As any one who has been to Texas in the summer knows, the heat and humidity are horrible here and the first week of August is usually the worst. After two months of being in daily survival mode, it was time for me to take a break. I considered lots of places to go but kept coming back to just wanting to have a few days where I could be cool all day and night. The one downside of living in an RV is that they don’t stay all that cool in high temps no matter what you do. That cinched my decision to go to my favorite stomping grounds in New Braunfels, TX including Schlitterbahn waterpark for which I have a yearly pass. Unfortunately, at this time of year hotels there are very expensive and many are already booked up. I couldn’t take my RV which had to stay at my gate to hold it for me. After a bit of searching and convincing myself that trying something new was a good thing even if it was a few miles farther away and would cost a little extra gas, I found a nice hotel 15 miles away in Seguin, Texas.
The Park Plaza Hotel is in old downtown Seguin across from a small park at the center of town. The 5 story building is very old but remodeled fancy. As you will find with most older hotels, the rooms are rather small and they had to get creative to modernize them. The elevator is slow as molasses but at least they have one. In the rooms, there are no shelves in the bathroom or even a countertop. I had to sling my towels over the newer shower stall to dry them. There is no bathtub either. The desk is just a table and chair. The air conditioning is a bit noisy and is mounted high up on the wall but it keeps the room delightfully cool. I had to wear earplugs to sleep. The AC does have a modern control to set and there was a standalone closet in my room with hangers and a bathrobe provided. The windows don’t open but go from floor to ceiling for a magnificent view if you are staying on the best side. The flat screen TV is large with excellent picture and comes with lots of good channels. The bed is why I chose this place. It is neither too hard or soft and comes with a very fluffy comforter instead of the usual old ragged bed spread. It also comes with 4 pillows so you don’t have to ask for one. The room also came with a dorm refrigerator to keep the sodas I brought cool. The WI-FI was good until AT&T went down for the whole town. Grrr!
The first night I was there, I chose to try out the hotel’s restaurant. Bad move. I see plenty of folks eating in it every night but I don’t know why. I paid twice as much for a meal than I normally would at a nice restaurant. They clearly have a real chef cooking as the portions are small but the food is arranged decoratively. The salad, while odd in it’s ingredients, still tasted very good. The filet mignon though tasted like I had licked a rubber basketball. After that I made sure to stop for dinner before going back to the hotel for the night. Just so you know, Dominoes is nearby and delivers. There are also several fast food places just up the main street.
Parking at the hotel is a little more difficult than usual. All the streets around it are limited to 2 hour parking only. They have a parking lot with just enough parking but the lane in is narrow and they sometimes block it off at night to keep other cars from cruising through it or parking there as I guess they often do. I had to go In the Out several times and maneuver my wide dually truck around to park late at night.
Across the street is a lovely park I enjoyed every night. There is a beautiful, calming fountain in the middle, a gazebo to one side and a statue to their founder, Juan Seguin, on the other. Lights in all the surrounding trees keep it well lit and create a nice atmosphere in the park at night. Every evening, hotel guests and locals meet and greet each other. Families sometimes bring their chairs to gather and talk about their day. The biggest attraction, however, is the Pokemon gym located at the fountain and numerous Pokemon stops both in the park and around it. Almost everyone walking about or sitting at the fountain has their smartphone out with their eyes glued to it. I downloaded the app myself to see what the big deal is with this new game. In some ways it is like geocaching. You follow the map to a stop and are rewarded. All the stops I went to were either artistic or historical so not only did I get a good workout walking, I also got to know much more about the area which is what I like about geocaching. One Pokestop was at the World’s Largest Pecan. Here and there you come across a vicious Pokemon character you have to toss virtual balls at to defeat and capture. Once you get enough to reach level 5, you can enter a Pokemon gym and select your team to play with but that is about all. I am told you really need to get to level 15 before you can win many battles in the gym. I went with yellow team which plays by instinct which happens to be how I travel too.
I didn’t do as much shopping as a normally do on vacation. Just wasn’t in the mood but I did hit up Harbor Freight, Walmart, and a couple others I needed to hit.
Most of my time was spent at Schlitterbahn! I topped my record and went 4 days including the last day of vacation and I stayed cool. I actually changed into dry clothes and came home directly from there. The first day I managed to not get too burned but made a point of wearing a Tshirt and sunglasses for the rest of the trips there. I had my favorite, smoked turkey leg, there one day and a good and not-too-large cheeseburger another day. I learned my lesson about eating a Bahn Burger last time. The other days I picked up lunch on the way there with a quick drive through Jack In The Box. The crowds were ridiculous as expected and forget trying to ride the best slides unless you get there right at opening time. Parking wasn’t too bad though. One thing to remember about Schlitterbahn is no matter how crowded it is, you can still get on the continually looping rides like the wave river or The Falls river with very little waiting. On weekends during summer, they may institute a line and limit to one ride around at a time for The Falls. Those two rides are in the new park. In the old park, there are several pools you can hang around in.
They have just introduced a ride pass similar to Disneyland where you can make an appointment for a ride and show up in a special line when it is your turn to ride. Great idea! Very pricey idea too. Ouch! It might be worth it during the week but the weekend crowds will keep you waiting just too long even for an appointment.
I thought I knew every inch of Schlitterbahn since I have been going there for three years but this year I discovered a new area at the new park with smaller crowds, food, and a beach, a fast lazy river with crocodiles to ride, a body slide into the river, and a cool obstacle course. From the parking lot and Falls, you go through the tree lodge area to get to it. I spent quite a bit of time there and did the body slide several times.
I picked up a new hat at Schlitterbahn for working the gates. It’s a big shark eating my head. LOL Should I have gone for the octopus instead?
The local rivers were very crowded too. There were lots of folks out tubing which I had also planned to do. It was just so hot outside that the last thing I wanted to do was sit above the water rather than in it.
On the way home one night, the air conditioner in my truck broke. The next morning I went out to assess the situation and saw that it was smoking when run and the clutch was frozen. I drove to the nearest auto parts store and bought a new compressor and clutch. They were kind enough to point me to an inexpensive but good auto shop that was able to take care of it right away. Since I was hungry and it was next door to Dominoes, I bought a large pizza to feed us all lunch.
With the AC now fixed but needing to be broken in for testing and most of the day gone, I finally went to Tanger Outlets. Every time I go to New Braunfels, I get told going to the Outlets is a must. Whoopee. It is just a huge outside mall with lots of big name snooty stores selling their goods at 50-60 percent off which is still way more than I am willing to pay for clothes, shoes, or anything else they had to sell. I did find a couple of new covers for my Pyrex bowls and had dinner at the Cracker Barrel there after raiding their old fashioned candy stix counter. After dinner, I rocked on their porch for a bit as the sun was setting. One good thing about Tanger Outlets is they are loaded with Pokemons! I nailed one inside the Cracker Barrel and a couple outside it. I hopped in my truck and drove through the parking lot catching several more. Don’t worry. I only drove close to them then stopped for the actual capture. By that time the parking lot was fairly empty.
I managed to get to the Golden Corral twice that week to eat. I only meant to eat there once but when I saw their Prime Rib Weekends sign I knew I was going back again. I’m one of those people who goes to Las Vegas not for the gambling but rather for the shows and cheap prime rib. Heh heh. It was GOOOOD!
While I was on vacation my boss called me twice trying to get me to come back and lose all the money I paid for the hotel and gas. Didn’t happen. He had to switch out the very experienced substitute I hired to cover me with another one so that guy could work a busy gate. Oh well. It all worked out and I got my vacation. I spent the last day at Schlitterbahn until 4:30pm then changed and drove to Pearsall for groceries. I got home pretty late and it was too damn HOT again! Bugger! Ready for my next vacation already.