Texas, Where We've Been

The Alamo, Fort Sam Houston, and the River Walk

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The Alamo

The Alamo is steeped in history going back before the founding of America. First constructed in the year 1718, it was then known as Mission San Antonio de Valero. Over its 300 year history, it has been under the control of five flags of independent nations and served as a garrison for five different armies.

It was the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, however, that the mission is most well known. 

The Battle of the Alamo lasted for 13 long days before eventually falling to Santa Anna’s army. Among those killed were Davy Crockett, William Barrett Travis, James Bowie, and James Bonham, the commanders of the resistance. 

Santa Anna allowed the women and children to live to tell the tale of the events that happened there. Any surviving men, however, were put to death and buried nearby.

Just 6 weeks later, on April 21st, General Sam Houston led his army against Santa Anna on the banks of the San Jacinto River. The army shouted with indignation, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad! God and Texas!”

The ensuing battle lasted only 18 minutes and was a resounding victory for the Texans.

There is not much left at the site of the Alamo. Today, all that remains is the main church, inner courtyards, and barracks. Its roof has since been reconstructed to help preserve the structure as water and moisture is slowly at work to erode its walls. Statues and plaques line the courtyards to remember those who fell during the siege. 

Reservation tickets are required for entry to the church. A self-guided tour is free, but other tours exist if you wanted to know more about the historic site.

Fort Sam Houston

Fort Sam Houston was used as a supply depot and Headquarters for the army in San Antonio when it was built in the 1870s. The fort was named after General Sam Houston, who defeated Santa Anna after the Battle of the Alamo. Sam Houston later became the governor, followed by the first and third President of the Republic of Texas. 

The fort is shaped as a quadrangle, with a central open courtyard. A bell and clock tower are located in the center of the quadrangle with the American and Texas flags flanking each side. 

Inside the courtyard we found deer and dozens of peacocks that roam freely on the grounds. 

At one time, the Native American known as Geronimo had been held here as a prisoner in the northwest corner of the quadrangle. 

Just to the right, there is a museum that tells the story of the fort. On display are military uniforms, muskets, canons, and all kinds of interesting facts on the history of the fort. 

Did you know that at one time there were camels in Texas? They were brought over in 1856 to be used as pack animals. The Army weren’t too keen about using them, however, as the sight and smell of the camels often panicked the other draft animals. Eventually the camels were sold off as surplus.

In the picture above, John Clem was only 12-years-old when he joined the army to serve as a drummer boy during the Civil War. Most of the boys who became drummer boys were young, but only a few were as young as him. He eventually became Fort Sam Houston’s Post Quartermaster and retired as a brigadier general in 1915.

The River Walk

The River Walk is a not-to-miss destination if visiting San Antonio. Just south of the Alamo, the Riverwalk winds itself around the many shops and restaurants that line its banks.

You can hop on a boat for a guided tour ride around the main part of the downtown area. We walked along the banks and took in the sites and smells of the city, hopping across quaint pedestrian bridges at different points along the way.

If we would have been there at night, I’m sure it would have been a sigh as they had Christmas lights strung around the bridges and trees.

At one end of the Riverwalk, there’s a bridge, lined with a chain link fence that has been covered from top to bottom with locks. We’ve seen these before in other cities, but this one, by far, takes the cake for number of locks. Can you imagine the weight?

I took the picture below thinking it would make a great 1,000 pieces jigsaw puzzle. Who wants to go first?


Lackland AFB FamCamp, San Antonio, TX

I called ahead to Lackland AFB FamCamp to check on availability since the campground does not take reservations. Unfortunately, I was told not only did they not have any regular spots, but their overflow was also full.

Instead, the manager offered us a spot in an empty lot next to the campground… the overflow to the overflow. Since we boondock regularly it wasn’t a problem to make the most of it. The campground has a dump and fresh water with access to showers and dumpsters. Washing machines and dryers are also onsite for $1.50 each load.

Starlink was good and so were both Verizon and AT&T.

Lackland AFB is a training base for all USAF enlisted. While we were there I was able to show the kids where I went to Basic Military Training for 7 weeks… in Texas… in the summer. They’ve since updated the buildings since I went through, but the trainees still march to the same beat.