Texas Road Trip: Reconnaissance Resumes

After the eclipse ended, I packed up my equipment again; this time I collapsed the tripod legs—I would need the space to pack up my campsite, which I did the next morning.  I heated the dregs of leftover coffee thinking I would be stopping soon for breakfast on the road, including fresh brewed coffee. 

I made the mistake of not stopping in Fort Davis for that breakfast. I thought it was too soon, it was only ten miles from the campground.  But I should have stopped there anyway, because the next towns were too small, or too run down to support a café.  I went all the way to Del Rio, which was too large to have the local flavor of a small down diner.

I did find one however—a Mexican restaurant operating out of a Victorian style hotel.  The staff spoke Spanish, as did the other guests.  It was now lunchtime and I ordered the Monday special:  chili relleno (stuffed chilis?) which were delicious, and with rice and beans, too much.

I continued on toward Eagle Pass, the next large city, but in between was “Radar Base”, which is an intersection of roads where the 2024 solar eclipse is said to be at or near maximum—4 minutes, 30 seconds.  It is a miserable spot however—hot, dusty, windy, with heavy highway traffic and not much shade.  I’m not sure why it has a town designation—a local airstrip and a radio/cell phone/radar tower?

Radar Base. I’m not sure where the radar is. Click to enlarge.

I had intended to stay in Eagle Pass, but on learning that the room rates were $250+, I continued on to Uvalde, a town larger than I expected, and whose notoriety to the world would be established a week later.  There was some conference/convention going on, so the rates were still high, but I had reached the end of my range and desperately needed a shower, so I sprang for the room.

The shower was great.

More Options
I wasn’t expecting to find an eclipse viewing site as I originally hoped—I was too late, all the prime locations had already been booked—or couldn’t be booked (the State Park reservation system only goes 5 months out).

But I felt obligated to document the candidates that I had looked up, as this was the purpose for traveling here.  I could at least take photos and maybe get contact info in case of cancellations.

I located a few more places along the Rio Frio, and the Lost Maples areas along the eclipse path.  There were various resorts and RV parks along a road east of the river, and I stopped at some and inquired.  Locals would stop and talk with me, just being friendly, and I learned a lot about the area. Here are my notes.

7 Bluff Cabins and RV Park, a nice location, but fully booked for eclipse day, and has been since 2021.  It was recommended that I check back in January 2023 to see if they add new campsites (RV sites) to the property.

7 Bluff Cabins, also hosting RV campsites.

On the same road were other resort facilities, including “Frio River Escape“, which seems to be a collection of cabin and RV camping options.

I encountered “Magers Crossing”, a concrete weir across the river.  The road went across it, but so did the river.  I stopped to see if it was safe to drive across the stream of several inches depth.  Other cars coming toward me seemed to just plow through, and one stopped to ask if I needed help.  I said that I was wondering if I could get through the stream, eliciting a quizzical look.  I was told the river was at a low point, the region having suffered drought over the last six years.  Normally the flow rate was 30 – 40 cubic feet per second, today it was 14, a level that would require a river tubing enthusiast to walk the dry sections.

Magers Crossing. The water level is low.

I heard about Neal’s Lodges, a popular vacation destination in Hill Country, a bit south of here where the river runs deeper.  They appear to be fully booked for the eclipse.

I mustered the courage to drive across Mager’s Crossing and on the other side I found an RV and campground—Zubers.  The woman in the office was very helpful and although most of the RV sites were already booked for the eclipse, there were tent, cabin, and “shelter” sites that were still available.  I was allowed to go in and check them out.

This turned out to be just the right setting I was looking for!  I had not seen anything like the shelters – basically screen porches with a picnic table and electrical outlets—anywhere else, and they could be used to house sleeping bags and pads on the floor, or cots, or whatever arrangement would work for a group on a campout!

The reservations are not being taken yet, but I am now on their eclipse day planning sheet for three shelters and one cabin, not far from the river and not far from the bath house. The owners of Zuber’s may raise their prices as no firm price was provided.  Still, it will be a value comparatively, and my name is now on the campsites.  No money has been spent yet; I will have to follow up via email.

I continued my survey of candidate eclipse sites but was very pleased at finding this location.  The other sites I visited were also nice, though I think they were more expensive (cabins and vacation homes). 

The Lodges at Lost Maples.  A collection of cabins among trees that don’t look like maples.

A panorama at The Lodges at Lost Maples. Click to enlarge, again to zoom.

A Peace of Heaven.  Cabins and RV sites apparently with a religious theme.

Panorama of A Peace of Heaven. Click to enlarge, again to zoom.

I can now focus on the return home.  Today I will drive to Waco and should be home in two more days, marking the end of my Texas road trip.  It has been a hot but fascinating time. I’m glad to have become a bit more familiar with Texas and I look forward to exploring it some more!

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1 thought on “Texas Road Trip: Reconnaissance Resumes

  1. Pingback: Texas Road Trip: Lunar Eclipse | Thor's Life-Notes

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