Our route to San Antonio for the Gathering got a bit obtuse. I was struggling to find a way to get there without going through Houston. Call up a road map of southeast Texas entering on I 10. We have struggled with this every year. Usually we go north, but that was too far out of the way. We elected to drop down to Bonaventure Island and take the ferry to Galveston Island and stay at the state park past the still devastated city of Galveston. As we drove along Sea Wall it was shocking to see how many places were gone and no sign of restoration so many years after the storm.
We arrived at Admiralty RV on Sunday as planned and found no surprises. Miriam, Yechiel and there boys arrived on schedule, the boys stayed on board for two nights and the parents in a Holiday Inn until they could pick up their rental unit in Boerne (rhymes with journey), about 30 minutes from where we were staying.
As we settled them in we got a call from Dan that storms in the East were impacting their ability to travel as scheduled. Josh flew on from Rochester to Dulles only to miss his connection to San Antonio. He spent the night in a hotel and caught an early flight in the next morning. Dan and his clan flew in on Friday morning and by mid afternoon we were all together.
Shabbat, Pat and Leigh Rainwater came down from Austin to join us for the day. She and Dan had not seen each other for 30 years and Yechiel had not seen here even longer. It was quite a reunion. For lunch we left Yechiel and family to a relatively quiet Shabbat while we went off to lunch and a tour of The Alamo and Riverwalk guided by Leigh and Pat. We gathered back at the coach late afternoon for extended conversation and meal that the three women put together for all of us. Leigh and Pat were moderately anxious to get on the road before 8:30 as the Longhorns were playing in the Alamo Bowl and half of Austin was in town for the game (If they had not been with us, the entire event would have passed unnoticed by us.)
Sunday was moving day and I lead the convoy of GeeWhiz pulling Ruby with Yechiel in his rental and Carol in the rented van out of the park. About 20 minutes later Dan in his rental joined up from an early morning shopping side trip and we proceeded north on 16 into Hill Country toward Fredericksburg. The road proved to be a beautiful drive with just a touch of roller coaster. I was leading through the twisty climbs and descents at 15 mph with Josh at my side to read the map and watch for signs while I wrestled the steering wheel. I think we will need to let Carol have her chance to drive that road someday. It is our kind of fun.
Monday the 31st we took everyone, minus Malena who was down with a cold, in the van with packed lunches to the Johnson Ranch State park AND National Historical Park. It was a full day with the Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead, the grounds of the Ranch and eventually the Ranch House itself. By now Cory was too sick to participate and Carol stayed behind in the van with him while we took the Ranch House and Western White House tour. Much more of the house has been made available for touring since we toured five years ago.
New Years Eve was a bit dampened as there were three kids down with the cold as well as Malena and Dan was not feeling great either. The relatively healthy gathered in Gee Whiz and we ate and had some Port in our tea and then just the port and retold old family stories until midnight eastern time.