Remember the Alamo! Another photo of Kellys trip with the kids. ha ha

Our itinerary has become a vague cardinal direction, currently East- with a Southern tendency. This track should get us to the East coast in time for a spring ascent along the Atlantic as we approach our nation’s capitol and exciting history. In the meantime, we’re enjoying the stories about the cold from home, as we wade through our fellow snowbirds, which are congregating on the beaches and dusty deserts with us.

Doesn't matter where you are, cannons are hard to keep your hands off of, if you're 6. This one was taken over by the Mexican attackers and turned against the defenders at the Alamo- used to breakdown the walls and ultimately led to the defeat of the Texans.

This trip is revealing the face of so many stories we’ve been hearing about since childhood. San Antonio has the Alamo, so we made some time to visit. The Alamo is an interesting spectacle, preserved among the modern buildings of the city that surround it. In fact, Ripley’s Believe it Or Not, Guinness World Records and no less than 20 gift shops and restaurants ring this slice of Texas & American history, in an attempt to separate the dollars from a tourist crowd- since there’s not much to buy inside the walls of the Alamo. The Alamo museum is kept up by a private group, not government, and appreciates well deserved donations, and purchases in their gift shop. Now, The Alamo is… a little bit of a letdown. Perhaps it is that everything in my minds eye is BIG, LARGER than life, and specTACular! This may be a result of it having been introduced in books when I was a child, then letting it stew for several years until I could get there and take my own look at things. The Alamo story has never been clear to me, and it seems that so much of history runs together or gets lost in the information overload of public education (unless you have a personal connection or special interest in a subject). So it’s cool that we visit with our family under the premise of home school, and learn more than Kelly or I knew together. Thanks, Alamo. We liked the story, but you were smaller than we imagined you would be. It also held the kids attention for longer than average, as we checked out the cannons and artifacts that were from that time. Henry paid special attention to the 4’ sabers.

Yeah, we don't really like to see the back end poking out of a shop.

We have a little bit of Clay with us now, in the spare tire compartment.

San Antonio also offered a capable bus shop to take a look at a couple of mechanical issues that have developed- thanks to the kind folks at Alamo Bus for tightening up my loose fitting. We seem to be unable to track down an air leak that is pestering us- leaking out a little air from the aux suspension system so that everyone has listed to the curb side by the second morning if we don’t ‘air-up’. Kelly and I have taken to sleeping with our heads on the driver side so that our feet are always pointing downhill. We also picked up a piece of stardom on this here bus in Texas: a bit of Clay Walker is riding along with us, every mile: the gently used front left tire from his coach is now our spare tire. Sure, you can touch it, but I’ll have to open up the compartment- we have it under heavy security. I cannot name the source, but I might be able to get another if you’re a Clay fan…

This Christmas display is more of a memorial to the man's dead wife- for all of the time money and energy he has invested. Outside, you'll be reminded of a decrepit amusement park among the glitter and the declining condition of the structures that hold everything up.

Some things have fallen into our path (which means we can’t say how we found out about some of our stops) like this one: Bob Clarks Christmas House in San Antonio. This place. Wow. Mr Clark started decorating a few years after his wife passed away, and hasn’t stopped- and by calling it ‘year-round’ he doesn’t have to take it down like the rest of us. We visited and were fortunately ahead of the crowd, for when there were more than about 9 people in this house, it became dangerous. There were Christmas ornaments suspended, stacked, tacked, piled, organized, fastened, stapled, and otherwise connected to his home so that not more than an inch of bare wall showed, anywhere, no kidding.

With Mr Clark himself amid the candy that he hands out to kids- and adjacent to his military honors on his kitchen wall.

It was sure death for someone with a seizure disorder, and potential chaos if you didn’t have a sense of direction to get back out. We explored several rooms inside and outside, and heard enough of the story to know this is a passionate attempt to memorialize his wife through laborious efforts and dramatic glitz. There are layers of working lights installed over layers of last season’s lights that are no longer functioning. There are lighted, musical collections that are all turned on, and playing music. I speculated out loud to Mr Clark that he must be getting excited that the end of season sales are coming up- and he replied that this was the worst time to buy decorations- since they ‘had been so picked over’. His modus operandi was to purchase at full price when items were first introduced. Ouch! He must have a lot tied up in this display. It earned great awe from our family, and we didn’t take nearly enough time to see it all- we became visually overloaded (and more people showed up, so we departed).

Lauren soaked up inspiration for colorful, fancy decorated items. Or maybe she didn't- there was a lot to take in.

We spent most of our time in San Antonio on the gypsy lodging plan (moving around, free), finally deciding to go South and make for the beaches of Padre Island.