Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Bebe and I are back home after a three day marathon of historical Texas cities.  My helmet hair and weary look are evidence of the pace.  We left the Valley on Friday and traveled north along the coastal bend to Corpus Christi, Texas where we stopped at the Yamaha Motorcycle Center and purchased a set of chaps for Bebe.  Then on up the coast to Rockport where the clouds started to look ominous.  We pressed forward even though the skies said rain.  I pulled over just before a long section of road which offered no possible places to seek shelter.  I could see rain in the distance along with patches of blue sky.  I watched two motorcycles pass, riding two up, coming from the direction we were travelling and both appeared to be dry.  I decided to risk it. In less than two miles we hit a squall like rain with plenty of wind.  To magnify our problems the driver in front of us acted like she had never driven in rain and alternated hitting her breaks and slowing nearly to a crawl.  I finally risked a pass in the blinding rain and created an air umbrella with the wind coming across the windshield.  Fortunately the squall passed as quickly as it had arrived.  I criss-crossed the rural counties using Farm to Market roads with lots to see and little traffic.  We arrived in Goliad, Texas in the afternoon and searched for lodging.  With only two motels, the choices were limited.  Our room was adequate and dry.  The skies in Goliad were partly cloudy but didn't look threatening.  I parked the motorcycle just outside the room and unloaded.  After an early supper we retired to the room to dry out our gear and get some rest.  During the night, the bottom fell out.  Bebe told me about it the next morning.  I didn't even turn over.  The next morning I dried off the old V-twin and we toured the missions in Goliad, and the historic downtown area.  More than twice as many Texicans died at Goliad than died at the Alamo.   "Remember Goliad" was one of the early battle cries.  At noon, we checked out and headed for Gonzalez, Texas with a short stop in Cuero, Texas for some great Bar-B-Que.  We checked in, unloaded the motorcycle, and headed into town to tour the city.   At the old jail we met a retired gentleman named Leon who took us on an hour long guided tour of all the points of interest.  The picture above is a replica of the battle flag of Gonzalez.  This was the site of the first skirmish of the battle for Texas independence from Mexico.  The settlers from Gonzalez were having problems with hostile Indians in the area and petitioned the Mexican government for a cannon to help them defend themselves.  They were given a very small cannon to do the job.  After General Santa Ana took over as dictator of Mexico, he ordered the troops in San Antonio to go to Gonzalez and get the cannon back.  Under the cruel Santa Ana, the Texicans had become restless.  They were an independent bunch.  Those at Goliad had a battle flag with a severed right arm on it.  They said they would rather give up their right arms than live under the rule of Santa Ana.  Upon hearing that troops were coming from San Antonio to get the cannon, a battle flag was fashioned from a wedding dress.  The picture above shows the cannon with the words "Come and take it."  The town's people met the Mexican troops near the Guadalupe river and a brief skirmish occured.  They fired the cannon and the Mexican troops withdrew and returned to San Antonio empty handed.  This was the first battle for Texas independence.  This morning we got up early and headed out to beat the afternoon showers.  We need the rain, but we didn't really want to drive in it.  I thought of those brave settlers who fought for their freedom from a tyrant, and all those who have fought for those same reasons since then.  Tomorrow is the day we remember those who have served, both living and dead.  I intend to fly my flag proudly in rememberance of our troops.  I will also proudly honor those who are currently serving our great nation.