Deep in the Heart of Texas

Trip Start Mar 01, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The RV Park we stayed at for the duration in San Antonio was actually about 30 minutes beyond the city. Top of the Hill RV Park was literally on the top of a hill in Texas Hill Country. Ed and I were both completely impressed by both the park and Hill Country. The park was fully developed with a general store, camper cabins, a pool (not yet open for the season), a hot tub (ready and running), laundry, showers, and a gathering hall. It was really more of a community and we felt instantly at home. Texas Hill Country is beautiful land with rolling hills, unbelievably blue creaks, trees, and prickly pear cacti. The views from Top of the Hill were stunning and offered miles of country vista.

At this point, we were running low on groceries, so we headed into the nearest town (Boerne) for dinner. Not much was open since it was Sunday, but we managed to find a little Mexican restaurant called Margaritas. The salsa was spectacular ¡V lots of cilantro, which I love love love. Ed had two beef enchiladas and I had one cheese enchilada and one tamale. Yummy. I have a weakness for good Mexican food (and good Cajun food ... well, really any good food), so this hit the spot. We both slept well that night.

The next morning, we awoke to beautiful weather. Cool and sunny with the promise of a warm afternoon. We headed into San Antonio around lunch, and stopped at a little grill called Chester¡¦s Hamburgers for lunch. When we ordered, I asked if they had slaw and was looked at blankly. So I repeated ¡§Cole slaw?¡¨ I was told that no, in fact they didn¡¦t carry cole slaw and then asked where I was from. One guy guessed Mississippi and then another said ¡§Carolina.¡¨ Sure enough. Alas, no cole slaw, but we did get sweet tea.

When we got our cheeseburgers (Ed ¡V lettuce, tomato, mayo, onions and pickles; Susannah ¡V mayo, ketchup, and pickles), both of us were speechless for a few minutes because we were eating our fantastic burgers. Not only were they delicious, they were the perfect size. As we were pulling up, I had noticed trees in bloom with the most lovely purple blossoms, much like wisteria. I told Ed I was going to smell the tree before we left; he knows what a scent addict I am. I asked one of the employees what the trees were and discovered they were called mountain laurels. And they did, indeed, smell as good as they looked. Sort of a cross of wisteria and lilac with a bit of daffodil thrown in for good measure.

After finding parking rather quickly, our first stop was the Alamo. The first thing we discovered was that it is a shrine and that our quiet was expected, a fact that touched us both. The second thing we learned was that the Alamo was originally a Spanish Mission. One of the most sobering exhibits at the Alamo was a half-circle of wood with the names of all the soldiers who fought at the Alamo inscribed. There were also flags displayed for every state represented by these soldiers. In a separate room, we saw a gun, a ring, some clothing (of course a raccoon hat), and even a lock of hair that belonged to Davy Crockett. And, needless to say, the entire time we were there, the song ¡§Davy Crockett (King of the Wild Frontier)¡¨ ran circles through our brains. And now it is yours to sing for the next several hours. fº

Outside the main building, we found the gift shop and an amazing courtyard garden with winding paths and historical markers. We wandered around looking at the different species of cacti, flowers, and trees and shrubs until we saw something climbing in one of the trees. After some discussion with a few other tourists, we concluded that it must be an opossum making a rare daytime appearance. Around the other side of the courtyard, we found a small amphitheater, a timeline of San Antonio history (both Anglo and Spanish/Mexican), and a well. Cutting the area in half was an acequia, part of the original structure (since restored) which used to bring water into the structure for the soldiers (and previously clergy). Swimming in the acequia were koi, several of them quite large. They seemed to be quite a draw for people to watch.

Back on the street outside the Alamo, we took several pictures and then decided to head down to the Riverwalk. What we found was not what we had experienced at other riverwalks. We walked down stairs so that we were one full story below street level. The San Antonio River runs straight through the city and in the early 1900s, an architect planned and began construction of his vision for this area. Bounded on both sides by walkways, the river is flanked by stores and restaurants. Flat-bottomed riverboats offer both a taxi ride and a history lesson for the uninitiated. Cypress trees shaded the area and ducks and birds could be seen swimming, eating, and bathing themselves in the river. Several planned fountains and waterfalls were also scattered about the walk. Ed and I walked back and forth and scoped things out, making several u-turns over bridges to the other side of the river to scope things out. We ducked in and out of several stores and finally decided to sit down at a restaurant and get a snack and some drinks. After refueling, it was almost five o¡¦clock, so we went back to the truck and drove back to the campground to get some supper and settle in for the night.

The next day, we rested, cleaned, and took some time for ourselves (rather than sight-seeing). In the afternoon, we crawled into the hot tub and soaked in the bubbles for about two hours. After emerging shriveled and relaxed, we cleaned up and went back to Margaritas in Boerne for supper where we were recognized by the waiter and ate more fantastic Mexican food.

Our last two days in the middle of Texas were spent shopping at a Western clothing store (I got a big belt buckle) and at Belk, where we spent some of our Christmas gift cards. We also took Bandit to the vet because he just wasn¡¦t himself. He was mopey and wouldn¡¦t jump onto or off anything. He wasn¡¦t favoring any legs and didn¡¦t growl or whine when we poked and squeezed him to figure out what was wrong. But something was wrong. The vet we visited (Herbst Animal Hospital) was wonderful. Our vet attendant (Danielle) was the nicest person and treated Bandit wonderfully. He was diagnosed with an inflamed lower back and given some anti-inflammatory pills which returned him to the Bandit we know and love. We also got some Greenies.

And then it was time to tackle the long, hot drive to the eastern side of Texas. After Kerrville, the land smoothed out from Hill Country and turned into llano, which has its own beauty, but seemed rather inhospitable. I mean, nothing can be found on I-10 through that section of Texas but a wind farm (dozens of windmills), a gas station, and a rest stop. Finally, we arrived in Fort Stockton, a flat, dry little town where the big news was the impending construction of an IHOP. It was here that we overnighted before leaving I-10 for the first time in five states and heading into Carlsbad, New Mexico on 285.
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