Monday, March 5, 2012


Saturday, March 2 – What an amazing evening we had!!! Every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday; the McDonald Observatory sponsors a Star Gazing Party. The cost is $10/person and worth every penny! This has definitely been added to our list of highlights for 2012.

The evening started, just as it was getting dark, with a special treat. From out front of the Visitors Center, high atop of Mount McDonald (over 6600 feet), we were surprised by the passing of the International Space Station overhead. It appeared as a very bright star, traveling rapidly, directly overhead (about 250 miles high). It appeared surprising very close in the clear mountain air. The reason we can see the Space Station so clearly is due to the fact that the solar panels are the size of a football field and reflect the sun. What a wonderful start to an evening filled with one great experience after another!

Our sky during the viewing.

The group then walked to the rear of the Visitor's Center and took a seat in the Amphitheater. This would be a good time to caution readers. If you are fortunate enough to someday take-in the McDonald Observatory Star Party....DRESS WARM!!! Temperatures were dropping rapidly here at the top of the mountain and layers of clothing is highly recommended. And a nice blanket to place on those icy amphitheater stone benches was a welcomed addition.

In the Amphitheater, we were treated to a Constellation viewing experience we found truly enlightening. The young man leading this educational experience was very well prepared and by using a high intensity laser pointer, that projected a green laser line into the sky, he was able to easily point out stars, planets, satellites, and constellations overhead. We were spell-bound. The powerful laser made the constellation viewing clearer than we ever dreamed possible. This was the first time we've ever been able to actually pick-out Gemini, Taurus, and the other constellations in the starry night sky. WOW!

After the constellation viewing experience, the group was then invited to use the dozen or so telescopes to view, the moon, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, and other planets in the night sky. Several powerful telescopes, permanently mounted in observatory buildings were available and additional portable telescopes were used to give everyone plenty of time to view the skies. Each telescope was manned by an Observatory professional to explain what you were seeing and to answer any questions. Our favorite was viewing the moon with the 125 telescope. What a marvelous site! It was truly a special night.

One of the viewing telescopes. (Pretty dark to take any good pictures.)21-night-view

By 9:30 p.m. we were freezing. We decided to call it a night and head down the mountain and back to our campsite at Davis Mountains State Park. The Observatory was open until ten o'clock for star viewing, but we were already on sensory overload and decided it was time to venture down the dark, windy road home. We were warned to be on the lookout for deer and Javelina, known as suicide pigs, on the way home. We arrived home, without a wildlife encounter, and turned in early in preparation for tomorrow's travel to Deming, NM. We were in for one more mountain air treat....the temperatures dropped to 25 degrees overnight......YIKES!!!!!

Sunday, March 3 – We left this morning about 7:15. We arrived in Deming at 1:00 MT. We are staying one night at the Dream Catcher RV Park. This is an Escapees park. What a nice clean park. The hostess was very friendly.

We are in site 18…FHU.


To our left.


Since we are only here for one night, we decided not to do any sight seeing. We opted instead to visit a winery that our friends, Jay and Betty, recommended. St. Clair Winery is New Mexico’s largest winery.


Betty explained that you can take your own half gallon jug and make your own wine combination. We thought that was pretty cool, but we didn't have the jug. No problem…for $3 they will give us one. We first tasted a variety of wines FREE. They make nine New Mexico Specialty wines. We HAD to taste four of them. Marsha feel in love with the Pomegranate. Paul tasted a few Rieslings, but wanted to make his own. He combined a sweet white wine with a dry white wine. He first got to taste his creation of 90% sweet to 10% dry. YUM! He had her make a half gallon of his own mix.

Mixing Paul's creation.winery

Our delicious wine.

We then went back to the MH and attended the Ice Cream Social. The folks here are very friendly. We enjoyed our short visit with them.

We are off to Tucson in the morning. We will be there for two weeks, and hope to enjoy some sun and fun.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!





  1. What a thrill to see the space station pass overhead!

    Never heard of mixing your own wine...what a novel idea and what fun!

  2. That looks like something we will have to do. We really like Dream Catchers park, that's why we spent 7 months working there.....

  3. The star gazing party sounds fantastic. We've stayed at Deming several times on our way through. It's in a perfect location. Enjoy Tucson.

  4. We are so missing out by not looking into the sky at night! Thanks for reminding me about that world out there. You're going to love Tucson. I hear it is beautiful and that the wildflowers are blooming already. Who knows, maybe we'll head through Tucson within the next week or two!?! Take care and be safe!

  5. Tucson is absolutely wonderful! Enjoyed reading about the observatory. We didn't do that last year when we were there, we definitely will next time!

  6. Sounds like another great evening at the observatory. Our favorite sky-watching was in the Okavango Delta in Botswana ... with absolutely no light noise we had crystal clear viewing of the Milky Way ... what a treat that was.

  7. Glad you had a nice clear night at the observatory. Yes, it is cold there at night! Luckily they served hot chocolate.

  8. Great evening watching the stars. There's a park in Benson, AZ that has an observatory right on site. We stayed there a few years ago and I was lucky enough to spend an evening there - pretty interesting stuff.

  9. Never heard of mixing your own wine-but I'd sure like to do it!


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