Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Charley Pride -- "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone" (1970)

Is anybody goin'
To San Antone?

I know someone who went to San Antonio recently.  In fact, I know three people who went to San Antonio.

Those three people are named ME, MYSELF, and I!  

Hahahahaha!  You didn't see that one coming, did you?  When did you last hear that joke?  Sixth grade?  Fifth grade?  (The old jokes are the best jokes -- don't you agree?)

San Antonio's not the only place I've been in 2014.  I've been purt near everywhere this year, man.  I've crossed the deserts bare and I've breathed the mountain air, man.  Of travel I've had my share, man -- I've been everywhere!

We're talkin' Wilmington (DE), Miami Beach, New York City, San Francisco, San Diego, Ft. Worth-Dallas, Joplin (MO), Gettysburg (PA), Cape Cod, San Antonio, Cape Cod (again), Maine . . . whew!

My family went to San Antonio a few weeks ago to celebrate my sister's recent wedding.  (In April, I attended the wedding ceremony itself in San Francisco.  Click here to read more about it here.)  

As soon as we had checked into our hotel, I went off in search of adventure . . . and also a rental bike.

I was in luck, because it turns out that San Antonio has an extensive bike-share system.  A bike-share system allows you to use a credit card to check out a bike that's docked at a local bike-share station and ride it wherever you want to go -- assuming that where you want to go is near another bike-share station, where you can leave the bike.

A San Antonio B-cycle station
San Antonio's B-Cycle bike-share system is the 9th largest in the country, with 51 stations.  (New York City has the largest such system with 330 stations, while Washington, DC -- with 305 stations -- is a close second.)

Bike-share bicycles are usually ungainly machines, weighed down with fenders and chain guards and cargo baskets.  The San Antonio B-cycles had three speeds, which is fine if you're riding somewhere that's pretty flat.  But it would not be fun to try and get a B-cycle up any kind of hill.

A San Antonio B-cycle
Beggars can't be choosers, so I walked to the nearest B-cycle station (which was only a couple of blocks from my hotel) and saddled up.  I headed to the famed San Antonio River Walk (or Paseo del Rio, if you prefer), a paved below-street-level path that follows the San Antonio River.

The most popular part of the River Walk is the tourist-packed section that loops through downtown San Antonio.  It's close to the Alamo and other downtown attractions, and is wall-to-wall restaurants, bars, and shops.

San Antonio's famed Alamo
But the River Walk was extended several years ago and now reaches about five miles north and ten miles south of downtown.  Those parts of the River Walk are much less crowded, and attract mostly locals.

I headed south along the "Mission Reach" part of the River Walk, which takes you past the four of the five old Spanish missions that are part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park -- Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan Capistrano.  All four of the missions house active Catholic parishes.  (The fifth and most famous of the San Antonio missions -- the Alamo -- isn't part of the federal park.  It's owned by the state of Texas, and administered by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.)  

Mission Concepción (completed 1755)
I got all excited when I saw a big sign for the Lone Star Brewery after riding for a couple of miles.  (I had visions of a tasting room and free samples.)

Alas and alack, it turns out that this Lone Star brewery -- which opened shortly after Prohibition was repealed -- was closed in 1996.  No free samples for you, 2 or 3 lines!

I pushed on, and eventually came to the Blue Star Arts Complex, which is home to a contemporary art museum, art galleries and artists' studios, a theater, apartments, restaurants, and San Antonio's oldest brewpub.

Even the parking signs at Blue Star are hip:

Here's another sign I saw at the Blue Star complex.  You know that the American educational system is failing when young people can't spell a simple, common word like "liqueur" correctly:

Today's featured song was a #1 country hit for Charley Pride in 1970.  

Pride, who became the most successful African-American country music singer ever, wanted to be a baseball player.  He signed a minor-league contract with the New York Yankees in 1953, when he was only 17 years old.

Pride hurt his pitching arm in his first minor-league season, and that injury probably ended his chances of making it to the big leagues.  But he kicked around the minors and the Negro leagues (where he and a teammate were once traded for a team bus) for a number of years before giving up on baseball and becoming a recording artist.

Pride's first two singles failed to chart, but then his career blew up.  Of the next 52 singles he released, only one of them failed to make it into the top ten.

Of those 51 top ten singles, 29 of them made it to number one!

"Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone" was the third in a series of six consecutive #1 hits for Pride between 1969 and 1971.  

Here's "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

No comments:

Post a Comment