It’s amazing what a good night of sleep will do for a couple of weary travelers; or at least one that hadn’t slept more than 3 hours the day before! I felt refreshed, and ready to take on another day of travel!
Lori’s husband, FD, had to work that day, so we gave some quick hugs before he headed out the door. Next, Chris and I got our things together and repacked the car. One more round of hugs for Emily, Sid, and sister Lori, and we were heading down the road.
We drove for a good bit, until we spotted this enormous, apparently vacant, old hotel in Mineral Wells, TX. The Baker Hotel was no doubt a grand one in its day. Opened in 1929 by Theodore Brasher Baker, it was said to have extravagant comforts, and was allegedly the first hotel in Texas to have a swimming pool; in front of the hotel, and olympic sized at that. Closed by Baker’s nephew, Earl Baker, in 1963, and reopened by local investors from 1965-1972, the Baker hotel remains vacant and deteriorating. Efforts are being made to restore the grand old hotel, however, and if that ever does happen, I will certainly plan my stay as a guest. You can read more on the The Baker Hotel here.
We continued south, stopping only for lunch and gas. We booked our hotel online, and I was really excited to get such a deal on our room. Using our Hilton Honors points (mostly accumulated from our NYC trip in 2014), we were able to book a room at the historic Emily Morgan Hotel for only $65.00 a night. An incredible bonus, the hotel is located just across the street from The Alamo and the San Antonio Riverwalk.
Our excitement grew as we spotted our hotel; it was beautiful. After driving around for nearly 40 minutes, however, searching for parking, our excitement soon faded. After a phone call to the hotel’s front desk, we soon realized that we could either pay for valet parking at their hotel, or find a parking garage or lot within a few blocks for the approximate fee of $25.00 a day. Valet parking was currently full, and so the search continued. We managed a spot one block away for $25.00. I can’t say I’ve ever paid that much for parking before, except maybe at an airport. Regardless, our choices were limited.
Once settled in our room on the top floor, we set out for a late afternoon/evening of adventure. The Alamo was literally a few steps across the street from our hotel’s entrance, however the line to go inside was not! People were lined up around the block, farther than we cared to inquire. Walking around the grounds was free, and accessible to anyone. We made the mutual decision to try The Alamo again in the morning, and hopefully beat the crowds.
It was evening by now, and the historic area was adorned with beautiful twinkling lights everywhere. It was a cozy, and romantic walk for this old married couple.
We had only a short couple of blocks to walk before entering the Riverwalk. Oh my, this was breathtaking, and no matter how many pictures I took trying to capture the moment, it just isn’t the same.
The Riverwalk was was lined with restaurants, pubs, and plenty of dining outdoors so you could take it all in. Our appetites were growing by the minute as the smells of food wafted by our noses. We decided, however, to finish touring the area first so we didn’t miss out on anything spectacular.
The Tower of The Americas caught our attention many times throughout our walk, and so we decided to check it out. To our surprise, tickets to the Flags Over Texas Observation Deck were only $10.95 each, and this also included the Skies Over Texas 4D Theater Ride. Topping it off, there was absolutely no line to get on the elevator, which overlooked the city as you climbed.
The sites of San Antonio, TX were beautiful from the observation deck. To our surprise, however, it was very cold and windy up there, and this girl wimped out awfully fast to go back inside and warm up. The movie theater was at ground level, so we had to get back on the elevator. Unfortunately, the line was really long at the top, and we waited a good 20 minutes or so just to go back down.
We had never been to a 4D movie before, so of course we were going to take that in. However, if I could have seen an hour into the future, we would have totally skipped it! To start things off, the guy in charge must’ve been new to his job, for he did not seem to know what he was doing. It took a really long time before we were escorted into the theater. Then, this same employee came in with 10 pair of 3D glasses to hand out to the 30+ people seated. He went back for more, apparently having to wash them all first, and handed out another 8 or so pair. This went on and on, and soon became an annoying joke. When we finally were handed our’s, they were wet and smeared.
The theater had an awful burnt smell to it, adding to the questionable atmosphere. I am guessing it took a good 45 minutes from the time we were ushered into the holding room, then the theater, finally received our glasses, and apparent mandatory instruction, before the movie actually started. Our mechanical seats moved (out of sync to movie and sound), blasts of air hit our legs, and blew our hair up from behind. It was stupidly amusing really, but what threw me over the edge was getting squirted in the face with water, not once, but twice! I don’t know about anyone else, but that alone really ruffles my feathers (to put it nicely).
We walked back to the Riverwalk, and dined at Tony Roma’s. I felt the urge to order a drink (maybe after that movie ordeal), although I wasn’t sure what anything on this drink menu truly was, and so I guessed. I certainly am not a mixed drink aficionado, I just typically like them a little sweet. Well let me tell you, a dry Manhattan is anything but sweet! It was harsh, and oh so strong! I found myself watering it down and squeezing some lemon in it. I’m not so sure I didn’t throw some sugar in as well, however I cannot recall, because anything after that drink is now a blur.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Oklahoma, Lori took some great shots of Emily and Sid doing some “Hillbilly Skiing,” or so it’s been called. It’s a favorite pastime at their house whenever there’s enough snow, and our kids were fortunate enough to try it. Glad to have brought their coveralls and boots, they were able to enjoy the cold, wet snow for hours.
Lori & FD’s Bad Boy Buggy is used for a lot of work on the ranch, trips into the canyon, and now, of course, belly sledding!
Even Auntie Lori took her turn on the sled; for some reason she didn’t share that photo with me 🙂 .
~Check back for day three of The Second Honeymoon!