Saturday, January 11, 2014


With our decision to head west instead of south made, Thursday around lunch time, we pulled out of Port Isabel. This followed a final visit with Jeremy of Bear8Photo talking what? why - travel of course.

The following post is a long one to be sure - two days of travel and photos - Thursday and Friday.

The craziness of the Rio Grande Valley area between Harlingen and Mission. To be honest - we have no idea how snowbirds can spend their winter here….. we couldn't' get past this area fast enough. I'm sure along the interstate isn't the best representation.

So happy to be on some open road.

Although we are away from the larger cities there are many small towns along this route - the 83. I've already started to get them mixed up. I think this is Rio Grande City.

The scenery here. I'm amazed that I got this shot - quick reflexes even while stunned. Derek looked too which almost made us hit the cars in front of us. We laughed that they - there were at least two girls - must be the cause of many an accident - and much beer drinking.

No more pictures until the end of the day. Who heads into the city of Laredo - and I mean right through it at rush hour on a Friday night. Well, we do of course.

One of my best travel stories is based in Laredo. Back in 2008 we got completely lost. I will take full responsibility. For some reason I missed the Interstate sign and told Derek to keep going - that is until we were staring at a fence that told us that if we go through we will be in Mexico! Derek had to turn our truck and trailer around in a very small grassed area. A lot of silence in the truck that day.

Five years later we had no problem. I recall that there was a lot of road construction at the time and many of the road signs were temporary - and small. 

We pulled into the Home Depot on the north side of the city at about 5:30pm. Time to think about dinner - we had missed lunch. With it being Derek's Birthday we decided to try Texas Roadhouse. We may have been more adventurous but we weren't up to driving around and the restaurant was at the same parking lot - and we haven't been to a Texas Roadhouse before.

Nice to see Texas Cowboys at the Texas Roadhouse - seems right for some reason.

We decided to go all out and even ordered a Cactus Blossom. Probably better for a larger group then the three of us - we barely dented it. 

The three of us for Derek's 49th Birthday with our HUGE meals. Reminded us of our Big Texan Steakranch meal back in the spring.

Dad and daughter.

Since Cassia was convinced that her Dad needed a Birthday cake we headed over to HEB for one. A very Mexican HEB - we thought we had gone to Mexico.

A pecan pie fit the bill.

A good visit passing through Laredo - still not a fan of the traffic and ramp system but at least we didn't get lost.

This trip along the Rio Grande is retracing a lot of our trip from 2008. Nice to be back after five years.

We recalled a very nice Texas Visitor Center just north of Laredo. A good stop. If we didn't need to stop for dinner it would have been a good overnight place although I'm thinking that we would have been with the semis.

Painting going on inside so the travel fellow is set up here. He was nice enough to go inside for some info for us.

All of the Texas occupation flags. 

Continuing north on the 83. Our first of two inspection stations that day.

The area from Laredo to Del Rio has a booming oil and gas industry. Hard to see a bad economy in these parts. This is just one of many worker RV campgrounds that we saw.

A pecan farm just after Eagle Pass. You may recall that we entered the USA from Mexico last March through Eagle Pass. Funny to be back here again - a amazing full circle.

And just passed that we saw some interesting animals on our right. Derek pulled over and I jumped out to take a few photos - it was right at the entry to this ranch.

Shy guys.

Turns out they are Gemsbok - native to Southern Africa.

After a pit stop in Del Rio we were passing over the Amistad Reservoir. As we were doing so I recalled that the last time we were here in the dark and I got this picture of Derek.

I found the picture on our Desert Wanderings blog.

A neat area although we have never stopped. Might be a good place for you to spend some time Bear8Photo.

A few miles west of Seminole State Park is the Pecos River. Last time we missed this rest area which is on the left side of the road coming from the east. (It's easy to miss so make sure to pull off about 2 miles past the state park - the road goes up - you can't see the river from here.) We had stopped just before the bridge but I had seen the pavilions from there. We didn't miss it this time. It offers and amazing view of the river.

The view of the bridge from the lower pull out. A very photogenic bridge.

Crossing the river. I could see our van in the shadow of the bridge but we can't really see it in the photo. Darn.

Our timing was perfect as we pulled into the Langtry (Judge Roy Bean) Texas Visitor Center at 5:00pm. There is an official boon docking area at the Community Center - dry camping for a suggested donation of $2 for the night. 

We are going to stay two.

Enjoying the Center, the warm weather, dry air, blue skies and wifi.


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  1. I see you finally got your chicken fried steak! All of the HEB's in the Valley (and along the border) are like being in Mexico! =)

    1. I did, I did!!!! But they call it Country Fried Steak! LOL

  2. Nice to get away from the RGV, we did not enjoy that area either with all the traffic. Love the Texas rest areas and visitor centers. Enjoy the warm weather.

    1. George - Texas rest areas and VC are the best! Great that you can overnight at them.

  3. Nice river stop....glad you didn't slide by that stop! And thumbs up Cassia for voting on the celebration pie :O) Can't go wrong with pecan.... Enjoyed the TX day we'll get there!

    1. Guess you guys weren't up to the Casita Rally without a Casita. Too bad we could be visiting right now!


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