Hubble pictures that have been released to the public. A very interesting guy!
Got Al to take this one for me. There's Annie, me, Fred, Jeff and a fellow who's name escapes me. He did have an intersting story to tell, though. He had just recently been elected (even though he is an American) as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He had the opportunity to go to London and visit their library. The librarian asked if he'd like to look at some books and when he came back he just plopped some books on the desk. They were original books by Galileo, Kepler and other greats. Most had original notes made by the author in the margins. He said it really helped that he could read Latin. That would be the trip of a lifetime.
Part of the inside of the dining room.
Jeff relaxing next door to my place.
I think it was on day three or so that we had some afternoon thunderstorms come through. Everyone either tore down their kits or covered them well to keep the rain off. You can't really tell in this picture, but it was coming down pretty good.
Dueling cameras. Jeff taking refuge under his tent. We had to do some modifications because the rain collected in the middle of the overhead tarp and threatened to drop a bunch of water right in the middle of his tent.
Just an old car that has seen better days.
It really looks like "Doc" from the Pixar movie "Cars."
These star parties are really a hoot sometimes. They attract the most unlikely characters - from all over the galaxy.
Here are some pictures of the upper field. That's where the really hard-core astronomers set up. There was rain forecast for the last couple night of the party so a lot of folks took off early. When it was full, it was standing room only and you had to be extra careful not to trip or bump into someone's rig at night.
This one of the biggest private telescopes I've ever seen. I think it looks more like a cannon than a telescope :)