I’m fixin’ to start this post off with a list of things we’ve noted/learned about Texas thus far. We’ve been here less than a month and have only parked the rig in 3 locations, but DANG. This place is wild. In all sorts of ways.
- I’m pretty sure Texans actually believe that Texas is the largest continent on Earth. It is also the biggest country in the United States. And also the largest planet in the solar system. I have a lot of respect for this belief. And, being the main driver in our expeditions, I can attest to that both of these beliefs are more than likely based on fact.
- The speed limit here goes all the way up to 85mph. Now, this is very helpful in traversing this massive, often barren land (which as previously mentioned, is the largest planet in the solar system) in a semi-timely manner. Dyna does not go that fast. Ever. I’ve tried. She’s 100% slow twitch muscle. So, the only thing this 85mph speed limit has provided us is the embarrassment of holding up traffic.
- Which brings me to our next fact. All Texans drive trucks. Most of them are diesel. A high percentage of them are white in color. None of them utilize that handy-dandy turn signal.
- You don’t see a lot of hotdogs here. They sell tamales. And tacos. A lot of tacos. We like hotdogs, but we’re cool with tacos too.
- You have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being able to predict the weather here. Which also lends to the whole having a better chance of being struck by lightning. Because the weather couldn’t be predicted.
- Texans really love Texas. And I love that about Texans.
- Not only does Texas have free range cattle, but they also have free range dogs. Lots of them. It makes running suck.
- All Texans can two-step. And they’re good at it.
- Fire ants. Scorpions. Snakes. Big spiders. None of these things bother Texans. But they bother me.
- Everyone here owns, and wears cowboy boots. 50% of the population wears cowboy hats. God Bless Texas.
- If you buy your wife a diamond, you can get a free gun. You can also use your gun as a down payment for a car. Both of these things are advertised via billboard signs on the highways where you can drive 85mph.
After an overnight in a Texas town called Junction, we made it to and spent 2 weeks in San Antonio. I wouldn’t usually mention an overnight in a town called ‘Junction’, except that during this overnight, a small dog found us. And forcefully befriended us. So we fed him hotdogs. And then took him to the local jail and gave him to the warden and some inmates who were really excited about the small dog. Then we ate some delicious barbecue. It’s hard to find un-delicious barbecue in Texas.
San Antonio is ‘Texcellent’ (get it? I’m really impressed with this one). We got to experience a little Día de los Muertos, a little Texas rainstorm, a little typical tourist exploration, and a lot of good food. Because we didn’t drive 7 hours across Texas to watch our cholesterol.
We got lucky and found a really great little RV Park just outside of San Antonio called Hidden Valley RV Park. The management was great, the sites were spacious and scenic, and some of the folks we met there were pretty cool. We met the ‘nice folks’ while Jake was making yet another repair on the endless list of repairs to our vehicles; tools and grease are man magnets (take note single ladies…and gents). Anyways, our new friends Jay and Rick assisted Jake in removing RedRammer’s shoes (tires), which were salted on by several New York winters. And then, after helping us make Rammer drivable (which involved Jay driving Jake to the hardware store multiple times), we were treated to an evening picnic involving ribs. Cooked by a real Texan named Tish. Tish is the wife of Jay and she knows how to cook ribs. Texans are good people. Sadly, the floods which decided to visit Texas while we were in town forced us to move Dyna up the hill (once again, awesome management going on at Hidden Valley) for safety and caused a somewhat early departure of our new friends. But, before we had to bid them farewell, we celebrated Tish’s birthday downtown with some Mexican deliciousness at MiTierra’s, some Mexican pastries, a pitstop at the Alamo, and a woman holding a chicken.
Since leaving NY, we have become aware that standard weekly weather in the rest of the nation doesn’t include 5 straight days of rain & clouds. Followed by 10 more straight days of rain & clouds. It’s been weird, all this sunshine all the time. Sometimes I find myself half-wishing that we’d get trapped indoors on a rainy day so I would have an excuse to read books and eat crunchy snacks all day. Well, its been raining a lot in Texas. Mostly at night, and mostly in the form of torrential downpour, but its been raining. What I didn’t realize was that when it rains in Texas, it floods in Texas. Flooding is a major fear of mine. I’m not a big fan of water to begin with (I’ve been known to run marathon+ distances without any water, although I don’t think this is really something to brag about), and my family has had some devastating experiences with flooding. We’ve been a little anxious about all this water falling from the sky. Luckily, as I mentioned before, we have been staying at a park with great management who quickly moved us out of water’s way. That did put an end to the fun our little ‘gang’ of RV nomads was having ‘down in the bottom’ of the park, but at least we didn’t float away. A cool thing that happens when it rains in San Antonio, is that everything rapidly turns green. Its pretty sweet to watch.
Its also pretty sweet to watch the people on San Antonio’s River Walk, which we did a lot of, sometimes in the rain. We walked, ran, sat on, biked, boated next to and dined on the Riverwalk. Its a gaudy, colorful, happy place and we loved it there. We celebrated Halloween with a leisurely 30 mile bike ride up and down the Mission trail, stopping in to each of the 5 missions to poke around along the way. I should mention that we fueled our ride with breakfast tamales from the Pearl Market, which was a great choice and a great event. We then followed up our ride with barbecue and beer at The Granary, which was a yet another good choice. We topped the day off by attending the Riverwalk Halloween festivities and watching a costume contest in the rain. And then returning to Dyna to binge eat candy.
San Antonio was celebrating Día de los Muertos while we were in town, which was an extra special treat. Mostly because it involves a kind of creepy premise in an awesomely happy, celebration based atmosphere. Parades, sugar skulls/calaveras, beautiful shrines all over the city, colorful decorations in abundance, extra reason to eat sweets… yep, Day of the Dead celebrations are pretty awesome. We declared that our ‘day of the dead’ would be on Sunday, November 1st, because we’re our own bosses and can do what we want (sometimes). We hit up Market Square (El Mercado) for some face painting, Aguas Frescas, perusing through tchotchkes, and dancing. Then we proceeded to celebrate the Red Rammer’s dead brake pads by finishing the task of changing them. And we celebrated by listening (radio) to the NY Giants (yes, we’re Giants fans) ‘die’ on the field as is more typical than we’d care to admit. (We both also thought about those who had been in our lives physically, but are now of the spirit world; Day of the Dead has a way of making you do some serious things too).
In an effort to stop rambling on about how awesome San Antonio is (dude, it is super awesome though! Its clean, colorful, well landscaped, and well cared for), I am going to just mention the rest of the highlights of our stay.
- We fixed the AquaHot! AquaHot makes our water hot, so we were showering in cold water for about 5 days until we could get the parts to remedy the problem. This clearly took driving around to multiple RV shops, ordering things online, and lots of research on the problem, but we did it. Thank goodness, because hot showers are an interest of mine.
- We took a ‘brewstillary’ tour of Ranger Creek Brewing and drank more good beer and bourbon than was probably necessary.
- We attempted to eat a 3lb cinnamon bun. We failed. Even in finishing the left overs, we failed. We’re not proud.
- We also failed in eating a very large slab of country fried steak. Everything really is big in Texas.
We loved San Antonio. Have I ever seen a more dense or sprawling smattering of auto parts/auto repair/tire shops? No. Have I ever been more fearful of rogue dogs attacking me on my runs? No. But the color, vibrancy, pride, and flavor of the people and city were amazing. We look forward to a return in the future. Because San Antonio is a gaudy town, and we’re gaudy people.
See ya’ll in Austin!