Day 6- Home again, Home again, Jiggity Jig!
Our day began around 8am for a breakfast in Emporia, KS. Some people hit McDonald's while others ran to a Starbucks down the lot and a few others headed to Village Inn.
Driving, driving and more driving. That's how I would describe our day. Despite not being full, it's still not easy to sleep on a coach bus. It's never the right temperature, you're always passing lights, sirens, sounds, people moving, people talking, you can't find the right angle. Surely teleporting would be an easier answer!!
We watched movie after movie trying to pass the time.
We made good time throughout the day and made up for some slow Texas drivers the night before. We ended up at Senior right on schedule, if not a bit before. We were met by many family members who lent a hand in the unloading and moving process. If you were one of those people, thanks!
Each bus had a memory book that went around in which students could record their favorite memory from the tour. We'll have the memories typed up and available later!
Thanks to all who helped San Antonio 2011 be such a memorable experience. Now if we could just get caught up on sleep!
The day started out at 8am with a brief ecumenical church service right on the River Walk. It was very peaceful and relaxing as we heard the water from a nearby fountain. Several members of Chamber Choir sang "Come to the Water". How very appropriate. On to Sea World!
Just a quick drive down the road, and we were there. We were met by a large statue of Shamu and some very pretty glass designs in the entrance. The kids stayed in groups of at least 4 during the day, but most were in even bigger groups to accommodate all of their friends!! They checked in, shared lockers and headed out into the park.
There were several shows including Shamu, baluga whales, dolphins, sea lions, and yes, even Sesame Street!! When they say you will be drenched at a Shamu show if you sit up front, they mean DRENCHED. There are several pics of students at the 12:00 Shamu on our site. There were roller coasters, water rides, animals, endless food selections and of course, the water park. We would have preferred that the clouds stayed away so we could have some more sun, but everyone had a great time. Many listed Sea World as their favorite part of the trip!
At 6pm, well ok, a little later than that..you know who you are roller coaster fans..we got on the road again. Hey..no flat tire!!
We stopped in Norman, OK; Emporia, KS; Bethany, MO and Grinnell, IA along our trip home. Five states in six days?! Not bad I'd say.
You should see the contest for outlet space when we stop at rest areas and restaurants! Next trip Mrs. King and I already have decided we're bringing power strips! :)
Everyone got a LITTLE sun, but no bad burns, thankfully. With lots of miles walked, lots of food eaten, our day ended with visions of Shamu dancing in our heads!
Saturday was another full day. They all seemed to be filled with so much. We enjoyed a little later wake up call, 7am, to get ourselves ready to go for our city tour and performance. We were a bit concerned because there were some gray skies threatening some sprinkles, but they stayed away!
Each bus had their own step-on tour guide for our tour of the city. We spent time touring 2 of the missions that are still functioning today with active congregations. Those missions are Concepcion Mission and San Jose Mission. They were both very interesting. San Jose Mission was the only mission built with two bell towers because the King of Spain wanted more money on the Bell Tax!
After our tours we went to the Alamo. We were scheduled, originally, to play in the front, but we changed our plans to perform in the more intimate and accommodating courtyard. The performances were great, and we had a fair amount of people stop and watch each ensemble. We had a total of SEVEN ensembles perform for our performance. I know the directors are very proud of the caliber of performance despite not having everyone from our groups.
We had lunch on our own, mostly at the River Center Mall, a three-story mall with lots of souvenir shops available. When we finished lunch we came together at the IMAX to watch the "Spirit of the Alamo". I've personally seen this three times, but it gives a great story about the Alamo in live action so that you can imagine what happened there 150 years ago.
Next up was dinner at Casa Rio. It was a full dinner, and we all left full as well. We started with chips and homemade salsa followed by a guacamole salad. We then had a large beef taco followed by a full plate of rice, beans, tomales and enchiladas. For our entertainment while we ate, an authentic Mariachi band came and played for us. For some, it was the highlight of the tour! Many have heard this music before, but few have EXPERIENCED it!
After dinner we proceeded to walk to the Tower of the Americas for a 4D movie of Skies Over Texas and for our trip to the top, 760 feet up! The views were amazing, and it was the same night that the moon appeared 15% larger, for the first time since 1993. There are MANY pictures from my moon shots on this site. As the night went on, the moon rose and became clearer. It was the windiest experience that many of us have ever had. I know for ME it was. Many had shirts trying to be held down. Some could just about lean into the wind and stay still. Both up and down the elevator you could see out over the town of San Antonio through the glass windows.
From here several groups went exploring along the River Walk. Some took water taxis back, some walked, some went to the hotel to do more swimming. Some even ended up with a bird on their head. You read that right. The directors had extended the kids' curfew that night so they could have a LITTLE extra time out on the town.
What a day!
Day 3- 11:30pm
Today was a long one! Started out with a 6am wake up call for all and a great hot breakfast. Pancakes, sausage, biscuits and gravy, fruit, coffee, OJ and assorted cereals and pastries. Well done, Drury.
We then loaded up the buses and headed over to UTSA and our clinics with Donald Miller and John Silantien. All the ensembles did a great job, and the clinicians had very positive comments for the directors. Thanks to Eden Frey and Cindy Rowley we'll have some great pictures and video to share. Maybe we can try and put together a tour DVD/Photo Disk. We'll see what we can do.
Then it was on to the Mexican Market. They were having a Tejano music festival so there were 6 stages of live music. It was entertaining and very educational to see the different cultures. The kids did some shopping and lunch on the go at one of the traditional Mexican food stands.
Some groups split up after that. Many came back to go swimming while it was sunny out, and many others went on to the River Center Mall and then some others were having a great time at the Market and decided to stay!
We all met up again at the Alamo Plaza for our Ghost Tour. Had some thinking this would be like a haunted house at Halloween. I would describe this as more of a historical tour incorporating some ghost stories along the way. The historical information was interesting, but not not "scary". Some pretty gruesome stuff happened in this town though!
Back at the hotel the kids had a few minutes to do some evening swimming. Tomorrow is another go go go day!
As for tonight, lots of sore feet from lots of walking! I hope the kids are talking to the parents and telling them about their days.
During my time on the bus I have been helping bus #2 with "Marple Translates Texan". Today's lesson was: "I possibly would be interested in _______". Translation: "Might could". We've also had "Getting ready to" = "Fixin' tuh", "Everyone" = "all y'all", and "Hello, it's nice to meet you" = "Howdy!".
I'm glad to help!
Day 2- 11:00pm
It's been an interesting trip so far!
After one of our buses had a flat tire south of Des Moines we had to do some temporary bus switching, but we got back on the road. We moved up our driver switch to Kansas City and spent 2 "amazing" hours at a Flying J. The space was tight and not a lot of things to do, but it sure made for some good bonding stories. The kids handled the situation very well.
We got back on the road and then it was bed time. I think everyone got at least a couple of hours of sleep on the bus.
We enjoyed the Sixth Floor Museum. Most kids took time to go through the whole museum. It definitely made the life and death of JFK more tangible. Be sure to ask your kids about it when you see them. See if they have an opinion of what happened after seeing different theories!
After a lunch in Dallas we headed on to San Antonio. A few extra hours of sleep got us through the drive. When we arrived in San Antonio we didn't have to wait long for our pizza dinner. We enjoyed a meal together in our beautiful hotel. The lobby is HUGE! Very decorative. Stained glass windows, gold lined ceilings, plus furniture and marble everywhere.
The hotel features free popcorn and soda from 3-10pm. When it's closer to dinner the hotel supplies free hotdogs, chili dogs, baked potatoes and salad.
Most of the kids went straight upstairs after pizza for some rooftop swimming. The view is fantastic. Some pictures will be posted soon. You can see for miles around from the 22nd floor. There are 2 hot tubs and a pool on the top. The lights at night are beautiful.
10:00 came and everyone enjoyed some well-deserved sleep!
Day 1- 7:30am
Kids are busy loading in their luggage to their appropriate rooms! It's an exciting time. Lots of laughter and energy. I just hope they are as excited at 10pm after being on the bus for 8 hours!! It's going to be a great trip. I'll try and update this as often as possible so family and friends can follow along!