I scanned the hotel breakfast spread in Fort Stockton, TX and knew I was getting close to familiar territory. There, amongst the breakfast burrito fixins on the “Continental Breakfast” spread was a Louisiana staple- Community Coffee! Oh, how it’s the little things in life that can bring a smile to your face 😊
I would’ve liked to have been able to enjoy a leisurely, cultural ride east via US-90, but my hips and shoulders were quite clear in the signals they were sending me that I needed to get to San Antonio without dilly-dallying. It was time to have a few low-mileage days and to enjoy the company of some friends in my old stomping grounds.
Not long into the ride, I started to encounter huge kaleidoscopes of Monarch butterflies. I had flashbacks to the one and only time I had ridden through a Monarch migration, also in Texas, several years ago, and knew that I would, unfortunately, take out hundreds of the beautiful creatures during my trek east. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, Monarch butterflies funnel through the Lone Star state, both in the fall and the spring, during their annual migration, between their principal breeding grounds in the north, and their overwintering area in Mexico. Sadly, my route to San Antonio took me directly through their 300-mile wide, winter escape path to Mexico, that typically occurs in the last few days of September (which is when this portion of my trip occurred).
Though I had been to the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park several times while stationed in Texas, Daria obliged my desire to visit them again and to get stamps in my National Parks passport. Our first stop was to Mission Concepción, where we learned some interesting facts during the 23-minute movie about the people who built, and lived in, the missions, titled Gente de Razón. Did you know that the first Texas cowboyswere Mission Indian men, called vaqueros, or that this part of Texas wasn’t all grasslands until around the Civil War era? If you haven’t seen the film yet, definitely do so next time you’re in the area, it’s a great history lesson of the people (Native Coahuiltecans and Spanish), land, buildings, and communities that continue to stem from these origins. It’s no wonder the missions were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015- one of only 24 sites in the United States, and the only one in Texas.
With our morning of touring a couple of the missions complete, Daria and I met my good friend and Army “battle buddy,” Kayla, at Down on Grayson for a scrumptious lunch and a little sightseeing at the historic Pearl. My remaining days in San Antonio would be filled with catching up with friends over delicious meals, and revisiting a few iconic city sites.
My time in San Antonio was much too short, but the clock was ticking towards my deadline to be back in North Carolina. I was limited to just a few days in town in order to squeeze in sufficient time to spend with my family in Louisiana on the journey home, so I sincerely apologize to all the friends I was unable to connect with during my short stay. I’ll be back though!