Friday, October 21, 2011

MORE of Ana's first sights on Earth: the Davis Mountains & Fort Bliss, Texas

Ana targeted her landing (in Distant Cousin) in the Davis Mountains close to the University of Texas McDonald Observatory. The picture below shows most of the Davis Mountains, looking south from an altitude of approximately 40,000 feet. (You may right click the photos and open in another tab for better detail.) The observatory domes are not visible in this photo, unfortunately, but they must be in the darker mountains along the far edge, where they give way to the lighter plains beyond. The town of Fort Davis may be the mottled area under the second red gizmo on the plane's wing. There would be a highway leading further into the distance, to Alpine, 30 miles south. It would have required very precise navigation to land in the proper canyon below the observatory--in the dark!

Without spoiling too much, here is some of what Ana could have seen when she was at Fort Bliss, Texas, in El Paso. First, the likely building she ended up in:

Then, the view from that approximate point showing the mountains she noticed (the Franklin Mountains, the southernmost end of the Rocky Mountains).

Next the boulevard with the stately houses (for flag officers, mostly):

Here's the alley she ended up in. The gate leading off base is at the end of it, on the left.

And here's that gate. The alley joins the street on the left, between the palm trees, by the stone column.

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