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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Trip Report: Lytle, Natalia, Devine...

You'd think that we would have something better to do than jump in a little truck and head southwest of San Antonio just for a little drive, and today, we did. We drove through our neighborhood seeking out garage sales, and I must report that the pickin's were mighty slim. So, on a whim, I said, "Let's go to Lytle", and my wife simply responded with , "Let's go!" We took Loop 1604 from the GNW and headed south through Atascosa to I-35. At this point I usually insert a comment about how nice it is to drive just a few minutes and be out into the country. I won't repeat it this time, but you can appreciate the feeling (unless you live in a really huge city, or you already live out in the woods and are only reading this blog during your monthly visit to civilization).Directly west of San Antonio along Highway 90 is a town called Hondo which we have visited before, and today, we ended up there for lunch. I'll tell you about that later. But to orient yourself, check out the handy map provided by our friends at Google Maps, and appropriately annotated by Bill Gates and I using PowerPoint.I had originally thought of this as being a very brief trip down to Lytle, perhaps lunch at some undetermined restaurant, a few pictures of the things we find interesting and then back home. I also can tell you that I was eager to see first hand the evil Cabaret that has opened outside of the greater Lytle Metropolis, and get a picture of it. I did. You can read more about that over at Strange in SA.From I-35 south, we headed down 132 which is also US-81 and for those that live there, Main Street. Lytle looks like a typical small town farming community, but a lot nicer than many of have seen in South Central Texas. Of course, I love the older buildings along the main drag, but the mixture of new homes tastefully interspersed among the older neighborhood just a few blocks in town was a welcome sight for someone who would like to move outside of San Antonio, but not feel as though either everything will be brand spankin'-cookie cutter-new, or completely run down shacks inhabited by folks hiding from the law. Think Christine. If you need to mail a package or a final resting place, you can do it in Lytle.Okay, one final shot at the goofy Cabaret thing. The place is not only out of town, but by my calculation, it was also in the next county. When someone in Lytle says, Not in my backyard, they ain't kidding!Just a stones throw down the road from Lytle is a tiny place called Natalia. It is probably much bigger than what you pass on 132, I mean, there is so much farm land out there and just wide open space, but to the Saturday afternoon drive-by, Natalia looks pretty small.Sure, they have the post office and even their own memorial to those who have served. Very nicely done and well maintained. This alone is worth a trip to Natalia.I noticed this tiny little chapel and I swear, I think I have seen this thing in another small town. And if you look at the picture, it looks as though it has been moved. Who knows? I know it is tall enough to walk in, but seriously, you'd have to go outside to change your mind.Further down the road is the town of Devine. I really enjoyed this little place. We have some friends who live just on the other side of I-35 and it is easy to understand why they are willing to make the commute to San Antonio for work.And these people put on a serious flea market! We didn't stop, although we seriously thought about it. This is sort of interesting. You know how sometimes, some guy will open up a business and it does so well, he decides to open up another one right across town? Well, it turns out that some lady named Ruthie knows a good thing when she sees it. Hence, two lounges less than a mile apart. Technically, that is across town.Devine does have your standard items - the water tower labeled appropriately, and a big huge bank. We actually stopped in the parking lot of the bank and purchased some Girl Scout cookies. The taste just the same out in the country as they do in the city.One thing that you don't see everyday. A motorized wheelchair junkyard. I guess I just didn't realize there was such a market.There is an intersection of Highways 132 and 173, and when you head back north, before long, you will make your way to Hondo - and that is what we did. The drive is wonderful. Open farmland and the occasional house. About half way to Hondo, you can begin to recognize the change in landscape. Off in the distance you can see the beginning of the Hill Country. On such a beautiful day, it is a crime not to own a convertible anymore.I only post a handful of pictures on these little reports, but I often take close to a hundred pictures in just an hour or so. I have a method where I transfer the full-sized photos onto a portable hard drive, then delete the images on my 1gb disk for the camera. Apparently I forgot to clean up the disk, so by the time we got to Devine, my disk was full. First stop in Hondo was the Super Wal-Mart where I purchased two 1gb SD disks for $18.00. How did the people of Hondo survive before Wal-Mart?

Once in Hondo, we were simply famished. I'll tell you about the vittles next time.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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