Prepare, check your assumptions, look for information on the internet, double check what you think you know. We did all that and we still got caught. It is a Sunday morning we'll remember, but one we wish we could forget.
I got up at 6:45 a.m. and did due diligence on my computer to check for conditions applicable to our situation. With that knowledge, we made our plan of attack: Bob and I would meet Susan Medlin at 8 a.m. and we would start our day. That meant we all had to hustle to get to our start point by 8:00! The outcome of our activity depended on an early start.
This morning's goal was a 10k (6.2 mile) Volksmarch in downtown San Antonio. We started a few minutes after 8:00. The sky was overcast. We had an excellent walking temperature of 71 degrees, and low humidity.
The first point of interest was the O'Henry House. Yes, THE O'Henry (nee William Sidney Porter) famous for his short stories. I always enjoyed reading his works, but had no idea he had lived in Cotulla, San Antonio and Austin. He was born in Polecat Creek, North Carolina, but moved to Cotulla, Texas, for his health. You learn something new every day.
Below is the house in San Antonio that O'Henry rented for $6 per month. He lived in San Antonio until 1898. While here, he "published a humorous, tabloid newspaper, called The Rolling Stone
which he filled with poems, stories and caricatures of people and races, and for which he was admonished by early German settlers, causing the newspaper to have grave financial problems." [All facts on O'Henry in this blog are taken from a Texas Historical Marker at the O'Henry House site.]
|Bob and Susan M. reading historical markers|
|O'Henry House in San Antonio|
When O'Henry moved to Austin, he took a job as a bank teller "to augment his income, at which time he was convicted of embezzlement. He served three years in prison where he wrote prodigiously and memorized every word in the dictionary.
"O'Henry was gifted in his ability to capture the essence of a city by understanding the hearts of people in all walks of life. His wit, skill with words, unusual plot twists and surprise endings brought him international fame."
The house was not open today, so we didn't get a chance to see the inside. An interesting note on the historical marker said that O'Henry's life is used as a teaching aid for Bexar County probationers. "Probationers get credit for doing their Community Service by acting as docents in the O'Henry House."
Our walk continued into the heart of downtown San Antonio. This particular walk focused on the cast concrete art work of Hannibal Pianta on many of the buildings in downtown.
|Mural on a building behind the O'Henry House|
|Bexar County Courthouse|
On the Aztec Theater below, Pianta is listed as an architect of this theater and chose a Mexican artist to help create authentic Mayan designs.
|Cast concrete art is at top of building|
|Close-up of Pianta cast concrete art on the Aztec Theater|
In the photo below is Waldine Tauch's Indian Statue
cast by Hannibal Pianta. He used a special sparkling mixture to cast the piece, and coarse sand depicting the nearer-to-nature aspect of the Native American.
|Indian Statue on 1914 Commerce St. Bridge|
|Friendship Torch and Tower of the Americas|
If you go to San Antonio, make it a point to see a show at the Majestic Theater. The interior is amazing.
We quickly stopped in to see the beautiful lobby of Saint Anthony Hotel.
|Saint Anthony Hotel lobby|
Across the street from Saint Anthony Hotel is Travis Park. The mural below is changed frequently. Even though the Spurs are out of the playoffs, the mural has not yet been changed. We took turns taking photos in front of it.
|Me and Bob (sorry Trailblazer fans)|
|Lao-Thai Baptist Mission (another example of|
Pianta's cast concrete work)
|Close-up of Lao-Thai Baptist Mission|
Below is the facade of what used to be The Municipal Auditorium. The original entry of the building was saved and remodeled, but a whole new auditorium was built behind it. This is San Antonio's new Tobin Center, which is a world-class performing arts center.
|Tobin Center for the Performing Arts|
|Honoring mothers whose sons fought in the World War|
|Tobin Center entry|
|Side view of Tobin Center for the Performing Arts|
Across from the Tobin Center on Auditorium Circle is the old Wright Electrical Building (now the admin offices for the Tobin Center). Pianta and Wright were neighbors and co-workers on many building projects, providing concrete and lighting. Check out the columns flanking the front door of the Wright Electrical Building. There is a face on each with two supporting figures above the face.
|Susan M. and Bob A. - Wright Electrical|
|Face with two supporting figures|
|The whole column|
Next we proceeded down to the River Walk. The river was very beautiful this morning. Crowds were not out yet.
|San Antonio River Walk|
|Neotropic Cormorant drying wings|
|Hibiscus in bloom|
|River Walk mile maker 0.0 in downtown|
|Green-winged teal with chicks|
|Susan M. and Bob hustling ahead on the River Walk|
|Little surprises like this make the River Walk special|
|Magnolia trees in bloom|
|Huge Magnolia tree!|
|Armed Services Month - yellow ribbons everywhere.|
The founder of the River Walk, Robert H.H. Hugman, has his own statue and historic marker. His was the vision that made this beautiful place a reality.
Coming up from the River Walk at La Villita, we headed toward the next Hannibal-Pianta- decorated building, the Mexican Consulate.
|The Mexican Consulate Building, San Antonio|
As soon as we passed the Mexican Consulate Building we started to feel raindrops. Uh-oh. The rain intensified and we stopped under an awning to put away electronics, open the umbrella (me), and put on a plastic poncho (Susan M.). Bob only had a baseball cap. We still had about 1/2 mile left to get back to our cars.
Leisurely sightseeing was over. As the rain intensified so did our pace. We ran the last four blocks back to the cars as the skies opened up and we were caught in the downpour. We got stuck at a long traffic signal and Bob was able to share the umbrella. Then we were off running again. Bob was soaked through to the skin. Susan did pretty well with her poncho, but still got wet. The umbrella and my fanny pack kept me dry except for my legs, shoes and socks which were soaking wet. Brr. It got cold all of a sudden being soaking wet. The car was a welcome relief.
|Soaking wet shorts|
|You can see how wet my leg is|
Driving home, we passed this building. It pretty much tells the story of how much rain we're getting!
Bob and I planned to go to Susan's house after the walk, but made a detour home to change into dry clothes. I was going to Susan's to watch Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which she had taped. Bob is not a fan of the show so he decided to stay home.
The drive to Susan's house was peppered with pools of standing water and it was pouring rain. I hit some standing water on the freeway and hydroplaned a little. Slowed down to 45-50. I wasn't in that big of a hurry!
Susan made salad and had ordered pizza, so we had a very nice lunch while we watched the TV show. Her son, Travis, who recently graduated officer training school as a Second Lieutenant, was home as well. We all enjoyed the show immensely, especially because it tied into "Captain America: Civil War" which we had just seen last week and loved.
After all that, I went home and took a 2-1/2 hour nap.
Our weather forecast in San Antonio is for 50-60% chance of rain through this coming weekend. Let's hope our walk next Sunday has good weather until we finish it!
Travel Bug out.