Sunday, February 3, 2013

I have one word for central Texas hill country…… YAWN. Zooming across the state on I-10 is a real snooze.  But Texans have devised a very clever plan to keep you awake on their highways – it’s called NO RESTROOMS. They have tons of picnic stops and tons of parking lot stops but very few rest stops. So those with poor bladder control should not attempt to drive cross country in Texas! And if you think you can just pull off at a gas station you’re fooling yourself. Those are few and far between also. This state is a lot like traveling through Alaska - really big and with few services.

And the on- off ramps are weird!  Jim got lost over and over again trying to navigate to our really “fine” campground.  When I say “fine” you should be thinking Palermo. For the first time in all our years of camping Jim told me to lock to the trailer door when he left to do laundry. Now in all fairness I was going to take a shower (and who would want to barge in on THAT?)  Most of the campers here are permanent residents and really shady looking (I am sorry about the use of the word shady but those readers who worked in law enforcement will know what I mean.)  Did I mention we are right next to Lackland A.F.B. so we get to hear Reveille, Retrete and Taps over the REALLY LOUD speakers every day.  And the worst part of this campground is how much we’re paying - $35 a night. We get cable TV (34 of the 39 channels are in Spanish) no wifi, no showers (which is probably best) and a very seedy neighborhood. Jim says he’s two for three on picking campgrounds. Anyway, back to the on – off ramps. Texas is a lot like Egypt (where traffic laws are considered to be suggestions only.) If you need to get off the freeway here why wait for the off ramp? Just drive off onto the shoulder and across the grass for a few hundred feet until you reach a side road! You can see these "informal exit" ruts everywhere along the freeways.   

On the plus side, it’s 78, sunny and positively gorgeous out.  We drove into San Antonio and went to the Alamo and the River Walk. The Alamo was very crowded with long lines. The Alamo today is several buildings with a garden in the middle. The oaks in the garden were transplanted to the site in 1912. At the time the trees were 40 years old and it was believed large trees could not be transplanted successfully. Today the trees are HUGE.
After touring the complex it's hard to imagine
how 200 men (including Davy Crocket atnd Jim Bowie) held off General Santa Anna's Army for 13 days from the tiny former mission. Texans consider the Alamo to be sacred ground.


The River Walk was amazing.  San Antonio has diverted the San Antonio River so a portion of it now loops slowly through an area of hotels, restaurants and cute little shops.  Ducks and cormorants paddle around and colorful boats haul tourists down the river.
There were lots of outside eateries but none was dog friendly. So we settled for sodas and popcorn at Crazy Sam’s, a friendly bar that offers a water bowl for dogs and margaritas to go for their owners.
The River Walk was crawling with  Lackland Air Force Boot Camp graduates and their proud families. We made a point to congratulate the happy young men and women.
And then there was Maggie, our kid magnet.  For some reason kids just gravitate to her. Parents are always amazed to hear she’s barkless. Basenjis are rare enough that few people have ever seen one.  We are always impressed when someone knows she’s a Basenji. 
Now Maggie is stretched out beside me, sound asleep and snoring like a Husqvarna chain saw.  It’s hard work being Maggie.
Tomorrow we drive to Houston for the night. Hoping for better camping facilities.

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