Saturday, February 19, 2011 (Tour of San Antonio, TX)

Well, after waking up at 4:00 this morning and not able to get back to sleep, I finally decided to get up and put the coffee on just before 5:00 a.m.! Sheesh! Oh well, I had plenty of coffee time this morning before our tour. We have to be at the office by 8:05, waiting for the bus to pick us up.

It was socked right in as we walked up to the office...foggy and heavy drizzle...reminded me of Victoria! Not exactly the best weather for a tour of San Antonio...oh was warm and the forecast was for some sun to come through this afternoon. We were the first on the bus but were soon joined by another couple. Tom and Karen are from Seattle and have just moved here because Tom took a job working for Boeing on the new Dreamliner. They decided to buy a trailer to live in rather than rent an apartment...for now, at least.

Braunig Lake was the first pick-up spot and we carried on into San Antonio stopping at other RV parks and hotels picking up others for the tour. Poor Robert, our bus driver, was somewhat flustered because there had been a bike race early that morning which had closed streets in the area but he finally made it to the tour office...which hadn’t opened yet because the girl working that day had also been delayed by the closed streets. She finally arrived and we all got off the bus and went in to pay for our tour.

It seemed to take forever but we finally got started on ‘The Grand Tour’. Our first stop was the Riverboat Ride. The San Antonio River winds its way through the downtown area and they have built an absolutely beautiful Riverwalk along its edge. We all boarded a boat for the 35 minute ride. They sure jam you in tightly.... barely enough room to change your mind! Unfortunately, there was no roof on the boat and, of course, it was raining...luckily not hard; more of a heavy mist. The river is lined with sidewalk cafes, restaurants and is just beautiful...even on a cloudy rainy day. It must be incredible on a sunny warm day! The guide/boat operator gave a great narration of the history of the river and the many buildings lining it. We`d love to have more time to spend on the Riverwalk...we`ll just have to return another time!
An optical illusion...

Once back on the bus, we headed to the Japanese Sunken Gardens. Robert explained that the Gardens were built in an old quarry by a fellow who had a vision for the ‘’big hole in the ground’’ and raised money for it. The city agreed to supply the from the area jails.

Our next stop was the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum which also included the Texas Ranger Museum. The saloon was built in 1881 and now contains artifacts from Texas history as well as world record wildlife exhibits with African, Asian, Alaskan, and North American themes—over 520 different species in all, including fish from the Seven Seas. Very cool!

The Texas Ranger Museum was full of authentic Ranger artifacts...there was also a re-creation of old San Antonio...Ranger Town.

It was just after noon when Robert dropped us off by The Alamo...this was also our lunch break. We had less than 2 hours for lunch and to visit The Alamo. We were starving so we decided on lunch first and headed to Pat McGuire` of the restaurants Robert had suggested.

At The Alamo ( stood in line waiting to was a busy Saturday afternoon. “The Cradle of Texas Liberty, established in 1718 as Mission San Antonio De Valero, the first of five missions built along the San Antonio River, where Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, Colonel Travis and 186 valiant men sacrificed their lives fighting for Texas Independence. “ We wandered through the various buildings and grounds. The rain had finally stopped and it was starting to warm up with the sun starting to pop through.

At 2pm we all re-boarded the bus to continue the tour...first, to the Mission San Jose...

Then to Mission Concepcion....there was a wedding going on here so we were no able to go inside...

Our last stop was at El Mercado...a big market...filled with shops selling colourful Mexican imports and many Mexican restaurants. We had 40 minutes here so after a quick wander around, Steve and I stopped at the Mariachi Bar for a drink...of course I had to try a Margarita!

At 4:30 we all boarded the bus for our return to our respective hotels and RV parks. We arrived home at 5:30...we had had a good day! The sun was a little late in coming out but it did finally make it and it had warmed up considerable from this morning...but we had wind...there always seems to be wind!

Since we were leaving tomorrow, I thought I had better do more research as to where we would go. Some campgrounds (State/Federal) were too close while others were too far...I was looking for somewhere that would be about a 3 to 4 hour drive max. As it turns out, I stumbled upon the Caverns of Sonora, just outside of Sonora, Texas and it advertised having an RV Park...with water and electricity for $15/night. No sewer or sani-dump due to the proximity of the Caverns, though. So we decided to make it our destination for tomorrow...just over a 3 hour drive.

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