Room service brought up a really attractive plate of migas for Dan, made with red tortillas. I wish I'd thought of that! They looked so festive! And I had fruit and yogurt. I also asked for a big pot of coffee, and after I ate and checked my email, I sat out on the balcony for awhile in my red silk pajamas, watching the river down below. It was very relaxing and I felt quite decadent.
But all good things must come to an end. We loaded up our stuff, found we didn't have enough small bills to tip both housekeeping and the bellboy, so we had to get more cash, then we made sure we could leave our car for awhile and took off to walk around downtown a bit. I wasn't entirely sure at first why Dan wanted to wander downtown San Antonio, but he was feeling testy and so I kept my mouth shut and tagged along. I was shocked when we arrived at the Alamo, which we've both seen about a hundred times and becomes more like a circus with each passing year. Did men die at the Alamo so Mexicans of questionable work status could sell snow-cones to tourists? I think not.
Anyway, I was puzzling over why Dan had led me here when he turned and muttered that he had thought the Spanish Governor's mansion was nearby. Oh! Silly husband! I led him away, pointed to the signs and we went and saw the lovely old adobe hacienda which is well worth seeing and which I highly recommend.
And then we wandered back through the busy, gritty streets full of muttering old ladies and men handing out flyers about Jesus. We retrieved our car and headed south. Our destination was Yorktown, near Goliad, which is where Dan's mother grew up. I was lukewarm on this errand, but since he's always such a good sport about seeing my relatives and going on my family goose-chases, I figured I had no cause for complaint. And it turned out to be an interesting errand. Yorktown is one of those tiny little half-forgotten towns out in cattle and cotton country. Everyone knows everyone else, so when we couldn't find the house we were looking for, we stopped in at the Justice of the Peace, who personally knew Dan's great-aunt and gave us directions to the house. The aunt wasn't home, but we went to the cemetery and found the graves of some of Dan's older family members.
The cemetery was quite interesting because many of the stones were hand-carved with uneven letters and in misspelled Spanish. I'd never seen such a thing before. Even the stones from the 17th and 18th centuries look professionally carved in the New England cemeteries I'm most familiar with. The other thing that I found interesting was how many children were among the dead, proportional to the adults. If I had to judge from age of death alone, I would've thought I was in a cemetery from at least 150 years ago, when child mortality was so much more common. But no, most of the graves were within the last fifty years. I have no idea how so many children came to be among the dead, but it was very disturbing.
After we'd paid our respects to the deceased of Yorktown, we headed south through Cuero and Victoria, to Houston. We ran into some rain on the way and thought about all the places we'd been in the last two weeks where the rain would've been so welcome.
Although we were both exhausted, I decided to push on and do the usual Friday night chores of grocery shopping and laundry. It wasn't really that I had the energy for it, only that I knew I wouldn't want to do them Saturday or Sunday. I want to spend the rest of my week relaxing. And eating Indian food. And playing with my furry friends who missed me. Tidbit came running over when I walked in and Pixel slinked out from his hiding place behind the sofa, meowing a complaint about our long absence. It was good to be home-- for us and for them.
A few quick lessons learned on this trip:
- Road trips are less psychologically jarring than plane trips; you have time to adjust, rather than just being herded into a metal tube, picked up and plunked down at your destination
- Taking your own pillow and a favorite blanket (if you have one) can make all the difference when it comes to getting a good night's sleep. Sure, you feel a little silly, but why take a chance on a stiff neck or being unable to get comfortable? It's your vacation-- you're supposed to be having fun, not searching for a chiropractor!
- No matter how much you like and trust your friends and family, seriously consider going with a professional petsitter instead. We never had a moment's worry and it was worth every penny.
- If you're taking your laptop and intend to stay connected, get set up for dialup before you leave. The only nights I couldn't get online were when I had no phone, like when we were camping. But there were several nights when I had to use a phone line for access!
- Satellite radio rules.
- And of course, stay flexible. Things happen, so it's best to be prepared to make the most of whatever unexpected things come along.
Unless stated otherwise on my main blog, this will be my last post over here until my next vacation.