Monday, December 24, 2007

Travel Safely, Santa

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

Czhili ?

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Brookshire to Kerrville, Texas

230.3 miles
Clear and cold

Spent the whole drive on I-10, and it was a long drive - way too many cars, enjoying the joys and love of the season - I saw more rage, more fingers (not directed at me!), more horns than on the entire rest of the trip! I think I'll sit out the holiday in the Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville, and avoid any more joy of Christmas traffic!

Old westerns taught me that cattlemen shoot sheep herders, but maybe that's not the case anymore. Today I saw a great Christmas display in someone's yard - a Santa in his sleigh pulled by 8 tiny reindeer - wait, those aren't reindeer! The sleigh was pulled by fat woolly sheep! and the leader had a shiny red nose! Didn't have a chance to get a picture, but it sure was cute!

And then, like some of the jokes that go around, passed a building with a big sign saying "Eat Here, Get Gas!" And it was, indeed, a gas station with a little cafe!

Passed by the little town of Flatonia, located about half way between Houston and San Antonio. Had to look it up, because many of the signs advertising businesses had names beginning with 'CZ' - even chili was spelled czhili. Turns out they proudly claim a Czech and German heritage. But then there was Grumpy's Motor Inn, so I wonder just how friendly they are!

I like the Texas attitude in some things - signs - "Don't Mess With Texas - $1000 fine for littering"!

I decided to bypass San Antonio, even on a Sunday, because of the awful traffic. Cruised into Kerrville with time to spare, so I headed for a grocery store. And found that you can't buy liquor on Sunday in Texas. That's bad - I need some champagne for Christmas!

Guadalupe River RV Resort
2605 Junction Hwy 27
Kerrville, TX 78028

Monday, December 24th

into San Antonio to see The Alamo and the River Walk

from The Daughters of the Republic of Texas pamphlet:
The Alamo's Historic past
Originally named Mision San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo served as home to missionaries and their Indian converts for nearly seventy years.  Construction began on the present site in 1724.  In 1793, Spanish officials secularized San Antonio's five missions and distributed their lands to the remaining Indian residents.  These men and women continued to farm the fields - once the mission's but now their own - and participated in the growing community of San Antonio. 

In the early 1800s, the Spanish military stationed a cavalry unit at the former mission.  The soldiers referred to the old mission as the Alamo (the Spanish word for "cottonwood") in honor of their hometown Alamo de Parras, Coahuila.  The post's commander established the first recorded hospital in Texas in the Long Barrack.  The Alamo was home to both Revolutionaries and Royalists during Mexico's ten-year struggle for independence.  The military - Spanish, Rebel, and then Mexican - continued to occupy the Alamo until the Texas Revolution.

San Antonio and the Alamo played a critical role in the Texas Revolution.  In December 1835, Ben Milam led Texian and Tejano volunteers against Mexican troops quartered in the city.  After five days of house-to-house fighting, they forced General Martin Perfecto de Cos and his soldiers to surrender.  The victorious volunteers then occupied the Alamo - already fortified prior to the battle by Cos' men - and strengthened its defenses.  

On February 23, 1836, the arrival of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna's army outside San Antonio nearly caught them by surprise.  Undaunted, the Texians and Tejanos prepared to defend the Alamo together.  The defenders held out for 13 days against Santa Anna's army.  William B. Travis, the commander of the Alamo, sent forth couriers carrying pleas for help to communities in Texas.  On the eighth day of the siege, a band of 32 volunteers from Gonzales arrived, bringing the number of defenders to nearly two hundred,.  Legend holds that with the possibility of additional help fading, Colonel Travis drew a line on the ground and asked any man willing to stay and fight to step over - all except one did.  As the defenders saw it, the Alamo was the key to the defense of Texas, and they were ready to give their lives rather than surrender their position to General Santa Anna.  Among the Alamo's garrison were Jim Bowie, renowned knife fighter, and David Crockett, famed frontiersman and former congressman from Tennessee.

The final assault came before daybreak on the morning of March 6, 1836, as columns of Mexican soldiers emerged from the predawn darkness and headed for the Alamo's walls.  Cannon and small arms fire from inside the Alamo beat back several attacks.  Regrouping, the Mexicans scaled the walls and rushed into the compound.  Once inside, they turned captured cannon on the Long Barrack and church, blasting open the barricaded doors.  The desperate struggle continued until the defenders were overwhelmed.  By sunrise the battle had ended and Santa Anna entered the Alamo compound to survey the scene of his victory.

While the facts surrounding the siege of the Alamo continue to be debated, there is no doubt about what the battle has come to symbolize.  People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against overwhelming odds - a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.  For this reason the Alamo remains hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty.

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