September 5th to the 12th found Allan and me in Texas killing a little time before our son Nick's wedding on September 22nd. 

We flew to Dallas where we rented a car, then drove south to Dripping Springs.  Ever hear of it?  Me neither.

But it's not far from Austin and also not far from a Bed and Breakfast located in the Hill Country, about six cattle guards from the main dirt road and about three cattle guards from the Driftwood Winery. 

At the Driftwood we selected our favorite bottle, picked up some bread and cold cuts, and drove back over the cattle guards to the Mount Gainor Inn.  Yup, that's the Mount Gainor Inn.  They were still deciding what shade of green it should be painted.

Since the summer heat in Texas had subsided, we sat outdoors at the Inn, next to a barbed wire fence that kept our closest neighbors at bay, as you can see.

Allan would call it communing with nature.

The next morning we had a scrumptious breakfast made by Laurie up at the main house, and brought over to us piping hot by her husband Jerry.  This photo gives a view of the backyard of the Gainor Inn.

Then we completed our excursion to San Antonio.  Our hotel was the Marriott River Walk and we spent much time strolling the River Walk, which is lined with restaurants and outdoor seating as well as air conditioned indoor seating.  Most of the time we chose the air conditioning.

But our first order of the day was visiting the various Missions along Mission Road, which meanders along the San Antonio River.

We visited three of the five Missions, which are each about two miles apart.  We learned they were started by Franciscan Friars, just like the ones who served the St. Victoria Catholic Church in Victoria for over a century, but these here in the south were of Spanish origin.

The Missions were self-sufficient as the friars taught them skills in architecture, agriculture, and grinding their own flour.

This is the San Jose Mission.  We learned  that Missions were, in fact, communities  surround by high protective walls and built by the friars who also brought construction skills, civilization, and Catholicism to the native pagan families.

Within the walls of the San Jose Mission it was green and peaceful.

As you can read, " the missions are elegant reminders of the contribution of Indian and Hispanic peoples to the history of the United States."  Did your history lessons teach you that Texas was once part of Mexico, that the entire area was a colony of Spain, that Mexico came to fight for and win its independence from Spain, and that Texas came to fight for and win its independence from Mexico.

The Concepion Mission, pictured above, is still in use today.  A wedding practice was taking place at the time we stopped by.

We went inside, took some pictures, and listened to the music.

Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe was evident in all of the Mission churches.

The most famous Mission is the Alamo, pictured above.  At the Alamo I kept seeing ghosts of John Wayne as Davy Crockett, Richard Widmark as Jim Bowie, and Richard Boone as General Sam Houston.  And I learned why people started exclaiming, "Remember the Alamo!"

Within the walls of the Alamo was a sprawling, giant, ancient oak tree that grew horizontal as much as it grew vertical. 

The tree provided some welcome shade in the 90-degree heat and 90% humidity.

Our hotel, the Marriott, was built right on the River Walk, which is below street level, and our room on the 16th floor gave us a symmetrical view of the tree lined Walk and night lights of Old San Antone.

View from our room, zoomed in for a closer look.

It was fun meeting up with Jack and Amy Griffin for dinner at a revolving restaurant called "Eyes Over Texas."

It's located at the top of the Tower of the Americas, which is a 750-foot structure built for the 1968 HemisFair, whatever that was.

Jack is with TKDA, which happens to be the consulting engineering firm for the City of Victoria.

The fountains and scenery at the base of the Tower and Eyes of Texas was refreshing.

But the view from the top of the Tower was something else.  Wanna see it in color?

It was a gorgeous sunset.  We arrived at the top just in time to see it.

Notice how the newer architecture was designed and constructed to preserve the historic buildings, such as the old Downtown St. Joseph Church, where Allan and I attended Mass Saturday night.

We were in this neck of the woods for the annual American Public Works Conference, which draws thousands of engineers from across the nation, and some from outside the USA.  Remember the song?  "We strolled to an old mission garden and as we were kneeling alone, An arm gently fell on our shoulder.  It was the padre of Old San Antone."

The End