Archive for December 12, 2012

This is the third in a series of posts on the Premier Gun Show in San Antonio, Dec. 12, 2012.  I reviewed the location and show itself in part I and part II.  In this post, I’ll point out a few side-stops just off the highway that might enhance your trip (especially if the family is going) should you decide to make the drive from north Texas in the future.

Now, there is plenty to do in San Antonio itself and all you need is a browser and your friend, Mr. Google.  I will say that if you have never been, the Riverwalk is a must-see, particularly if you visit the show in the late Nov. or Dec. time frame.  The Riverwalk light display is fantastic.

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The good news is that if you stay anywhere in the vicinity of the show, you are also in the vicinity of the Riverwalk.  Here are some hints that are especially useful for holiday visitors.

1 – If you approach the Riverwalk from I-37 and Commerce St., primary parking is the Commerce St. garage.  If you arrive later in the afternoon, there will be a line.  A big line.  A really big line.  Don’t try to get into it.  Don’t fret if you get forced around the line and past the garage.  That’s really what you want 🙂  Take a couple right turns and work your way around to the back side of the garage.  Much easier entry.

2 – Arrive early, before dark.  5:30 PM  this time  of year is about the latest you want to be parked.  You can enter directly into the mall from the parking garage.

3 – Parking is expensive.  $4 for first hour and $1 per 20 minutes thereafter.

4 – If you only plan to go one time, you can get a boat tour which is pretty cool but plan on very long lines (remember, get there early) and parting with some significant coinage.  Even more for the Riverwalk taxi.  Forget it – you’re there to walk.  Walk, check out the local crafts, enjoy the lights, and have fun!

If anyone in the family is interested in shopping and bargains, there are outlet malls in Hillsboro (just after the merge of I-35E and I-35W), Round Rock, and San Marcos.  The San Marcos mall is probably the most famous and most impressive.

The Czech Stop at exit 353 is interesting.  My wife and I stopped one time on our many trips between Dallas and Austin.  Probably fun to do one time and it’s an easier stop on the return trip.

Austin has three Academy Sports stores just off the highway (on the east side of I-35) as you drive through town.

When you reach Buda, TX, there is a large Cabelas that’s worth a stop (exit 220 headed southbound and 219 headed northbound).

We always like to stop at Buc-ee’s.  The new one in New Braunfels is larger than Madisonville and has an entire section devoted to hunters.  You can pick up BBQ or order a custom sandwich and I’ve always found the coffee to be excellent.  Of course, my wife likes the fudge and she took advantage of the buy-four-get-two-free deal.

The new location is across the freeway from two gas stations and about a mile from a TA travel stop, so Buc-ee’s is extremely competitive on gas prices (at least they were on this trip).  Very good place for a gas/food stop and bio break.

Russell had a great time.  Here he is checking out some longhorns on the way to San Antonio.  He thought they were real at first.

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The hottie is my wife.  Yes, you’re right.  I have no idea what she sees in me.  I still can’t figure it out 25 years later, so I choose to remember that old saying about gift horses and mouths 🙂

Russell did not get to visit the show, but he made a lot of side stops and it was a pretty exhausting trip for him.  We could tell he had quite the weekend by the time we arrived home.

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