18 August 2013

The Trip

Our 2013 Summer trip from Elizabethtown, KY to San Antonio, TX was a fun time for all of us.  The only drawback was at the end I would say good-bye as the flew back to E'Town and I started my studies at Fort Sam Houston.

This was our itinerary.  Kind of like the Griswold's trip to Wally World!

22 May:  Kids left school early and we headed to Memphis, TN.  Had a great dinner at the 'Commissary' where we all enjoyed Memphis BBQ.

23 May:  short trip to Vicksburg, MS.  We had the luxury (or curse!) of towing our camper- so we were able to have more substantial lunches on the road.  R always wanted to pick the flowers whenever we would stop.  We toured the Vicksburg Battlefield- which surprisingly even Rachel tolerated it OK.  

It was a good tie in to our time in St Louis where US Grant (Grant's Farm) spent a few years getting his family and life together before re-entering the Army.  Then flash-forward to Vicksburg where Grant would overcome the ghosts of his past and achieve victory here that would change his life, and the life of our Country, forever!

24 May:  To quote Clark Griswold, we crossed the "Mighty Missisip" but did not sing 'Old Man River' into Louisiana.  Of course each state R wanted to be sure never to miss the sign!  We took a slight exit detour at West Monroe, LA.  Home of Duck Dynasty!  The boys were watching a Duck Dynasty marathon in the car for most of the time, so why not!  The building is exactly as it is on TV with plenty of people taking pictures and posing with Si's Vietnam-era 2.5 ton Truck (Duec-and-a-half).  Like they say, do not be surprised if one of the Robertson's show up in the showroom and says hi!  And sure enough, Jep (Baby Brother) came out and wandered around and posed for pictures!

We pressed through the Louisiana Bayou's into Texas, and stopped so Rachel could see the big 'Welcome to Texas' sign.  Our next stop was Dallas, where we would spend some time checking out the town.  It was Friday afternoon and we were heading against the traffic going into Dallas.  The boys were amazed at how far we were away from the city when we could see the buildings downtown.

25 May:  Location, Location, Location!  Our hotel was perfect- right off the DFW Light-Rail in Irving.

26 May:  we headed into downtown Dallas.  We decided to split up- Beck went with the boys to the 'Sixth Floor Museum' and Rachel and I went to the Dallas World Aquarium.  Of course, we had to walk around Daley Plaza for a while so the boys could listen and watch all the conspiracy theorists sell their wares!  Rachel was not very interested, except for the flowers planed in various areas!

The aquarium was fun, except that Rachel was very upset that there were 'Land Animals' in the Aquarium.  This was totally unacceptable to this six year old!  She even made her opinion known at the lynx exhibit, that I thought was cool!

27 May- on to San Antonio!  The family realized how big Texas was by just the 'little jaunt' from Dallas to San Antonio.  Five hours and a picnic stop north of Austin, and a near-scare of running out of gas on the Austin Bypass- we made it to our final stop- the Staybridge Suites- Fiesta Texas.  A great place in a great location.  A three bedroom suite, so we had plenty of room to stretch out and have our own space.  We dropped the trailer and took a short trip to Fort Sam Houston where I signed in and got my inprocessing paperwork.  Where to go for dinner? So many choices- so I took all fo them to Taco Cabana- my favorite for a quick uniquely SA- and the boys could get a real bottled Coke from Mexico.

28 May- Memorial Day.  We headed to Fredricksburg, Texas and enjoyed lunch at Winslow's and finally  took the boys to a place where they could shop for a real 'Bowie Knife'.  And they certainly had a great time shopping for their 'find'.  We also visited the Nimitz Museum of the Pacific along with the George H. W. Bush Navy Display.  Who would of thought that such a great museum of naval history would be in the middle of the Texas Hillcountry? 

29 May- we stopped by the Fort Sam ticket office and bought our discounted tickets to all the stuff to do around SA. We headed downtown and took the trolley tours that included the missions and other areas of interest.  We finally toured the famous 'Alamo'.  Like most people who spent years studying the importance of the phrase 'Remember the Alamo' when you finally see it in person usually say 'where is the rest of it?'  It is somewhat dissapointing when you first see it.  Surrounded by the typical cheesy Ripley's museums, wax museums, Fuddruckers, Subway, McDonalds, etc, it is surrounded by true commercial Americana!!!  However, once inside, it is a very impressive place to imagine what is was like to be there in the Spring of 1836.

30 May- Headed to Fiesta Texas.  Had a great time where Rachel was able to ride most of the rides we could.  It was great that the kids here were still in school, so it was not too crowded.  The last time we where here was in 1995 where Beck and I went when I was at Army AMEDD Officer Basic Course.

31 May- Beck's birthday.  We kind of relaxed.  The boys  and I took the trailer to the KOA-Alamo Campground and got my space lined up.  Now I am officially living in a 'Trailer down by the River'.  We then went to Fort Sam and we visted the AMEDD Museum.  They had a special exibit called 'Dust Off'- the history of Aeromedical Operations. They enjoyed it, as I hoped they would.  

1 June- Road Trip!  We drove out of the Hill Country and to the beginning of West Texax.  Where your radio's scan button will go 'round and round and round'!!!  Headed to Langtry, Texas.  Home of Judge Roy Bean, 'The Law, West of the Pecos'.  It is 150 miles due west on the Rio Grand.  It is out of the way, but is part of our history.  It's significance to us is that is was the southern railway route to California.  And Langtry was the last stop before heading into the desolate West.  Judge Roy Bean (made famous in the movies) was known as the Hanging Judge.  He was also famous for hosting boxing matches (not illegal), but would hold them during the summer months when the Rio Grand was dried up and people could gamble on them in the river bed (in Mexico) where he could get away with it!!!

2 June- Sea World day!  Rachel really enjoyed this.  In 1998, I went here with a friend of mine (Mike Speir) when I was here for more 'Army Training'.  It was here that I bought our oldest son (Joshua) his first stuffed animal:  a little Shamu that he would call 'opu'.  Michael's joke of the day was after watching the Shamu show, when exiting, one coulde 'Dine with Shamu' at the restaurant.  He said that he wanted a fish sandwich, and they should call it 'Dine ON Shamu'.

3 June- Relaxing day, went to one of our favorite restaurants called the 'Magic Time Machine' on the northside.  It is a theme-style restaurant where the servers dress up and act the part.  Our waiter was 'Ace Ventura:  Pet Detective' and he was very good- including standing on the back of Michael's chair and acted like a monkey!  We spent most of the day using our second-day pass on the trolley spending more time touring the missions.  We also watched 'The Price of Freedom' at the RiverCenter IMAX about the Alamo.  Not sure if Rachel really appreciated it, but the boys did.  

4 June- a sad day as I dropped them off at the airport for their trip home.  It was Michael and Rachel's first trip on an airplane, but wish it were on better terms.  This year will go fast and will be able to go home frequently.  It was a great two weeks.  It is has also been a difficult few weeks.  We said good-bye to some of the best friends we have had in a long time, said goodbye to our home for the past three years, and are now separated for a year.  It will go fast, and we all look forward to where God will lead us on our next adventure this time next year.

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