July 4th

They are not having a Fourth of July celebration and fireworks downtown where we are staying this year because they’re doing construction, booooooooo. So we went out to a nearby suburban community where we were told all the action would occur. Needless to say, it was very small, disorganized and we were missing our usual small town Truckee festivities. Oh how we have come to take that celebration for granted.  

at Woodlake

snowcones
  
waiting for the parade
 We cut our losses and returned to our hotel downtown to get lunch at Whataburger where David told Maia in Texas they make burgers using horse meat. 
the look of shock
 

The teenagers went back to the hotel to nap while David and I did some shopping at the Riverwalk. They are having an arts and crafts Festival for the holiday weekend. I found some lovely larimar stone earrings and sterling silver charms for my charm bracelet. We chilled at the Riverwalk for a while..

   
 Tonight we celebrated Aunt Audrey’s 90th birthday at a big bash held at the Hilton near the airport. It was a lovely event with much reminiscing, emotional testimonials, slide shows and a wonderful mariachi band. The dinner was absolutely scrumptious. I hope to be as loved when I reach 90 years. 

Audrey , Ed and David
  

seated for dinner
 
We ended the night walking the Riverwalk, a fitting end to a wonderful visit to magical San Antonio.

Remember the Alamo

The Alamo is a fascinating piece of Texas history. Our group dutifully explored the shrine that is the familiar structure then checked the long house. Finally, we took in the History Channel move made for the Alamo.   
 In December 1835, during Texas’ war for independence from Mexico, a group of Texan volunteer soldiers occupied the Alamo, a former Franciscan mission located near the present-day city of San Antonio. On February 23, 1836, a Mexican force numbering in the thousands and led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna began a siege of the fort. Though vastly outnumbered, the Alamo’s 200 defenders–commanded by James Bowie (where the Bowie knife name derives) and including the famed frontiersman Davy Crockett–held out courageously for 13 days before the Mexican invaders finally overpowered them. For Texans, the Battle of the Alamo became an enduring symbol of their heroic resistance to oppression and their struggle for independence, which they won later that year.

The kids shopped, ate and watched a magician act for two hours at the Market Square. 

SHOP TIL YOU DROP
Mexican Elvis
BAD IDEA

This evening we took a guided tour boat on the San Antonio River through the River Walk. This is such a fascinating magical area. I learned many cool factoids such as: the River Walk is the second most visited attraction in Texas (the first is…the Alamo), many buildings and infrastructure was built for the 7 million people who attended the world’s fair in 1968, the Hilton on the river was constructed in 222 days allowing Hilton to purchase the land for $1. We were serenaded several times by bands as we floated a long amongst twinkling lights, mellow strollers and several musical acts.

As we walked home we caught a stunning laser light show set to the backdrop of the San Fernando Cathedral.

   

And what vacation day would be complete without ice cream to cap off the evening😋

at Mr. Ice Cream

San Antonio-Day one

We enjoyed a wonderful mellow day in San Antonio. The weather is blessedly comfortable with light humidity and low 90 degree temps.

Our hotel is in downtown San Antonio close walking distance to the Riverwalk, near historical downtown and across the street from the Alamo.

The girls explored the Riverwalk while David  took an afternoon nap. They did tell some strange story about “walking too far” and witnessing unusual characters but didn’t get ice cream because it was too expensive. It cracks me up how cheap they are when required to spend their own money.  

 

The girls got spiffed up for Aunt Audrey’s 90th birthday dinner.

 
Dinner was a success feeling a little like a wedding rehearsal dinner in preparation for Aunt Audrey’s 90th birthday bash coming Saturday. 

 

We headed out after dinner to explore the Alamo and the Riverwalk at night. We saw an electric light parade of horse drawn carriages which was perfect because really these two San Antonio destinations feel a little like Disneyland at night, quite enchanted. 

cinderella’s carraige
   

  

  

Tombstone, AZ to San Antonio, TX

We told the girls we had a big surprise for them in the morning we woke up in Tucson. They guessed horseback riding, a concert, skydiving, ice cream (awwwww, still so easy to please). They never guessed The historic wild west town of Tombstone! First some target practice at Big Iron Shooting Gallery where we shot Colt .45s, the preferred gun of the western gunslinger, loaded with six paint slugs at metal targets. Our instructor recommended aiming for the largest body mass then called Sarah a zombie killer because she shot at the head off the target.  

   

 

The girls were VERY enthusiastic to take an old timey picture. After deciding on their characters: Hannah – Shady Katy, Rachel – Calamity Jane, Sarah- Lady Bandito, Emma – Cotillion Coquette, Maia – Lady Wrangler and Alexandria – Big Nose Kate, the next two hours were spend fixing their costumes and poses. It turned out to be an elaborate dress up game and lots of fun.  

We left tombstone at a halfway decent hour to accomplish the 12 hour drive to San Antonio then this happened… 

…so we did arrive in San Antonio at 3am. Actually, the drive was not that bad. The roads are great and the speed limit is 80 mph. Once again the teenagers traveled well with very few complaints about the long travel time with few stops in a jammed SUV! 

Today we slept in late and will drive NOWHERE.

We made it to Tucson

I have to confess, the drive to Tucson wasn’t that bad. We pretty much drove straight through only stopping for gas and to grab Subway for lunch. The girls were such troopers. They snoozed, played games and surfed on their mobile devices. I actually didn’t hear even one, “Are we there yet?”.
 We arrived for dinner at the best restaurant in Tucson – El Charro Cafe – right at 4:30, early but we were all starving. The restaurant has been in business since 1922 and claim to have invented the chimichanga. They have this special beef called carne seca. It’s marinated beef dried in the Sonoran Desert sun then shredded and grilled with green chiles, tomatoes and onions. The kids got chicken 😝Everything was fabulous. Before our food came it suddenly started hailing jacks ball sized hail. The downpour was exciting enough to case us all to file out of the restaurant to watch for a while.     After dinner we investigated Saguaro National Park. Once again I was impressed by the teenagers. They were incredibly engaged and appreciative of the natural beauty of the desert landscape. We caught a lightning storm and enjoyed natures fireworks until dark.    

   
        
  
 

and we’re off

 SETUP – Eight unsuspecting innocents head off for adventures in Lonestar-Dixieland: the parents, their three children and three adopted children. If you don’t hear from me know there has been a mutiny and you should look for David and my abandoned bodies in the desert near the Arizona-Texas Mexican border.
June 30, 2015 left Meadow Vista at 3:15am

 
ALL our young passengers got right up this morning without any complaints and loaded I the Suburban no problem, now for some more 💤💤💤💤💤💤💤.
 

Next stop Saguaro National Park and Tucson, Arizona.