3/19/12 Hello from San Antonio. We are parked in a WalMart parking lot and a big crack of thunder just surprised us. The weather report said that it was supposed to be a very windy and rainy day with possible flash flood warnings, but it has been warm and fairly calm and dry all day. This morning we went to an indoor mall to walk, since rain was threatening, but that was boring. So we went to the Riverwalk, down by the Alamo, and did a walk along the river there. It is so scenic and very developed in parts, with hotels and restaurants, lovely rock work, landscaping, and riverboats full of tourists floating by. Here is a picture of Elaine down there:
Yesterday we joined our friends, George Lamson & his wife, Sharon Wylie, whom we got to know on one of our December cruises on the Mariner, for a local's tour of San Antonio. It was fabulous to see them again and they did a wonderful job of sharing their city with us. First we walked through the Farmer's Market which was right in the parking lot of the Whole Foods Store at the Quarry Marketplace where we parked. Here is some of the lovely produce which was on sale:
And here are Sharon, George and Elaine in front of one of the delivery trucks, which we thought was funny:
Next we went to the Mission San Jose, one of the 5 missions established by the Spanish Franciscans in the 1700's. It is now a National Historical Park, with a very informative and interesting visitor's center and a wonderful introductory movie explaining the entire mission concept and experience from the point of view of the indigenous people at that time.
Many years ago we were here and visited the Alamo, which is also one of the original 5 missions that were built in San Antonio. It's real name is Mission San Antonio de Valero. Of course, most people think it was a fort, because of the battle that was fought there for 13 days in Feb/Mar 1836 in the struggle for Texas independence from Mexico. But, I digress. Mission San Jose is quite beautifully restored, and has a very large grassy area within it's walls. There were some lovely blooming yucca trees near the old church and here are George and Sharon looking lovely amidst the blooms:
We walked around and admired the grist mill and outer buildings while mass was in progress,
then were able to get inside to see the newly renovated interior:
Next was a delicious Mexican lunch at a small, heavily impacted restaurant that George and Sharon have been enjoying for years.
George and Sharon met while he was a career Air Force guy in Japan and she was an elementary school teacher in the Air Force school. So they took us to Fort Sam Houston, which is a huge military base encompassing Army, Air Force, and medical training units for all the branches of the military. It was inaugurated in 1876 when Ulysses Grant was President! First we went to the Exchange, which is where George and Sharon recently spent 2 weeks displaying and selling his art work. Then we drove through the housing area for the senior officers and marveled over the elegance of the beautiful old stone houses, some of which have housed auspicious officers such as Eisenhower.
Then we went to the Quadrangle, which is the former command area and one of the oldest parts of the base. Here is the clock tower there:
We were first confronted by a number of peacocks, with the males intently displaying for the females:
Across the quadrangle there was a compound where there were a number of deer:
Usually these deer are out, munching on the vast expanse of grass in the quadrangle, but this day they were happy to remain in their shelter. Then we passed a couple of geese who were busy protecting their eggs:
After a couple of other stops, for a fudge sample, and to wander around the garden of the McNay Art Museum, we reluctantly said goodbye to Sharon & George. Happily, they will be on board the Voyager with us on April 14 as we sail from New Orleans to Barcelona, and then on to Dubai.
Prior to coming to San Antonio, we spent 5 days at the SKP park called Lone Star Corral at Hondo, TX, directly west of this city.
Almost as soon as we arrived, we ran into Rich Peterson. He has a lot at this park and we know him from the World Wide Travelers BOF, and Boomers. He invited us over for Happy Hour and we had several hours of interesting travel talk. He has had an RV in Europe for many years, as well as one here, so he is quite the busy world traveler!
Then we met Evelyn and Walker Lane, almost the newest members of Park Sierra. They have a lot at this SKP park too, and were right across from the boondocking area where we were parked. The next day they graciously hosted us for lunch at a local restaurant in D'Hanis, called Bill and Rosa's Steak House and Saloon:
We will be looking forward to getting to know them better whenever the 4 of us are at Park Sierra at the same time. (How likely is that???!!!)
One unique thing about the Lone Star Corral is that they have "sheds" that are built by each lot holder, so they vary from very small storage sheds, to large living room areas with kitchens and bathrooms. The only requirement is that they be smaller than 288 sq ft and they can't sleep in them. Here is one of the more humorous ones:
There was a variety of landscaping also, of course, and here is a picture of Texas Bluebonnets, which are in bloom everywhere along the roadsides at this time of year:
One of the serendipity moments that occurs in this lifestyle happened on our 3rd day there. We ran into Paul and Judy Johnson, from Maine.
They were our neighbors at the Boomer gathering in Quartzsite in January. They were only at the park for one night, and Paul happened to spot us on our way back from a walk. We had a delightful evening with them and then they were on their way again.
No wonder we still love this RVing lifestyle, even though we are in our 18th year!!!
Tomorrow, we are off to Corpus Cristi. Jan & Barry Kessler are working at Mustang Island State Park and we hope to see them, while also spending some alone time on one of the off shore islands.