Riverwalk, March 19, 2022, Part 1

Okay today I am doing the section from The Pearl to Houston Street, if I can make it that far. It’s already 4 PM so we’ll see how that goes.

This is the weekend after St. Patrick’s Day, so the river is San Antonio River is green. I mean it’s always kind of greenish but, but it’s really green now. I took a picture of the little waterfall at The Grotto by Carlos Cortez. I’m going to post it below.

I changed my mind. I didn’t like that picture as well as I liked this one, which was taken under the Navarro Street Bridge.

When there’s flooding in San Antonio, the flood water in the river goes under downtown. There is a drain that starts just north of The Pearl and goes through an underground tunnel all the way through downtown and comes up again south of downtown. I will get to both ends of this tunnel eventually. Right now I am passing one of the ventilation shafts for the tunnel.

Now I am going under Interstate 35. Bats live under this bridge during the spring through the fall. There are a lot of bats in south and central Texas. After the construction of the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, which is home to a colony of bats, they discovered that bats make good neighbors. Texas started constructing bridges so that the bats would could nest there. Under this bridge is another piece of public art, F.I.S.H. By Donald Lipski, which is a school of gigantic illuminated long-eared sunfish. Long-eared sunfish are native to the San Antonio River, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one myself. Mostly I’ve seen minnows and catfish.

I’m passing some apartments. I would dearly love to – without inheriting the money because I love my dad – have the money to live in the apartments down here. Maybe I will someday be able to find a groove with this blog and make a whole bunch of money. Ha! But who knows? I may find the money somewhere. Someday.

Maybe.

I would actually prefer to live closer to the Pearl, just for the ambience. There are musicians and things out there and people and it’s just so lively. I loved living in the dorms when I was in college, because there were a lot of people and activity and music and I just felt less isolated than I feel in the suburbs.

I’m about to cross the Brewery Bridge. This bridge, which is in the image at the top of my blog, used to span the space between the two towers of the Lone Star Brewery. This brewery is now the San Antonio Museum of Art and the bridge across it is glassed-in.

It occurred to me recently that the GoPro lite that I’m planning to buy will also help in this project of dictating my blog posts. Sometimes the app mixes up what I said and so once I have the camera, I can always go back and listen to what I actually said.

In 2009, they installed a bunch of new public art on the Riverwalk. In the years since then, some of it, like F.I.S.H. is just fine, but others have fallen into disrepair. I’m passing one of them as I speak. This is Sonic Passage, by Bill Fontana. Fontana took a microphone and traveled up and down the river in all seasons and captured the sounds of birds and frogs and fish jumping out of and landing back in the water and things like that. Then he looped selections from that recording and had them playing on speakers under the Jones Street Bridge. This one worked for quite a while. Evelyn and I have been walking on the river together for the last several years, and the sound really bothered her dogs. I was one of her dogs by myself and she just took off running.

I am now passing more apartments that are too expensive for me, insert pouting emoji. If there is such a thing as a pouting emoji, There is an interpretive sign here about the Alamo Mills Dam. I don’t know exactly where the mill was (it was probably under the apartments), but parts of the dam are still here.

On my left is VFW Post 76 which is the oldest VFW post in Texas. If I recall it’s actually the building is the oldest post but I don’t think I don’t think the VFW has been there that long, I’ll have to once again have to look it up at home.*

There still more land from the Art Museum on my right here and more apartments on my left. I’m passing this kind of artificial little marshy area. The interpretive signage is about marsh ecology and how marshes form when bends in the river are blocked off by sediment. The plants here are marsh plants. There used to be a banana tree, but I guess they figured that it wasn’t native. Also, I don’t know how well the banana tree did after the Snowpocalypse of 2021.

Now on my right there’s a building. I honestly don’t know what takes up most of the building, but the top floor is a bar. Now, I don’t drink. Anybody who knows me knows that. However this bar is where they have a drag brunch on Sunday. And I really would like to go to the drag brunch. They’ve got to have non-alcoholic beverages for the designated drivers. Alternatively, I can always fall back on the old standby of drink mixers, like I did in the days before designated drivers.

On my right I have a Wyndham Garden Hotel which looks like a nice place to stay. It’s certainly convenient to the Riverwalk. To my left is I don’t know what. It’s a building that always looks empty when I’m walking down here. Of course, it’s possible that I’m only here when they’re closed. I need to go to the surface level sometime and find out what this is.

Here is the lock and dam, which opened in 2009. The San Antonio River drops or goes up suddenly depending on which direction are going. So when they decided they wanted to run boats on this part of the river, they had to build a lock. For anyone who doesn’t know what a lock is, it’s a sort of box where you put the boat in and you pump water into the box raise to the boat up to the new level or you put a boat in and suck water out until they’re down at the level of the river. There are always a bunch of double-crested cormorants on the dam as well, which is cool.

The next piece of art on the Riverwalk is 29° 26′ 00″ N and 98° 29′ 07″ W by Stewart Allen. This is steel frames with colored steel strings across it. The original intent was for the colors in the frames to morph as you pass by, and, as I recall, it did that for a number of years. But, like Sonic Passage, 29° 26′ 00″ N and 98° 29′ 07″ W has fallen into disrepair and the colors are muted. If you didn’t know it was art, you might mistake it for part of the underpass.

*It is the first VFW post founded in the state of Texas. At least, no numbers in the state are lower. Post 76 was founded in 1917, and the next-oldest, 688, was founded in Boerne in 1936. So there you go.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time. Today we have the first book in the Scholomance trilogy by Naomi Novik, A Deadly Education. The protagonist of the series is Galadriel, El for short, who is terrified of her own potential for dark magic. The book is set at the Scholomance, a magical school where all of the education is self-guided, and monsters roam the halls (and the ventilation shafts, and the plumbing).

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