Alamo, Texas

The Rio Grande Valley in south Texas is said to be a one hundred mile strip of rich river soil with a 340-day growing season where a new crop is harvested every month. We saw the onion and broccoli fields ready for harvest and new plantings of other vegetables growing quickly. They also grow delicious oranges and grapefruit.

Our reason for choosing Alamo was our friend Bill and Ali. This was their first winter as Chaplains in an RV park. We had a great time experiencing the life of the Winter Texans. They’re people from the frigid northern states and Canada who have the time and means to escape the cold. We’ve met retired folks, those who are still working but can live anywhere, farmers who can’t till the ground until spring, and others who add to their income by working at the RV parks, or even state and national parks. Their interesting stories are one of the favorite parts of our experience.

Our friends took us across the border into Mexico. They said the Progreso Bridge was safe. (We learned a man we saw at lunch a few days later owns that bridge.) We’ve heard stories of senior citizens crossing the border to buy medicine and this was a medical mecca. Offices for doctors, surgeons, dentists, and pharmacies needing no prescriptions were everywhere. We questioned the safety of it all but were assured the people were U.S. trained and the drugs were the same as we get at home. Amazing. People get their teeth cleaned for $25.00 and we had the best pedicure I’ve ever had for $12.00. Gotta love these cultural experiences.

We were told we needed to check out the flea market in town. Next day we went exploring but hoped we didn’t find anything we couldn’t live without. After all, we just got rid of so much stuff. Jim had wanted to get a haircut but you know finding someone new can be scary. As we walked through the flea market there was a barber shop. We stepped inside and the Spanish man was finishing up a beautiful haircut on a handsome young boy. We knew Jim was in good hands. Price $8.00. We had hoped to find the citrus fruit available and lugged out delicious oranges, grapefruit, and onions.

No trip to the Rio Grande Valley is complete without a trip to the outlet mall in Mercedes, Texas. We had been there before and this time we went with a mission to find just one thing we needed. And it was a perfect setup as we had connected with some RV friends that were in the area and worked out a lunch meeting right at Mercedes. I love it when a plan comes together. But more about the Mercedes friends later.

Moving forward is a stop in Del Rio, Texas on the way to Big Bend National Park and some more adventure.

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San Antonio, Texas

We passed through San Antonio as we traveled south.  Home of the Alamo, Sea World, the River Walk, and all the things big cities have to offer. This time we stayed near The Trail of Missions so decided we should check them out. We learned they are part of the National Park system for those of you filling your books with National Park stamps.

There are still five missions that were built along the San Antonio River only a few miles apart. The Alamo is the furthest north and is now in a busy part of town. To stand on that hallowed ground where 170 people gave their lives was humbling.

Spain and the Catholic Church established each community in the mid-seventeen hundreds. The info said they trained the natives to be good citizens of the crown and to protect them as they took over their country.

The buildings are still beautiful. Here are pictures. I paused to imagine the land I stood on was Mexico belonging to Spain at the time the places and people prospered with fertile soil, many skills, and God in the center of their society.

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For a young state Texas has been under the flag of six different countries.

For those who are tracking our movement we are leaving San Antonio to head south to the Rio Grande Valley and spend some time with friends at Alamo, TX. From there we are off to Big Bend National Park and points west.