We arrived in Fort Stockton, TX after 297 miles of driving. We stayed one night. There wasn't much to see. The lady at check-in wasn't overly friendly either. There was a lot of wind but at least it was warmer.
Just over 300 miles the next day to San Antonio. The wind was steady all day and it seemed that Larry had to have the steering wheel at a 10 degree angle just to keep the coach on the road. The countryside was very flat and dusty for the first third of the way then it changed to hills and was quite green. It was amazing how many mule deer, racoons and some armadillos that were dead on the road. They must come out at night. We also were surprised at the number of pick-up trucks with antlers, gun racks and coolers that passed us. This was a Sunday so they were coming home from a weekend of deer hunting. We stopped at a rest area for lunch and met a couple from Kamloops who were heading to the east coast and then up to the Maritimes. They just retired.
Traveler's World RV Park in San Antonio is quite nice. There are some trees around now and also more Canadians. We arrived in time on November 28 to make chili for Grey Cup. Not the result we were looking for in the game!
November 29 we took the Grand Tour from Alamo Tours. It was a full day from 9 am to 4:30. We actually set the alarm. The trolley picked us up at 8:20 and took us to the tour office downtown. We began outside the Alamo, which was built in 1718, and then headed to the luxury mini-bus. Our driver was David. He could talk! We went to the Japanese Sunken Gardens first. It was a limestone quarry in the late 1800s. It was opened in the early 1900s as a tea room and a local Japanese-American artist was invited by the city to live in it. He raised 8 children there. The family was interned during WWII. Later a Chinese family lived in it and it was renamed Chinese Tea Garden. In 1984 it was restored to its original Japanese Tea Garden designation but was badly neglected. In 2007 a restoration was approved and relatives of the original family were on hand. It is scheduled to be finished in 2011. It is interesting the parallel with Butchart's Gardens in Victoria which was also built in an old quarry.
After that we went on a 25 minute Riverwalk boat cruise which was lovely. There are so many restaurants and cafes there you would never go hungry. Then we went to the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum which also included the Texas Ranger Museum. In the Buckhorn Museum there are over 520 species of animals, birds, fish and reptiles. Many are listed in the Boone and Crockett journals. It was built in 1881. There is also a wax museum of Texas History and a replica of a small town. Included was a jail with an inmate - they had recorded snoring and burping sounds of him sleeping in his cot. The original Bonnie and Clyde car was also there complete with bullet holes. We were then on our own until 2:00pm. During that time we toured the Alamo Mission and grounds and had lunch at the historic Menger Hotel.
At 2:00pm we headed to the Mission San Jose, founded in 1720, and the Mission Concepcion, founded in 1731. We were all getting a bit exhausted with it all by this point. There were only six of us on the bus. When we got to El Mercado, the last stop, four of us headed to the Margarita Bar and arrived just in time for Happy Hour $3 Margaritas. Then back to the bus to be delivered right to the door of our RV! An excellent day. We will go back to the market to actually shop in the next couple of days.
Wednesday morning we woke up very cold. We had shut the heat off as usual but the temperature went down quite low overnight. It was 42 degrees F. outside and inside when we woke up. We went back to the market and bought some goodies at the bakery Mi Terra - pecan-covered buns filled with vanilla cream (so sweet we only ate one), mango empanadas and walked through the rest of the market and didn't really see anything we couldn't do without.
Thursday Dec 2 we discovered some new areas near the RV Park and investigated H-E-B to see what it was all about. It is an excellent grocery store. The produce and fruit was much fresher than we had encountered before. H-E-B began with one store in 1905 owned by Florence Butt just west of San Antonio. In 1919 her son Howard E. Butt took over the store and eventually grew it into what it is today. Today they are in 155 communities in Texas and Mexico, have more than 329 stores and 76,000 employees. We took the city bus (not Larry's style of transportation) into town in the evening and went to County Line BBQ at the Riverwalk. We sat outside right by the river. Groups of school kids were on the barges going around singing Christmas Carols. There were lots of people downtown. A very nice evening!
Friday we headed to Donna, TX.