San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas.  Home of the Riverwalk, The Alamo, The Alamodome, the Tower of the Americas, and the Deely Power Station.  I’ve been visiting San Antonio pretty regularly since the summer of 2008.  In general (the dead of Texas summer excepted), it’s one of the more amicable places I visit, and as one of the only places I go for work where I’m actually close enough to the city to play tourist every now and then, it’s one of my favorites. 

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General Impressions – Having travelled and worked pretty extensively in Texas, but never having visited Austin, San Antonio is, in my slightly less than humble opinion, the only place in Texas that’s worth a shit.  It’s still Texas, so it’s still hot as shit in the summer time and humid as shit all the time, but August aside, i do like this place.  There’s a fair amount of traffic, and the highway system is confusing as hell so a GPS is a must if you’re heading out to San An-tone.  But downtown is beautiful; all of the attractions listed above are within walking distance of each other (well not the plant, but all the actual attractions).  The Riverwalk, perhaps the most famous spot in San Antonio (I include the Alamo with the Riverwalk, it’s just up a flight of stairs from the river), is quite pretty.  A gentle river flows more or less in a big circle around downtown, with both sides housing countless bars, restaurants and shops.  I was slightly disappointed in the lack of local flavor; Hard Rock, Joe’s Crab Shack, Dick’s Last Resort, and several comparable chains have taken residence, but I’ve found a couple nice homegrown Mexican restaurants as well.  The Alamo is pretty, but that’s about it.  Kinda interesting to read about the battle there, but certainly not a place I’d spend more than an hour or two (unless you are an actual full-blooded Texan, in which case it is your Mecca).  The Tower of the Americas, built for the World’s Fair a while back, is impressive, but I’ve never gotten a chance to go up it.  The Alamodome is cool, but just a sports venue, nothing special.  I did have a chance to take in the Texas 5A state football championship game last year.  That was sweet.  It’s pretty well-known that high school football in Texas is nothing short of a religion, and that was certainly the case.  I’ve been to NCAA football games in Colorado that had less pageantry than said championship game.    Anywho, here’s a snapshot of a service call in one of the few places I go for work that’s actually worth going to….

The Plant – The Deely Power Station. 

The Deely Station
The plant here’s pretty nice.  A pretty clean, and pretty well-run facility.  Other than the occasional seasonal cricket invasion it’s a pretty decent place to do some work.  I shit you not countless, and I mean countless crickets invade fucking everything every spring.  Hotels, cars, my toolbox, everything just swarms with crickets.  They all crawl into the elevator shafts at the plant and die.  The smell of thousands of rotting cricket carcasses is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.  The plant literally tapes urinal cakes to the wall of the elevator to help cover the smell.  It doesn’t work. But anyway, It’s an open boiler, which means the vast majority of the boiler here is outside.  Which in turn means that it doesn’t get nearly as hot as a lot of our sites.  It’s a little warmer than the ambient temperature next to the boiler, but if it’s 100 outside, it’s 110-ish on the boiler, so unless I’m there in the dead of summer, it’s not too bad.  The humidity, which you can actually SEE in the picture above, means it’s a sweaty place to work, but certainly on the more comfortable end of the spectrum. 

My Home Away From Home – The Comfort Suites Alamo/Riverwalk. 

Home in San Antonio
Pretty nice hotel.  Price-wise, it’s a $120-ish a night, putting it right on the edge of how much I can spend per night without raising any eyebrows.   It’s about 4 blocks from The Alamo and the Riverwalk, and the rooms are spacious and comfy.  I used to stay closer to the plant in a very cheap Quality Inn in a pretty rough neighborhood on the outskirts of town.  When I realized it’s only 10 minutes down the road to downtown, and Choice Hotels (my hotel chain of choice, Diamond Elite Status in their rewards program, bring on the free shit) had a nice hotel nearby, I started staying here.  Good place. 
Local Watering Hole of Choice –  The County Line Smokehouse and Grill                                        
The County Line BBQ, in case you can’t read the sign.
They got them some damn good baby back ribs. Delicious.

Located right next door to the Hard Rock Cafe on the Riverwalk, the County Line has some of the best barbecue I’ve had in Texas.  Say what you want about Texans, but they sure as shit know how to cook a pig.  These are the kind of ribs that when I grab a bone, it pulls out of the meat immediately, damn tender and damn tasty stuff.  Also, they have garlic mashed potatoes made with those tasty little red-skinned taters, delicious…  The place has an outdoor bar that faces the Riverwalk, very nice, and all the bullshit cowboy crap on the walls you’d expect from a touristy restaurant located in the heart of a Texas tourist trap.  I could do without that, but with the nice outdoor bar, and ribs like these, I’ll put up with it. 

Trip Invitation Reaction – I’m gonna rate these places using the best litmus test I see fit: my reaction when my blackberry notifies me of my upcoming trip.  Generally, “Aw shit, I’m going to wherever,” followed by a reaction ranging from “sweet, that’ll be fun” to “Fuck you (insert my bosses name here), goddamn motherfucking asshole dickhead piece of shit, you have any idea how fucking hot it is there?  You know where the airport is, get on a damn plane and go fix your broken down piece of shit yourself.”  The latter is generally accompanied by throwing my phone into a wall.  San Antonio rates very highly on this little scale of mine.  June, July and August get an “Aw shit, that’ll be hot.”  The other 9 months of the year get a “nice, can’t wait for ribs and the Riverwalk.”  Overall, San Antonio is a downright enjoyable place to live for a week or two and do some work. 
Coming up next: Louisville, Kentucky
– B. Littleton


Filed under Oh, The Places You'll Go...

2 responses to “San Antonio, Texas

  1. Ol' Smokey D.

    bert this is smokey. remember we met at deely? i dont know what kinda shit your tryin to pull but the picture of deely aint loadin on my computer. its a pretty top of the line hp with a good windows so im guessing the problem is on your end. we keep a pretty clean pretty well run facility here and when the photo dont show up it looks like we got somethin to hide. also you didnt mention pace thick n chunky salsa. its made here in san antonio by folks who know what salsa should taste like. i think its important that you mention that.

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