Thursday, July 14, 2016

Day 12 - We go bats.

Today we travelled very little so had a more interesting day than yesterday.  It started with a trip to the Alamo which we saw from the outside yesterday,  The Alamo is actually not the name of the place at all but a regiment that was stationed there by the Spanish.  The building we call the Alamo was originally one of six missions built in what is now metropolitan San Antonio.  Four of the others still survive and are part of a National Park Mission Tour.  So we set out to visit them.  Visiting the five of them was an interesting history lesson about Spanish colonization, Mexican Independence, a Mexican Civil War and Texas Independance.   Other than the Alamo the others still are owned by the Catholic Church and are used for church services.  Only one has survived intact since colonial days as the other 3 are built on clay and as they shift the masonry tends to fall.  One of the churches was in fact closed because some of the ceiling fell in.

Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo.  This is all rebuilt as the roof and the north wall collapsed in pieces over decades.  After they put them right the bell tower actually split in half and fell down.  When they rebuilt it they used a different roof which was was then struck by lightening and destroyed. Thinking God had done the deed because he hated the new one they went back to the original design.
Saint Francis holding a stack of quarters

Having completed our tour of the missions we had a short drive to Austin with a short stop, as Tesla stops go, to recharge sufficiently to get us both into and our of Austin as there was not a planned charge in Austin.  We arrived in Austin early enough to go out for an early dinner at a BBQ place near enough to the river to go see tens of thousands of bats leave for their night hunting.  Apparently when they redecked a bridge across the river the gaps between these big prefab concrete slabs was perfect bat roosting size.  The colony is estimated to have half a million adult bats that leave and another half a million pups that don't go out until August.  It is quite a show.

The people watching the bats are easy to see.  Bats are quite small but all those little black dots in the sky are bats.

We then went hunting for music and found an empty bar with a band playing decent blues.  We stayed there often the only ones in there although some folks did wander in, some just to use the restroom, during the set.  When they took a break we went home passing another bar with a similarly good band and another empty room.  Walking past the bars, some with music and some without, it turns out that the bars without music had more patrons.  Go figure,

Regular Features
Statistics Corner
States involved: Today we stayed in Texas which given the size of the state is not hard to do

Comfort Suites San Antonio - filled up while we ate and slept.
San Marcos Supercharger - 30 minutes

Song of the Day: Summertime by Janis Joplin.  Having now experience the blast furnace heat in Texas in summer I understand how Joplin, a Texas native, could do such a great job with that tune.  She knew what summer was really like!

Coolest Car of the Day: While we did see some good ones riding down the streets of Austin and passed a couple of classic car dealers that we off the highway you have to love a car that has lost its paint especially when it is as rare as this Nova wagon. 

Church of the Day: This is tough as the mission churches were all different and all really well done but the Conception mission wins by being the only that survived all these years without falling down. 

Best thing of the Day - Larry -  Wandering around and listening to all the music

Best thing of the Day -Michelle - The bats

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