July 21-23, 2003: A Trip to Buffalo, New York
June 21-28, 2003: A Trip Out West
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Page Index
Ruckman Haus
San Antonio

Arrival (7/4)
San Antonio Tour (7/5)
At Ruckman Haus (7/5)
Morning at Ruckman Haus (7/6)
Riverwalk/Alamo (7/6)
At Ruckman Haus (7/6)
Our Departure (7/6)


July 4-6, 2003
A Fourth of July Trip to
Ruckman Haus in San Antonio


 

Ron and Prudence Ruckman are now thoroughly ensconced in their new B&B in San Antonio, and Fred and I have already been down to visit them a number of times. But Ron has been after us to bring down other of our Dallas friends that he and Prudence used to see. The most compatible people we could think of to bring down were Ron Mathis and Jay Enriquez, who have been together quite some time now. So we started working with them on some plans back in early June, and decided that we would drive down to San Antonio for the 4th of July weekend. Due to everyone's work schedules, we could not leave until the morning of July 4th itself, and that is what we ended up doing. We drove Fred's RAV4, and had a good time driving down, arriving in mid-afternoon at Ruckman Haus.


This trip marks a turning point in my picture-taking career. While Fred has been using a digital camera for some months now, I had not yet made the switch. And I didn't make the switch until I found a digital camera that was small enough to carry in my pocket; I thought that on hikes I would want to take both of them. So I have purchased a Pentax Optio camera, which is exactly the right size to fit into an empty Altoids tin. This will be the first trip on which I have used this digital camera, and I was anxious to see how the pictures would turn out.

As a footnote here, they did turn out well (given that I used the camera the right way), and so from this point on in my picture-taking, I have been using this digital camera almost exclusively. That is what makes doing this online photo album really possible; since the photos are already in digital format, I can avoid the whole process of making prints and then putting them in physical albums as I have been doing.

As of this writing, I have been working my way backwards in all the digital pictures that I have, creating these album pages with all their maps and aerial views and such. Now that I have arrived at this page, I am at the end of the digital pictures that I have (although Fred's go back further). Now, I am faced with the decision as to how to handle the physical prints that I have. I could scan them myself and create digital images, but that will be very time-consuming. Fortunately, now, in 2008, there are online services that will do that work for you, and I am in the middle of trying their services for the first time. If things work out well, the album page before this one, for our trip out West last month, will be the first page that uses those professionally scanned images, and I will let you know on that page, if you have not already seen it, how things turn out.


 

Our Arrival in San Antonio (7/4)


We arrived about three in the afternoon after a very pleasant drive down and a stop for some lunch. When we got there, Ron and Jay settled in to the English Room, while Fred and I got the French Room. Then we just hung out with Ron Ruckman out on the patio for a while. Prudence and Ron have put in a new water feature at the lower end of the East Garden (shown in the picture at left), and the entire garden is coming along nicely. Pretty soon, Prudence will want to get some pictures of the garden on her web site, but she keeps telling me she has some more planting to do first.

One thing that Ron Ruckman and Ron and Jay have in common is that all three of them smoke. While Fred and I might wish that they didn't, at least Ron Ruckman has the nice patio out on the east side of the house where they can indulge. For reasons of their guest's comfort, smoking is not allowed inside the house.

We all made something to drink, and went and sat outside for a while talking. I think Ron and Jay enjoyed just relaxing outside; this is what they would probably be doing if they were at home anyway. Of course, Fred was outside as well, although he was more interested in the various plants that Prudence has put in her garden.

Anyway, we just hung out until Prudence was done with her afternoon routines and came out to join us. I have forgotten where we went for dinner, but that was basically the only other item on the agenda for today.


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Touring Around San Antonio (7/5)


 

The Mercado

Ron and Prudence had two other guests this weekend, and of course Ron made them breakfast while the four of us were getting up and around. When the guests were done, then Ron made a wonderful breakfast for the four of us and for himself and Prudence. After that, they had a bit of work to do around the house.

While they were doing that, Fred and I took Ron and Jay to see Guy's church and then to The Mercado- the huge Mexican market complex on this side of downtown. The Mercado is basically a large indoor shopping mall with lots of small stands and shops selling anything and everything, but all of it with a Mexican flavor- food, ceramics, furniture- just about everything. One of Prudence's rooms is The Sun Room, and it has a Mexican theme, so I am always looking out for something that might go well in that room. I thought perhaps I might suggest this colorful ceramic frog to her, but Fred was of the opinion that it was way too schlocky for Prudence's tastes.

The other stop we made while we were out this first time was to the Mexican bakery that is adjacent to The Mercado Restaurant, a Mexican place we have eaten at a number of times. The bakery is always crowded, so you just have to take a number and wait your turn. That we did, and we returned to Ruckman Haus with a bag of goodies for later.


 

The King William Area


When we got back to Ruckman Haus, Ron and Prudence were done with their chores, and so we went out again on a tour down to the King William Historic District.

Ruckman Haus is in an area known as Monte Vista, which is a mile or so north of the beginning of downtown proper, just north of San Pedro Park. There are a number of B&Bs in this area, and most of the owners are by now close friends for Ron and Prudence. But the older and more concentrated area of B&Bs is in King William, which is almost directly south of Ruckman Haus about three miles (or maybe a little less). You get there just by skirting the west side of downtown, as King William is just a little southwest of downtown and the Riverwalk.

King William has a large number of B&Bs- maybe fifteen or twenty- and it is supposed to be a better area because it is within walking distance (albeit a mile or so) of downtown and the Riverwalk. The prices down here apparently reflect that closeness to the action along the Riverwalk.

Ron and Prudence drove us through the neighborhood, pointing out many of the more famous houses, and showed us the very southern end of the San Antonio River. After driving (and walking) around King William for a while, we stopped in to a favorite place of Ron and Prudence's- Mad Hatters. The small restaurant is known for its coffee, desserts and wines, but they also serve sandwiches and stuff like that. We just stopped in for dessert and iced tea (although Prudence had a glass of wine). I am still learning about my camera, so the picture I took of our group turned out a bit fuzzy. The picture that Fred took, shown here, turned out better.


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At Ruckman Haus (7/5)

By the time we got back to Ruckman Haus, Guy Blair was finished with his services at his church, and he came over to Ruckman Haus to join us. For Fred and myself, I was making frozen rumaritas, and so was hard at work in the kitchen. Fred was able to get a good candid shot of Ron, myself and Jay in the kitchen as I was getting some stuff out of the second refrigerator, and I was able to return the favor and get what I thought was an excellent picture of Fred watching and listening to our conversations. Once everyone had something to drink, we went out onto the East Patio, which is where Guy found us. In that last picture, from left to right, are Prudence, Ron Ruckman, Guy, myself, Ron Mathis and Jay.

As often happens when Guy and Ron Ruckman get together, the discussion gets more and more lively, and Fred got a shot of Ron making a point in his discussion with Guy and I. Fred left the group for a while to take some pictures of the East side of the house, now that the garden is really coming along. One shot looks down towards the new fountain, while another looks from the fountain back towards the patio. Fred also got a good picture from the very end of the patio of everyone sitting around the patio table.

We were still conversing as it started to get dark and the discussion turned to where we might go to eat. We settled on Landry's, I believe it was, and as we left Ruckman Haus, Fred had Ron Ruckman take a picture of our group at the top of the front steps. Take a look at that picture here. Ron got us into the restaurant and at a table in short order; I think that he and the manager of the restaurant are friends. After the appetizers, but unfortunately while Prudence was away from the table, I got a picture of us at dinner.


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Morning at Ruckman Haus (7/6)

This morning, after another delicious breakfast, we planned to go down to the Riverwalk and the Alamo with Ron and Jay. While we were waiting for everyone to be ready to go, Fred wandered around Ruckman Haus taking some pictures, and I think many of them turned out well. You might want to see a selection culled from all the pictures he took. To see the full-size images, just click on the thumbnails:

English
Room
Sun Room
Sitting Area
Sun Room
Bed Area
Highlands
Master Bed
Highlands
Day Bed Area


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Along the Riverwalk/At the Alamo (7/6)


Just before lunchtime, Fred and I took Ron and Jay downtown so that they could see both the Riverwalk and the Alamo. We parked at La Villita and walked over to the amphitheatre and down the steps and found ourselves on the Riverwalk. We walked a good ways along the Riverwalk, coming up at times to see where we were at street level, and then descending again to walk along the river again. We explored some of the buildings along the river, particularly their river access points, and we stopped for a snack in one of the hotels. We found some pretty tilework under a few of the bridges; I hadn't recalled seeing it before. And Fred did take one movie of one of the river barges carrying tourists along the river system, and you can watch it with the player at left.

If I had known more about the movie function on my own new little camera, I would have taken some, but I didn't learn how to use that until later. At any rate, between the two of us Fred and I took quite a few pictures, and I have put thumbnails for the best of them below. To see the full-size images, just click on the thumbnails:

The last stop on our little tour was at the Alamo. We've taken many pictures of the Alamo before, including some inside when we toured it a while back, so today all we did was record Ron and Jay's visit. Fred took a picture of us out in front of the building, but, unavoidably, got a whole bunch of other tourists in the shot as well. (There was never a time when we were the only ones there.) I thought they ruined the shot and so, as I am creating this album page in 2008 for these pictures taken in 2003, I have used Photoshop to clean up the picture and get rid of the unwanted tourists. You may be interested in seeing both the old and new pictures, so I am including both of them below. The first picture is my cleaned-up copy, and the picture right below that is the original:



Right beside the Alamo there was some interesting cactus so Fred asked me to take a picture of him with it, and this was the last picture from our little tour. You can see that picture here.


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At Ruckman Haus (7/6)

Returning from the Riverwalk, we stopped off at San Pedro Park, a block from Ruckman Haus, to show Ron and Jay the San Pedro Park pool, which is fed by the springs that come up in the park. Then we returned to Ruckman Haus to relax until it was time for us to head back to Dallas about four-thirty. Fred and I took the opportunity to take some more pictures of the east garden, and we've put thumbnails for some of these pictures below. Just click on the thumbnails to view the full-size images:

Once we'd finished taking our pictures, Guy got out his stenciling materials and continued work on painting a border of bricks on the walkway through the garden. I had never seen this done before, but the results certainly looked good.


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Our Departure (7/6)


Well, the time to leave came around, but after such a pleasant visit it was hard to get going. We hung around in the entry hall saying thanks and goodbye, and then headed out to the RAV4 that I'd already packed.

On the sidewalk in front of the house, we stopped to take a couple of group pictures. First, I took one of everybody but me, and then I asked Ron Ruckman to take a second picture of everyone but him.

We had a really good time, but we had to get going back. Which was a good thing, because the traffic was pretty close to terrible, and, after having dinner in Temple, Texas, we got home well after ten o'clock.


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July 21-23, 2003: A Trip to Buffalo, New York
June 21-28, 2003: A Trip Out West
Return to Index for 2003