Camping in El Campo, TX

Our travel day started out with moderate to heavy rain showers in the Waco, TX area, Then, as we progressed southward towards our destination, the weather improved to overcast with no precipitation for the “middle” of the drive. The clouds gradually broke up and as soon as we parked in our camp spot, the sky became clear.

On the way, Damsel took a shot of one of the many pastures we pass, usually no big deal, but this pasture had a little something unusual about it:

Damsel found that this herd belonged to FreBo Ranch.

Click on images to view enlarged.

Eclipse Day

What we anticipated to be a dismal forecast for the weather on Eclipse Day, turned out to be not so bad, especially during the totality phase. Clouds passed between us and the sun often, but then opened up for partial phase glimpses and during totality, most of the four minutes of darkness, we were able to see the corona and in the image below, a couple of prominences at two-thirty and five-thirty on the disc. The 5:30 prominence was huge.

I wasn’t very well-prepared to take photos given the woeful forecast, which affected my motivation, but I was able to attach the big 100-400mm telephoto lens and shoot bunches of photos hand-held (no tripod) and had a few fair results including the one above. Damsel had similar results and captured the “Diamond Ring” at the end of the totality show:

As I’m blogging this, we are getting some moderate to heavy thundershowers with lightning and thunder, but, Praise the Lord, no tornadoes. The precipitation knocked out the satellite TV a few times, but it is up and running now.

We’re here until Wednesday and then off to other parts of Texas south of us towards the Gulf of Mexico and thence via westerly routes heading back to Arizona over the next several days.

2024 Total Solar Eclipse

The (clickable) panel below shows the details of the eclipse as expected here in our RV campground located near Waco, TX. I cropped the image from a screenshot taken from the Time and Date website.

The right side of the panel shows our approximate location in the RV park (green area), The left side of the panel shows times for events associated with this eclipse. It also shows the expected weather of overcast with scattered thundershowers. That’s sub-optimal for eclipse viewing, of course, but we’re optimistic that we will see some of the spectacle, regardless.

At a minimum, the daylight will diminish to darkness if overcast, and I may be able to take a video the lunar shadow as it approaches our site at 1500 miles per hour. Likewise, four minutes later, I may be able to take a video of the shadow’s departure.

We just learned that there is a tornado watch for this area after the eclipse. We probably could use some prayerful help with that. Stay tuned.

Camping — Roswell, NM

Don’t let the sunshine (April) fool you about the weather here and on the drive from Albuquerque to Roswell; we had not-so-good weather most of the day until within a couple dozen miles of Roswell. We started out in the snow and drove through fog, sleet and gusty crosswinds along the route. We had a few light showers later in the trip along US 285 enroute to where we are now.

At any rate, we’re here and settled in for the night. We will be headed to Lubbock, Texas in the morning. We will be there for a couple of days as we continue to enjoy the trip to our eventual campsite where we are hoping for clear skies to enjoy the total solar eclipse.

Camping – Flagstaff

Tonight, we’re in Flagstaff, AZ. Yes, there is light snow falling on our campsite. We got here this afternoon when it was still partly sunny, set up camp and ate lunch. When we went out to walk the dogs, it was snowing a little. That’s about when I took the (clickable) image above.

We had an uneventful trip, albeit there is still quite a bit of construction on AZ-74 and I-17. The traffic was generally light with the usual idiots mixed in with us sane folks.

We’re here in Flagstaff to relax a couple of days and will be departing Wednesday morning on our next leg of our vacation from retirement. The next stop is planned to be near Monument Valley. Stay tuned.

Update: 26 MAR 2024 — We had a little more snow overnight . . .

Cloudburst Runoff

We finally got some rain and hail today after several weeks of storms missing our area. It got quite noisy in our little house when it started hailing outside. I took these photos of the road in front of the house with lingering runoff looking toward the east (top) and west (bottom), both clickable images. The runoff was gone within 15 minutes and the hail had already melted save for a small pile or two below the rooftop drain spouts.

While all this is going on, we and the pups are warm, dry and safe indoors. Our house is on a slab which is about 10-12 feet higher than the road below us out front. The retention walls we had built behind the RV driveway diverts the water behind the house to the east and west and thence down to the road.

We appreciated getting the rain. Even though it is normal to have rain this time of the year, we have been a little short of normal and today should get us back to the usual amount.

Looking at the radar forecast just now, it looks as if we will be having a couple more showers before this system moves off to the east-northeast.

Winter Solstice 2023

Image – an unusual snow day in Wickenburg (2014-12-31)

Solstice Notes

The first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere is marked by the winter solstice, which occurs on Thursday, December 21, 2023, at 8:27 P.M. Arizona time or 0127Z if you’re into Greenwich mean time. Today is the shortest day of the year with only 9 hours and 53 minutes of sunshine at our latitude here in Wickenburg.

We’re not expecting any snow of the magnitude depicted above this season. The snowfall in Wickenburg on New Year’s Eve 2014 was the most snow we have ever seen in town since we moved here in early 2011 when our house was finally completed. As a matter of fact, we can count our snow days on one hand over our nearly 13 years of living here.

Music Notes

The 61-key digital keyboard shown below is the replacement for an older version of the same thing that I’ve had since March of 2010 (and there were many before that). This one has much more capability and I have been enjoying exploring the different voices, songs and styles included in the unit.

I have been playing keyboards (without much formal training) since age 5 or so. I have messed with MIDI quite a lot although that isn’t my peak interest now. I’d much rather play favorites and try to compose some things now and then.

The new keyboard is a Yamaha PSR E373 which is still considered an entry level unit, but it has a lot more features than I probably can figure out how to use. I have an app for the Smart Phone which allows me to record sound and video from the unit. Maybe I will post some of it on social media and link it here one of these days.

Here is the new unit in my studio (a.k.a. Master Bedroom):

This is Yamaha’s Blurb about this keyboard:

The PSR-E373 features a newly developed tone generator that delivers stunning improvements in sound quality as well as high-quality effects. You can enjoy a comprehensive library of 622 instrument Voices perfect for playing in any genre you choose, as well as unique Super Articulation Lite Voices that reproduce the subtle nuances of stringed instruments such as the cello and mandolin that are typically difficult to emulate on a keyboard instrument, delivering realistic and authentic performances.

The old keyboard will be retired to the Motorhome for practice when we’re on the road.