Greetings from San Antonio!

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
Getting out of town yesterday was supposed to be a snap - uh, no. We had a pull through right across from the entrance, only staying two nights so we didn't unpack or even unhook Monello's car from the tow.

That was our mistake.

Monello can tell you the details, but the end result was that the tow car ran out of battery and the brake lights wouldn't work. Or something like that. Anyway, we had to jump the car battery, let it build up enough juice, blah blah blah.

Then Monello's GPS led him off into the hinterlands, which is no fun when driving a motorhome with a towed vehicle.

But we're here now! Our RV place looks great, at first glance. The site is somewhat annoying because it's small and there are trees on either side, plus a rather sharp incline at the end of the driveway. But this can all be worked around. Our location is excellent - right down the street from an HEB that has my very favorite thing: Flaming Bird.

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Not all HEBs have this; we got hooked on it when we were staying in Belton and have been searching for it elsewhere ever since.

And I just now learned that you can resize your photos when you insert them into a post. (Insert the photo, click on it, resize with the corner points.)

Where was I....? Oh yeah... Our RV resort is pretty nice - usual amenities: heated pool, fitness room, clubhouse, dog park, etc. We're a hopskip from downtown (Riverwalk, Alamo, Market) but the resort is very woodsy and reminds me of Gatlinburg. Today we'll scope our sitch and get some Flaming Bird for dinner, then do more SA exploration tomorrow.
 

luvmygdaughters

Active Member
Getting out of town yesterday was supposed to be a snap - uh, no. We had a pull through right across from the entrance, only staying two nights so we didn't unpack or even unhook Monello's car from the tow.

That was our mistake.

Monello can tell you the details, but the end result was that the tow car ran out of battery and the brake lights wouldn't work. Or something like that. Anyway, we had to jump the car battery, let it build up enough juice, blah blah blah.

Then Monello's GPS led him off into the hinterlands, which is no fun when driving a motorhome with a towed vehicle.

But we're here now! Our RV place looks great, at first glance. The site is somewhat annoying because it's small and there are trees on either side, plus a rather sharp incline at the end of the driveway. But this can all be worked around. Our location is excellent - right down the street from an HEB that has my very favorite thing: Flaming Bird.

View attachment 134751

Not all HEBs have this; we got hooked on it when we were staying in Belton and have been searching for it elsewhere ever since.

And I just now learned that you can resize your photos when you insert them into a post. (Insert the photo, click on it, resize with the corner points.)

Where was I....? Oh yeah... Our RV resort is pretty nice - usual amenities: heated pool, fitness room, clubhouse, dog park, etc. We're a hopskip from downtown (Riverwalk, Alamo, Market) but the resort is very woodsy and reminds me of Gatlinburg. Today we'll scope our sitch and get some Flaming Bird for dinner, then do more SA exploration tomorrow.
Getting out of town yesterday was supposed to be a snap - uh, no. We had a pull through right across from the entrance, only staying two nights so we didn't unpack or even unhook Monello's car from the tow.

That was our mistake.

Monello can tell you the details, but the end result was that the tow car ran out of battery and the brake lights wouldn't work. Or something like that. Anyway, we had to jump the car battery, let it build up enough juice, blah blah blah.

Then Monello's GPS led him off into the hinterlands, which is no fun when driving a motorhome with a towed vehicle.

But we're here now! Our RV place looks great, at first glance. The site is somewhat annoying because it's small and there are trees on either side, plus a rather sharp incline at the end of the driveway. But this can all be worked around. Our location is excellent - right down the street from an HEB that has my very favorite thing: Flaming Bird.

View attachment 134751

Not all HEBs have this; we got hooked on it when we were staying in Belton and have been searching for it elsewhere ever since.

And I just now learned that you can resize your photos when you insert them into a post. (Insert the photo, click on it, resize with the corner points.)

Where was I....? Oh yeah... Our RV resort is pretty nice - usual amenities: heated pool, fitness room, clubhouse, dog park, etc. We're a hopskip from downtown (Riverwalk, Alamo, Market) but the resort is very woodsy and reminds me of Gatlinburg. Today we'll scope our sitch and get some Flaming Bird for dinner, then do more SA exploration tomorrow.
If you visit the Alamo, please post some pics. Always wanted to see it! Have Fun
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
We got to participate in a Border Patrol road checkpoint. When I rolled through they had some guy outside of his car and was getting a thorough pat down. Your tax $$$ hard at work.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
We got to participate in a Border Patrol road checkpoint. When I rolled through they had some guy outside of his car and was getting a thorough pat down. Your tax $$$ hard at work.
I was very excited about this and then the guy just said, "Are you a citizen?" and waved me through when I said yes. I thought I'd at least have to prove it.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
Yesterday we went to the Riverwalk and walked our butts off, then took a peek at the Alamo. The Alamo was underwhelming this time because we just walked through. Last time there was a tour guide who gave me the history. So if you go to the Alamo, opt for the guided tour. There's no charge to walk through, and it's a few bucks for the guide, but worth it.

The San Antonio Riverwalk is like magic. Beautiful especially at night when it's all lit up. Pics to come. Tons of shops and restaurants, take a boat tour, enjoy the day just walking. We had pre-lunch at Esquire Tavern, which was opened in 1933 to celebrate the end of Prohibition. It's a throwback and looks straight out of Boardwalk Empire, with dark wood, flocked wallpaper, and brass fixtures.

We also had a drink at The Buckhorn, which is a downtown saloon and museum. Yes, you read that right: it's a saloon and a museum. Began in 1881 and was a favorite of Teddy Roosevelt and Pancho Villa.

San Antonio is one of our distinctive American cities - there's nothing else really like it and it is every bit as big a part of our history as Boston or Philadelphia. If you could only go to one city in Texas to represent the whole state, you'd go to San Antonio. It's as Texas as Texas gets. Austin likes to think it's the big dog, but it's becoming just another anonymous city with transplanted Californians screwing everything up. Dallas, too, has lost its uniqueness. But Texas is still alive and well in San Antonio.

The city is 60-some% Hispanic, but they are not Mexicans - they are Americans, and specifically Texans. They don't speak Spanish fluently. And that goes back to my observation that the US looks like the world. That kid may look Mexican, but he's as American as apple pie. That girl may look Korean, but if you try to speak to her in Korean she won't know what you're saying.

When you come from any other country to be a permanent resident of the United States, you become an American. That doesn't happen in other countries. If you, white suburbanite, emigrate to China, you will never be Chinese. If you emigrate to Rio, you will never be a Brazilian, no matter how long you live there. If you emigrate to Norway, you will never be a Norwegian. But you come to America, by god, you become an American no matter where you were born. Because we are the world. Our inclusiveness and melting pot is probably the coolest thing about our country.

Perhaps in another thread I will expand on that thought and go more into detail about how annoying it is to have other countries try and sneer at the US when we really are the coolest kid on the block.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
Have you hit the Coyote Ugly Saloon?
I stopped in there, had a couple beers and bought the wife a hat.
Lots of fun, but that was years ago.
Unless they clean them out periodically, I have a bra somewhere on the ceiling of the SA Coyote Ugly.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
Yesterday our adventure took us to the Alamo & the SA riverwalk. Good thing we did it when we did because today is almost 20 degrees colder than yesterday. A few minutes ago we got some hail. Good thing Phil didn't see his shadow.

San Antonio is the 2nd largest city in Texas. You'd never guess that from walking around downtown. It doesn't have that claustrophobic, big city feel to it. While there are plenty of tourist they don't overwhelm the area. Traffic isn't horrendous and there is ample parking, even if you have to pay for it. Most buildings are well kept. You don't see a lot of boarded up store fronts like many other downtowns. Chatting with local law enforcement verified that for the most part the city is safe and there is an occasional 'moment of excitement'.

Other than the Alamo, the area we explored is centered on what's called the riverwalk. I give credit to the person that envisioned an natural area where people would want to go and walk around, eat some food, grab a drink, take in a theater performance, buy some souvenirs, take a riverboat cruise or just get your fitbit steps in by strolling around the scenic waterway.

For the uber tourist they even have the horse-drawn, hansom cabs, bulk candy store, a wax museum and a Ripley's believe it or not for when you need tourist tacky entertainment.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
It has gotten quite cold the last few days. Lows in the upper 30s. The weather people are promising better temps later in the week. Good thing we saw a bit of the town while it was warm. Yesterday we drove around and did some local shopping. Mostly groceries.

1 thing I noticed in this area is the popularity of fruit. A common side is diced fresh fruit. Frozen fruit juice pops are also available everywhere. I think the hispanic population is more inclined to want fruit instead of fries or a lettuce salad. 1 of the convenience stores had a diced fresh fruit bar. Get what you want, weigh it and enjoy. Salsa is also another condiment that are offered at taquierias. 6-8 different varieties of salsa depending on your desired heat and ingredients. Kolaches and donuts round out the Texas centric food offerings. Limes, chilies and avocados are sold in bulk and are given a prominent display in the grocery area.

Vrai went and redecorated our living room. She's way more capable at doing that than I can ever hope to be. I like it bright and appealing, it's just that I lack the genes to make that happen So while it's cold outside, it's time to do some interior organizing. So now we have a new rug, new pillows, new down comforter and a new visual appeal to our living area. Now if we could just get the carpet replaced with some solid flooring, we'd be in high cotton.

Some recent pictures

The Alamo - Downtown San Antonio
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Stage made famous in the movie Miss Congeniality
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Hansom cab
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Buckhorn Saloon
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Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
More San Antonio

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Our 2 night stop in Kingsville, TX had some livestock in the campground. Apollo wasn't really interested in them.
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Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
Yesterday we went to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. Getting there was pretty easy. It was about an easy 20 mile drive from the campground. Got right in and found a convenient parking spot. There was a carnival, rodeo and a bunch of booths with food and drink. They had an indoor market with a lot of Texas centric things like boots, cow hides, cowboy hats, leather goods, jewelry and a bunch of stuff we don't need. Vrai showed amazing restraint in not purchasing some new aloe cactus scrub and silver polish.
The prices were a bit steep. Draft beers for $10 bucks. $7 pizza slices. $5 cups of corn. Cups of corn are a thing here. They even sell them at the grocery store. I like corn, but not enough to buy a cup of it. Plus they mix it with Mexican cheese, sour cream, butter, mayonaise and chili powder. If that isn't enough they have lime juice on the counter that you can add to the mix. It's like a Paige's Okra Grill bloody Mary, except with maize instead of tomato juice.

Now to the rodeo. Vrai has taken me to 4 different rodeos. The first one was in Cody, Wyoming. Foxhound & Bann joined us on that adventure. We had a blast. The announcer made a huge difference. He played a bunch of music clips, depending on how the event turned out. It was a collegiate rodeo. Most of the contestants were fairly talented. The rodeo in Arcadia, FL was a junior rodeo. The kids tried hard but it wasn't very riveting. Bandera Texas had a regional rodeo. Some of the contestants struggled to do their chosen event. The barrel racers were kind of painful to watch. A few of the contestants were timed with a calendar. Horses would stop and the rider was clearly in over their head. But they competed and hopefully learned and got better.

Last nights rodeo was top tier quality riders. They are from all over North America. Many of the riders were some sort of champion. They were quite capable. In 1 of events the top 5 contestants were separated by .20 tenths of a second. It was that close between the winner and the 5th place rider. I'm still not a big fan of the events where the belts are tied around the animals gonads. I'd kick like nobody's business if I had my nutz in a sling and someone pulled really hard on the rope.

We are not rodeo saavy people. Often times a rider would be penalize but to us the event looked fine. The judges rule if the rider did all the necessary steps. A few left the shoot early. Other bronco and bull riders didn't keep their feet far enough forward. They really get bounced around on those rides. I'd hate to be DQed and still take a physical beating on Fu Man Chu.

The events that are my favorite are the kiddy events. They have mutton busting, where kids hold on for dear life as the sheep run across the field. The Bandera rodeo also had kiddy bull riding but they didn't have that last night.

Kiddie mutton busting
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Kiddie bull riding
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FWIW, the rodeo begins with a prayer and they sing that national anthem. They had a gal from the local Air Force base sing. She was really good. She gave the crowd goosebumps. I like that the rodeo people are unapologetic patriots. Lots of flags in the opening show.

Another rodeo oddity is the name of the riders. No George or Mikes need apply. Last night's contestants were named Sage Boudreaux, Cody, Cheyanne, Haven, Cimarron, Tegan, Brock, Cort, Fallon and a few other unique monikers.

In case you care, here's the results.

After the rodeo, we were entertained by the comedian Jim Gaffigan. He put on a great show. He just talks about everyday stuff but he's hilarious. If you like G rated comedy, check out some of his youtube routines. He worked in a lot of horse & rodeo jokes into his set.

If you have never been to a rodeo, give it a try.

 
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vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
I like corn, but not enough to buy a cup of it. Plus they mix it with Mexican cheese, sour cream, butter, mayonaise and chili powder.
I like corn well enough to buy a cup of it but elote (that's what it's called) is pretty goobery and gross. Now I've tried it and don't ever have to do it again.

This was no mere rodeo, this was a month long professional event, with state fair type of stuff - carnival, food court, ag barns, etc. - and top notch entertainment. Jim Gaffigan was great, although I started dozing toward the end because it was 11pm and I'd been up since 5am.

We'll go again while we're here to explore the shopping more :jet: and just walk around seeing the sights.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
Staff member
PREMO Member
Today we went to Pearl Brewery, which to my surprise wasn't a brewery. It's a downtown historic district with shopping, eating, living, etc. Weekends they block off the streets and have a really cool farmer's market with all kinds of local goods and snackies. We ate artisan pizza, brisket tacos with tortillas that they made right in front of us, and an empanada - we always get stuff and split it so we can try a bunch of things.

Then back to the Riverwalk for a mango margarita at Rita's on the River. I had one probably 12 years ago and it was so good I kept telling Monello that we needed to do that. And you know how sometimes you get something in your head as a memory, then when you try to revisit it it's not as good as you remember? Well, this margarita was still delicious. :yay:

San Antonio is really a cool place. Lots to do, fairly easy to get around, prices are reasonable, the people are nice. I'm a big fan of taco shops and Mom/Pop Mexican diners, and there are a ton of them tucked away. We were sitting in one of them enjoying breakfast tacos and watching Univision when Trump came on to declare a national emergency at the border. :lol:

My goal is to brush off my Spanish and learn to speak it again, this time so I can hold a conversation. I can read French and Spanish, but can't really speak either and definitely don't understand someone else speaking it. I aim to fix that.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
You can tell a lot about a city by it's farmer's market. We search out the farmer's market in each location. We have been a quite a few amazing ones. Des Moines, IA; Burlington, VT; Naples, FL and now San Antonio stand out.

We were already enjoying SA for it's livability aspect. Texas' 2nd largest city but you don't get that big city feeling. SA doesn't pack all it's people into a small area. The town is easy to get around. Yesterday we had a slight issue finding a parking spot. There are over a half dozen lots near the Pearl brewery, where the weekend market is located. The first few we drove by were already full. I knew the market wasn't going to disappoint us when I realized how popular it was. Once we got parked it was just a matter of following the crowd to where the action is.

The market is very pet friendly. Many folks bring their dogs with them to the market. There are several spots for kids to play among the many vendors. They even had colored chalk for the kids to draw on the concrete. Whoever came up with the market's layout needs to be commended.

The vendors were varied. I thought there would be more fruit and vegetables stands. There were a just a few of them. There were a ton of food options. Indian, empanadas, TexMex, breads, pizza, nuts, made to order crepes, kombucha(ick), pastas, goat cheeses, tamales, yogurt, honey, jellies, and a lot more. The Culinary Institute has a booth with students cooking some international treats. In short, there is something for everyone's taste.

There was a band in 1 of the larger areas. A few street musicians showed up playing for tips. The saxaphone guy had a bunch of the kids join him. He gave them noisemakers to accompany him in his tunes.

You can live down by the brewery. There are a few residences and up the street they are building more apartments. It's priced to live there, about $3,000 a month to rent a place down there.

We passd the rest of our time down by the riverwalk. Lots of people were out and about. The economy is good if the size of the crowd and the number of people spending money is any indication.

We are starting to get our bearings in this town. It's good sized, so it takes a while to get familiar with landmarks. Since we are scheduled to be back at South Padre Island in December, I can see us stopping back this way in the fall.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
Yesterday we drove up to New Braunfels. We wanted to hit up the Buc-ees. If you follow our adventures, you are familiar with our attraction to the Buc-ees. For the uninformed it's a mega convenient store/tourist trap/traveler's stop. They have a beaver for their mascot. You can get all sorts of food & drink there. Kolaches, various meat jerkys and sausages, barbeque sandwiches, custom sandwiches, candies, pickles, clothes, knick knacks, deer corn, fudge, game cameras, bucky nuggets and a whole lot more stuff that probably isn't very good for you.

I think the nuggest contain a substance that is closely tracked by the DEA. We never seem to be able to visit without walking away with a few bags of them. It would be SOB west if they added the cheesy rooms, rides and fireworks store. The place is always packed. The 1 we visited is right off of I35. Speaking of I35, it's got to be the worst interstate as far as condition. It is under permanent construction. We can leave here for months at a time and the orange barrels will still be in same locations. I think they move a few shovels full of dirt around and call it a day. 40 years from now there will be family reunions where 4 generations of Smiths or Jones will reminisce about having toiled on the I35 construction project.

We had lunch in Gruene. The Mexican place there has the best chips. I know that the chips don't make the meal, but these are pretty worthy of your appetite. The salsa the serve with it is too hot for my taste. There were a lot of people in downtown Gruene due to it being President's day. There are a lot worse places to spend a day compared to historic DT Gruene.

The drive up and back gave us a good perspective of the SA area. They don't lack any commercial businesses for sure. We hit a few traffic choke points but for the most part the road system moves you around pretty good. We took 2 different routes up & back to see something different. Amusement parks seem to be thing here. Close to the campground there is a SeaWorld and 10 miles up the road there is a Six Flags. The rodeo had a carnival. Scattered around town are indoor sky diving, gun ranges, trampoline parks, a bunch of golf courses just to name a few active things to do.

I like the city here. I'm sure we'll be back. I do prefer to be closer to the salt water though. Tomorrow I'm off to trout fish on the Guadalupe river. I get to drive back up towards New Braunfels. Wish me luck.
 
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