Monday, April 13, 2020

San Antonio, TX - FL To NM Road Trip - Stop 3


We have been wanting to go to Texas for a long time and especially the city of San Antonio.  We had heard so much about the River Walk and the Alamo.  It was time for us to see them for ourselves.  So that is where our trip planning started and is how our FL to NM and Back Road Trip came to be.

The first thing we had to do when we arrived in San Antonio was find the campground we booked for our stay here.  We chose the San Antonio/Alamo KOA because of the easy access to the city bus.  It was right outside the campground.  Not having to find parking in the city and giving Soko a break from driving sounded perfect. 


We would definitely recommend this campground, especially if you have kids.  We saw a bunch of them enjoying the playground here every time we passed it and the community room had activities for the whole family to enjoy together.  There is a large camp store and a good sized laundry room.  There is a pool, which no one was using because it was not warm enough outside, but it was open.   


The KOA was very clean, had a friendly and helpful staff and had all the amenities you could hope for.  We especially liked the private bathrooms complete with showers.  This pond was something you don't see at every campground.  It was a nice place to sit and relax for a few minutes.


We asked the very nice lady at the front office/camp store, when we checked in, about the bus service.  She was very happy to give us a schedule and all the information we needed to get to the sights we wanted to see. 

 

So after parking and setting up the trailer and having a quick bite to eat, we headed to the River Walk.  We were so glad that we did because we caught the last night of the Parade of Lanterns and it was a brilliant spectacle, not to be missed.


The River Walk, on a Saturday night, is alive with people enjoying the many restaurants and bars that line the walk.  It was one very lively and huge block party.



We didn't realize that the Alamo was only a couple of blocks away from the River Walk so we also got to see that lit up for the evening.


After spending a couple of hours downtown it was time to head back to the campground to get some sleep.  We had a long list of things we wanted to do on Sunday, our first full day in San Antonio. 

 

The first thing we needed to do, after a quick breakfast, was to find the buses that would take us to Mission San Jose, one of the 5 missions that make up the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.  You can find all 5 missions along the Mission Trail with the most recognizable being the Alamo.


We always make sure to find a Catholic mass to attend if we are on vacation on a Sunday.  We were so excited to find out about the mariachi mass.  The church was not hard to find by bus and so worth the trip.  We truly enjoyed the joyful music of the talented musicians.   I highly recommend attending this mass  if you are in the area on a Sunday.  Mass starts at 12:00 pm but get there a half hour earlier because the church is very tiny and fills up quickly.



We took a stroll around the grounds of Mission San Jose after mass and were awestruck when we saw this magnificent tree!  We found out later that it is a southern live oak and when this tree has room to grow, the branches will reach the ground before growing upward again.


Now it was time for lunch so we hopped on the bus and took a ride to the Historic Market Square.  


There were on a couple of restaurants here to choose from.  We decided to try La Margarita Restaurant & Oyster Bar so that we could eat outdoors on this beautiful day.  Soko had George's Special and I had the Tex-Mex Enchilada Dinner.  They were good but if we ever go again I would definitely like to try a little something at each of the food kiosks that line the marketplace.  We did get churros from one of them even though we were stuffed after our huge lunch!


Next on our to do list was a second trip downtown to see it in the daylight and to go the Alamo, which was closed by the time we got there the night before.  It was just as people described it to us.  It was small and right in the middle of the city.  The building had only one large room with items and information that showcased Texas history, culture and artifacts.  We got there late, once again, so other offerings here like a film about the history of the Alamo, were closed.  It is fun, though, to know we were walking on the same ground that a small group of about 200 volunteers, including Davy Crockett, walked on as they defended the Alamo and held off thousands of Mexican soldiers for 13 days.    We will have to go back one day to enjoy all the Alamo has to offer.  If you are planning a visit to the Alamo, keep in mind that it closes at 5:00 pm.


After we left the Alamo we took a peek into the gorgeous San Fernando Cathedral.  


There is a tomb, in the church, engraved with the pictures of Davy Crockett, William B. Travis and Jim Bowie, heroes at the Battle of the Alamo, but it is not absolutely certain that any of their remains are actually here even though there is a plaque saying so.  


We took a quick walk down the River Walk, to see it during the day, before heading to the bus stop.  Our plan for the evening was to have a little something to eat and to relax which sounded like a great plan to both of us.


Our plan for Monday, our second full day, and sadly our last, was to attend a rodeo!  When we first made plans for our February road trip we had no idea that the annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, one of the largest in the country, would be taking place while we were there.  Once we found out, we researched to find tickets and got them for Monday night, our last night in San Antonio.

The rodeo didn't start until 7:00 pm so since we had the rest of the day free we thought we would spend the afternoon at the San Antonio Botanical Garden.


We found the garden on a list that we had of all participating gardens in the 2019 Reciprocal Admissions Program.  We can enjoy RAP benefits because of our annual membership at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL and these benefits were a big reason why we paid the $75 to become Bok Tower members for the year.  Our membership saved us the $15 each admission fee at this garden and parking was free.  


We loved the Northrup Tropical Room, one of 5 glasshouses that made up the Lucile Halsell Conservatory.  We didn't expect to see this waterfall when we entered the room  it and was a nice surprise.


I was happy to see one of my favorite trees, the bald cypress, here.  The roots, or knees, are so cool looking.   These trees can live to be 500 to 600 years old.


After a couple of hours at the gardens, it was time to head back to our trailer to relax awhile and have dinner before the rodeo.  


We decided to take the bus to the AT & T Center which was only a couple of minutes from the campground.  We thought that the parking lot would be packed and would be very expensive.   But because we were taking the bus, we also would have to skip the Chris Young concert that was happening after the rodeo.   The last bus, to our campground, would be stopping by the venue around 10:00 pm and we had to make sure we were on it.

We checked out the fairgrounds first.



Then it was time to see our first rodeo, besides for the very small rodeo we have enjoyed at River Ranch in Lake Wales, FL.  


At one point, the kids were allowed to take part in a calf scramble.  We saw this for the first time at the River Ranch rodeo.  This seems to be a usual event at rodeos we're guessing.


Who knew there were so many different events that make up a rodeo.   It went on for almost 2 1/2 hours.  It was close, but we got out and made it to the bus stop in time to get one of the last buses, if not the last bus, back to the campground.    

We enjoyed the rodeo and everything else we experienced in San Antonio.  We had a wonderful adventure here.  Now it was time to head to our next stop, Big Bend National Park.

8 comments:

  1. Enjoyed seeing your pics!! Thanks so much for linking up with me at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 11, open April 1 to 26. All entries shared on social media if share buttons installed. I’d like to invite you to check out my other current link parties too!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. I will check out your other link parties!

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  2. That sounds like a really great trip; I too have had that San Antonio river walk and the Alamo on my list of things I'd like to see.

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  3. What a wonderful trip! Thank you for sharing at Party In Your PJ's.

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    1. Thank you for hosting your nice party and for stopping by!

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  4. This is the city I live in and I can say you really saw some of my favorite places! I love San Jose Mission most of all. That’s a bummer the Alamo was closed. That happened to me when I visited as a tourist and now I always try to remember if I have family in town about closing time. That’s so great you were there for the rodeo... what a quintessential Texas experience!!! And great that you visited before the city and rodeo shut down with the pandemic!

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    1. Never thought at the time that our road trip would be our last vacation for awhile! But so glad the timing was perfect. We loved your city and the mass at San Jose Mission was such a special treat! Be safe!!

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