Texas and the Alamo

The drive from Carlsbad to San Antonio was reasonably boring.  Flat scrubby land with oil derricks dipping into the ground to suck up more crude oil.  It was a long journey, we came down on 285 into Fort Stockton.  This was one of the worst roads we’ve been on.  Roadworks just about the whole way.  Truck tankers carrying the crude oil from one place to another and a bone shaker road with big pot holes.  Fort Stockton was not much of a picture postcard town.  It played a role in the civil war, otherwise it’s another oil and gas town.  The wider area reminded us of Queensland Australia.  We stayed in a reasonably nice park in Fort Stockton, it had more permanents than people like us travelling through.  Most vehicles parked outside the 5th wheels had welding, plumbing equipment on the back so again it’s an oil and gas town.

We left Fort Stockton and headed out on I10 for San Antonio.  The environment remained the same as the day before until about an hour before San Antonio when the land became more undulating and some trees appeared, definitely a greener area, so more rainfall.

I’ve been disappointed at the amount of rubbish (plastic) that has lined the vast roads we have travelled in Texas so far.  It seems ironic that a state that produces so much oil should have the worst plastic pollution we have seen.

I have a map of Texas and there is a comment on the back by the Governor, Greg Abbott saying ‘enjoy your travels along more than 80,000 miles of excellent Texas highways… and help keep Texas beautiful’.  Not sure that he travels 285 very often…

San Antonio however has lots to offer and if we have ever seen a city try hard to turn it’s natural resources into something beautiful it has to be this city.

This is the park we are staying at:

There are a series of springs in central San Antonio that are the source of the San Antonio river, a river that is 240 miles long and crosses 5 counties.  It eventually joins the Guadaloupe River 10 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.

The river runs through the city and a Riverwalk has been made of it.  In the city centre the Riverwalk is lined with restaurants and shops on both sides and small bridges cross the river giving it a Venice/Spanish/Italian feel.  Some of the architecture in the city is also very beautiful.

 

 

It was about 34c/92f here today, that ‘s a temperature that we’ve had for a few weeks now but what we are not used to is around 60% humidity.  This makes 92 f feel like 120!  It’s so hard to be motivated to explore, however, explore is what we did!

In the heart of the city there are a few Spanish Missions still standing, but one became well known.  It was the Mission of San Antonio de Velaro, known as the Alamo.  The Alamo in 1836 became a battle ground.

In 1836 the Texans (above) forced the Mexicans out of Texas, an area that had previously been known as New Spain.  About 100 of these Texans were garrisoned at the Alamo when President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna launched an assault. He offered for all within the Garrison to surrender but Travis, a co-commander said no, they would be no surrender (One has to imagine he had the agreement of the others…)

The Spanish attacked the Alamo in a 13 day siege which by all accounts was barbaric and aggressive.  A handful of Texans survived but most were slaughtered.  This defeat angered the Texans so much so that in the same year they fought the Mexicans at the Battle of San Jacinto which ended the Texas revolution.

In 1845 Texas joined the union and even then the border was still under dispute which lead to the 1846 Mexican American war.  Mexico up til then had a claim on large piece of land, not just Texas but Utah, Arizona, California-the whole southwest of the US.

Walking around the Alamo today it was easy to visualize how the Mission used to look.

The front of the Spanish Mission

The long Barracks

 The original well in the courtyard

Much of it’s original structure still stands although since the 1836 battle the building has been used for many other purposes, so it’s changed over time.

The original part of the building is very Spanish looking, this with the nearby Italian/Spanish feel of the river walk gives the city a European feel.

After the Alamo we were so hungry we had to have a big German sausage burger at the beer garden.

Afterwards we strolled along the Riverwalk which is well presented with flowers and plants lining the river and the al fresco dining tables and chairs of the restaurants ready to receive the late afternoon diners.  Water features and waterfalls course down alleys and side streets to flow into the river.  Of all the cities we have been to, none have made such a nice feature of their river.

By late afternoon we were both too hot to do any more exploring and returned to the coach as the skies darkened and a thunder storm threatened.