But as it turned out, on this trip to Texas, some of the family wanted to go and see San Antonio. Some were visiting from out of town, and had never been to San Antonio before, and so it became a group event to meet up in downtown San Antonio, and explore the Riverwalk together.
The only problem was that we chose to go at a VERY busy time, when thousands of people are congregating down there, and for that reason, our visit was rather nerve-wracking!
I apologize for the quality of the above photo. I took this picture through the car window, and it of course was dark outside, and the flash was only catching reflections of light. However, we were in a major traffic jam, all the way down I-35 trying to get to downtown San Antonio.... I was very thankful my husband was driving... as there were a lot of crazy people out on the freeway, zipping in and out, all in a hurry to make an extra second or two in the backlog! It took us double the time to get downtown as it normally would have. This should have been our first clue that it would've been better to turn around and go back to my parents to enjoy a nice quiet evening at home instead of out in this mess!! But, as we were meeting others who were already down there... we persevered.
The next problem we encountered was finding a place to park. The place we usually parked at, the Rivercenter Mall Garage, was full. We had to drive around for quite a while, before we finally found a place to park.
The downtown area was decked out with millions of lights everywhere, and it seemed people had come from every corner of the globe to be here tonight! We found a place to sit in the park and just had some "people watching" time... it was quite entertaining!
The lights were incredible to see.
Another popular thing to do in downtown San Antonio is to catch a ride in one of the horse drawn carriages. We have done this before, but preferred tonight to just walk around ourselves, but the carriages were all unique, and decorated differently. It was beautiful to see!
People! Oh my!!! So many people! There were probably more people in that one little area, than reside in our entire county here in Idaho or maybe even state! LOL!
The Emily Morgan Hotel lit up with lights, and a Texas flag blowing in the wind at the top.
The Alamo lit up with all the colors of the various lights... beautiful.
We made our way through the crowds down to the Riverwalk. It was lit up like Vegas too! All the riverboats were decked out. This particular boat above was a dinner boat, which was decorated for a wedding party. I wanted to get a picture of the lovely bride and groom who were waiting to board, but because there were so many people around, and because my dearest husband thought it would be a bit awkward for me to do ... so I didn't.... but, the whole setting certainly was beautiful! They were going to enjoy dinner on the river from one of the restaurants that line the Riverwalk.
We found a quiet place out of the way of all the crowds of people with a chocolate shop close by, and all of us sat around and visited for quite a while away from the hordes of people. Finally, it was approaching my bedtime, and since we had a long way to walk back to the car, it was time to go. It was quite an evening, let me tell you!
The next day we spent relaxing at Mom and Dad's with most of the family there for dinner, and my sister and her husband made it down too. We had a wonderful time visiting with everyone. Later that afternoon, my Mom pulled out a puzzle, and we were all hooked on it, even my husband found a piece or two! We had a good time working on the puzzle with Mom, and spending some great time with her.
But, before long, the day was gone, and it was time to pack up our suitcases, and get ready to head back home! We flew out the next morning, and had a very calm and safe journey home, thankfully!
When we stepped outside the airport, we got a taste of the reality awaiting us... it was COLD! The temperature was in the low 20s, and was dropping. It wasn't about to get better any time soon.
For the next two weeks, our temperatures hovered in the minuses. The coldest I saw it at our house was about -9 degrees, which was very cold for us! After being in Texas, it took a long time to get the house warmed up, coupled with the fact that it was so bitterly cold outside, and it seemed to take forever to get the cold out of the house. You'd take a plate out of the cabinet, and it was cold as ice! LOL. Hot food on a frozen plate had a way of cooling off real quick with these kinds of temperatures!
With these cold temperatures though, the sun was shining brightly, and it was too nice to stay inside! I took the dogs on a walk through the woods, and they couldn't have been happier about it!
The sun was shining so bright and combined with the reflection off the snow, it was an exhilarating walk! It was about -6 degrees outside, but it really didn't feel that cold with the sun shining so bright!
Annie really comes into her element when she gets to be outside in the cold and snow. Cosmo is just glad to be on a walk, but I suspect he would be glad to do without the snow and the cold!
As we walked the trail through the woods, the dogs were on high alert, chasing after every new smell and scent, and couldn't have been happier.
Every so often, after chasing after some smell, or running through the woods, Annie would come back to check on me, to make sure all was okay with me.
As we were walking through the woods, I heard a rush of wings, and saw at least ten crows take off to the sky, cawking and crowing as they went, and just furiously flying around above us. I wondered what all the excitement was about.
Annie soon found it... someone had left a deer hide out here and there was still a bit of meat on the bones... and the crows weren't happy about having to share with Annie. Luckily for them, I called Annie and off we continued down the trail. Once they saw we were leaving the kill alone, they flew back in, and all was quiet again.
I love this part of the trail where the trees are like a canopy over the trail.
Usually the snowmobiles have the trail packed down, but apparently it had been too cold for them to be out, because the only tracks out there were the deer tracks, and ours.
It was such an exhilarating day for a walk that I hated to see the trail come to an end...
As we crossed the road back to the house, I took a picture of the road in front of our house. The roads have been covered with ice for the entire time the cold has been here, making driving rather treacherous if you don't have studs! Even crossing the road, or getting your mail can be an adventure in itself. You could almost get out your skates on this!
Thankfully the cold broke after a couple of weeks and we went back to the typical temperatures that we get this time of year, about 20s-30s. Now all we need is some snow to help insulate against the cold weather, and we'll be just fine. Annie agreed with me on that!