Saturday, March 26, 2016

Traversing Texas

Our map our travels around Texas is becoming quite marked up [photo], all for the sake of putting 10,500 miles on our new motor, staying within a short 1-2 day drive from the shop. Then another oil change/retuning and we are free to roam wherever.

From McAllen we headed a few miles north along the border to Falcon Lake State Park. A beautiful area with pull through parking slots that are overgrowing with acacia bushes. Before we could properly park, we had to do a few minor trimmings of branches in order to save our paint job. What fun that was.

The temperatures here were again not anything like I had expected. Cool and rainy for the most part. It made for pleasant day tripping however.
Roma is one of the oldest populated towns in Texas, being right on the Rio Grande River (Rio Bravo in Mexico), overlooking an entry point into Mexico. [photo] It has, along side the new modern crossing with all the checkpoint paraphanalia, was the last suspension bridge over the Rio Grande - not in use anymore. Here we walked the bluffs overlooking the river while doing an EarthCache, learning all about the geology of the bluffs. Very interesting to view as we read. The town also had a very interesting tour of architecture from the early early Spaniards and a German immigrant to Mexico who designed and built many of the buildings in the area. [photos] We spent a very interesting afternoon here.

After a  couple of days spent in Falcon Lake and it was on to Laredo, TX, another border crossing but not one that one should use if at all possible. The narco-traficantes are abundant and the violence rampant. It too is a beautiful town, with both very modern and very old areas. The plaza is beautiful, but wait there are two distinct plazas, both with gazebos. On Sunday we toured the plaza areas and could find only a handful of parking spots, 2-3 blocks off and lots and lots of people milling around; families and lover couples alike.

Did you know that Texas once had a republic within it's borders? No, not the Republic of Texas that we have all heard about but the Republic of [the] Rio Grande. The capital was the plaza in downtown Laredo, right by the river bank and old crossing. (their flag) It was actually during the time of the Republic of Texas and lasted all of 286 days. A little bit of trivia for your minds - who knows when it might be a question on Jeopardy. LOL

From Laredo an eastward track was set and we headed for Goliad State Historical [Mission] Park. This is part of the string of missions in San Antonio. The mission itself  was first located in Refugio on the coast but due to Indian hostilities was moved up closer to the mainstream of the mission road. It was rebuilt from the floor up and the exhibits show how life was for both the Franciscans, the pioneers, and the natives - a very hard life, and if the Franciscans had anything to say about it, very simplistic. Education was purely around Christianity and life skills with a goal of christianizing the native population. In touring the actual mission church, and if it has been redone true t life, you can see the indigenous influence in the painte reliefs. [photos]

The state park system spreads helter skelter around the state and has a variety of  reasons for being. Our next stop was Palmetto State Park. Here we encountered a little bit of a swampy, tropical environment that extended not that far out of the borders of the park. Inside, parked amongst the huge trees, it was cool but oh so humid. A very pleasant place to light but the mosquitos are no doubt very vicious.

This stop enabled us to make a dash to San Antonio to try and get my computer repaired. It was a great trip until we discovered that the Apple store doesn't carry repair parts for the new MacBook Air. They have to send it out to the factory authorized repair shop (read overseas) and when it returns in 3-5 working days, they won't mail it onwards. So back we go with plans to head east to Houston. The shop in Houston will be so much easier to get to that the one in San Antonio, from East Texas. This isthe trip that is made the next day - so much for a relaxing interlude in the park. We will be able to drive down to Houston, have a wonderful seafood dinner, pick up the computer and head back to the RV all in one day, unlike the 2 days it would take if we had left it in San Antonio.

And so now are back in E Texas at our home away from home - Double Lake Recreation Area outside of Coldspring, TX. From here it is an easydrive to pick up the mail and also head to Nacogdoches in a couple of days for hopefully the last for awhile, doctor appointments.

Photos will be put up when the computer returns from it's vaction ...