We’ve been headed toward San Antonio since we left Rochester, NY in September. We spent some time in San Antonio in 2015, during our first year of life habitating in a highway house. And we enjoyed it quite a bit. Who wouldn’t enjoy painting their faces as calaveras and drinking copious amounts of horchata? Ok, maybe some people. But not us. We’re down with that.
Our good buddy Jeffy is also apparently a calavera / horchata aficionado because he proclaimed his desire to explore San Antonio during the Christmas season. Ok, so, maybe he doesn’t have a fascination with calavera / horchata.
Anyways, we rolled into San Antonio the day before Thanksgiving. We had ‘planned’ to roll in in early December, but were alerted that San Antonio kicks off their River Lights season the day after Thanksgiving. We called Traveler’s World RV Park, where we had booked a month’s worth of reservation and they were mad cool about moving our month up a week so we could come in early and check out the River Lighting Parade situation. We thought that was pretty swell of the folks at Traveler’s world. When we arrived they set us up with one of their ‘swankiest’ sites – aka, our site had a little bit of room between us and the neighbors, which I can vouch is not typical at Traveler’s World RV Park in El Paso.
The swanky site made me feel so swanky, that I decided to perform an exterior deep clean on our lovely lady on wheels to make her look appropriately swanky. This took me a full day, plus a few more hours the next day. There were several reasons it took me a day and half to wash Dyna. Part of the reason is that she was filthy. Another part of the reason was that I decided to scrub the roof, shine the tires and rims, and wax her body after washing that. Most of the reason was that our neighbors were overly chatty and had a lot of things to tell me about. I wish I could tell you what the neighbor wanted to tell me about, but I can’t. Because the things were not very interesting. The neighbor did, however, feed me tamales and let us know that if we wanted to go to River Lighting Parade we should get reservations at a River Walk restaurant. So we did that, which was a good piece of advice, because I’m not one to beat down small children so that I can get a view of a parade, and without beating down small children there was not much other option of getting a view of the parade.
But, before all this swanky-making / neighbor-yacking / not beating up children at the River Light Parade happened, we spent a day celebrating gluttony with the rest of America. We spent our Thanksgiving enjoying a long, slow run on the mission district end of the riverwalk (which conveniently runs adjacent to the Traveler’s World RV park), soaking in the RV park’s hot tub (swanky), watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, eating Oprah’s favorite turkey, napping, and then watching the NY Giants lose yet another game in degrading fashion. Which meant that we also drank beer. Beer is about the only thing I’ve found that can make you feel better when you are a 2017 season NY Giants fan.
But after our gloriously relaxing (albite Giants game losing) Thanksgiving, I did the Dyna swanky making. And was pestered for hours by our too-friendly-while-someone-is-working neighbors. And we went to the River Lights Parade while dining at a restaurant with the word ‘Texas’ in the name that served Mexican food because that was the only place that had reservations for two left.
The River Lights Parade was nice. A little bit less impressive and timely than a typical ‘on street’ parade, but still very endearing and enjoyable to attend. Plus the Mexican food type restaurant with the word Texas in the name (the name which I cannot remember) gave us some fancy light up hats to parade around in. Which we did. Proudly.
The River Lights parade is definitely something to check out if you’re in the area the day after Thanksgiving. It’s definitely not something to beat up the small children peering over the bridges covering the River Walk trying to catch a glimpse of the glamour of riverboats strewn with lights. And it’s definitely something to hitch a ride to get to (Uber/Lyft/cab/bike/horse). Traffic was a nightmare. Even from the backseat of an Uber.
The River Walk Parade got us into the Christmas mood. We spent the next week or so deep cleaning Dyna’s insides (to match her swanky outsides), plowing through work for work (you know, that place that pays us $$), and baking cookies and decorating Dyna so that Santa would want to come and leave me (Liz) an extra present. Also, we had some extra naps. I like to try and front load naps when I know that guests will be in town and I probably won’t have time for naps. I love naps.
Also, between Thanksgiving and the arrival of ‘The Jeffy’, it snowed in San Antonio. Which is apparently a big deal because everyone left their RVs to go outside and bask in the snow. We also did this, and took a walk around the park. One lady in the park was so excited by the snow that she told us to give her our phone so she could take our picture in the snow. We didn’t have the heart to tell her that we both grew up in Western NY. So, now we have a picture of us looking super excited while it snows out at night.
And then on December 13th, Jeffy showed up in San Antonio. And he brought his girlfriend Jenn too.
They stayed in an AirBnB a few miles from our swanky spot at the RV park, which was good. Because we ate a lot of Mexican food during their visit.
I’ll say no more.
Ok, yes I will. FARTS!!!
Ok, back to adult Liz typing this recap…
We tried to show Jenn and Jeffy the cool stuff that we had explored during our prior trip and this trip to San Antonio, which mostly involved walking about the Riverwalk, riding on river boats, and eating at Torchy’s Tacos (which is actually an Austin thing, but there is an offshoot in San Antonio too).
And we did the other tourist things too. Like go to the Alamo, which I personally find a little bit lame. But it’s free. And quick. And in the heart of downtown so it’s close to other cool things. Like Centennial park, where the World’s Fair was held in 1968, and there is a tower called Tower of the Americas which is, of course, taller than the Space Needle because: TEXAS. Bonus fun fact: Jeffy apparently hates heights, which is a fun fact we learned after we were in the elevator climbing up to the top of the Tower of the Americas.
Oh, and we filled in any ‘down time’ by imbibing in whatever libation was nearby. And in San Antonio, there is always some form of libation nearby. The RiverWalk is open container guys. And during Christmas time it is lit up like a Christmas tree – literally and figuratively.
It was rainy and chilly almost every single second of Jeffy and Jenn’s San Antonio trip. Alcohol kept us warm.
Jeffy has a bad habit of bringing crap weather with him whenever he visits us.
Jeffy has a very important birthday coming up, so Jenn came up with the (great) idea to celebrate said birthday (FORTY. He’s going to be FORTY guys!) early and in San Antonio. So we did. By drinking mimosas and cracking open a Piñata, and then doing a brewstillery tour at Ranger Creek and eating cheeseburgers at Tycoon Flats. It poured rain all day on ‘Jeffy day’, but that did not dampen the celebration. I definitely spilled some beer on my jeans that day, so that did dampen my jeans. But not the celebration. Happy birthday Jeffy!
We may have been a little hung-over the next day, but we managed to hit up Pearl Market and El Mercado. Another NY Giant’s loss (but a Bill’s win! Jeffy likes the Bills) where we were ‘forced’ to sit next to Eagles’ fans in a bar added a little salt to our slightly hung-over wounds. Freaking NY Giants.
Jeffy and Jenn flew back to the NY tundra on Monday, and we had two days to recoup before our next round of visitors showed up.
Dexter and Daddin’ are back guys!
After spending several months at ‘home’ in NY with family this summer (aka, rebuilding our engine), Jake and I had decided that we would forgo our typical Christmas trip back to NY and instead hang in the south with Dyna. But as the holidays got closer, we all kind of realized that this plan sucked and was stupid.
And Andy (Daddin’ – my brother) realized that he had a yearning to visit Texas based on all the reports of how awesome Texas is – as reported by Texas. And we were in Texas already.
You guys know how much Texas loves Texas, right? I know I’ve mentioned it in previous blogs. And I am happy to report, that even today, Texas still loves Texas. And they still sell Texas shaped tortilla chips at Texas’ favorite grocery store (HEB). Texas has also given themselves the go-ahead to fly the Texan flag above the United States flag if they prefer. Which, based on our observation, they typically do prefer. Texas validates this flag practice with the idea that since Texas was a country before it was a state, that Texas can do whatever the hell Texas wants. And so they do.
So, based on the idea that we were going to miss my idiot family, that Andy was fascinated by Texas (obsessively), and that Dexter had been talking about coming to stay in ‘the RV’ for a few months, Andy and Dexter joined us for the Christmas holiday – in Texas. And, because we can’t let my sister Kay live her “own fudge life” (Dexter quote), we made her come too. But Andy and Dexter came a few days earlier than Kay because Kay has to work a big girl job. (She’s so fancy)
Dexter proclaimed his approval for our ‘RV parking lot’, which is what he calls RV parks (and has since he spent a stint of 3 months living with us in the RV back in 2016). He made impressive use of the ‘RV parking lot’s’ outdoor pool, even when the daily temp didn’t break 55º. We also honed our ping-pong skills to the point of Olympian standards by the end of our stay at the park. And, Dexter was ultra excited when he noted that the ‘RV parking lot’ had a fitness center, which I snuck him into several times so that he could increase his 6 year old muscle mass. He proved his instantly acquired gains through demonstrations of sprinting, jumping, and karate kicking on several occasions.
I miss that little terrorist when we’re not with him.
So, my brother showed up with a mental list of Texas things that needed to be ‘accomplished’. I think we hit most of them.
He saw both a real live cowboy and a real live vaquero walking down the street, which he insists are different, albite similar, professions. I’m not quite sure how he was able to tell which cowboy was a native cowboy, and therefore actually a vaquero, but due to his excitement I was not about to question him.
We ate extra large food stuff. Because Texas. It’s just bigger. My brother was so darned pleased by the food sizing ratios in Texas – especially the cinnamon bun rations.
We visited the Alamo (and remembered), rode (another) river boat tour, and traipsed about the River Walk. We hit up El Mercado and Dexter rode a mechanical bull for the second time. Kid loves to be tossed around and beat up I guess.
We rode to the top of the Tower of Americas (which is several feet taller than the Space Needle, in case you forgot) – again. Dexter was anticipating that the elevator might break down – and had been talking about this fact for the days leading up to our excursion. The elevator worked just fine. We played on the really neat playground near the tower as a sort of ‘consolation’ prize for the lack of elevator break-down.
And at the end of out days, we binge watched the remainder of the Star War’s movies that Jake had not yet seen, in anticipation of hopefully getting Dexter to sit through The Last Jedi in a theatre.
We got attacked by Emus (is that something that typically happens in Texas?), fed goats, and cry laughed multiple times as we drove through a wildlife park and various animals approached the vehicle and not so politely requested the foodstuffs which they knew we possessed.
We drove home from the wildlife park in a slobber coated Jeep through the Texas hill country and marveled at just how much fencing Texans are willing to build to denote their property from the next. The fencing business must really love Texans.
After picking up my sister Kay from the airport, we enjoyed another round of Torchy’s (because delicious) and introduced Kay to her new life for the next several days, which were to revolve around swimming outside in temperatures below 55º, playing ping-pong, building Lego fortresses, and ‘working out’ with Dexter. Oh, and Andy also insisted we go back to Lulu’s and get another size-of-your-face cinnamon bun to share with Kay, so we did that too.
Kay and I grew up riding horses, and by proxy, Andy did too, so we decided to do the Texan thing and head out to Bandera for a trail ride. The ride was nice other than the fact that the cowboy/owner of the horse ranch was an extremely crotchety cowboy. But, other than the whole crotchety cowboy man, the trail ride was rather nice. Dexter was super proud that he was finally able to ride a horse outside on his own. He’s been on a few old ponies in his day, but hasn’t gotten to free his tiny wild soul out on the trail. He was stoked.
On the way home Dexter asked if we could stop at ‘Wondaburger’, which is actually named Whattaburger, and is a Texas delicacy. When a child asks that you pull over at Wondaburger/Whattaburger, you do it. So we did.
We then endured our weekly suffering session of watching the NY Giants lose again. The suffering was eased slightly, as we were able to endure it as a family of Giants fans. It’s a little easier to take when you have people you love suffering the suck with you, in person, rather than through a group text message. It’s also easier to endure when you have the opportunity to wander about the River Walk and partake in its open container laws. This helped me drown out the embarrassment of having once again worn my Eli Manning jersey in public.
And then, Santa came! He came to Dyna! Can you believe that?!
He brought me a new, water resistant Kindle, a rainbow wine cup, a unicorn wine bottle stopper and some candy! He is so nice.
Dexter got a pogo stick, which ended up being a bit too big for him. But that was actually fine, because Santa must have known that it was the adults who actually needed a pogo stick. We pogo’d all up and down the Mission end of the River Walk trail on Christmas day. It was awesome. Jake can do over 75 pogos at a time! My brother and I are still training to get above 20.
And then, it was time for Andy, Kay and Dexter to return to the tundra from which they flew to Texas from. We drove them up, sans Dyna, to Austin. Because Austin is the cheaper airport, and we’re cheap people. On the way to Austin’s budget friendly airport, we hit up a few more Texas gems. This included a stop at Buc-ee’s (Beaver Nuggets and extra large colas that cost $0.59), Salt Lick (for some barbecue that doesn’t require a 3 hour wait), and VooDoo donuts (which is actually a Portland thing, but since it’s there is one in Austin and their donuts are incredible…)
Since their flight was at 5-something-a.m. in the morning, we stayed in a hotel then night before their flight. This also meant that we were able to beat traffic back to Dyna that morning after dropping them off, which we have learned is an important consideration to make when planning your travels around or between any major Texas city. Because Texas likes bigger. Which means bigger (bubba) trucks which take up bigger space on the highway. And also I don’t think Texans carpool much. One person per truck.
We had originally thought we’d move Dyna up to Austin when it came time to drop Andy, Kay and Dexter off but at the last minute we decided to just hang-tight in San Antonio. We don’t really have any plans in the nearish future, so we’re not really tied to being anywhere (until we return to the NorthEast for an extra special event in Fall 2018). And after hosting (awesome) guests in Dyna throughout most of December, we realized it might be time to go hang-out in middle of nowhere Texas for a little bit.
So, I think that’s where we’re headed. Somewhere free or cheap to park in some barely on the map spot in Texas sounds really good.