Day 9: August 4, 2014
Three Texas Towns

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These six pictures are all from in and around the town of Flatonia, Texas. The first two are from a section of Old Spanish Trail on the east side of town, the next two were taken in Flatonia, and the last two are of some OST on the west side of town. I knew of the first section and it was included in my preplanned route. I had no idea the other section existed until I spotted the OST sign its western end connects with US-90. I pulled onto it then decided I would rather drive it east to west with the sun behind me so I backed out and went looking for the other end. I thought I had photographed the sign when I turned around but must have planned on doing it when I reached it from the east. Apparently I didn't do it then, either. I kept my promise to myself to stay off of unpaved roads but I did get on some that had not been paved any time recently.

As for the in town shots, I had already stopped to photograph the water tower when I noticed the pool hall and the sign above its door. My instinctive response was an inner smile. My second thought was a little less friendly. No one should question my fondness for Route 66. The ultimate target of this trip is a festival celebrating the route. But I had just driven a pretty darned interesting chunk of old highway just blocks away and this guy was promoting a road that probably doesn't get within 400 miles of his place. My mood warmed again when I read the text above the highway shield -- "LET'S GO BACKROADING". I'm thinking his heart is probably in the right place.

There is a monument to the Old Spanish Trail in front of the Guadalupe County courthouse in Seguin, Texas. There is also a monument to pecans. There is a better view of the OST monument here and of the pecan plaque here. You'll have to guess which I stopped for. Seguin looks like a rather interesting town with a very cool theater and a small amusement park that includes the tallest silo climb in the world.

I made my entrance into San Antonio, cruised by the Aztec Theater, and did a drive by shot of the Old Spanish Trail Zero Milestone. Then I briefly borrowed a parking space so I could get a better shot of the stone and plaque.

The only other time I have visited the Alamo was in the winter and there were few people there. I felt a certain amount of reverence on that visit but not so much today. I'm sure it wasn't all that crowded but there were enough that it felt more like a mall than a shrine. The gift shop had coonskin caps for $12.99. I'm guessing they have Bowie knives available, too, although I didn't see any. The white marble sculpture bears the names of all known defenders of the Alamo and is titled "Spirit of Sacrifice". There are indications that it is more commonly known as the Alamo Cenotaph. A cenotaph is "a monument erected in honor of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere". I've seen this one before so probably looked that up then. I had to do it again.

Across the street from the Alamo, I walked down some steps and into the wonderful world of San Antonio's River Walk. The memory of something is often better than the thing and I worried that the River Walk would not live up to my memory of my visit back in 2000. Like the Alamo, it was more crowded now than then but, unlike at the Alamo, the increase in people did not change my perception of the place. I had a couple of beers, ate lunch, and took some pictures. Mostly I walked and gawked. I had intended to ride one of the boats but never got around to it.

I eventually climbed some steps to street level and decided to walk to the Tower of the Americas. It was built as the centerpiece of the 1968 HemisFair. It had intrigued me when I saw it in 2000 and was just about the first thing I noticed on this visit. On the surface, I could simply keep it in sight and walk toward it.

As expected, the view from the observation deck was spectacular. Labeled panoramas on the wall identify the major buildings and landmarks but the only one I can identify now is the Alamo next to the cenotaph in the fifth picture. The last picture was taken one floor lower in the lounge which overlooks a revolving restaurant.

The River Walk passes fairly close to the tower and I followed it back to my starting point. In addition to the clear water flowing by in the San Antonio River, fountains and waterfalls abound so that, even if the temperature isn't very cool, it sounds like it is.

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