Friday, November 11, 2011

New Orleans Road Trip - Day 19

The two old buzzards awoke refreshed in San Antonio, Texas on 11-11-11, Veterans' Day, ready for another day on the river. Wilma did not have to wait for us in a $16.50 parking garage downtown. Thanks to one of our Rio Taxi drivers yesterday, we found out where they park and it's for free. It's in a dirt lot, right next to the locks on the river. Only had to walk about 100 yards to grab a Rio Taxi.

The weather started out a little nippy, but turned out even nicer than yesterday since there was no wind and it warmed up as the day went along. The difference in the amount of people at the River Walk was amazing, as some of the photos in today's gallery will show. Being a Friday and a holiday must have been huge contributors to the mass of humanity.

Apparently today was chosen by lots of couples as their wedding day. There is certainly no excuse for hubby (or wife) to forget 11-11-11. We saw two different weddings in progress at Marriage Island during trips up and down the river. The taxi driver said that area is called Marriage Island. It is a natural island formed by the roots of cypress trees and is in the shape of a heart. Around the bend they both showed us Divorce Island. When Linda asked one what shape it was, he quickly answered “An alimony check”.

Besides weddings, we saw quite a few things we had missed on our first day. Today we had one of the same Rio Taxi drivers as yesterday (the one who was being retrained and he had graduated to being on his own today). We also had 2 drivers who were women. Once we were transferred from one barge to another one mid-stream (or mid-river rather). They just pulled up beside each other and lined up so we could step over from one to the other. There was no "Oops!" (splash).

The buzzards decided to have lunch at the Menger Hotel Restaurant again since it was such a fantastic experience yesterday. And they hadn't gotten lured in by any of the touristy eateries down along the river. As good as it was yesterday, it was even better today! At first we were disappointed that the buffet had gone up $5 from yesterday (because it was seafood). We both decided on the buffet and it was really good. John especially enjoyed the boiled shrimp (he had about 30 of them and those are "calorie cheap"). John had some smoked salmon, coconut fried shrimp, fried oysters, crab & shrimp salad and some fruit. He also had a sliver of cheesecake for dessert. Linda had smoked salmon, crab, shrimp , coconut crusted fried oysters, panko crusted trout, raspberries, blackberries, melon, pineapple, strawberries, broccoli, spinach, carrots and risotto. For dessert she had bread pudding and butter pecan ice cream (both with a little rum sauce on top). Later when the hostess came by for a chat we were telling her that our meals there were the best we had had on our entire road trip. She asked if we had tried their mango ice cream which they are famous for and have been making for over 100 years. She insisted on bringing out a sample for us to try. What a place!

Now needing to walk off that delicious lunch, we visited the Alamo which nowadays is sort of hidden behind the Hyatt Hotel. When we were kids it seemed to have open area around it but now it is surrounded on all sides (just like when it was under attack in 1836). Outside there were 3 guys hawking rental audio tours. There was no admission charge which seemed fair since the exhibits weren't especially enthralling and several areas were blocked off by scaffolds, etc. It is an important part of Texas history but you might get more enjoyment from the John Wayne movie or some documentary unless you are a history buff and already know a lot about the Alamo. We did learn from a Rio Taxi driver that "alamo" means cottonwood, as in a cottonwood tree. Neither old buzzard remembers learning that from Texas History in 8th grade.

As we were in the area between the Alamo and the gift shop Linda met up with someone from her home town of Plainview, Texas. They both had on Plainview Bulldog paraphernalia. Guillermo had on a football coach jacket and Linda had on a Geritol Bulldog t-shirt. He coaches a Junior Bulldog team.

Linda found something in the gift shop to add to our prize stash for the Mileage Madness winner. John will send out the contest info again soon.

After our ho-hum visit to the Alamo, we got onto a river taxi and back to Wilma and home to our lodging and Fannie Mae.

We had a light dinner at IHOP. Linda had a fresh fruit crepe and a glass of ruby red grapefruit juice. John had two eggs over medium, two slices of bacon, rye toast and dekaf coffee.

Linda's favorite sign of the day was at one of our stops along the river. It said PLEASE FEED THE DUCKS, PIGEONS OR OTHER WILDLIFE. It seems like signs are usually telling you NOT to feed the animals. It looks as though some thoughtful tourist has removed the word "NOT"

To view the 46 photos in today's photo gallery, just click here.

We have enjoyed our time in San Antonio but it will be nice to be away from all the freeway traffic for a while starting tomorrow on our way to Fort Stockton, Texas. Surprise, surprise, we are planning to take some back roads. Please stay tuned!

Does anyone at all out there (besides John) remember radio station XERF, broadcasting from Del Rio, Texas. Their transmitter was in Mexico, hence the XERF call sign. It was the original home of Wolfman Jack. They also had Brother and Sister Ivy and you could send in your prayer card, along with cash, and they would pray for you on the air.

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