For those that don’t know, San Antonio has a great Riverwalk area; it is the best river walk we have seen anywhere. The Riverwalk is 15 miles with 5 miles in downtown and comes very near the famous Alamo on one side. The Riverwalk is located below street level and mostly along their flood canals on the San Antonio River. The walk has too many to name restaurants/bars and shopping. You can easily spend a couple of days just on the Riverwalk.
|Some random pics at our winter place in south Texas. We seem to have a few winter hummingbirds staying around for our feeder.|
We have been to the Riverwalk now a few times so that wasn’t new or what brought us here in December. We came for the decorative lighting they put up only for Christmas time. We have heard about how nice these lights are for the past 5 years we have been wintering here in south Texas. This is our year to see them for ourselves.
|A December rare snow here in south TX. Hasn't snowed here in 13 years!|
|A neighbor made a snowman. It took all of the snow in his little yard to make it!|
These lights are only on during the month of December so there is just that small window of time to see them. This week is also our 18th wedding anniversary! We decided to go just before Christmas and spend 2 nights in a Hotel directly on the Riverwalk. This should allow us to take our time celebrating our anniversary, do a little sightseeing, and see the lights.
|We dressed up as packages for the Christmas parade in our park.|
San Antonio is a little over 200 miles north of where we have the RV for the winter. The trip up will take us about 4 hours, not too long. Just before we were to leave I took our truck in to have a small problem diagnosed/fixed. Usually, any problem we have with the truck turns into a large expensive multi-day problem.
So we decided to rent a car for our trip to San Antonio and leave the truck at Ford service while we are gone. The cost for renting the vehicle plus gas was just $170 ($101 for the rental and $34 for the gas). Our truck gets 12 mph so just the gas would have been $110. And as we found out after we got to our hotel, the truck would not have fit in the hotel parking garage. For $60 bucks we put miles on someone else’s vehicle and not on ours. For us it was worth it.
We stayed at the Riverwalk Hotel right on the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk Hotel is older but was very nicely renovated. The only bitch I had, and it is really trivial, but they use their proximity door lock card for the elevator too. That is a pain in the ass every time you get in the elevator you need to swipe your card to get the elevator to move. This is very hard to do when you have a coffee in each hand!
|Our hotel on the Riverwalk as seen from the Riverwalk.|
|The Christmas tree in the hotel lobby.|
|View from our hotel window of the Tower of the Americas that was built for the 1968 Worlds Fair.|
We had dinner our first night at a close by place called Bigga on the Banks. Food was great and was the wine selection. Since the restaurant had chef’s specials with things we both liked, it really wasn’t too expensive either. Mostly the prices for everything on and around the Riverwalk are expensive. I would go back to this restaurant again!
|Patty with a very interesting dessert that came with our meals|
Our one whole day in San Antonio started out with great weather. High near 75 and a clear sky, perfect! Even better was that the weather was going to hold all night for us. We were only going to need a light jacket for the Riverwalk boat ride after dark as the temperature was still going to be very close to 70. This time of year you just don’t know what the weather will be. San Antonio is just far enough north of us to possibly be much colder. The weather back in our winter place 200 miles south was near 90 at the same time as we were having 75 in San Antonio.
We took advantage of the weather and did a lot of walking. We walked about 2 miles to a Denny’s for breakfast and then to the large main post office downtown. We still had gifts we needed to mail to grandkids in Indiana. This post office is part of their government offices so we had to go through airport-style security to get into the post office. As one then would imagine we were the only ones in the post office too!
After breakfast we headed out for some sightseeing. We went to the La Villita Historic Arts Village. La Villita is the oldest part of San Antonio. It dated back to 1722 with mostly Mexican settlers in grass huts. After a flood in the early 1800s the people there moved to the Alamo. The Riverwalk was built during the depression as a make-work project and restoration of La Villita was part of that. Now it houses many permanent B&B’s and art/craft shops. Most of these businesses are housed in the original restored houses. This was our first time to La Villita. It was good time roaming around for a couple of hours here.
|Entrance to the La Villita district of San Antonio|
|A nice Christmas tree in one of the shops in La Villita|
After some lunch we headed back to the hotel and changed out of shorts and got our jackets for the evening on the river.
We had dinner at Boudro’s near one of the riverboat ports. Boudro’s was a nice place but very expensive. Our food here was good but not up the $$$$ we spent on it. It’s all good though!
|Dinner spot on the Riverwalk|
OK, now for the famous San Antonio Riverwalk Christmas lights! The Riverwalk is very, very busy and this is a Wednesday night. That is one of the reasons we came during the week because we had heard from others who have been here that they waited in line for over an hour to get on a boat. It was still 20 minutes but that isn’t really bad at all. It’s just that it’s a Wednesday before Christmas though.
|One of the river boats|
|Pictures from the riverboat tour of the Riverwalk|
|This riverboat was rented out for a catered dinner!|
Just a note about the truck and the problem it was in for. The service department didn’t find anything wrong with the truck. That is a first for us with this truck. They didn’t charge us anything either! That may be because we have spent enough there to put a couple kids through college by now.
We smell burnt oil inside the truck cabin sometimes when we stop. Also, one day after just starting the truck up and accelerating I noticed some blue smoke coming from the exhaust. It did the smoke thing only once and didn’t do it again. That is why I took it in for service. Ford thinks that a small leak on the gear case may be dripping oil on the exhaust that causes the burnt oil smell. It’s now a month later and the truck still has the burnt oil smell some, but no more exhaust smoke, so who knows. I will just keep an eye on it.
That is it for travel in 2017!
Just thought it would be fun to list the events/highlights of our 2017 travel season (April – December).
- Met up friends Debbie and Steve McCormack near Beaumont TX
- Replaced our Fridge Cooling Unit near Beaumont TX
- Saw Jeff Dunham near Beaumont TX
- Visited Stone Mountain in Georgia
- Visited friends and family in New Jersey
- Visited friends in the Buffalo area
- Visited family in Indiana
- Flew back to New Jersey for a friend's (Bob Laughlin) birthday
- Replaced our RV suspension with MOR/ryde Independent suspension in Elkhart Indiana
- Changed our residence and Drivers licenses to Sioux Falls South Dakota
- Added South Dakota as a state we have stayed in
- Toured the black hills in South Dakota
- Visited Sturgis South Dakota
- Visited the Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota (our first time in North Dakota)
- Added North Dakota as a state we have stayed in
- Spent a few unplanned days in Forsyth Montana due to truck breakdown (first time in Montana)
- Added Wyoming as a state we have stayed in
- Visited Cody Wyoming
- Visited the Big Horn Medicine Circle in Wyoming
- Visited Yellowstone National Park
- Visited Glacier National park
- Visited the Banff Canadian National Park
- Visited the Jasper Canadian National Park
- Visited the Radium Hot Springs in Radium Hot Springs, Alberta Canada
- Saw the eclipse (80% for us) at the Valley View Campground in Salmon Arm BC Canada
- Visited with RV friends Steve and Dianne Colibaba at Tunkwa Lake Resort in Alberta Canada
- Visited with Patty’s nephew and his wife & Daughter (Brain, Ina & Joey Shoemacher) in Vancouver BC Canada
- Took a 15-day cruise/land tour of Alaska
- Added Washington State to our list of states stayed in with the RV
- Took a Dinner cruise on the Willamette River in Portland Oregon
- Added Nevada as a state we have stayed in
- Visited Reno NV and Lake Tahoe CA as well as Truckee CA
- Visited Bodie National Historic Site (Ghost Town) in CA
- Visited Death Valley National Park in CA
- Visited Pattys nephew Brian Pellnat in Las Vegas NV
- Saw Chris Angel the magician in Las Vegas at the Luxor
- Visited the Biosphere in Tucson AZ
- Visited the Saguaro National Park near Tucson AZ
- Visited Juarez Mexico
- Visited Acuna Mexico
- Visited the site of the Marfa lights in Marfa TX
- We now have stayed in all 50 states!
There really is only one way to do this sort of travel in the US and that is via RV. To do this via car/hotel would cost a fortune! We traveled 13,000 miles in 6 months through 29 states, 3 provinces of Canada, and visited 2 states in Mexico. This was our most traveled season ever!
Next year, 2018 will be a turning point for us. We are going to start our transition from full-time RV life to part-time RV life. We are planning to purchase a house in the Tampa area of Florida this summer. We are not planning to move into it until 2019. Then our plan is to buy a smaller RV to travel a few weeks at a time. We are also planning to add some travel outside the USA but still just a few weeks at a time.
There are a few reasons for this decision. Patty needs better medical care than we can get here in south Texas and she needs more regular care. And it is just time for us to make a change anyway. We have been full-time now for 6 years and will have been 7 by the time we move into a house. We have now been to all 50 states and many several times. So we really have had a good run and we now feel it’s time for a change.
This 2018 travel season we plan to first head west to Nevada for an RV-Dreams rally. Then travel further west to visit friends in the LA and La Jolla areas. We are also planning a trip up US 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, via car for a few days and visit Yosemite National Park before heading to Florida for house hunting in May/June. From Florida we travel to Indiana, Buffalo NY, and New Jersey to visit family and friends before heading back to South Texas for our final winter there.
So that is it for now and Happy New Year!!