May 9-15 - San Antonio TX
After our adventures doing battle with Albuquerque's pervasive road construction, we'd pretty well decided to try to avoid big cities. San Antonio is at least five times the size of Albuquerque, but they've got it together. There was fully as much construction, but the detours were handled well, the signs were clear, and there were plenty of people to point the way. We'll not (yet) shy away from metro areas. You've just gotta love a city with a store named "Rent a Tire", a plant care service named "Rentokil" (pronounce it), and a sign marking "Woman Hollering Creek".
San Antonio had two must-sees for us - the Alamo and Six Flags Fiesta amusement park. And it was a two-day drive from Carlsbad. San Antonio was also where our mail would catch up with us.
There are several folks back home who are critical to making it possible for us to do this wander. Nancy Brown gathers up our mail, filters out the junk mail, and periodically forwards us a big box or envelope. She's got it down to a science, and we couldn't be away this long and move about this spontaneously without her help. Dennis Toney is making sure our lawn and weed crop don't outgrow the city ordinances. And the Reedsport Police are checking the house a couple of times a week to make sure everything's intact. And we can't begin to list the folks who keep us posted on what's happening back home. Thank you all.
Tues, 5/9 - After checking out of the RV Park in Carlsbad, we drove into town and got an oil change for the RV - we've put over 3,000 miles on it since Dec 1. And then we headed south toward Texas, passing through towns with such quaint names as "Loving", "Comfort" and "Welfare". South New Mexico and West Texas is oil country, and there were lots of pumping wells, and a few new ones going down. Other than that, it's pretty empty. We stopped for fuel in Pecos, TX, and pressed on, making much better time than we expected. We'd planned on making San Antonio in two days, but we could have done it in one. We stopped at a rest area outside Kerrville for the night. The weather alert radio sounded off once, but the storms were all well east of us. It was hot and muggy - we ran the generator a few times so we could run the AC and get some sleep. But the rest area had WiFi! How civilized.
Wed 5/10 - The state roads crew mowing the grass woke us up around 7:30am, so we showered, did breakfast and called ahead to the RV park to make sure we could check in very early - we were only about an hour away. No problem, so in to San Antonio we went. We'd migrated from 75 degrees at 9% humidity to 100 degrees at 78% humidity. We did not adjust well. Being much earlier than we'd expected, we had time to make a pilgrimage to the San Antonio Shoes factory. People of a certain age depend on SAS comfort shoes - they are about the only shoes Judy can wear since her foot surgeries. It's a kitchy, cool factory store where the shoes are somewhat less spendy than elsewhere. We bought four pair between us. We found out later we could have had a factory tour, but we didn't know - bummer!
Thurs 5/11 - Our treat today was an all-day guided tour of "The Best of San Antonio" - a real deal at $45 a head. The bus picked us up at the RV park, and we were escorted to two missions, one cathedral, an Imax movie, a ride on the San Antonio River, lunch riverside at Tony Romas, the Alamo, oodles of history, and a stop at El Mercado, the Mexican Marketplace. We were dropped off back at the RV park around 6:30. Neat day, and we didn't fight the traffic at all.
Fri 5/12 - A day of running errands and exploration - we found a Costco and the local AAA office, lunched at an interesting place called "Cheesy Jane's" and found and toured the Witte Museum, one of San Antonio's special places.
Sat 5/13 - We'd planned on doing Six Flags today, but we were both feeling pretty achy and roller coasters just didn't appeal much. So we lazed around until we felt like moving, and then went back to the SAS store to swap a pair of shoes for a slightly larger size. We then went downtown for another Tony Roma lunch, and went to see the Movie "RV", which Wes and Vendy Lockard said was "must see" for anybody who'd ever lived in an RV. They were right. It was very funny, sometimes painfully so.
Sun 5/14 - Mother's Day! We found the wonderful 150-year-old Madison Square Presbyterian Church just north of downtown - a very nice service with wonderful music (pipe organ), a really diverse congregation that loves to laugh, and a very good sermon from the lady pastor. We did mid-day dinner at Applebees (we like Applebees, and we were the only non-Hispanics in the place), stopped at Wal-Mart for a few essentials and witnessed throngs of men of all ages and ethnicities mobbing the flower section as they remembered Mama a little late in the day. Back home to relax and watch the weather - there were severe weather and tornado alerts all evening, but all we got were about 9 raindrops and a lot of wind.
Mon 5/15 - We hooked up and rolled out just after rush hour, headed for Houston. There was no line at all at the Flying J as we fueled on the way out of town.
Al's Highlight - San Antonio is a really neat city. They're very proud of being the 8th largest city in the country, of having a pretty good basketball team in the playoffs, and you hear a lot of "I wasn't born in San Antonio, but I got here as fast as I could." It's a bustling, busy, clean, happy, friendly town that celebrates it's multi-ethnic heritage. I hope we can come back.
Judy's Highlight - I really loved the old church we attended on Mother's Day. It's great to see an historic building with a lively, active congregation that reflects the diversity of this wonderful city. Ilene Dunn, the pastor, says they are about to revamp their website, and was thrilled that we had found their church with a web search. (I think Al found 27 Presbyterian churches in San Antonio!) Ilene's sermons are posted on the website, along with all sorts of other information about church activities, and some great pictures of the staff and the choir.
Click here to see a slideshow of some of our pictures from this leg of the trip.
Stay tuned . . .