NATURE ALI'S GRAND ADVENTURE - Day 25 - July 14, 2009

Morning in rest stops is interesting. The car that was parked next to you all night is replaced by a van, the driver in the SUV peers out through the foggy windshield with one sleepy eye realizing that she has been seen. Fortunately for me, I sleep heavily until awake when I am totally awake… I jump up to do my morning ritual, brush the teeth, drink a large glass of water and ignite the engine towards another day of adventuring. I stopped at the next rest stop just to stretch as the last stop didn’t seem that interesting, but this stop had a little nature trail so I hiked around the mile long loop while sweating more in the slightly hot but definitely muggy morning. Not too many birds about but a nice flock of chickadees and titmice satisfy me for a little bit.
Not sure of what I want to do today except drive through as much of Texas as possible… so I head west on Interstate 10 toward San Antonio where I saw a sign about the Alamo, interesting but I passed the exit… the next exit steers me to the historic missions, so what the heck, haven’t done much historical touring… I find myself in an active Catholic Church and National Historic Park at Mission Concepcion.

Being raised a Catholic but realizing a while back that religion has no function in my life, I normally stay away from such places, not bad memories just find the whole concept of religion silly and pretty damaging to the community of humans… anyway, what do I do upon entry into the sanctuary but bless myself with holy water and genuflect toward the altar; boy the indoctrination was complete.

Interesting buildings made out of limestone which is a major construction material throughout the south. Billions of years of accumulation of carbonate creatures created some amazing bedrock in the old Western Interior Seaway from the Cretaceous period. I enjoyed the limestone construction and the faded painting on the walls of the various rooms in the church.

I left intending to continue my drive but thought what the heck, I most likely would never return to San Antonio, so I programmed the GPS to take me to the Alamo. The shrine to the massacre of the Texas militia is run by a private group and is semipublic… similar to the Battleship Park in Alabama. Another cool building but they wouldn’t allow photos inside the buildings so I restricted my activities to the grounds. I moved quickly wanting to hurry along the road, but thought I was fated to be here since I found parking right next to the building and only had to pay a nickel to park (really didn’t have to pay anything as the meter had an hour on it but I put a nickel in to make sure it wasn’t broken).

I left to continue towards Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. I needed to fuel up and again programmed the GPS to direct me to a gas station, took the road but found the bridge was out due to construction. I ended up at a park on the Llano River where I birded and looked for dragonflies and butterflies. Enjoyed the park as the birds were pretty active, just as I was climbing back into my car after tromping around for an hour or so, I saw what I knew immediately was a Golden-fronted Woodpecker, don’t ask me how as I had never seen this bird before and don’t really study the field guides… just popped into my head that that is what it was.

I found a gas station and continued my journey crossing into New Mexico as the sun was setting. I drove toward Carlsbad Caverns enjoying the tremendous number of nightjars hunting along the roadside. After finding the price for the RV park just outside Carlsbad (which had no camping facilities) to be exorbitant, I found a dirt road and settled down for the night.

590 miles

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Nature Ali's Adventures

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Nature Alley is dedicated to protecting natural communities wherever they exist. She is involved in many scientific and educational programs, promoting environmental appreciation and ethics.

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