Thursday, January 30, 2014

Remember the Alamo

One can not visit San Antonio and not visit the iconic Alamo, it is like a contract one must make with the travel Gods, it is an absolute must. I mean who would come all the way to San Antonio and not see this part of Texas history? I don't even want to mention how hard it was for me to refrain from buying a coon skin cap and not going full Texas patriot, it took all my strength to not purchase one. What? I just wanted to channel my inner Davey Crockett!

The Alamo itself is treated as hallowed ground, to honor those that lost their lives fighting for independence from Mexico, so sacred that photos aren't even allowed inside the Alamo itself. And although the Alamo holds a special place in history, it was my least favorite of the missions; I don't know if it was due to the massive amounts of people, or the fact that a lot of the remnants, outside walls and the active church don't exist on this historic site, part of the charm that I found so appealing about the four other San Antonio missions. Regardless of my views on it, it was amazing to see, to tour and to witness what this part of Texas/American history was all about and most important, to pay tribute to those that lost their lives defending freedom.


Just down from the Alamo, is the River Walk, another must see in San Antonio. Restaurants, bars and hotels line the river as water taxis zip up and down the river, delivering people to their destination. No trip could possibly be complete without a walk here along the cobblestone paths, taking in the smells of all the fabulous outdoor cafes that line the river. The River Walk makes for a great escape from the city, even though you're right in the heart of it, it almost feels like you've escaped right into a Disney movie, especially if you are lucky enough to catch one of the horse drawn carriages pass by on one of the bridges above.

And last but not least on the list of must do tourist stops in San Antonio;  The Tower of Americas, the only remnant left of the 1968 Worlds Fair. We had the opportunity to have dinner here at The Chart House with Tom's coworkers, and it was delicious, the view of the entire San Antonio area was just amazing, and when I say entire San Antonio area, I mean it, the restaurant actually rotates while you're eating so you can take in a complete 360 degree view. Visiting this place was a two for one, I finally got to put the names to the faces of those that Tom works with, and take in this part of the Hemisfair history.

So there you have it, the  tourist side of San Antonio! I figured we had better share that aspect before our departure tomorrow, yes we are done with this leg of our journey and head to New Orleans tomorrow for the month of February, so be prepared for the Mardi Gras fun that is about to come your way; parades commence on the 15th! 

Other updates in the Compagno world; the house is under contract again and this time we were a little smarter about it all and even have a back up offer waiting in the wings, which makes for a nice safety net. We are scheduled to close the beginning of March and I still have a house full of furniture from the fail of the last sell, so I might be calling in favors for those of you willing to let people in to our home once we get everything listed on KSL; so thank you dear friends that volunteered to help us out. Also, we might be in need of a space to store some furniture if it doesn't sell, so if anyone has space they aren't using over the next year or so, a basement or garage or something, we would love it if you would let us take up a bit of it for a short time, I promise to hunt down movers so you don't even have to do manual labor.

For those of you that don't know me well, this relying on other people to take care of all this for me is about enough to drive me crazy. I am a do it yourselfer and a bit of a control freak, so not being there to handle it all myself has me all up in knots, but knowing how blessed we are and that we have some of the most kick ass family and friends around does tend to lighten the load. So thank you to everyone, I don't know what we would do without you! I promise rewards for your service!!! 

Next stop NOLA!!! And this, just for you because I just couldn't resist!

Texas Company

We had guests in San Antonio! Mark, a coworker of Tom's stayed with us a few days during the week over the month that we were here and he would bring his adorable basset/beagle Penny with him. We had such a great time with both of them and Ethel and Penny totally hit it off . The two, four legged kids, couldn't get enough of frolicking and hunting down the trails of critters that would ventured in and out of the back yard and then chasing them up the trees. Some day's I would just find them sitting out there on the grass staring down the tree, daring a squirrel to magically appear!

Mark was also my saving grace, he brought me his Dyson from home each week so I could keep things "Bonnie" clean. Seriously, it takes a vacuum to send me over the moon and make this girl grin from ear to ear, I am not high maintenance at all, just bring me cleaning products!  Not only did I get to vacuum rugs and furniture, but today, the day before we head to New Orleans, I was able to suck the air out of all my Magic Bags! Woo hoo, otherwise I would have been hunting down a car wash today with a round vacuum hose and heaven forbid I eliminate some of  the wardrobe selection.

Did I mention that Penny and Ethel got along great, from stealing each others beds on more than one occasion (they each took a liking to the others bed), sharing my lap and having fun running around the living room chasing each other; it is really going to be hard to say goodbye to that girl, for all of us. I contemplated dog napping Penny, but am not sure how I can have a 12 lbs dog and a 40 lbs dog both on my lap for the long road days, if I could figure that one out, I am pretty sure I'd have to hide her and tell Mark she ran off somewhere.

So thank you Mark and Penny for adding an extra element of fun to San Antonio, you both made our stay here that much more memorable!

On A Mission

San Antonio is home to five Spanish frontier missions, built to convert the natives to Catholicism in the 1700's,  and are now part of the National Historic Parks. The park itself spreads across eight miles of San Antonio and follows the river; trails wind their way through the city and visitors can walk or bike from one mission to another; in fact they have bike rental stations at each mission for guests to pick up, so you can ride and enjoy the scenic route and take in a little more of what San Antonio has to offer.

Ethel was welcome at all of the mission sights, except for inside the churches and then Tom and I would just take turns running in and taking a look at the architecture and cathedrals; all of which still hold mass and weddings to this day, except for the Alamo.

Every time we would roll up on one of these missions the primary song "I Hope They Call Me On A Mission," would pop into my head, oh the irony coming from me, but you know, those Mormons make some catchy tunes and I still know it (even though I defected close to twenty years ago!)  Now don't get your hopes up my LDS friends, each time I order Mexican food and server asks if I want rice and beans a little "Baby Got Back" pops in my head. Oh the wasted brain power I have on song lyrics. Enough of my side rant and back on point, look at these gems!

Mission Concepcion

Mission Espada 

Mission San Jose

Mission San Juan

Aren't they gorgeous! San Juan was my absolute favorite, there was just something magical about that place. You also may have noticed that I didn't show the Alamo, that building and its iconic history will get its own post, even though out of all five of them it was my least favorite architecturally!

These four missions are often overlooked by tourists to San Antonio, if you saw the hoards of people at The Alamo versus these, you would know exactly what I am talking about. At some of them, it felt like Tom, Ethel and I were the only ones there, which of course only adds to the experience. I highly recommend breaking from the average tourist mode, renting a bike and checking out this National Park, all of it!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Vino in Texas!

Imagine our delight when we discovered that Texas has its very own wine county! Beyond giddy and thrilled to check out what the Texas vines had to offer. We headed off to the hills last weekend, them there Texas Hills and surprise, the wine was actually good; Texas belt buckle award winning good, seriously the medals are belt buckles, this is not a fabrication and I was completely amused by this! I might want to own my very own vineyard now just so that I can win one of them there belt buckles! 

Again we had little Miss Ethel with us, so the vineyards had to be pet friendly, and we discovered that most of them were! Woo Hoo! We had the opportunity to check out Becker Vineyards and Singing Water Vineyards, both beautiful and very different.

Becker wines were great, live music, lovely grounds; a perfect place to throw down a blanket, eat some appetizers, sip on wine and enjoy the music. Seriously if we lived in San Antonio or Austin area, I am pretty sure we would spend a good portion of our weekends at Becker Vineyards; excellent atmosphere to just unwind, relax and relish the moment. 

Second stop was Singing Water, much smaller, but crazy dog friendly; so dog friendly that the owners have named their Merlot after their Golden Lab, Lupe.  In fact, they actually let Ethel come in and hang out on my lap in the tasting room and then let her tour the wine cellar with us; they loved her at Singing Water, so much so that I am actually surprised I made it out of there with her without a dognapping!

The Texas Hill Country was quite a pleasant surprise and made for a wonderful day, if you ever get the chance to visit, I highly recommend you put the Hill Country on your list of must do's! Honestly they have so many vineyards you could spend an entire weekend, all day, everyday that you're there and still not get to all of them. 

Oh and one more thing, if you make that way, stop in Fredericksburg, an adorable little German town with amazing German food; stop at The Auslander and make sure to get the beer battered mushrooms!  A-freaking-mazing!!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Austin is truly a dog lover and runner’s paradise and all I would ever need to wear would be yoga pants all day and everyday and I would fit right in. Ah, a gym rats heaven! We had the pleasure of a little weekend getaway to Austin last weekend to see the hip side of what Texas has to offer and offer up they did; good food, great weather and a very clean and friendly place to visit. 

Did I mention the dog friendly? We checked into the Omni in downtown Austin and upon checking into the room they had Miss Ethel set up with bowls, treats, toys, a list of dog parks and a fabulous list of pet friendly restaurants for us all to dine at. Oh and the crème de le crème, they had a room service menu just for dogs! Love the Omni!

We spent the weekend eating, walking, eating and eating! We received quite a few suggestions on things to do, but most of the time we spent walking the city, enjoying the parks and the running trails along the river. Why? Because we have a fur daughter, who likes to be in bed early, especially after a long day of walking and/or being carried, mostly carried; so 6th street not in the cards for us plus I’m old and if I make it past ten these days I think it is a huge accomplishment and deserves a happy dance! Even though we didn’t get to experience the wild side of Austin, it was still a great time and a city that we could totally live in, other than Tom is officially allergic to Texas and is currently addicted to Benadryl! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Home Sweet San Antonio

Beyond ready for a steady place to stay, not that a week and half on the road wasn't fun, but it was the constant unpacking and repacking of the car during the trek that was getting pretty tiresome, you've seen the pictures, its not an easy task. We landed in San Antonio on New Years day and happier than ever to just unwind and do laundry, oh the mounds of laundry we had accumulated, and to eat a real home cooked meal, we had not had one of those since we were in Phoenix. Seriously it's the simple luxuries that we were missing the most during the period on the road.

We rented this really cute furnished home via Airbnb (, just north of downtown San Antonio with oodles of space and its adorable factor just tops it off! Downfall, it wasn't up to the standard of "Bonnie clean," and by God, if I am going to live her for a month, the place is going to be douched! I know that some might call me a little neurotic or OCD when it comes to what I view the standard of clean, but clean baseboards, window sills, blinds and not having dust bunnies under the bed should be the standard, right? I totally could've handled a day or two in the state it was, I just couldn't handle a month without a deep clean, so the owners got one, whether or not they wanted it! In fact I spent an entire day, from top to bottom, cleaning and disinfecting the place and now I feel much better! This place is clean, "Bonnie Clean" and I could eat off the floor now if I so chose to do so!

On the positive notes, the house is really close, and by close, I mean within half a mile or less of a ton of great restaurants, boutique shops and the market, so I can virtually walk everywhere. There is even a park a little less than a mile away that makes for a fun run and the super cute Yoga studio that I found just down the road so I can still get my fitness on and get out of the house while Tom is off supporting my lady of leisure status!

The back yard is fully fenced and Miss Ethel has adapted surprisingly well to her new surroundings. In fact there are a couple of neighborhood cats and a ton of squirrels in and out of the backyard on a regular basis, so you can imagine how excited she is to go sniff out a new trail every time she goes outside; she can easily spend thirty minutes out there and not even realize I've just left her to her own devices by going inside without her. We have yet to leave her here by herself, but it's officially been a week now, I am pretty sure she will be able to cope; it is just a matter of deciding to leave her outside or let her have free rein of the house while we are out. I'll keep you posted on her survival for the first go it alone adventure for her!

The three of us are off for a weekend adventure tomorrow and will be Austin bound, so any tips and recommendations, ones that are dog friendly in Austin would be greatly appreciated. We love any help and/or tips you all are willing to send our way, we love hearing from you our friends, family and readers.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Back on the road and about an hour out of Santa Fe I need to pee, like seriously need to pee, pull over and do it off the side of the road pee, even though I went before we checked out of the hotel room. So we pull up on the little half functional, half abandoned town of Vaughn, NM and I am thinking that Tom can totally top off the car while I hit the restroom, well this little Ma & Pa Station is out of gas; in fact I don't think that they actually carry gas anymore; I wasn't really sure what to think, but I needed a bathroom, so I was willing to take the risk. So I run in, do what I need to do, and then I feel the guilt of using their facilities and not spending money; so I buy a couple bottles of water and I glance over and see Nutter Butters and I think those look good, I haven't had those for ages, so I grab those too. The cute old man that happened to be working that day, grabs his cane as he stands up from his card table, where he has been smoking his cigarette and building a puzzle to ring me up, and now I am feeling bad that I am buying stuff, because I feel like I have interrupted something very important about his day, but he's made the effort, so I purchase my items, head back to the car and we are back on the road again.

Within five minutes of being back on the road again, I open the Nutter Butters, give one to Tom and I take the other one; we both take a bite and look at each other and can't quite figure out what is wrong; they don't taste like peanut butter, they kind of taste like the gas station smelled.  I immediately look at the package, they expired almost two years ago!!!! Needless to say, it might be awhile before I can eat a Nutter Butter again or if I ever stop in Vaughn, NM it will be too soon!

We officially hit Roswell and went directly down to Main St. which is where all the crazy alien fun is; totally cliche', even the McDonald's there is shaped like an alien space ship! Although Roswell was lots of fun, there really isn't much to do there; especially with the holiday, everyone was closing early, but I would guess even with every place running on regular hours that one day would be plenty of time to spend in the city.

The night we were in Roswell also coincided with New Years Eve, so what do you do when your in a new town, staying in a hotel and have a furchild with you that doesn't do so well in new places. Well you order dinner in, we actually ordered from Big D's Downtown Dive, open a bottle of port from the wine cellar and sit around making aluminum foil hats to prevent any possible alien abductions! Such a great and fun night, and just to add, Roswell surprisingly had the best food of the entire road trek! Yeah, shocker; imagine our surprise when we bit into the deliciousness!

Next stop "Home Sweet San Antonio!"