Saturday, January 6, 2007

2007 San Antonio---a winter wonderland!

Originally my work was suppose to have their winter meetings here.  So I found a great RCI Extra Vacations 2 bedroom condo for something like $249/week and figured that would be my base when I wasn't in the meetings.  I invited me Dad to join me since he had been stationed at Randolph Air Force Base in the early 1950s and was excited to check it out again.  Turned out, the winter meetings were cancelled, but we went anyway.  I was looking forward to getting away from our Midwest winter for a little while and heading south to warm weather.  Little did I know that San Antonio is a winter wonderland!!!

Our resort was Silverleaf's Hill Country Resort.  Not actually in San Antonio, but not far from it. 
Our livingroom.

The extremely small kitchen---note the only counter space was where the coffee maker is.
 towards the fireplace and 2nd bedroom.
covered pool area with heated pool and jacuzzi---too bad they closed them down because of the weather!
 our building with plenty of parking.
walking around the resort
 yup----we were hit with an ice storm!!!
 Just a little more of the ice.
 And more ice!
heading up to the Jacuzzi before they closed it down.
the highways were all closed down, too, but we did venture out to the local grocery store and to the library (for internet). 
 Texas ice scraper----
 grill of our car.
In our driving around, we came across this waterway which was obviously warmer then the air (note the moisture rising).
 More of the waterway.
 Not sure what this area is, but looked like it would be a nice place for a pic nic---if it were warmer.
 We also found this lake in the HIll Country. 
 Looked like they had rental cabins.
 Dad wandering around
 Not quite the trip we had planned, but it was still great spending time with Dad.  He flew in from Oregon and I flew in from St. Louis.
 marina at the lake.
Hill Country road
 Found the occurrence of ice covered cacti interesting!
 I will admit it was really beautiful.  But Texas sure isn't equipped for icy weather!
 The Hill Country cleaning crew.
On about the 5th day of our week, the highways were finally opened, so we headed in to San Antonio.  First stop, Randolph AFB.   Dad enjoyed talking about the "good ole days".  We were even in the bar area when the graduating pilots were celebrating "drop day" -- getting their assignments.  After that, we went into the Officer's Club and had a great prime rib dinner.  Brought back fond memories of going to the Officer's Clubs for Thanksgiving dinners and for our birthdays when I was a kid. 
 Next day we headed to the San Antonio Riverwalk area.  It is a stretch of walking paths lined with shops, bars and restaurants that wind along the banks of the San Antonio River.
 A short walk from there is The Alamo.  The Battle of the Alamo was a 13 day siege which took place from February 23 - March 6, 1836.  The Mexican Army defeated the Texas Revolutionaries, but the battle inspired many others to join their cause. Eventually, the Alamo led to the end of the Texas revolution when the Texians won the Battle of San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836, and drove the Mexican Army out of Texas.

We also went to the Omnimax and watched a video on the Battle of the Alamo.
We had read there were some missions close by making up San Antonio Missions National Park , so we also went to check some of them out.
 The San José, established in 1720, was a model for other missions--and the most prosperous.  The building around the mission consisted of lots of small "apartments" where the natives who were being Christianize were housed.
 Inside was a huge courtyard. 
 Rooms for 350 Indians were built into the walls
 inside the unit.
 Another view of the units
 The mission lands were given to its Indians in 1794, and mission activities officially ended in 1824. After that, the buildings were home to soldiers, the homeless, and bandits. It was restored in the 1930s and is now part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

 Another view of the San Jose mission.
 cemetery within the mission.
 intricate doorway to the church and plastering.
Final look back at Mission San Jose as were were leaving.

 Another mission we went to was Concepcion Mission.  Founded by Franciscan friars, this is the best preserved of the Texas missions.

 Inside the mission Concepcion.
After exploring the missions, we headed back to Riverwalk and took a boat ride.

 another boat
 along the Riverwalk
 skipper Dad
 the Riverwalk by night
 along the Riverwalk boat ride
 more lights along the Riverwalk boat ride.
When our ride was over, we hit one of the restaurants along the River and had another great steak dinner. 

The next day it was time to leave.  Said our "Good-byes" to the city and to each other.  Maybe not the vacation you would expect in San Antonio, but we still had a blast. 

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