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All about us

My name is Lewie Barber. My wife, Betty, and I have lived in Austin, Texas, since we married in 1956. I attended the University of Texas and received Bachelors and Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering. With only a little help from me, my wife raised three daughters who have now provided us with 10 Grandkids, and the three best son-in-laws any parents ever could have. This is true even though two are Aggies (Texas A&M graduates). Our oldest daughter is also an aggie, but our second daughter graduated from The University of Texas 25 years after I did.

While still a student at The University of Texas, I started work at the Defense Research Laboratory (DRL), a part of the University that conducts research and development for the US Department of Defense. My area was sonar and naval mine warfare. DRL became Applied Research Laboratories (ARL) in the 70’s. I retired after 35 years from full time employment in January, 1992, but continued working part time until 2002.

In my work, I had to travel often to several places in the US that are tourist destinations. Included are Washington, DC, Fort Lauderdale, FL, and San Diego, CA. We never traveled as a family with a couple of exceptions We made two trips to Fort Lauderdale when I was working for several days during summers. Wife and daughters played while I worked. When our girls were young, we did have a small travel trailer that we left parked at Lake Buchanan for weekend visits except for two trips. First, we pulled it to Galveston and spent two days at the beach. A year later, in 1970, we pulled it to Colorado Springs, CO, and then west to see the mountains that I had deer hunted in previously. We returned home by way of Carlsbad Caverns. Our usual vacations were to stay home and work in the yard, paint the house, or such. I had no desire to drive for hours with fussy kids asking “Are we there yet?”. A four hour drive to grandmother’s was the limit, and that not too often.

My wife and I started traveling over the USA and Canada in 1996, and have now in the year 2001 been to most of the scenic places that can be reached by automobile. We have traveled mostly in the late summer to escape some of the hot weather in our home city. We had never tent camped until 1996. Betty had strong reservations about tent camping at first, but no more. Give her a bed and a potty in the tent and she is ready and willing. I think that the fact that I don’t expect her to cook has a lot to do with it. Trailers and RVs cannot go many of the places that we drive in the mountains. I would not want to drive one through many of the cities we visit, either. In my opinion, simple motels and restaurant meals are better than a fine RV if you are only staying a day. We tent camp in places where we want to stay close to the activities for several days, and suitable motel type accommodations are not available.

We have repeated visits to a few places because they are worth seeing again, or that we missed part of the experience the first time. We have visited Yellowstone National Park three times now, and hope to go again. In 2000 we visited Yellowstone with our youngest daughter’s family. Our enjoyment was to show three grandchildren the marvels we had found on our first two visits. We also saw our first Yellowstone bears that year. Future visits will probably be to show more grandkids this most wonderful place.

We have visited Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Park three times. The third time was the charm. We finally saw the top of the mountain in September 2001.

We have also been to Williamsburg, VA, twice. It is a place that is wondrous, but not scenic. It was a thrill to me to sit in a room where General George Washington met with others in planning the battle at nearby Yorktown. Betty was accurate in saying that a visit to Williamsburg makes you wish you had paid more attention in the American history classes.

We made our first cruise tour in 2001. The tour part was OK. The cruise part could have been a whole lot better. See the 2001 trip description for details.

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