The Phoenix One Journals Stories from the dawn of RoadTrip America
Who Could Forget the Alamo?
If you get the chance, drive into Corpus Christi at night. The huge harbor is ablaze with lights, and the centerpiece is the "Blue Ghost," the U.S.S. Lexington. The Lexington was sent to sea during World War II before she had her final coat of paint. The blue-tinged primer coat became her trademark, and now she's lit up every night in a sea of blue lights.
We were headed for Aransas Pass, where Internet friends Joanne and John Ely reside. We met them at the Old Town Grill, a charming eatery with murals and photographs depicting a little of the town's history.
After dinner we hopped onto Interstate 37 and made tracks to San Antonio, where we had a date with a television producer at CBS. Bryan Eckert interviewed us about the NicoVan's San Antonio events for the Channel 5 news at 4.
I lived in San Antonio for a year back in 1970, and I was eager to revisit some of my old haunts, like the Barn Door steak house, and the River Walk. "What about the Alamo?" asked Mark. "We shouldn't forget that!" So Friday night, which happened to coincide fairly well with my birthday, we decided to spend an evening on the town.
We called Alamo City Taxi service, because Mark had already discovered that all the cars in the fleet were Cadillacs. Sure enough, a big white one soon arrived. We asked our driver to take us to the Tower of the Americas.
The Tower of the Americas was built in 1968 as part of a world expo called HemisFair. It's 550 feet tall, and has a restaurant at the top that revolves. We went up to have a look at the view and a drink in the bar.
As soon as we sat down, Mark jumped up. "My keys!" he said. "They're not in my pocket!" And indeed they weren't. After searching the immediate vicinity, Mark deduced that they must have fallen out of his pocket in the taxi.
He called Alamo City Taxi for the second time that evening, and sure enough, his keys had been discovered by the next customer. "The driver will bring them back to you," said the dispatcher. "Just wait at the bottom of the tower."
Mark and his keys were reunited, and, since we had a taxi at our disposal once more, we asked our driver, Rosemary Valdez, to take us to the Alamo. On the way, she suggested some good restaurants along the river.
San Antonio's Riverwalk is always lovely, but at Christmastime it's breathtaking. The night was warm and clear, and the pathways were lined with luminarias. Boatloads of carolers floated by, and the trees overhead twinkled with colored lights.
We dined at County Line, a restaurant known for ribs and margaritas, and then wandered farther along the river.
Oh, and we didn't forget the Alamo. A Christmas tree rose from the square in front, and warm light bathed the famous facade. At the end of the evening, another shiny Cadillac appeared to chauffeur us back to our campground.
We're now Pacific-bound. The NicoVan has a date for New Year's at the Rose Bowl.
San Antonio, Texas
December 21, 1997