Well, the next week begins with anticipation of another week’s adventures. We are juts outside of Austin, Texas with plans for a trip into San Antonio to see The Alamo and the River Walk. Who knows what else will come our way?
After an easy travel day yesterday, today we went to the Hamilton Pool Preserve. This is a natural swimming hole created by the collapse of and underground river dome thousands of years ago. The large cave created overlooks the pool with waterfalls, ferns trees and sun. Very beautiful.
Busy day. Into San Antonio (with a stop for some Texas Longhorns) to see The Alamo and the River Walk.
The history of The Alamo is incredible. Built as a Roman Catholic Mission in the early 1700's by the Spanish, but over 100 years later it was the site of an epic battle that ultimately led to the creation of the Republic of Texas. When Texes seceeded from Mexico, the Mexican Dictator, Snata Ana invaded and vowed to wipe out the rebels. The Alamo stood between him and the small but growing Texan army commanded by Sam Houston. 189 men including Wiliam Travis, Jim Bowie (the Bowie knife) and Davy Crockett were among them. 189 men held off 4,000 to 6,000 Mexican soldiers for 12 days before being overrun. This gave Sam Houston time to raise his army that eventually defeated Sanata Ana at the Battle of San Jacinto near what is now the city of Houston today.
There is not much left of the 300 year old mission but what there is, is remarkable. They don't even allow photography inside the remaining original structures, the church and the long barrack.
The River Walk is beautiful. It is a level below the streets and is lined with shops and restaurants, surrounded by massive trees and history.
On the way home we went through the small town of Marble Falls and were surprized by this wonderful Christmas light display. So, of course we had to stop and get some shots.
Another big day. Austin, Texas. First a stop at the Barton Springs Pool. This is a pool fed by a spring and is 68 F degrees year round. Imagine the length of your local pool. Multiply 2 or 3 and that is the width. The pool is about a block long. Beautiful. Then a short walk around Zilker park and along the Colorado River that runs through Austin.
Next a visit to the state capitol building. Absolutley magnificent! I can't overstate the beauty and the detail. The building was built in 1888 and the desks were brought in in 1890. They look like they are new. Check out the hinges on the massive doors, even the screws. If you are ever in this area, this is definitley worth a stop.
Off to downtown and famous 6th street. Blocks of 120+ year old buildings with bar afetr bar after bar, all with live music. Free. We were there too early in the day but we did find one with a fellow playing and singing (quite good too) by the name of Matty Henderson. So, watch live music at a bar in Austin...check.
From May to October, thousands of bats call the Congress Ave. bridge home and at dusk they fly out and are quite the sight. We waited and watched hoping for a few stragglers (there were lots of others waiting too), but no luck.
The Last Day……What Happened?
I will never know what really happened here. The day this large propane truck was left abandoned in front of the old station. I can only imagine. So, here is what I think might have been. This story might be true. It might not. The names have been made up to protect the innocent.
Harold & Mabel had met in high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. A few years later they were married with a couple children, Jack & Jill. Harold had a good job and for a few years all was great. Then the factory closed, and he was out of work. Mabel had family in Los Angeles so they decided to head west.
They packed up the kids and headed down the Mother Road, Route 66. In Oklahoma, Harold was offered a job driving a propane truck for a local gas/service station. They decided they could use the cash, so he took the job. A few years later the owner wanted to retire and offered the business to Jack and Mabel at a very decent price. The war had ended, business was good, Harold and Mabel had saved up a few dollars and the bank agreed to loan them the rest.
The next ten years were good. Two more kids (Dick & Jane), and a good business. Then disaster. The interstate was built, the traffic went elsewhere, and business dried up. Not overnight but slowly. Eventually they couldn’t make ends meet. Soon the bank was putting them into foreclosure. Harold got odd jobs at local farms, and Mabel did some sewing for the church but it wasn’t enough.
Then one day, they realized the time had come. They had no choice. They packed up the old DeSoto got the kids ready to head to Los Angeles. Harold started the propane truck for the last time, parked it in front of the service station they had slaved at for years, took the keys inside and dropped them on the counter. With one last sad look around, he walked outside, got in the car and never looked back.
50 or so years later there is nothing left of the service station and the truck but what you see here. Obviously, I am only imagining all of this, but it is a possible scenario. I could have knocked on the neighbour’s door and asked if they knew anything. I think this is better. Every time I see this picture I will wonder. And maybe my imagination will come up with a new story.
Today and tomorrow we are in the heart of Route 66. Coincidentally the middle of the trip as well. Route 66 was the first paved road from Chicago to Los Angeles and was called "The Mother Road'. For over 50 years it was the main artery across the U.S.
As I drive along the now virtually deserted road I imagine it full of Chevy's, Fords, Dodges, Buicks, Pontiacs and more. Husdon's, Nashes, Packards, Studebakers, and DeSotos. And of course the people. Families heading to their next destination. It must have been a challenge to pass someone as the road is two narrow lanes, one each way, with no shoulders. However there were an abundance of gas stations, restaurants, motels and other businesses.
Then the interstate came and the traffic moved to the bigger road. The businesses slowly died leaving behind derelict building, cars and trucks. Some of the old buildings have been restored. Others, not so much.
For some of these pictures I have written little blurbs so if you have time, click on the "i" and read them. And, leave a comment or two if you like.
Moving day once again. Off to Dallas to watch the Flames take on the Stars. On the way we found some interesting building, birds and scenery. As for the game, it was the night the Stars retired Jere Lehtinen's number. Quite interesting.