Friday, February 26, 2010

The last day of Texas Trip 2010

I woke up at 7:20 for my final day of my winter trip to Texas in the year 2010. I enjoyed a very nice hostel pot luck breakfast. Which consisted of a can of strawberry nectar. Then I enjoyed my last Asia noodles for the main course. For desert I had a blueberry bagel, and a nice mug of hot coffee.

After breakfast, I set out to explore Austin. I found and went though 3 thrift stores. My bounty was two excellent t-shirts. Also I picked up a Lp by the "Waterboys" and the CD soundtrack from the movie "The 5th Element".

After that it was time for lunch, and a return visit to the Capital building in downtown Houston. I have to say that eating at the Cafeteria located in the Capital Building here in Austin is a great meal. Today's feast was Texas Barbecued beef, served with real mashed potatoes, and cooked vegetables. Also on the side was a nice portion of raw onion and garlic pickles, was a nice touch. I did also take the Capital Building tour again. This time I have most of it on video tape.

Then my next move was to seek out some rare and exciting Lp's to take home as souvenirs, of this trip. In the final Lp store that I visited, which is callled "Back Spin". I found success! I purchased 2 rare quad lp's. The artists are; Paul Simon and Carlos Santana. I also purchased a really nice audiophile Lp from excellent lady singer Emmy Lou Harris. I also purchased the soundtrack to the movie "Papillon".

Then I filled my car up with gas for the drive back to Houston tomorrow. I also purchased some stir fry steak. To cook for my final dinner during this vacation.

I am almost ready to do my final packing, and preparation for my return flight back to Toronto. I hope the trip going home, is a lot better then the trip was, coming down to Texas.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The "Enchanted Rock"

Enchanted Rock (16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg TX) is an enormous pink granite pluton located in the Llano Uplift approximately 15 miles (24 km) north of Fredericksburg, Texas, USA and 15 miles (24 km) south of Llano, Texas. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, which includes Enchanted Rock and surrounding land, spans the border between Gillespie County and Llano County, south of the Llano River. Enchanted Rock covers approximately 640 acres (260 ha) and rises approximately 425 feet (130 m) above the surrounding terrain to elevation of 1,825 feet (556 m) above sea level. It is the largest such pink granite monadnock in the United States. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, a part of the Texas state park system, includes 1,644 acres (665 ha).

Today turned out to be another amazing day during my Texas experience. With my "Giant" mountain bike now just a very pleasant memory. I turned to another enjoyment of mine. That would be hiking. The weather was perfect for a day to be out and about. To enjoy this place that is called Texas. I would not be alone for this adventure. My new friend Mike Bykov from Minnesota. Would be part of the Enchanted Rock expedition.

We set out after breakfast, and had a pleasant drive to a small town, located about 30 miles from Austin. We then decided to stop at a local restaurant to enjoy a nice lunch. That we did. Mike enjoyed an excellent cheeseburger. I enjoyed a nice plate of liver and onions. Then we continued on to the town of Fredricksburg. From there we headed north to the state park, where the "Enchanted Rock" is located.

After we entered the park. The excitement of the day was at hand. Mike and I headed out on a hike. We intended to hike to the top of the Enchanted Rock. We never made it to the top as we got lost several times. Even though we tried hard to read the map, provided to us by the park Rangers. Also trying to follow the trail became very difficult. as the trails were very poorly marked.

However we did enjoy a very special walk. That only hiking in a beautiful place in nature can provide.

Our route for this hike. Actually brought us partially around the Enchanted Rock. Then we veered down off the "Rock", and off of the trail. Over some very rough terrain. We then finished in the place we were suppose to start. From the beginning of the hike. The experience was a lot of fun and and created a great day!

Dinner was another very pleasant experience. Mike and I would up eating in Fredricksburg. In a restaurant that brewed there own beer. The food was very good, and the beer even better.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Capital of Texas- "Austin"

I am now in the final home drive down the stretch of my 2010 winter vacation. I made it to the city if Austin, which is the capital city, of the state of Texas.

The drive went well. The city of Austin is only about 70 miles from the city of San Antonio. I arrived at my last place to stay on this trip. Which is the "HI" Hostel International Hostel. I arrived around 10 am. The hostel has an excellent location. Which is right on the shores of Ladybird Lake. Which is only about 4 miles from the downtown area of Austin.

I took my "Giant" mountain bike out for the final ride. I rode to the downtown part of Austin from the hostel. I then started to explore the downtown area. Is wasn't to long until I discovered the Capital Building, located here in Austin. This building is a very impressive site. The popular saying here in Texas is. "Everything is big, in Texas".

I soon discovered that the Texas government offers free tours of the capital building. I was impressed and looked forward to having a look through this impressive building. Before the tour began. I enjoyed an excellent lunch in the Capital Building cafeteria. I enjoyed a very nice lunch of baked cod, real mashed potatoes, and hot veggies, plus a dinner roll. All for less then $8. It was very nice.

Then on to the tour. Like all of Texas. The history of this great state. Is very interesting, and inspiring. I enjoyed the tour very much. The following pictures I took. Will display to you, the viewer. How impressive this building and the state of Texas really is.

The most sacred piece of antiquity that survives in Texas today. Is the original battle flag that was flown during the battle of Juan Jacinto. That was the battle that was won. By the reorganized Texas army lead by Sam Houston, April 21, 1836. To avenge the loss of the Alamo. This flag is on display hanging at the front of the Texas Parliament.

I had a lot of interest in my "Giant" mountain bike. After I put it up for sale on Craig's List. The first person I contacted, purchased the bike for $10 more then what I originally paid for it. When my Texas odyssey first began, back on February 6th. It is always hard to say goodbye to a good friend. However the awesome memories we enjoyed together will endure.

Dinner tonight was a special one. It was true Texas dinner. On the menu a nice Texas Beef, rib stake. Stir fried vegtables, and baked beans. It is one of the advantages. Of staying in hostels. Most of them provide self serve kitchens. So the weary travelers can prepare and enjoy home cooked meals. I did enjoy my home cooked dinner very much!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

San Fernando Cathedral

The San Fernando Cathedral was part of the scene and history of Alamo story. The Mexican army arrived in San Antonio De Bexar on February 23, 1836. They were under order by Antonio López de Santa Anna. To dispose of the Texas rebels, who were in control of the town.

Santa Anna had a red flag raised to the top of the San Fernando Cathedral. The red flag in the field of battle represented "No Quarter". Which meant there would be no surrender, and no prisoners taken.

William B. Travis leader of the Texas forces. Answered the red flag, by the firing of the cannon. Directly at the Mexican army. The siege of the Alamo had begun.

Today the ashes of the "Hero's of Texas" are all interred in a special casket. That is in public view inside the Cathedral.

Model of the Seige!

Today in San Antonio De Bexar. The weather turned from excellent to very bad. We were actually suppose to get some snow today. Luckily that did not happen. But we did get very rainy and cold weather.

So it was an excellent idea to do some inside actives. To avoid the elements. I started by perusing through an antique store. Lots of great thing to look at. But I did not make a purchase.

Then I went into the Riverside Mall. To escape the rain, and also to see an Imax movie. My choice of course was "The Alamo- The Cost of Freedom". I am visiting San Antonio, and do love reminiscing about famous events in history.

The movie was good. Although there are so many conflicting accounts of history, regarding the Alamo. Sometimes you have to go by instinct, and legend to figure out what really happened.

I they went on a 1 hour tour of the city of San Antonio. But before I got on the bus. I got some great photos of a scale model of "The Alamo" at the height of the final attack, March 6, 1836.

The tour was good. The sound system was poor on the bus. So it was tough to follow on the cometary from our guide. I got to see two of the original missions of San Antonio. They were Mission San Jose, and Mission Concepcion. Also we drove by the famous San Fernando Cathedral. Which was part of the story. Of the 13 day siege of the Alamo.

Monday, February 22, 2010

River Walk! - River Ride!

I enjoyed a very special day in the city of San Antonio, today. A big part of the enjoyment of this day. Was a bike ride from the Knight's Inn, located on The Austin Highway. To downtown San Antonio, and back. This group of pictures are from the ride back. I rode along the San Antonio River, also called "The River Walk". It is a very special place to be. Enjoy the photos!!!!