Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Ghost Tracks of Mission Row

While the Alamo is the most famous mission in San Antonio, it is not the only one. There are four others, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, Mission Espada. The missions follow roughly the path of the Rio Grande, from the middle of downtown San Antonio, all the way out to the countryside. Just beyond the missions there is an old railroad track.

Legend has it that one night, a school bus returning from a field trip stalled on the tracks. No one was around to hear the children calling for help as the train approached, unaware. Ever since then, any car that stalls neer the railroad tracks will be pushed to safety. You don't even have to be in any danger for this to happen and often times, people will come out to the Ghost Tracks, put their car or truck in neutral and enjoy the ride over the tracks and down the embankment.

While I was in SA this past week, my wife and her parents took me to experience the Ghost Tracks. We drove up to the tracks, put the car in neutral and almost immediately, felt ourselves moving forward. we rattled over the tracks and dad steered us down the slope and off to the side of the road. we tried this several times, in various combinations: engine on, in neutral, engine off in neutral, close to the tracks far away from the tracks; once we were about three hundred feet from the tracks and still we were pushed to safety.

While we were there, another family drove up in a pickup truck. They were there to give some visiting relatives a thrill as well, which made us feel better. Camaraderie in silliness is always reassuring. They, however, came prepared with a sack of flower.

Part of the legend says that is you dust the trunk or tail gate of your vehicle with flour or baby powder. you can see small handprints appear after you're pushed across the tracks. so they did and my wife, had her camera handy, so we could photograph the evidence.


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