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TUESDAY - Well we didn't have another 300-mile travel day today, but damn close at 286-miles.

We had a little bit more than desert scrub brush and distant mountain ranges to keep our attention today. We actually saw some trees and several towns with populations large enough to support having a Walmart Supercenter.

Today's travels across central Texas wasn't without a few roadblocks. We traveled almost exclusively on US67/US377 today were there is a lot of road maintenance going on to replace worn out culverts under the roadway. We hit three such sections where the two-lane road was reduced down to one-lane for short distances, so we had to wait our turn while traffic flowed in the opposte direction.

Why do we always get stuck first in line during these roadblocks?

Texas is famous for it's display of roadside wildflowers from mid-March through mid-May each year. The Bluebonnet is a purple/blue colored flower seen in this next photo. It is also the Official State Flower of Texas.

We didn't stop, or even slow down, to take any of these photos so I hesitate to try and come up with any positive identifications of the other brightly colored flowers.

Sometimes it's just nice to see green.

Today we drove by pastures filled with horses, cows, sheep, goats, alpacas and dinosaurs!

Wait! Did he just say dinosaurs?

This occurred just outside the town of Glen Rose, TX which is the turnoff to go to Dinosaur Valley State Park where they have found dinosaur tracks in the riverbed of the Paluxy River.

They have a campground there so we may just have to visit on a future date.

It wasn't too much later we were approaching Bardwell Lake where we will spend the next week at an Army Corp of Engineers Park visiting with eight friends we've met while on the road.

We've all gathered together here to observe the Total Solar Eclipse next Monday.

The "Path of Totality" varies from 108 to 122 miles wide across North America and Bardwell Lake falls directly in the center of that 100+ mile wide path, which translates to a longer period of total darkness.

Compared to the previous Total Solar Eclipse in August of 2017, which had a "Path of Totality" of just 62 to 71 miles wide and maximum total darkness of just 2-minutes and 42-seconds long, we expect to experience a full 4-minutes and 20-seconds of darkness from our location here.

We're getting close now! That's the bridge over Bardwell Lake.

John and Katherine were the only ones to arrive before we did.

All settled in on our new site.

Our rear view for the next week.

THURSDAY - Yesterday the camphost was kind enough to share a little "local knowledge" with us.

On the opposite shoreline of Bardwell Lake from our campground there is a hidden gem. At the end of a ½-mile long dead end street is a faded sign and a gate. What's on the other side of that gate and completely out of view from the street is what I'm calling the "Field of Flowers". The Army Corp of Engineers calls it the Meadow View Nature Area.

The entire shoreline of Bardwell Lake is owned and managed by the Army Corp of Engineers which has three campgrounds, a flood control dam and this wonderful wildflower viewing area during the spring season.

At the end of April when all the varieties of wildflowers will be in bloom, the field will be open to vehicular traffic, but today we enjoyed walking the 1-mile loop around and through the meadow.



On the opposite shoreline from our campground...

...is this meadow filled with Texas wildflowers.

In early April the two dominant flowers in bloom are the Bluebonnets and the Indian Paintbrush.

The Bluebonnets are the Official State Flower of Texas.


The orange colored flowers are called Indian Paintbrush.

They are called paintbrush because the petals look like they've been dipped in paint.

See what I mean about being dipped in paint?

In a couple more weeks the pink Primrose and purple Verbena should be in bloom here.

As I've already mentioned this week we'll be camping with four other couples from all around the United States that we've met while on the road.

The first to arrive was Katherine and John from Denver, CO. We met them back in 2020 down on the Padre Island National Seashore in Texas.

We were second to arrive a few hours later and have the site right next door to them.

The next to arrive were Sharon and Rod who we met in Alaska in 2022. They are the only other fulltime RVers in our group. They lived in Pennsylvania before hitting the road.

Next up was VerJean and Winston who we met way back in 2018 when we first started traveling fulltime. They have been traveling extensively for over a decade in a self-built van conversion. They still maintain a home in Michigan.

We all arrived on Tuesday and our fifth couple arrived today. Rochelle and Chris live in Baton Rouge, LA and we just met them last September at the Airstream Factory in Ohio when we were having service work done to THE POD. It just so happened that Katherine and John were also there at the same time to have service work on their Airstream.

So we are all here now to spend the week visiting with each other and then hopefully get to view the total solar eclipse on Monday afternoon.

FRIDAY - Last night John made a big pot of Bean Soup and I made an equally big pot of my Famous Key West Chili recipe. We all gathered around our campfire ring and ate dinner together and later we were joined by neighbors from across the street and even one of the two campground hosts showed up. We had quite a crowd!

Tonight I expect the same thing to happen when our newest friends from Louisiana prepare a cajun treat for us all to try. It's basically a meaty cajun jambalaya with pasta instead of rice and damn if a can remember their name for the dish. Oh yeah, Pastalaya! After tasting it I believe it's my new favorite cajun dish.

SATURDAY - Today we're goin' through the "Big D" and I do mean Dallas!

Today the 10 of us piled into 2 vehicles and headed north for Dallas. We're all going to visit the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza.

The museum occupies the entire six floor of the former Texas School Book Depository building. It chronicles the history of the Kennedy presidency and his assassination on November 22, 1963.

Just before entering the museum we added two more people to our entourage, bringng the total to an even dozen. Katherine and John have visitors from Mexico City. Patty and Carlos joined us for our weekend activities so now we officially have an international crowd on our five campsites.

We didn't photograph much of the museum, but we did spend two hours experiencing the hundreds of wallboards filled with information, numerous photos and dozens of glass enclosed exbihits from the 1960s.

Behind boxes filled with books is where Lee Harvey Oswald set up his snipers nest...

...in the corner window of the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.

The view of Dealy Plaza from the sixth floor windows.

There is currently a bonus exhibit on the seventh floor of the building where we were able to watch a very distubing video that was released in the 1970s, which included the moment the third bullet exited the Presidents head. Thankfully is was filmed from a long distance and did not include too much detail.

After the museum we meandered our way down to Dealy Plaza for some additional photos.

The view of Dealy Plaza from the top of The Grassy Knoll.
The white van is just about to pass over the location of the fatal shot.

The X-mark that is circled in the center lane is where the President was shot
from the circled window of the building on the left.

Standing on the "X" gives a better perspective of the angles invovled with the shot.

After finishing up our exploration of Dealy Plaza, Katherine and John, along with their friends Patty and Carlos, returned to the campsite to tend to their two dogs, Lacie and Luca who were waiting for them in their Airstream.

The remaining eight of us have plans for a late lunch over in nearby Fort Worth at Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que.

I guarantee no one left this table hungry.

Now we didn't just drive 50-miles out of our way to eat lunch, there are plenty of places we could have eaten back in Dallas. Fort Worth offers one thing that Dallas doesn't, twice a day at 11:30AM and 4:00PM there is a cattle drive through the city streets of downtown Fort Worth.

Nearly two dozen Long Horn Texas Steers are driven through the streets that surround the famous Fort Worth Stockyards. We finished lunch just in time to catch the 4PM cattle drive, but were too late to get front row standing positions along the street.

We had to settle for standing on raised concrete planter boxes, bus benches or anything else offering an elevated view of the steers as they passed us by.

Tricia caught this photo of the steers being led out of their pens.

Winston shared his video of the cattle drive from atop a planter bed.

Tricia also caught a photo of the steers being put back into their pens.

SUNDAY - Tonight's community meal is going to be a Taco Bar.

Everyone chips in something for the meal and Tricia volunteered to be in charge of vegetables, sour cream, tomatoes, cheeses and tortilla wraps.

We had two different types of fish, shrimp, chicken, ground beef and boudin sausage for our proteins. There were several different cheeses, plus jalapeno peppers, red onion, green onion and sweet onion.

There was also fresh made salsa, guacamole and cabbage slaw.

Oh yeah, in honor of tomorrow's big event we all had a Moon Pie for desert!

MONDAY - Today is the day we've been waiting for for nearly seven years!

Ever since August 21, 2017 when we watched the solar eclipse from an 80% bracket in South Florida we knew when this one came around we would position ourselves within the "Path of Totality".

The Path of Totality here in Texas is about 115-miles wide and our campsite is only ¾-mile from dead center of that 115-mile wide path. That's about as 100% as you can get! We can expect to experience 4-minutes and 22-seconds of total darkness starting at 1:40PM this afternoon, that is if the clouds clear out in time! I guess clouds or no clouds it's going to get dark.

The cloud cover over Bardwell Lake at 6:45AM on the morning of eclipse day!
We're hoping it burns off before the eclipse starts at 12:22PM and becomes total at 1:42PM.




Look everybody, the eclipse is starting!

This photo is about 50% shadowed and there is a sunspot visible.

Here we are at about 85%, totality will be any minute now.

Here is the diamond ring effect everyone talks about.
You can also see numerous eruptions on the surface of the sun.

During totality there were two hugh eruptions at 3 and 5 o'clock.

Here's a zoomed in shot of the 5 o'clock eruption.

The moment the totality came to an end.

Time to put the dark black lens back over the camera lens.

Without the filter you could burn up you camera.

The eclipse is over! Time to take the party back to the campsites.

If we learned nothing else during this eclipse, we learned it takes a special skill set and equipment to "professionally" photograph an eclipse from start to finish.

These photos don't even come close to the first hand experience we all saw with our own eyes. I'm glad everyone took some time to experience the eclipse and not just concentrate on if their photos were coming out OK.

The next total solar eclipse in the lower 48 states is in 2044 and 2045. We all hope to make plans to meet up again for both of them!

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