Ramble On

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Revisiting San Antonio, part 2

During this trip to San Antonio I took a little more care to enjoy the vicinity of the Riverwalk - my hotel was on one end of it, and the conference on the other, so I got to know my way around after a couple of days.  I also kept thinking to myself about my seven past visits.

Although I didn't venture off base on the town pass day while I was at Lackland, after language training in Monterey my friend Rick and I went to San Antonio twice - taking the overnight bus down from San Angelo for the weekend.  Now, overnight bus rides are an experience in themselves, but what I do remember about those trips are visiting the Riverwalk to take in some restaurants and live music.  There was another visit while I was still in the Air Force, in 1983 or so, when I was in San Antonio on temporary duty for a research and development project, but we didn't go downtown that time.

Next was a Labor Day trip to visit Henry in 1989 - if I remember correctly they had a Gran Prix going on around town, but you could avoid the heat and the noise by hanging out on the Riverwalk, so we did.  Yesterday's post mentioned my trip in 2009, which brings us up to date.

Besides all of the bars and cafes down by the river, there are a few sites to see - among the notable ones was this encounter with a large sculpture done in Pre-columbian style.  Also, there were the omnipresent little barges, tour boats that cruise by at regular intervals.  For some reason, they always make me laugh - there's only two blocks or so to see, so I can't imagine being captive on a boat with a blaring PA would be any more fun than walking it on the sidewalk.

Some Air Force friends sent a recommendation or two, and a work colleague referred me to a barbecue joint, So I had a few things to check out.  I'll chalk up the brisket as one of them - I can see why people like it Texas-style, but will say in all honesty that I like the cuts I get from Skyline Premium Meats in Luray just as much.

There was also the Esquire Tavern.  I was told there would be beer.

Known as the oldest bar on the Riverwalk, the Esquire also boasts a 100-foot oak bar, the longest in Texas.  I picked an IPA brewed in San Antonio and a Porter brewed in Austin from the tap and settled in to relax.  Mission accomplished!

I showed off construction progress photos from Hawksbill Brewing while I was there.  There was another chance to brag about it on the way home, as I shared the exit row with two corn farmers from Illinois - they were curious about the hops and asked if I was using corn in the beer.  A quick text to David confirmed - the grain bill for the cream ale is 10 percent flaked corn.

Before I move on to other topics, I should make a note about a memory that came to mind while I was in the airport:  I'm pretty sure that the part of the terminal where Southwest comes and goes is the same area where my trip to Basic from Jacksonville ended up.  There was a gentle slope to the floor, like a ramp, and I remember the effect of climbing it was surreal, as if the walls were closing in.

And then the fun began as we caught a bus and went through all the first night shenanigans upon arriving at the base.  They put a good scare in you.  I remember ol' Ralph, two bunks down, doing the Rosary over and over again until I - and hopefully he - finally fell asleep.  Despite that, the experience was the beginning of six pretty good years that started me on my travels - and I don't have anything to complain about.

So I guess that leaves me on pretty good terms with San Antonio as well!

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