We are in week one of a two-month ramble, west from Georgia to Texas, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. As you may know, San Antonio is very special to Jerry and me, since we met here and started our 20+ year adventures together. ❤
We found our home base here, River Walk RV Park, on our visit to San Antonio last November on a motorcycle trip. We were visiting dear friends for Thanksgiving and discovered the park while touring near downtown. Although the name is a bit misleading, as the famous San Antonio Riverwalk is about 4 miles away, it IS one of the closest parks to downtown. The park has seen several updates since being purchased last year, and checked all the boxes for us: competent staff, big-rig friendly, long pull-through sites, a pool, and it is kept very clean. We also checked out the San Antonio KOA, a half-mile closer to downtown, but it is more expensive, and not that much nicer, in our opinion. A bonus for both parks is that the San Antonio transit service, Via, runs frequent service on the road right out front.
Anyway, we had the day free and decided to ride the bus downtown and try the bicycle sharing service called San Antonio Bcycle. The bus dropped us off on one of the main drags in town, Commerce Street. We headed down to the Riverwalk, and walked south a bit, out of the main tourist area. We found an Ambassador, hosts scattered around downtown to help guide tourists and locals alike, resting in the shade, and he was able to provide a map with the Bcycle locations so we could go check out bikes.
By the way, this is a special time in San Antonio, home of the “Party with a purpose” known as Fiesta, which runs from April 20th to 30th this year, and you can find festive decorations and parties almost anywhere in the city and surrounding communities. I believe this is the reason for the Ambassador’s constant presence downtown.
So we found a Bcycle station, read the directions, and checked out two bikes at a rate of $12 (for a day pass) each. Now, we haven’t used bike sharing in other cities yet so this may be routine, but we were taken aback at the Bcycle policy that you have to check in each bike every 60 minutes or pay an overage charge of $2 per 30 minutes over the hour. 😦 Once we figured out the process, and that the stations were plentiful, it wasn’t that awful, but it did take some of the fun out of riding to have to watch the clock. We rode city streets for a couple of blocks and stopped at the downtown location of the fabulous San Antonio grocery chain H-E-B to buy tickets to Fiesta event NIOSA for Friday night. Story on that to come later. We also grabbed a sandwich and side item for a picnic lunch later.After a great lunch with a lovely breeze in the shade, we continued through the King William area streets filled with fabulously restored victorian homes dressed in fun colors for Fiesta to a Bcycle check-in station. Grrr.
Once this administrivia was dealt with, we were able to get back on the Riverwalk and head south again. We had decided to ride about 3 miles south to see another of the historic Missions, which are part of a San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The history of this area is rooted in the Spanish efforts to protect, educate and Christianize the native peoples, and these activities were centered in the Missions. Although known mostly for the famous battle, the Alamo is also part of the historical park and is located right in downtown San Antonio, but we have visited there before. Of the southern Mission trail, the first and most well-preserved is Mission Concepcion.
The remaining structure is beautiful and ornate, though the protective stone walls around the complex have been long lost.The thick stone walls really keep out the intense Texas heat, and in the open areas, we enjoyed wonderful breezes on this spring day. There was a Bcycle station at the Mission, so we were able to complete our obligatory check-in while we visited. After a brief rest in the breezy shade, we got back on the bikes and rode the half mile back to the Riverwalk and headed back north. I have mentioned the breeze a couple of times, well, now we were riding into a real headwind! The wind had been forecast and actually kept the heat from getting really oppressive.
It was growing late so we were fairly focused on getting back to town and catching the bus back to the RV in time to meet friends for dinner, but we did manage to stop for a few of the scenic photo ops. 😀Once the bikes were returned, we found the return bus trip slightly more challenging, due to one-way streets and our inexperience with the bus system, but all in all, it was a wonderful day filled with fun, exercise, and beautiful scenery. Happy Fiesta, folks!