Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio, Sunday, April 22, 2018

Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio, Sunday, April 22, 2018
Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio, Sunday, April 22, 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

Two Very Different Walks, Part 2 - Sunday, April 22, 2018

I admit it, I am an adrenaline junkie. My addiction is roller coasters; the wilder, the better. Our second walk today was at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, a complete about-face from the nature walk earlier. 

After the 10k walk, I changed my clothes at the Comfort Inn from long jeans and hiking boots, to shorts and walking shoes. The windbreaker jacket stayed in the car.

We drove 1/2 hour to Six Flags Fiesta Texas amusement park where we have Season Passes and Dining Passes (Dining Pass = lunch, a snack, and dinner per person each time we go to Six Flags). I had my pass with me. Unfortunately, Bob left his pass at home. So, he dropped me off at the front gate of Six Flags and he made the one-hour round-trip drive home to get his Six Flags Park Pass. 

Meanwhile, I took photos, rode the Superman and Batman roller coasters, and rode the Sky Screamer (a drop tower) twice. 

Superman: the Ride
Superman: the Ride
Batman and The Hustler spin ride
Batman (up close!)
Sky Screamer
Then I got a text from Bob saying, "You will never believe this. I got my Good Sam card, not the Six Flags card. Headed back home. Talk to you in another hour."

Wow. He tried to use his Good Sam RV card to get into Six Flags. The guy at the entrance gate said, "What kind of card is that?"

I ate lunch because I was awfully hungry after walking 6.2 miles, and then almost another two miles around Six Flags. At Blues BBQ, a turkey leg was calling my name and I ate it. 

Bob still wasn't back, so I went on the BIGGEST coaster in the park, Iron Rattler, my favorite. It had been closed earlier for testing, but when I got there, the line wasn't very long. I figure they must have just reopened it. 

Fresh off the Iron Rattler coaster...all smiles!
When I got off the coaster, Bob texted and said he was in the park at our usual place to eat. I joined him at Blues BBQ just as he got in line. He got a pulled turkey sandwich and potato salad.

After Bob ate, we rode The Hustler (spinning ride), and Pandemonium (a roller coaster with cars that spin like teacups as they go along the track). Then, we went over to Hurricane Force 5. Bob sat that one out. 
Pandemonium coaster (cars spin)
Bob waiting in line for Pandemonium
Me in line for Pandemonium. Poltergeist coaster
is the blue one on the left behind me.
Hurricane Force 5 ride
We were going to go on the Scooby Doo Ghostbusters Blaster Ride, but it was all closed up. It looks like they're going to make a pirate-themed ride there instead. We'll see if they keep Scooby Doo and gang as characters.

The long-awaited Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster is built. The cars just arrived and are now on the tracks. The next two photos show the coaster. The train cars are single rider, with about 10 cars in a line. It should be interesting to ride this one!

Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster
Wonder Woman statue
 The park is decorated for their Mardi Gras Celebration which starts April 27. 

Rockville High School

Bob and I sat in one of the air-conditioned restaurants to cool off. He got his snack, a cinnamon cookie. Mmm. I ate a Magnum ice cream bar earlier in the afternoon. 

I wanted to go on the Poltergeist coaster. That's the one that shoots you out of the station at 70 mph, then you go through what looks like a tangle of tracks. At some points in the ride, you don't know which way is up. Crazy! Bob stayed in the restaurant and waited for me. When I got off the ride, I had a burger and fries for dinner in the restaurant. 

Then he had a turkey leg for dinner at Sanger Halle. While he ate, I went on the Goliath coaster. That's the one with tracks on the top where your legs dangle free. After that, we headed home to watch "60 Minutes" and "Instinct."

Today was quite a day!

I have four days left until I retire. Then I plan to go on Social Security. Wow, I never thought that day would arrive. Now I'm looking it in the face and I like it!

Time for me to get some sleep. Good night all. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Two Very Different Walks, Part 1 - Sunday, Apr. 22, 2018

Sunshine, and lots of it, made it an easy decision to drive to Boerne, Texas, 45 minutes away from our house. The temperature was coolish with a chilly breeze for most of our 10k walk. Randolph Roadrunners Volkssport Club hosted the guided walk today. We had people from San Antonio, Kerrville, and even Pennsylvania!

After signing in at the Comfort Inn at 9:00 a.m., we drove to our respective start points. The 10k and 6k walkers had different start points. 

The 10k walkers parked in downtown Boerne and took the Old No. 9 rails-to-trails path to the nature park. We crossed over a bridge and caught a glimpse of Fern Brush Falls.

Fern Brush Falls
The flags in Boerne City Park are at half-mast for Barbara Bush.

Herff Spring flows into the restored marsh at the Cibolo Wilderness Trail and on into Cibolo Creek.
Herff Spring
Antelope Horns (Asclepius asperula)
The four of us who did the 10k caught up with the 6k walkers at Cibolo Nature Park, the destination for today's walk. Wildflowers are in bloom, bluebirds are nesting in the boxes, and we had a lovely time.

On our walk, we covered most of the trails in the park, including a boardwalk section. Some good news for everyone who likes the Old No. 9 rails-to-trails bike path, it is being extended. We saw some of the construction on it today.

As we entered the nature center, we saw the Cibolo Preserve Natural Habitat Laboratory for Research. Didn't anyone ever tell researchers that "natural habitat" does not include big barbed wire fences?

Proof we were here. [Photo by Robert.]
The restroom building had a pretty mural on it. I particularly liked the ringtail portion of it, so I enlarged that.

Mural on restroom
If you want to see dinosaur tracks, they have those here too. Paleontologists decided that the larger prints belong to a giant tridactyl (3-toed) theropod from the Early Cretaceous Period about 110 million years ago.

Giant Tridactyl dinosaur trackway
Bull Nettle (Cnidoscolus texanus)
The playground
The main trail along the river
Volksmarchers coming out of the woodwork!
Cibolo Creek
A yellow-bellied flycatcher, perhaps?
Tree of Life Arboretum
Here's where we crossed new rails-to-trails construction through Boerne City Park and Cibolo Nature Center. 

Miles of new trail on the way!
A beautiful red husky
The photo below shows our group crossing a boardwalk over a spring-fed pond. 

Doesn't the following photo remind you of The Beatles' Abbey Road album cover...only no Beatles, and no road? It's the thought that counts. 

From the spring, marsh, and the forest, we crossed grasslands.

A Bluebird on the nesting box (sorry,
it's a bit blurry)
Our walking group today
Heading back through Boerne City Park
Agricultural Heritage Museum in Boerne City Park
Such a pretty walk with great people!
The bridge out of the park
Engelmann Daisy (Engelmannia pinnatifida)
The thistles are little works of art!
Old No. 9 bike path...don't forget
you're crossing a road here!

After a very satisfying 10k walk, we headed back to our cars to get on with the rest of the day. Bob and I continued on to our next destination, Six Flags Fiesta Texas. 

Continued in Part 2...

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mermaids...What Mermaids? - Sat., March 17, 2018

While most people are out looking for leprechauns or drinking green beer on St. Paddy's Day, we were out looking for mermaids. No, we didn't have too much green beer beforehand, we were on a Mermaid Walk sponsored by the San Marcos River Walkers.

Looking for mermaids in San Marcos, Texas, isn't as far-fetched as it sounds. If you look into the history of San Marcos, you will learn about Aquarena Springs, a kitschy place for families with "the world's only submarine theater." From this theater that could blow ballast and lower into the water, families could watch a show that included mermaids and Ralph the swimming pig, known for his "swine" dives. In the 1960s through '80s, Aquarena Springs was one of the most popular tourist attractions in Texas after The Alamo.

Today, all the touristy brouhaha is gone. The area is now Spring Lake. Glass-bottom boat tours run by Texas State University provide an educational look at the springs that bubble up from the depths. The building next to Spring Lake used to be the old hotel, but has been repurposed into a nature center where you can learn about a few of the rare species that inhabit this crystal clear spring water.

Our walk today touted painted mermaid sculptures as a focal point. Through no fault of the San Marcos River Walkers, the mermaids had not yet been moved into place by the city of San Marcos. The walk had been planned for months. It was thought the mermaids would be out; alas, they were not. Not to worry, the San Marcos River Walkers will host another walk when the mermaids are set in place.

As a consolation, a video showing some of the painted mermaids was on display at the start point. In the photo below, notice the mermaid is holding a pig, harking back to Aquarena Springs' heyday.

Photo of a mermaid taken from a video
Sponsoring the walk: San Marcos River Walkers
The club is part of the
Internationaler Volkssportverband (IVV)
Bob and I opted to do the 10k walk which consisted of two 5k loops. We actually found some mermaids, though not the mermaid sculptures. 

The first 5k loop took us around downtown San Marcos. We exited the City Park Rec Hall and headed across the San Marcos River. The river is very clear as the headwater springs are only about 3/4 mile away. 

San Marcos River
After the river, we crossed into a park. The sculpture below is Chief Placidio (Hashukana in his native language) of the Tonkawa tribe. He served as a scout with the Texas Rangers and the U.S. Army. He became friends with Stephen Austin, Sam Houston, and Edward Burleson. In 1840, Placidio and other brave tribe members fought alongside Jack C. Hayes, Ben McCulloch, and General Burleson to defeat the Comanche in the Battle of Plum Creek in Lockhart.
Chief Placidio (Hashukana)
We passed the pretty building below but didn't stop to read the historic marker. It looked like a railroad station that may have been moved to this site, but we weren't sure. 

Historic downtown San Marcos

A lovely building
Two of our favorite vagabonds,
Mike and Kathy Schwencke
Bob and I stopped for a smooch.
Daiquiri Factory has a certain ring to it
Jack C. Hayes - Pioneer Surveyor, Texas Ranger,
Community Builder. Sculpture by: Jason Scull, 2001
Historic downtown San Marcos
Below, the whole side of a building is covered by a mural honoring those in the Coast Guard who served our country in times of war and peace.

We walked past what looks like the old jail. It is fenced off. Bob said about five years ago, when he worked for MPS Construction, they refurbished the building with new windows, porch, and decorative fascia. Nothing further has happened to open it as a museum or anything. It's just sitting there looking forlorn.

The old jail? No identifying signs.
The park below is dedicated to music. There was a paper plate there indicating this will be a future mermaid site.

"Electric Jazz" at Eddie Durham Park
Hey! A mermaid sighting!
 San Marcos has a lot of interesting murals.

Wildflower mural
Hayes County Historic Courthouse, 1909
Best mermaid sighting of the day.
We walked past a cerveceria bar advertising "Gut Rockets & Coldies."

Across the street from our walk route was the Juan Veramendi Plaza with a beautiful gazebo, fountain, and a log cabin. We didn't go past them.

Gazebo in Juan Veramendi Plaza
Fellow walkers
We went past the pretty building again. This time my curiosity got the better of me and I read the historical marker. It says: "Old Fish Hatchery Office Building: This structure, erected 1894-1895, originally served as the office building for the San Marcos National Fish Hatchery, established in 1893 near the head of the San Marcos River. The facility closed in 1965 and the site was given to Southwest Texas State University. The building, which features unusually large brackets, then housed the main offices of the school's Aquatic Biological Center until it was moved to this site on the river walkway."

Old Fish Hatchery Office Building
Large brackets
From here, we crossed back over the San Marcos River. The bridge railing was pretty high. Bob was trying to take a photo of me and I was standing high on my tippy toes to look over the railing.

Me on the bridge
A lone kayaker
 Volksmarchers starting the downtown 5k loop
Below are photos of the San Marcos Activity Center Sculpture Garden. I could not find titles or artists located by the sculptures. (I did, however, find some of them identified on Pinterest by Hilary Stunda in her article, "San Marcos Art, a Pied." Don't you just love the internet?)

The "River of Life" piece below is the artist's tribute to the San Marcos River and Aquarena Springs, the river's source.

"River of Life" whirligig by Jim La Paseo
"Memory with a View"

"Caryatids" by Kate Ritson
"Conversation PEACE"
(or Rock, Paper, Scissors)
As we approached Texas State University's Baseball Stadium, a mockingbird serenaded us from about two feet away. The bird was not scared and did not fly away. 
Texas State University baseball stadium
A lovely rose in the city park
Our halfway checkpoint between 5k loops was back at the Rec Hall in the City Park.

From the Rec Hall, we took off on the second 5k loop. One thing about San Marcos, lots of trains come through town. As we started our second loop, I was able to get through some trees to catch a photo of a train coming.

When I finished with the train photo, I hurried to catch up to Bob who was greeting a friend he had met on the Texas Trail Roundup marathon walk. 

Linda, Brian, and Bob
The three guys below are sporting shirts from the Kerrville Trailblazers and Texas Wanderers Volksmarch Clubs. Looks like they're finishing the 5k loop out by Aquarena Springs.

Texas State University's Bobcat Football Stadium
This part of the walk took us on trails around an abandoned golf course by Aquarena Springs.

Wetlands by Aquarena Springs
Large firecracker plant
Watch out for those 15 mph turtles!

Bob on the abandoned golf course 
Determined walkers
At the beginning of the blog, I briefly mentioned the Glass Bottom Boat tours at Aquarena Springs. To me, taking that tour is one of the top things to do in San Marcos. The 30-minute boat tours are an educational arm of Texas State University: the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. Students are narrators. You will see where the powerful springs discharge water into Spring Lake, fish, and aquatic plants. You may even see some volunteer SCUBA divers. Make sure to visit the Discovery Hall exhibits and see the 1,000-gallon aquarium as well.  

We finished the walk and headed to New Braunfels for lunch and a movie. Bob and I love eating at Newk's Eatery. We both had the avocado/cheese/turkey  melt. Mmm. Our waitress said it is their most popular sandwich.

Newk's Eatery, New Braunfels, Texas
Turkey breast/avocado/cheese sandwich & coleslaw
With full tummies, we went to the movies and saw "Red Sparrow." Bob hadn't seen it, and I enjoyed watching it again already knowing the identity of the mole. This is a tightly woven story, but gory in parts. (Rated R for violence and full nudity.)

After that, we called it a day and headed home. Have a good week everyone. Travel Bug out.