When you drive from Tucson to San Antonio, it takes two days over and two days back - and then some as you will see at the end of this post. DBH and I left Tucson on Thursday morning, heading for glorious Ft. Stockton - eight hours later for most drivers; nine to ten hours later for us as DBH never met a Diet Coke he didn't like nor a rest stop he shouldn't visit. Nothing lurks in Ft. Stockton except low and middle market motels and fast food. So we packed our cooler and ate dinner sitting in bed, watching trash TV. On to San Antonio on Friday. Since I'm eating vegan, I now Google cities along the way for vegan cuisine. And we have found some really good restaurants as a result. First is 1011 Bistro on the Guadalope River in Kerrville. Sort of a "ladies who lunch" place, but what a location and excellent crab cakes. I know, not really vegan, but I forgave myself.
In San Antonio, we stayed with DBH's cousin who lives in a spectacular retimement community, The Towers, directly across from the entrace to Ft. Sam Houston. They have lovely rooms for visitors and we get lots of time for family catch up. Twice while in San Antonio, we ate at our fav restaurant, Cappy's in Alamo Heights. No River Walk tourist trade, this is just a lovely local eatery.
The purpose of our trip was to participate in the Texas Book Festival, San Antonio Edition. One of my authors, Sarah Cortez, was featured for both her spiritual memoir, Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston and her just-released book, co-edited with Sergio Troncoso, Our Lost Border: Essays on Life amid the Narco-Violence.
What a great day we had to share with you! This was the first Texas Book Festival held outside of Austin, where it originated in 1994, under the leadership of Laura Bush. The weather was cloudy and a bit breezy, and it felt good to be indoors and outdoors as long as you had a jacket. The San Antonio Central Library hosted the day. It was a maze of streets and alleys with meeting rooms spread among various buildings in the complex. But signage was good and lots of volunteers pointed the way.
Kudos to the Library Foundation and the Texas Book Festival with the elegant and unflappable Clay Smith at the helm.
DBH and I were free to attend one of the early presentations featuring two Texas political authors: Erica Greider and James L. Haley. We learned a lot of relevant info about Texas history in 45 minutes. Erica's new book, Big, Hot, Cheap and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas is almost to the top of my reading list.
Sarah's first appearance was in the Storyteller Booth signing her YA anthology, You Don’t Have a Clue.
Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston was featured in a joint presentation with Beatrix de la Garza, who wrote of her family’s cross-border history in From the Republic of the Rio Grande: A Personal History of the Place and the People. Many people in the audience were interested in writing a memoir to honor family histories.
Sarah's last presentation was with co-editor, Sergio Troncoso, as we launched Our Lost Border: Essays on Life amid the Narco-Violence (Arte Público Press 2013). Cecilia Balli moderated and shared her own family’s loss of cross-border experience.
As Sergio and Sarah signed copies of the new book, we were joined by retired US Border Agent Hipolito Acosta, author of The Shadow Catcher: A U.S. Agent Infiltrates Mexico’s Deadly Crime Cartels. His years of police activity on the border are yet another aspect of the U.S.-Mexico border. The day was crowned by an energetic reception on the terrace of the library.
Sarah and I fit in many business meetings throughout the day and she excelled at "selling" me to all of her author friends. It appears a good deal of work will result from it. Thank you, Sarah! DBH and I had a few minutes at the reception to chat with my new client, Chitra Divakaruni and her husband. Chitra's newest book, Oleander Girl, received sterling reviews when it was released last month.
Monday and Tuesday, DBH and I visited some real estate of which we are part-owners. In Austin, we had a lovely visit with our friends, Judy and Werner Kozian, who now live in Sun City, TX, just north of Austin. Ate at an amazing restaurant, Trulucks. They specialize in seafood, seafood, seafood.
Tuesday afternoon we began our return voyage - made it into lovely Ft. Stockton with no trouble - dined on leftovers from Trulucks sitting on the bed watching trash TV. Up and out Wednesday morning for the long haul to Tucson. Googled vegan for El Paso and up popped on the the best restaurants ever: Tom's Cafe. Just a tiny adobe cottage, so crowded we ate on the side porch, commenting on the high winds.
We left about 2 pm and as we got on I10 saw a flashing sign that I10 was closed due to high winds and low visibility. We tried to skirt the problem by driving north to Hatch, but when we regained I10, it was really closed, all the way through AZ. So we camped in a cheap and cheerless motel, ate leftovers from Tom's sitting on the bed watching trash TV . Up at three am and into Tucson by nine am. Overall, a great trip.