Thursday, February 27, 2014

More Alamo

 Towering 60 feet high and located adjacent to the surviving buildings of the Alamo itself, San Antonio's "Alamo Cenotaph" pays tribute to the men who died defending the ancient mission in 1836 rather than surrender to overwhelming odds.

Titled "The Spirit of Sacrifice," the Cenotaph (or "empty tomb") was created by sculptor Pompeo Coppini from a design envisioned by architect Carlton Adams. Begun in 1937, the Cenotaph took two years to complete and is itself now a historical treasure.

According to tradition the Alamo Cenotaph marks the spot where the slain defenders of the fortified mission were piled after the battle and burned in great funeral pyres. The remains were later collected by local citizens and today located in a marble casket at nearby
San Fernando Catherdarl.

Inside the Mission is a life size statue of William Travis who had a long history of being a rebel against the Mexicans. He was supposed to have uttered the famous "cross the line" speech in which he challenged all present at the Alamo to stand with him against the Mexicans and to cross the line to stand with him. Legend says all but one person crossed the line.


2/24/2014 Today we viewed the Shrine of the Alamo where a lot of good men died fighting for a cause that they believed in. What I held as truth of the Alamo was wrong. I believed that Texas was fighting for independence from Mexico but they were not. Mexico had become a federalist government like her neighbor to the north, the US. Texas was lumped into a state with its southern neighbor making it one large territory. Texas wanted to be an independent state on Mexico. At the time, Centralist were trying to take over the Mexican government and Texas believed its best chance for independence lay with Federalists. So they fought the Centralists and General Santa Anna  for the right to be an independent Mexican state. Independence from Mexico came later followed by state hood in the United States. 
There was plenty of history to be learned and some artifacts. Most of the artifacts were destroyed after the seize. They did have Davy Crockett's long rife and examples of Jim Bowie's knife. We were not allowed to take pictures of any of the artifacts.
After touring the Alamo, we headed over to the San Antonio Riverwalk.

A mosaic under one of the bridges

After walking for a ways and then back because there wasn't much handicap access back up to street level, we settled on Landry's Seafood to eat. I wanted to cross the river to eat some Mexican but couldn't figure out the logistics of that. As usual when we eat out, we try to get something that we couldn't make ourselves or don't want to make so we ended up with these dishes.
Lobster bisque with a side of steamed brocolli

Patrick's fried seafood platter

My Chicken Andouille Pappardelle (chicken, andouille, mushrooms, sweet peas, wide egg noodles, sherry cream and sausage)

After lunch, we rode around the town center looking at the different sites and taking in some of San Antonio's city life.
Tower of America's behind the Alamodome

Another shot of it. 
 Then it was on to the trailer for dinner and whatever else we did. Showers and sleep.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Riding to Ol San Antonio, Old Gruene, TX

2/22/2014 We left our super loud Space Center RV Park and headed for San Antonio. We hooked up the night before so it was a quick matter of getting on the road. We rode through downtown Houston and enjoyed the sights of the tall buildings and the Farris wheel from the freeway and onto I-10. The land changed from the swampy lowlands to flat and arid.

 We stopped at this place for food. We like to try the local stuff and stay away from the fast food chains that we could have any place.

 Inside looked like this! Wow, holy stuffed animals. There were even more that I didn't photograph and the owner had a large portrait of himself on the wall. It seemed heavily patronized by the locals but we found that it was the worst place we ate on the trip so far. The meat was bland and then they covered it in their "sauce." All the side dishes were out of a five pound can from the grocery store.
  Back on the road, it was a three and a half hour drive from our place in League City. Then we got off the road and went to the San Antonio KOA.
A lousy photo facing into the sun with the cellphone. This place has lots of trees and you can hear the birds sing, not the endless freeway traffic.
Iris is settling in nicely and is doing a fine job of riding along and provides encounters with strangers and little lids. She seems to know who to go to to be pet. Some she will even turn away from.

2/23/2014 After another night of aching backs and restless sleep, B and I decided to look at mattress toppers. We went out to Camping World in New Braunfels and ended up buying a new mattress and new sheets and some chotzkis. Becky had spied a winery on the way down called Rohan Meadery. It a long drive out to it so I found a place near the Camping World that sold it. We ended up in historic Gruene, TX at a place called The Grapevine.

On the Top 40 Places to Visit in Texas.

Becky came out with a bottle of this and she drank a glass of it, I a glass of locally brewed creamy stout and P a root beer that made his belly all fizzy.
Lots of cool looking vehicle, a Porsche 911, a Mercedes AMG 6.3, a Victory motorcycle, a Can Am Spyder and other motorcycles. We ate at a place called Mozie's Bar and Grill. I had excellent fish tacos, B had a Ruben and P had sliders. Between the food and the root beer, his stomach was upset. Then we went to the Lucky Ewe Yarn shop. She got herself a skein of locally spun and dyed yarn. It was dyed with local flora and fauna products to look like this.

In the trailer, she had been busy making it home and doing little projects. She bought plants at Home Depot and a little planter. I thought it was funny because the bottom of it was made from Hardibacker for tiling bathrooms.

The tallest plant is an elephant ear and the tall one in the middle is an aloe. Somewhere in there is a zebra plant with stripes.

82 DEGREES PEOPLE! Sorry family trapped in the cold north. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Patrick's Take

Hi I am almost twelve years old and I like Legos and watching Lego Ninjago Masters of Spinjitsu or Pokemon Black & White Adventures in Unova (my favorite Pokemon is Minccino, they are really cute:) ) I enjoy playing sports with my friends. there is a picture of me at the bottom.        

2/17/14 Livingston La. Three long days in the car. Ugh! L
I’m so glad to relax and ride my bike. (I’m not riding it now of course) but still bored and hungry as normal LOL. Now I’ll ride my bike for a while. 67 degrees here (to all of you with cold weather HA! HA!) Wishing I could figure out how to put some pictures on this dumb thing.  In Ina IL we ate at Uncle Joe's BBQ, my pulled pork and baked beans were really good.
  Steak and canned beets for dinner. I played in the game room at the RV Park earlier while the laundry was running.  So far by evening I hate everybody and I don’t sleep well but at least we aren't driving 8 or more hours and eating out for dinner every night.  Everyone needs to listen to the lyrics of Star Trek Enterprise’s “Where My Heart Will Take Me” very helpful lyrics for moving into a camping trailer.

Rockets, moon rocks and a lazy day

2/20/2014 Thursday. We ventured into the past, into a time when the Reds were Cold and the the US was hot and they were racing to space. Kennedy made a fiery speech at Rice University propelling us into the Race. From there it was Geminis and Saturns and Shuttle crafts of discover. So all that to say we went to Johnson Space Center and took the tour and went to the museum.

They are restoring a shuttle in the parking lot. It was neat to see it apart and see the structure of the inside of the wings. What a fragile looking thing. I always thought that everything we sent into space looked like it was made from baling wire and aluminum foil. This shuttle is going to sit on the back of the a Boeing 747 that NASA used to transport the shuttle after landings back to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The whole thing will be infront of the museum and one will be able to climb stairs to view the interior of both vehicles.

Mission Control for all the manned space flights. The computing power of the computers beneath the floor of control was 4 megabites, the computing power of your digital wrist watch. I learned from a guy who used to work there that they would write telemetry data on clear sheets and paste the sheets to the monitors.

  Inside the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. The first pictures are of the full size International Space Station. The third picture is of the Soyuz Capsule that the Russians send three people into outer space to dock with the ISS. The capsule looked like you could squeeze one fat dude in (or one Shawn Campbell) and be done. It wasn't very big.
Pic 4 is of some of the vehicles that NASA is working with for exploration. The robot man can use an Ipad with his deft touch and flip the pages of a book without tearing them. At the end of the tour I wanted to ask where the studio was where they recorded the moon landings was at but I thought I might get punched in the mouth. For all you history buffs back home in Ohio, Niel Armstrong was in the Upper Sandusky Boy Scout chapter.

One of only three Saturn V rockets in existence and this is the most complete one. It is big and the capsules are small.

Random acts of photographic senselessness. The command center is a National Historic Heritage Site. Even though they had ashtrays on the backs of the seats, they wouldn't let me smoke. We rode a tram. I shaved off the beard and am looking quite bare. There is a guy at JSC who loves Star Trek and restored this shuttle craft to all its none working glory.

2/20/2014 Friday. Slept late and had beautiful sunshine all day. Cool at 68 with a light wind but still better than Ohio. Did some odd job work on the trailer and Patrick worked on school work. Nice to have a day where we don't have to worry about schedules or packing lunches, just lounging and catching up. Tomorrow we ride for San Antonio.