Morning greeted us with cloudy skies and enough of a dry patch for us to pack up the car, and get out of dodge. We began our drive from Oklahoma to Texas and celebrated when we crossed in to our 19th State. As it would happen, Texas wanted to greet us too! So right after crossing the state line our windshield was pelted by an errant rock and gave us a nice welcome crack. Laughing at the timing as well as the misfortune, we settled for the comfort that we would have time to mend it while visiting The Lachcik Family in Fort Worth. With the force that this particular rock hit our car, I was just happy that it didn’t break the windshield... because then it rained.
We took a minor detour from our destination to stop in Sulphur Springs, Texas. This little town isn’t known for really anything aside from one peculiar oddity – See through toilets, in the middle of their town square. Well I suppose see through is a bit of a misnomer, what they really are is public restrooms comprised of 2-way mirrored glass walls, allowing the occupant to relieve themselves in front of everyone in the square, yet the people of the square are none the wiser. There are 2 of these set on adjacent sides of the square, each a single occupancy, and very clean. We relieved ourselves and went across the street to eat a simple breakfast. The coffee was terrible, so we attempted a secondary coffee shop just off the square which was also terrible. Disgruntled, rained on, and itching to get to our destination, we left the weird potties behind and moved on to Fort Worth.
When we arrived in Fort Worth it felt a bit more like home. Mostly due to terrible drivers, a colossal amount of construction, and terrible road signage. I do have to admit though the rumors are true – everything really is bigger in Texas. The highways they were constructing looped and swerved intricately between each other attempting to establish every possible route in and out of the city. After a slightly harrowing journey we found our way to a Sprouts Market, picked up some food for lunch and landed safely in to the welcome home of the Lachcik’s.
We spent a week playing with the boys and trying to get Harry to say our names and trying to get Natey to crawl. Ultimately unsuccessful on both fronts, we did receive a decent compromise of names. This took a few days but I am GaGa, and Joe is GoJo. We spent days debating the veracity of Bubble Guppies, and attempting to fight off the utterly intrusive catchy theme song. (For torture purposes Joe will occasionally look at me lovingly and then serenade me with their tune.) We cleaned our tent and set it up to dry in the hot Texas sun, allowing Harry and friends to run around, in-and-out of “GoJo and Gaga’s House” Geico provided a place to fix the cracked windshield, Verizon replaced my phone, and we went to a few restaurants.
We decided on Friday to go to Fossil Rim on a safari around their park and feed some of the animals. Fossil Rim is normally a self-guided tour of an incredibly large (1,700 acres) preserve dedicated to the preservation of animals. Since there were a number of us (Lachcik family friends and babies) we rented a bus so that we could all tour the park together. Fossil rim is known for looking after over 1,000 animals from 50 different species. We saw, giraffe, zebras, deer, antelope, emu’s, goat, ram, gazelles, white rhino’s and cheetah’s. After a solid few hours of animal stalking we hoped back in to the car and headed down to San Antonio, where we would go to see the Riverwalk and the Alamo which would allow us to have another night with the Lachciks before headed out to New Mexico.
We met up after we checked into our respective hotels (We stayed at theDays Inn) and wandered along the bustling Riverwalk in search of dinner. We stopped at a place called Rita’s which offered Mexican food and Mariachi bands. (Turns out that Natey is not a huge fan of refried beans, but a very big fan of enchiladas and lemons.) Brigid and Tommy took the boys upstairs since they had experienced an extremely exhausting day of animals, travel, and food. Joe and I opted to grab a To-Go Margarita (disguised in coffee cups because we are stone cold rebels) and walk around a little more. We glanced over the walls of the Alamo plaza (essentially a block from our hotel) and admired the gardens from the outside. The sun had successfully baked the San Antonio Streets to well above 90 degrees and that constant heat mixed with the tequila sloshing in our bellies, steered our wayward feet back to the hotel for refuge. (We set our AC to 60 degrees before we left, it was like walking into a freezer.)
The next morning, we ate breakfast at the Q Kitchen and enjoyed some delicious honey butter pancakes and hash browns. After breakfast we met up with the Lachcik’s and made our way to the Alamo. A common misconception is that everyone at this famous battle died. Which is not entirely true- the battle had been lost after the army breeched the walls. Women, children, and slaves were released unharmed as a part of the surrender. There was no photography allowed on the inside of the Alamo which is a shrine and hallowed ground. As a free attraction you also get to wander the grounds and gardens of the Alamo and go into the Original Barracks, which now serves as a museum to the Alamo it’s historical purposes over the last 3 centuries. We also wandered in to the amphitheater and had ourselves a minor photo shoot.
The Lachcik family was then on their way to Austin, while GoJo and I decided to wander around town. We strolled the upper streets and peaked in to the stores and mall, and ultimately settled on going in to Ripley’s Believe it or Not and spent a few hours wandering amidst the collection of oddities Of course being sure to take obligatory pictures of the weirdest exhibits.
After Ripley’s we opted to work up an appetite by walking all over the Riverwalk from end to end, popping into some of the places and looking over the menus of each restaurant. After a while we settled on a late lunch at Casa-Rio and both ate for the first time fresh Chicharron (For those of you playing the home game, that would be fried pig skin) We enjoyed a pitcher of Margaritas and headed back to the hotel to cool off from the humid San Antonio Sun.
Instead of walking in the icebox we created, we discovered our key cards were not working. Frustrated, hot and a touch drunk, we stormed over to the front desk to rectify our wrong. When it was our turn at the front desk, we explained nicely that our key card wasn’t working. The woman behind the counter asked us our room number, and upon hearing it brightened up considerably and exclaimed “Oh Hooray! I was hoping I wouldn’t have to walk up there! Here, this is for you!” and thrust at us a gift basket with a big blue bow. No note - inside the gift basket was a bottle of red wine, a bottle of white wine, a bottle of champagne, 2 fancy plastic glasses and a bag of Lindt chocolate truffles. Taken aback by the surprise, the counter woman took this opportunity to quickly fix our cards, and then ask if there would be anything else for her to help us with. We asked who it was from, she shrugged and said “Enjoy!” and walked away. So, we took our random bounty and sought refuge in the icebox room.