July 31, 2005: Birthday Party for Fred and Ron Mathis
July 13-20, 2005: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale
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July 22-24, 2005
A Visit with Ron and Prudence
in San Antonio



Ron and Prudence invited Fred and I to come down to San Antonio for a visit in late July, staying with them at their bed and breakfast Ruckman Haus, shown at left. The occasion was that most of Ron's family from Illinois was going to be down there with them, and he wanted Fred and I to visit with them and, of course, with Guy.

So Fred and I hopped a Southwest flight on Friday night, August 22nd, and we were down in San Antonio in time for dinner with everyone.

When we visit Ron and Prudence, it is usually just to hang out with them. They like seeing Fred whenever they can, and there is usually some advice Prudence needs about her website, but mostly they just like the company. Ron always does a great breakfast, and there are often little day trips and such.

This time, Ron has planned an outing on the River in San Antonio. You've seen pictures of the Riverwalk before, but what you might not know is that there are dinner boats (barges) the cruise up and down the river serving meals and giving tours. That's what Ron has planned for everyone for Saturday night. Since that was the only night that Fred and I took pictures, let's get right to it.


The Cast of Characters


We arrived at the Riverwalk in late afternoon, ready to board the dinner cruise which was scheduled for six o'clock. The cruise is run by the Boudro's restaurant, one of the largest on the Riverwalk, and so the boarding ramp is right outside the restaurant itself. The restaurant also has indoor and outdoor tables, as do most of the restaurants on the Riverwalk, making navigating the walk along the river an adventure, as you are usually walking amid diners on either side. But we were a little early, and so waited just near the boarding ramp. Let me take an opportunity to introduce you to our dinner party via the movie that I made. Watch it with the player below:

I also had to take a second movie because I had a mental block when it came to Cassie. So watch my further introductions using the player at right.

While the movies are pretty good at introducing everyone, there are some people here you haven't seen before. One of Ron's sisters- Laurie- was visiting San Antonio. Laurie's husband could not get away to join them. So Laurie brought here close friend, Laura, instead. Laurie has three children- Hannah, Susie and Micah. Here is a picture of Laurie and her family. Laura brought her two children Cassie and Chris, and here is a picture of Laura and her family.


Waiting for the Dinner Cruise


We had arrived a bit early, and found that the Riverwalk was very busy (as it always seems to be on weekends almost all year round). So we had to wait around for the boat/barge to be readied. While we were waiting I had time to make a movie, which you can watch with the player at left, and both Fred and I had an opportunity to take some candid shots. Take a look at them by clicking on the thumbnails below:


Boarding the Dinner Cruise


Well, it was only a short wait until the restaurant had prepared the river barge for boarding, and so we boarded the cruise boat. I made a movie while we were doing that, and you can watch it with the left-hand player, below. We weren't the only people on the dinner cruise; I guess we were a majority, though. We all took our seats towards the front of the boat, and some other diners took the rest of the seats back towards the steering platform. I made one more movie of our party boarding the barge, and you can watch it with the right-hand player, below:

On one side of the boat, from the front, were, Chris, Cassie and their mother, Laura. A little further back from them were Ron nieces Hannah and Suzy. On the other side of the table, again from the front of the boat, were Ron and Laurie, and right next to Laurie was Micah. Next to Micah were Prudence and Fred, and, finally, I sat between Fred and some other folks who weren't part of our own party.


Dinner is Served


The way the dinner cruise works is that the boat stays docked right beside the restaurant while the folks aboard have a chance to order drinks and munch on some chips and salsa. It wasn't but a few minutes after we were aboard that the waiter came around to take drink orders and, a short while after the drinks had been served, he came around to take dinner requests. On the dinner cruise, the entire menu is available, since the restaurant is right next to the boat.

While the adults were chatting, I suspect that the kids were a bit bored, not even having the luxury of imbibing, but the time we spent at the dock wasn't that long. At one point, I had to explain why I was adding Equal to my margarita, and you can see my explanation in the movie I made; watch it with the player at left.

Since I was taking most of the pictures, I had to rely on Micah to take at least one picture of me, since I didn't appear in any except the ones that Fred took.

The rest of the pictures taken at this point in the cruise just record the period before dinner was served. You can view the full-size images of the pictures taken by myself, Fred and Micah by clicking on the thumbnails below:


The Cruise


Once we had all been served dinner, the restaurant put aboard coolers and stuff for more drinks and then, with our waiter aboard and a cruise guide running the boat and providing commentary (you can watch a movie of her doing so using the player at right), we headed off down through the San Antonio River system.

I can't be, and really don't need to be, precise about where along our cruise each of the pictures and movies were taken; that's far too much detail even for me. But I did want to show you a general map of the Riverwalk system with out approximate route marked. The Riverwalk system is much like a circle with three spokes emanating from it. Most of the activity, the hotels, the restaurants and the people are on the north, east and south sides of the central circle, as well as along the spoke that extends eastward from the circle to the Convention Center and the Riverwalk Mall. The spoke to the south is not nearly so commercial, although there are a couple of hotels with Riverwalk access and access to the Hemisfair Park. Down at the end of this spoke is an area where the barges are kept at night, and there was a turnaround there for us to use. I think you'll be able to tell which pictures and movies were taken in this area because there will be few people walking along the paths on either side of the waterway.

Our route took us back north along the west side of the central circle and back again into the more commercial area of the Riverwalk. North of the area where we made our second turnaround there is again relatively little hotel/restaurant/tourist stuff; it is mostly an area of office buildings and such. In fact, the Riverwalk is just now being extended to the north, and a lot of this area is still being finished. Just above the last hotels there was another place the boat could turn around, and then we headed back south and then across the top of the central circle and back to our starting point.

I took quite a few movies to try to capture some of the commentary that the tour guide was giving us and also to give you a better idea than still pictures can of what the cruise was like. Below are links to allow you to view these movies, and they are organized in the order they were taken along the route, so maybe you can deduce where we were when they were taken. Just click on the various movie players below to watch them:

Riverwalk History

On the Cruise

Eating and Cruising

Riverwalk Traditions (South Spoke)

Turning Around (South End)

Nearing the End of the Cruise

Fred and I also took quite a few pictures of our party on the cruise and some of the scenery along the way. Fred was also quite interested in some of the architecture of downtown San Antonio, and most of the pictures of the buildings along the way are his. But since you've been introduced to everyone, and you've watched some of the movies of our trip, the best thing I can do for the pictures is just to once again give you thumbnails of each one and you can enlarge the ones that seem interesting to you (by clicking on the thumbnail, of course):


Heading Home


The dinner cruise was a great deal of fun, and of course all the thanks go to Ron and Prudence for giving us such a special evening. After the cruise docked, we walked along the Riverwalk itself for a ways, coming up near one of the really neat downtown buildings whose lights were just coming on. We came up by one of the many bridges over the Riverwalk and then walked a couple of blocks back to the car.

It was a very enjoyable evening. Ron had to go to the store for some stuff for tomorrow morning's breakfast, so he gave Micah a ride in his S2000.

Fred and I returned to Dallas the next evening, although Laurie and Laura stayed into the next week.


July 31, 2005: Birthday Party for Fred and Ron Mathis
July 13-20, 2005: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale
Return to Index for 2005