Background Music: "Texas" by The Beat Farmers   (R.I.P. Country Dick Montana)

Just outside of San Antonio this stop, on Lake Medina in Lakehills, Texas. There’s another Thousand Trails here, and we love this place.

First of all, it’s warm here- not that it’s the campground necessarily that’s responsible for that, but when you can open your doors to an 80 degree day, and enjoy the sweet smelling breeze coming out of the closest thing to forest we’ve seen in awhile, that makes this place seem like heaven. Second, the preserve here is home to hundreds of deer. They’re fairly tame and we’ve spent the week feeding and befriending them. They wouldn’t have much to do with us when we first got here, now they greet us whenever we’re outside. It’s our last day here, and just this morning we finally convinced the baby deer who always hides in the bushes to come out and eat out of our hand. There’s an outside mini golf course just down the road from our campsite, and the posted rules say “no pets”, but we always see at least half a dozen deer, squirrels and a couple of barn cats sitting around in there. We played a round and had a funny little audience and some interesting hazards to avoid. The deer are so cute, sweet and friendly- we’ll miss being around them when we leave. If we can catch the baby, we just might take him with us.

We didn’t know exactly what to expect from San Antonio, but many of the people we’ve talked to count this as one of their favorite cities in Texas. As we drove into San Antonio we knew right away it was going to be different because we saw sushi restaurants. Seems like a small thing, but that’s the kind of detail you pick up when all you’ve seen are Bill Miller BBQ’s and Diary Queens for a month. There seems to be a diversity here that the other places we’ve visited in this state, even the big cities, don’t possess. It reminded us of home in that respect, and as much as we have appreciated the places we’ve visited, we welcomed the change.

While here we had to visit the Alamo, of course. As with any of the well known sites we’ve visited, the Alamo wasn’t exactly what we expected. I think the biggest difference was that it was located in the middle of the city of San Antonio, and not in some remote dusty spot. We’ve come to expect these differences, though. Things are never how you see them on TV. We are learning so much on this trip!

Another learning point for us- we knew the Alamo was a fort and the site of the most heroic episode of the Texan war of independence against Mexico. We weren’t aware, however, that before that the Alamo was part of a series of Franciscan missions in this area. We visited the other remaining missions on Ash Wednesday- four others, all within a few miles of each other. They’re relics of a beautiful but sometimes sad history. The story of the Alamo, these missions and the people who lived here is a fascinating one, and we’re so grateful to have had the chance to see where it all took place.

One of the other hot spots to visit in San Antonio is the Riverwalk. The San Antonio river was routed through a portion of downtown to create this spot for tourism, and also to help with the flooding that used to occur frequently in the area (hey, an idea for you Vernonia). We took a boat tour so that we wouldn’t miss anything, and we learned about the engineering that had gone into making the Riverwalk, the best places to eat in the restaurant area, and even about the types of things they find in the river when they drain and clean it every January. Some things you don’t really want to know.

Our last big trip in this area was to the Natural Bridge Caverns, discovered in the 1960’s. We took two of their tours through large caves full of beautiful rock formations. The cave tours we’ve taken so far on this trip are pretty tame. Travis has yet to talk me into any of the “adventure tours” which typically involve crawling through tiny openings full of water, mud and bat guano or repelling down rock walls into a black abyss. My biggest fear is that in a moment of insanity I’ll be talked into one of these tours. We got a pamphlet on one place where you don a wetsuit and walk chest deep through the chilly waters of an underground cave, the cave walls and ceiling as close as a few inches around your head and the only light coming from the headlamp on your head. Dear lord, save us from our sense of adventure!

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