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The Texas Mountain County has had one of its most beautiful blooming seasons. Bluebonnets started showing in January. The ocotillo was bright red. The prickly pear came later but showed off its yellows, pinks and purples. I was there in mid-April, just past the height of the bloom, but pale bluebonnets almost the color of lilac lined the highway from Fort Stockton to Marathon.

I spent Tuesday night in the historic Gage hotel. Before dinner I toured the Gage Gardens, a botanical masterpiece in a dry country. Wednesday morning I saw the whimsical Eve’s Garden, a bed and breakfast. Next I visited with Danny Self, who has the Marathon Motel.

A resident astronomer lives there and gives star parties every night, weather permitting. A building on the premises holds 6 sophisticated telescopes. The owners might be in Tennessee or Florida, but when the stars are out, the building’s roof opens and they can see the Texas stars on their computers. The motel also has a trained chef that serves paella on Sundays.



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