Rides and Tales

Observations From Behind Bars

Off-bike Pursuits

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About two years ago, the luckiest woman in Flour Bluff told me I’d just have to ignore what the voices were saying and, instead, pack up the big yella bike for a ride to the Davis Mountains, in West Texas.
While there, we visited the McDonald Observatory and made arrangements to attend a night program that included viewing the heavens through powerful telescopes.
Naturally, skies that had been cloudless all week, clouded, reducing the telescopes’ status to that of, “interesting gizmo”.
On the ride home we camped at Sonora and took the tour of the Caverns of Sonora. We were the only visitors and were given a tour that would have been the envy of most cave groupies. If the cavern was a trade-off for the astronomy tour, we came out ahead.

Near dark, Wednesday, August 12, 2009, the luckiest woman in Flour Bluff suggested we cage out to Padre Island and do a little meteor gazing.  It seems that, yearly, the earth passes trough the trail of debris left by the Swift-Tuttle comet and some of that debris burns up in our atmosphere as meteors.

No sooner said than did. We parked our little truck by the Packery Channel, not really out of town, but with an advantageous view towards a non-light-polluted area. As I swung the truck to point the tailgate toward the northeast Jill noticed the most beautiful lightning display from a far-off thunderstorm.
That’s right, friends and neighbors, slow-moving clouds were easing in from the north, timed to obscure the rising of the constellation “Perseus”, the area of the sky from whence come the meteors. We must have built up some kind of astronomy karma along the way.  We do better in caves.

Hours later, rain fell on our parched corner of the world, the air cooled and the wind died; it was nice.  Still, I’m a little regretful that we didn’t see, possibly, one hundred meteors in an hour; one hundred shooting stars. I was going to wish my ass off.

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Written by fiddle mike

August 13, 2009 at 2:09 pm

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