On August the 27th I flew into San Antonio, Texas to rendezvous with my sister. She was driving from deepest south Texas to pick me up, whereupon we'd drive up to just across the border in Oklahoma, to the town where my mother lives. All of this was part of a grand plan for my mother's five children to surprise her on her 90th birthday. We spent the night in Brady, near where US Hwy 283 starts, & drove over six hours the next day to get to the party on time. Here is 283 from where we began to up to near my mother's town ~ source That's a lot of Texas and the route took us through many typical and some very cute towns. We were on a mission, though, so pressed onward until encountering the devastatingly wonderful and photo-worthy town of Throckmorton.
Behold a particularly delightful example of the many sandstone courthouses in this part of Texas ~
This town held unexpected troves of art ~
Can you imagine my joy upon beholding this? Note the geodesic dome, of which there were several in Throckmorton ~
In the afternoon we started discussing having something to eat before arriving at our destination. The party was to be at a restaurant, but we knew we wouldn't be served there before 7:30 at least. We figured we'd stop if we saw something appealing on the way.
Stop the presses!
After tapping at and yoo-hooing through the service window, I finally figured out I had to step on a hose across the drive. The proprietor came to the window and in a very heavy Asian accent gave me to understand that it was take-away only.
We pressed onward. This was at a potty stop. Besides murdered members of Bambi's family, there was a selection of wines in the middle of the place ~
Yes, there was a seating area and a kitchen, but naaaaaah ~
We just wanted to get on down the road at that point.
And now it's the evening of the big surprise. My mother knew that my brother & his girlfriend -- they live in her town -- were taking her out to dinner, but that was all. She was kind of griping that he was dragging her all the way to the back of the restaurant and was completely flummoxed when she saw us. She said it took a couple of seconds for it to sink in that we were all there. So gratifying -- she was totally surprised and thrilled. There are no really good pictures because of the lighting & because some are from cell phones, but ~
Surrounded by siblings ~
The cake ~
Being a good sport and wearing the hat ~
Okay, this can come off now!
She nixed any suggestion of getting on the horsey ~
I just love this picture. She is telling all of us how very happy she is ~
Grandchildren (except the one on the left is boyfriend of a granddaughter) ~
We all had a wonderful three days together, but on the 31st my two sisters and I drove our California brother to the airport in Lawton, Oklahoma and set off from there for a girls' weekend in San Antonio ~
We cross the Red River again, back into Texas ~
Because of the hurricane, many filling stations were out of gas, meaning we stopped more than usual and visited stations such as this classic ~
What a treat to see this lovely Little Library on one of our stops ~
By now you will have noted the cow motif. Here is the business sponsoring the little library. The figures flanking the door & the name made me think the vet specialized in cattle. Maybe so, but it turned out that the name of the town is Bovine ~
Right next door was a convenience store full of marvels. One stop shopping ~
We continued on to the next stop, where we decided to stretch our legs around the town square before seeking lunch.
Mossie, so true about memories. One night we all congregated at my mother's house. As we were looking through old pictures, the brother close in age to me insisted that there were films of bullfighting somewhere. I had no memory of this, but he was right. The disparity in our memories triggered some great reminiscences from everyone.
You're the sweetest, Cheery. That's my favorite picture, even if I didn't take it. But it also makes me sad that now people are so willing to rely on phones instead of cameras, with the result of inferior photos.
Amboseli, my sister in Texas was a champ to do all that driving, and it certainly made it way more convenient and pleasant for us.
We are now in the San Antonio portion of the trip, so let's put everyone in the mood ~
We arrived in the evening & went directly to our hotel's "kick back" -- three drinks, a light supper, or snacks. After that it was time to freshen up and to admire the views from our balcony overlooking the riverwalk ~
Even from the little I can see from this vantage point, I'm already liking the architecture ~
The driver sister opted to stay in while baby sister & I went out into the night ~
Neither of us has a sense of direction
One of several mosaics on the retaining walls around the riverwalk ~
It really is a nice city, Cheery -- I'd recommend it for a vacation to anyone. And yeah, the lady in profile is quite stone-faced.
Of course the next day we were eager to get out and see the city in daylight.
That's our hotel on the left, across the street from St. Mary's Catholic church, the second oldest in San Antonio. The building dates from January 1924, built to replace one from the 1850s lost to a devastating flood in 1921 ~
A plaque outside the church explained that the original was built to serve "the growing non-Hispanic community". That doesn't seem to be a consideration anymore ~
So lovely to continuously come across the San Antonio River while strolling around ~
It's a pedestrian-friendly downtown ~
San Fernando Cathedral, notable as one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States ~
Birdies don't care about silly signs ~
From the 1890s, this style is known as Romanesque Revival. It's built of red sandstone ~
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 11, 2017 22:06:23 GMT
Before continuing, I want to throw in some very abbreviated history, as much for my benefit as for that of any readers of this report ~
What is now Texas was once part of Mexico. Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821 and to encourage settlement of Texas, Mexican authorities allowed organized immigration from the United States. By 1834, over 30,000 Anglos lived in Texas, compared to 7,800 Mexicans. In 1833 General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna gained the presidency of Mexico by revolt and overturned the constitution of 1824, creating a more centralized government which was against Texas self-rule. Tensions built, culminating in revolution against Mexico in late 1835. Fighting continued as Texas declared independence in March of 1836. Ten years later Texas was annexed to the US under President James Polk. The following two years saw droves of settlers into Texas and Polk defining the border between Texas and Mexico as the Rio Grande. Mexico did not agree and Polk stationed troops on the north bank of the river, which Mexico took as an act of war. In, 1848, the U.S.-Mexican War was brought to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The treaty established boundaries between the United States and Mexico, with Mexico officially recognizing Texas as a part of the United States. (The treaty included the acquisition of Mexico's northern territory -- California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado.) italicized portion from Wikipedia and most of the rest from here
A historical plaque on the side of a building ~
Ball moss and another elegant red sandstone building ~
I am somewhat enamored of this building, but don't know if it's contemporary with moderne touches, or a revamped old building ~
Reflection from a cut-out panel on a gallery window ~
The source of the reflection ~
We hit a plaza full of tons of Mexican merchandise and some restaurants ~
I had permission to take this picture, but the no-photos signs everywhere were in response to tourists using the merchandise as props.
I purposely waited until I returned home to finally see this delightful thread, which I knew ahead of time would need to be seen on an adequate screen rather than my tiny travel laptop. And I have been rewarded with all of these fantastic photos, even if they underline the fact that even though the United States is one of the most interesting countries in the world, we really do not have all that many threads at Anyport to prove it. With more than 200,000 vistors from the U.S. on this site (more than 42% of the total visitors, according to the flag counter), you'd think that there would be more material here. So thank you, Bixa, for making this thread.
The naive (?) sculptures are wonderful and somewhat unexpected, even though Texas is famous for that row of half-buried Cadillacs that we have all seen over the years. The Thai place intrigues me enormously and all the more so because of the rooster theme in the decor. This is the year of the cock, so that would explain why the chickens are everywhere. I'm afraid that you will have to return next year (year of the dog) to see if they have appropriately updated the theme.
Naturally, the family reunion was wonderful, but what a shame that you did not go to Bovine first to get gifts for everybody, because the variety and quality of the things for sale would have certainly delighted everybody.
I enjoyed my brief visit to San Antonio a few years ago, but I do not recall seeing most of the things that you saw -- but I did visit the Alamo, which was so much tinier than I expected.
Thank you, Kerouac -- for your generous words as well as for the important reminder that our own backyards can be extraordinary and interesting to many others.
Good idea about giving the Thai place in Vernon, Texas another chance, especially since my sister & I were both so disappointed not to sample their fare.
True about the gift selection at Bovine, although it wasn't the only stop that was full of temptations. One truck stop, along with the earphones, hands-free phones and hemorrhoid pillows, also had a complete selection of Viking and Roman helmets and breastplates. The world is a much more marvelous place than we imagine.
This was my second visit to San Antonio and my second time not to see the Alamo. I'm too big a person to be bitter, though.
Continuing in the plaza shown above, this was posted outside the place where we ate ~
There's that building I like again ~
Sister act ~
Another day and more sight-seeing ~
This expanse of copper caught my eye even before the other unexpected ornamentation ~
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 12, 2017 17:09:24 GMT
Here you find us arriving at an important San Antonio destination ~
This is the Emily Morgan hotel, named after a semi-mythical free woman of color believed to be "The Yellow Rose of Texas" ~
In front of the historical venue ~
Despite the message on the placard, the preaching was that we sinners deserve our fire and brimstone ~
And there it is, San Antonio's best-know landmark. All the way here, my Texas sister was insisting the lines would make it unvisitable. You can see the line as well as I. Nevertheless, both sisters claimed it was "around the block". Maybe I'll see it next time ~
The side of the Alamo. My mother informs me that there are models and dioramas inside -- my favorite things!
Your pictures of San Antonio and commentary had given me a positive image of Texas but that jackass demolished it. I bet he's just dying to pull out both guns at once and pretend he's a cowboy affronting bad guys.
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 13, 2017 14:50:04 GMT
Thanks, Mick! Coming across that kind of outsider art just out in a field was a highlight of this very fun and personal trip.
There are probably more positive things about Texas (it has maybe the best highways in the country) than negative.
Anyway, time to wrap this all up. These pictures were taken as we wended our way back to the hotel. One of the things that makes San Antonio such a good tourist destination is how much can be seen on foot.
My sister pointed out one of these bikes because of the Mexican motif. Good anyporter that I am, I snapped a picture for the City Cycling crowd ~
Musical wrought iron on the riverfront ~
Our last night. After a long wait we made it into the Japanese restaurant, its popularity heightened by the anime crowd wanting more Japanese experience. They were a happy bunch. Here are some waiting and a couple already seated ~
A last look out the hotel's breakfast room window as we bid goodbye to San Antonio ~