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Published: January 12th 2013
Some observations I failed to mention on the previous episodes. Coming out of LA on I-10, as we crossed the mountains, we saw more wind generating “mills” than we had ever seen before in one place, and 90% of them were moving. They were both in the valley and on the ridge line.
Arizona also has many solar reflector generators stretching for miles on both sides of the road. California also seems to have more women with cold ankles than elsewhere as they're all wearing boots!
Thursday we ended up going beyond San Antonio, as we still had several hours of daylight left when we plowed our way though the San Antonio traffic. After refueling on the eastern outskirts we continued on to our cheapest, and least well equipped, campground on the trip. Near the Interstate we heard the variety of trucks pass by our site all night. However, the nearby Atwater Prairie Chicken Wild Life Refuge provided a wonderful experience in human support. After following the directions to the HQ to get my indici stamp I discovered they closed their office at 4 PM and I was there at 5 PM. Hearing voices I discovered that one of the employees was just departing and generously volunteered to open up again so I could “get stamped”. We had a wonderful discussion about this last “virgin” prairie grassland in the country and the survival of the Prairie Chicken because of their maintenance of the grasslands. No, they don't have a big fence around the Refuge but maintenance of the natural habitat attracts the Chickens to remain in the Refuge. It reminds me of my days at the adjoining Naval Training Center and Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego when a Navy Boot would “escape” over the fence and be treated like a Marine for a week (with the Navy's knowledge) only to be grateful to return to the Navy regimen. The grassland they've maintained really provides a window to the past of the Southwest as this is what it looked like before farmers over cultivated, ranchers over grazed and the Dust Bowl devastated the West as we knew it. We saw similar proof of this at Big Bend National Park. Ft Davis NHC explored how the cavalry defended the settlers to the detriment of the Native Americans who were dependent on a land as it was, including the wild life (Bison, etc.) and they hunted with discretion and used all the “products” they achieved. Makes you wonder.
Friday, we began early and experienced Houston's traffic. Then it was across Louisiana with drenching rains and slow traffic. We saw the flooding rivers, full side drainage ditches and other evidences of more rain than they needed. Mary did a great job driving through all this as my cold (received in California) took its toll. This was the first time I'd used the Smart Phones' weather feature and was able to see the radar depiction of the storm and predict when we'd come out of it on the road east. We arrived at Naval CB Base Gulfport, MS' famcamp with daylight left and the very hospitable host pointing out a welcome spot for our night's stay. Several other famcampers welcomed us and wonderfully inquired about SMART membership. Tomorrow it's the last, long dash to Central Florida.
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