Saturday, April 12, 2014

Exploring the Valley

There was so much around the area and tried to get to as much as we could.  Here are some of our adventures:

Los Ebanos Ferry:  This is a hand operated ferry across the Rio Grande and is only one of it kind that exist.  It is a designated as a state historical marker and will carry 3 cars and unlimited passengers.  It is really a site to see:

Hand pulled Ferry across the Rio Grande

Pioneer Days: This was a day that The Museum of South Texas History  celebrated South Texas pioneer and ranching heritage.  There was numerous activities including folkloric dance group, animals from Gladys Porter Zoo, artisans demonstrating their crafts, local cowboys showing their roping skills and even local Indian tribe showing their part in the history of the Valley.  Of course there was food booths so you were able to try local foods such as authentic 1910 chuck wagon, nopales prepared by a chef from H-E-B, tacos de fajita, chili and cornbread, pan de campo (cowboy bread) and aguas frescas.  We went with our co-park host Marlin & Judy Cook and really had a fun day. 

Marine Science Discovery Cruise:  We got the chance to go to South Padre and take a teaching boat out in the bay and learn about the area.  It was really an interesting cruise.  They went out and ran a net and caught marine life and invertebrates and we also able to see dolphins and pelicans.  We watched a video about the balance of sea life, plant life and the environment and learned about the mistakes being made today and things being done to correct the problems.  It was a fun interesting day.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Flea Market & Citrus Festival

Fred had a co-employee that was from the Mission area and told him about the BIG flea market that was in Mission that was held only on the weekends, so off we went to find it.  Well it was just out of Mission right at the city limits of Alton and it was big.  Covered both sides of the road and you  had to know which side you wanted to go to as they both were very different.  Now knowing we went to both;  one side was really very much the locals that came there with their garage sale items and/or just whatever they had.  We found livestock of all sort, hay, garden plants, electronics, and just about anything you could think of being sold out of the back of their trucks.  It was interesting to say the least.

The other side of the road was more commercial I guess you could say as they had actual booths/store front areas.  This size all had the farmer market area and the fruits and vegetables were right from the field.  Some of the best fruits and vegetables you could get in the area.

The following weekend we headed back to get more vegetables (loved having fresh vegetables) but when we got in Mission the police was closing off streets, bleachers were along the road, and there were BBQ teams located along the side of the road, so we stopped to see what was happening.  As we walked around we found out that the Citrus Festival was that day, so we stayed to see what was going on.  There were booths set up everywhere selling all sorts of things as well as food booths. 

The BBQ was a cook-off and we never found out how you could get some of it.  There were local dancers and singers performing.

Than the parade – WOW.  The parade route was 3 miles long and had 190+ floats.  (Oh by the way, it was election time so the parade had a lot of political floats).  The bleachers along the roads was so you could sit and watch  - a seat cost you $2.00 per person and then it was your reserved location for the parade.  Right before the parade started the BBQ trucks came down the parade route and stopped in areas selling sandwiches and drinks.  This was something new for us as what we see at home is vendors walking up and down the route selling their things, but that was not allowed here – only the BBQ trucks. The other thing that was usual to us was that there was no beer, wine or liquor sold anywhere in the festival. 

Then the parade started and boy is was a parade – lasting about 3 hours.  After the parade things just ended and everyone packed up and left.  It was a very interesting day.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Trip to Falcon State Park

images[3]One of the things we hope to do while we are traveling is to visit as many state parks in Texas that we can.  So our first visit in the valley was to Falcon State Park.  The trip there and back was just as interesting as the park itself.

Early in the morning we headed west of Mission driving parallel with the Rio Grande River going through  Rio Grande City, Roma, then on to Falcon State Park.

Rio Grande City was an old city and really interesting.  We drove through Fort Ringgold, which is one of Texas best preserved military post.  The post was established in 1848 by Gen. Zachary Taylor and was used by Col. Robert E. Lee when he commanded troops in Texas.  Today the fort is part of the Rio Grande City school system.  They were in the process of refurbishing Col. Lee’s house so we were unable to tour it – RATS!

DSCN3907We did get to see Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto while we were there.  This is a replica of the original shrine that is in Lourdes, France.   The statue features Our Lady of Lourdes with a peasant girl who first had vision of her.

We headed on to Falcon State Park then and decided we would stop in Roma on our way back.  Falcon State Park is located at the foot of a dam across the Rio Grande River.  There is another dam further up the river in Del Rio, TX – Lake Amistad and Amistad Dam.  I had lived in Del Rio a number of years and love the lake and dam so was really interested in seeing this one.  I must say Falcon Reservoir and the dam was just as beautiful as Amistad.







Rio Grande River Side of Dam

The park was great also and we enjoyed talking to other park host there.  There are great parking places for RVs and well as camping in tents.  If you love to fish, swimming, boating, bird watching, hiking, and butterfly gardens this is a must see park. 

We headed back to Roma to have lunch and look around the city.  Roma is a very unique town in that it was established in 1765 as a major trade city for riverboats.  The center of Roma is now a National Historic Landmark District with 38 identified historical structures.  Texas Parks & Wildlife along with The Meadows Foundation are working to restore the building with local craftsmen.  They are not currently open to the public but you can view work from the city’s plaza.

Roma is also one of the nine birding center in the area – Roma Bluffs.  The bluffs overlook the Rio Grande River and really is a great overlook.


IMG_2914With all the neat things to see in Roma our great adventure there was while we were talking to a group of Border Patrol agent asking where to go for lunch.  We were looking across the Rio Grande and talking to the guys when they told us to stick around as there was going to be some action.DSCN3894

Just for the fun of it we did and were totally amazed at what we saw.  I still cannot believe it as it was about 1:00 in the afternoon with Border Patrol standing right there watching. This video tells it all – we are standing on the US side taking the video over on the Mexico side.

What an exciting day and one that we will never forget.  On to our four days of workamping and then to our next adventure.