|Photo- The outside of the church at Mission Concepcion.|
There was only one other car and myself there at 10AM. The church was open and I walked around and read all of the historical signage. The inside of the church I thought was very beautiful. There was a couple of people in a closed off section doing some masonry repairs/ restoration. It was just a nice peaceful quiet area to be.
|Photo- Repairs being done at Mission Concepcion.|
|Photo- The beautiful interior of Mission Concepcion church.|
Next, I followed the signs to go to Mission Espada. There I was greeted by a docent that gave me some extra literature about this mission in particular. Then, she even offered to explain the statues in the church if I would like when I got over to the church area. I thanked her and said that I would love to have her do that. She was just so helpful and it was such a pleasure to have someone like her on duty at the mission.
|Photo- The church at Mission Espada.|
I waved at her as I got over to the church area. She explained how this church was not what was originally designed for the area. They had footings laid out for a larger church but it never happened. There were a lot of issues with maintaining a constant Indian population for labor at this mission. She also pointed out the door frame of this church. It was rather Moorish in nature. The story goes that the original mason got involved with a married lady and had to flee quite quickly leaving the work unfinished. The underlings were left to finish the work and it’s believed that they tried as best they could but didn’t really know what they were doing and thus there are some “errors” with the door area.
She went into the church with me and explained about the St. Francis statue that was in the middle was the oldest statue of the mission and that the gold leafing was what they discovered as they were restoring the statue. The Jesus statue was made of corn husks and the Mary statue was only half that tall and was designed to be carried during festivals. She also explained about how the window at the rear of the church was designed to shine sun on the St. Francis statue on October 4th which is a special day in the Catholic Church. I forgot which one and I’m not up on my Catholic holidays. But it was all very interesting.
The docent left me in the church, inviting me to take pictures and to come over to visitor’s center. She said she would be back by the entrance if I had any further questions that I had. I thanked her for her time and took several pictures of the inside of this church. Then, I went over to check out the visitor’s center. There was an older gentleman in a cowboy being the docent in there. There was a puzzle of the door way of the church that you were invited to play with. He told another story about the doorway of the church.
Then the gentleman docent went on to explain the building that houses the visitor’s center which use to be used as a local Catholic school for the area. They had photos and areas that were left like it originally would have been when it was used as a school. There also was a different room that housed museum information. What I found particularly interesting was that branding of cattle came from the King of Spain. If the cow wasn’t branded then it was considered the King’s property. This encouraged owners to brand their cattle. One of the oldest brands that are still registered to this day is the Mission’s brand. The docent also went on to point out how the term Maverick came into use. There was a guy that moved into the territory after King of Spain lost power in the area. This guy whose name was Maverick was quick to claim any of the unmarked cattle were his. There by any of the unmarked cattle were called mavericks; kind of some fun history there.
Next, I headed to the Mission Espada. I was walking along taking pictures when out of the blue walks Nanette the same national park employee that gave the tour yesterday. She said I recognize you from yesterday. I had asked a couple of questions during the tour yesterday and another afterwards. I guess I might have been memorable. I ended up talking with her for a while. It was just myself and maybe one other couple on the grounds of this mission. It was rather fun talking with her and I explained what I was doing with my road trip. She thought that was neat and mentioned that she wanted to try to explore more of Texas with her husband when they could because Texas had a lot to offer. She wanted to do Stay-cations. I thought that was a wonderful idea and thinking more people should really try to do that.
After talking with Nanette I went through the museum part of the mission and then ended up talking with an older gentleman docent who happened to be a member of the mission parish. He explained how they were fixing the church which was leaning very badly. He also pointed out another structure on the property that was a house that was made from the original stones from the mission. Quite a few of the stones ended up being used for that and that’s why some of the missions are not as well restored as they could be because a lot of these stones were spread all over the area being used for other houses and buildings.
Next, I found myself driving south towards Corpus Christi. I would be spending the night in a hotel on the north side of Padre Island which is just over a couple of bridges from Corpus Christi. I managed to find my hotel quite easily which surprised me because there were so many bridges that I went over and over that I was afraid it would be complicated to find.
Quickly after getting checked in I threw on some sandals and I was out walking along the beach area of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the first time I had ever seen or been on the Gulf of Mexico. I thought that was kind of cool; another first. The sun was just starting to set and I kind of just hung out and watched it set as I walked up and then back down the beach about 2 miles in all. It was very pretty and I got to watch the moon rise. There were a couple of surfers out which surprised me because there really wasn’t much for waves at all. One of them did manage to get up on a wave for a short little bit but most of the waves were just too small to do anything with. I talked with a local couple that was seated along the wall. They said they saw people all the time attempting to make something out of these small waves. Some of the best competitive surfers they said came from the Corpus Christi area because if they could make something of smaller waves they could really make something out of the larger ones. I wouldn’t know but it kind of made sense.
|Photo- Watching the sunset to the west on water that was to the east. An interesting sight.|
Next, it was dinner time and I asked the girl at the counter where there was a locals place to go. She told me Scuttlebutts and gave me a copy of their menu. It had a lot of variety and was nearby. Why not. I washed the sand off my feet, changed into blue jeans, and I was off. As I went down there was a guy in the elevator that I said hi to and then went out to my car. I drove past the restaurant the first time and had to turn around. This area reminded me of Utah in that you have to do a "U" turn to get any where.
I go into the pretty full restaurant and try to find a sit at the bar. Whose at the bar but the guy that I said Hi to in the elevator at my hotel. He pulls up a bar chair next to him and invites me to sit next to him. He's a marathon organizer from near the Orlando, FL area. On the other side I have a small plane pilot from San Antonio. There's two different basketballs games on the TVs and then there's an old Bruce Lee movie in the middle of it all. The three of us are laughing at the Bruce Lee movie; talk about BAD acting. It was fun.
I order some Happy Hour appetizers for dinner and ordered a draft beer that was on Happy Hour special. The pilot guy leaves wishing me luck on my road trip and I ended up talking with the other guy. He ends up paying for my dinner and asks if I want to hit a nearby bar. Sure, I say. I follow him to a place not far from our hotel called The Office. It was a nice little local bar and I had to laugh because the pilot guy was there playing pool with another guy. I said hi and he teased me about stalking him. I gave him a hug and we finally introduced ourselves his name was Ben. He also teased me about still hanging out with the guy I met in an elevator and warned me to be careful. He was sweet.
I sat down with Mr. Elevator guy and I had another beer while he had wine and we just chatted. He bought another round of drinks and we continued to chat. I finally bought another round and we continued to chat. As he finished his glass of wine, he said he was going back to the hotel bar at our hotel to finish up the night. He asked if I wanted to join him. I told him I might after I finish this beer which was only half full. But I knew that the hotel bar would be closed and he was basically calling it quits for the night. I thanked him for my dinner and all of the beers. I finished my beer after a while and went back to the hotel for the night.