We Went to San Antonio And All I Got Was Trashy Tacos

We had such high hopes as we set off for San Antonio to watch the UA Wildcats in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

I blame the potato salad.

My husband thinks it was the day drinking, but no way could two weakish margaritas and a mai tai be responsible for the throbbing head, dizziness, feverish sweat and lurching, gurgling stomach — not even the Wildcats’ lackluster performance on the court below us could be blamed for my queasiness. 

Had to be the potato salad. It just had to be.

But I guess I should rewind. To the beginning.

So, six hours earlier, we were at a University of Arizona alumni tailgate party in San Antonio … Oh wait, I think I need to back it up a bit more.

So, four days earlier I’d suggested a day trip to Phoenix, just a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ to do during No. 3’s spring break. We never travel for spring break. Or fall break. Or rodeo break. But it seems like three-quarters of Tucson does and I suffer from acute FOMO.

“We could hit the Nike store up there,” I offered, knowing No. 3 would love that.

Joe looked at his work calendar. “Sure, we could do that.”

That was Sunday.

Monday morning, I walked into the house after my regular morning workout to be greeted by No. 2, grinning wildly.

“Guess what?! We’re going to San Antonio!” she shouted. 


Her dad emerged from the office.

“What if we went to San Antonio to watch the Wildcats in the Sweet 16?” he said, referring to our beloved hometown college team in the NCAA basketball tournament and playing just three days later. Every year, the homers in the house fill out at least one NCAA bracket with the Wildcats in the championship game, winning the whole shebang. This was the year it looked like it could really, truly happen.

“It’s a 12-hour drive, so we’d want to fly,” he said.

“Yeah, that would be an awful drive,” I agreed, imagining No. 2 complaining at every mile. “Ugh, I can’t even imagine.”

As it turned out, I didn’t have to.

At 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, the Subaru was loaded up for San Antonio. Oops. Jumped ahead again. Sorry, let me flip it in reverse to Tuesday night.

After Joe spent the day finding an AirBnB on an unappetizingly named street (Locust), secured game tickets, a rental car AND a 10:15 a.m. flight to San Antonio, I heard him muttering.

“What the … Oh no. No no no no no no no no …”

This is gonna be bad, I thought and then started guessing what may have gone wrong. The possibilities were endless. The AirBnB fell through, the rental car was a two-seater, we didn’t have tickets to the right game, the Wildcats were actually playing in San Antonio, Missouri … 

“Ummmm, it looks like I made an awful mistake,” he said. “I was trying to check us in for our flight and the site wouldn’t let me and I couldn’t figure out why and then I looked closer at our tickets and the date on them is April 20. I made the reservations for next month. Oh my God! I had so many windows on my computer. I guess I clicked the wrong one.”

I laughed.

Classic. Yup, that is exactly how he rolls —  and so we rolled, all 868 miles to San Antonio.  

Driving through West Texas was so soul sucking that the DPS traffic stop for speeding was actually a welcome twist. 

All in all, the trip wasn’t terrible. I definitely enjoyed pointing to every rustic, adobe building and yelling, “Kids! Look! It’s the Alamo!” It never got old. For me. 

We got to meet up with friends we don’t see often and when we walked to the game together, all full of hope, it was cool when people driving by in cars — with Texas plates so they didn’t come all the way from Tucson (not that it’s a competition) — would see us flying our Wildcat red and honk and yell.

Another bonus: great tacos at Torchy’s, a joint that makes life better by letting you swap lettuce for queso but only if you tell the server to “make it trashy.”

At this point, now that we have some distance — from Texas and the loss — I think we’ve recovered from the disappointment and I think we may even have had fun*. I do know this: I’m never eating potato salad again. Ever.

New Mexico rest stops are strange and wondrous places where you can find snacks and …

Joe is now wanted in Texas. At least it was just a warning, probably because the officer came around to MY side of the car and I was charming and smiled a lot.
Our consolation prize: a Jumbotron appearance.

*Definitely NOT during the game. That was excruciating — and not just because I felt like I might die.

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