Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

Today was a “round them up, move them out” travel day through hot, dusty Southwest Texas.  If I never see another thorn shrub or natural gas pipeline, it won’t break my heart.  Of course, the speed limit is often 75 mph but I keep below 70 while hauling the trailer.

Laredo was awful -- traffic lights, depressing fast food joints and rundown businesses -- and Eagle Pass and Del Rio were not a lot better.  It’s interesting -- you can look up ahead near the border and see this massive Mexican Flag just across the border.  We had at least two situations where you needed to turn right to stay in the U.S. and not head to the International Bridge.  

Of course, have two American immigration guys shot yesterday adds to the “stay out of Mexico” mindset that most of us have.

Just west of Laredo were these amazing highway overpasses, all stucco-colored and lovely looking.  I was trying to figure out which Congressman/Senator brought that pork home when we came to the Laredo Welcome Center.  It makes the Williston and Brattleboro sites in Vermont look like poor cousins -- to say it was ornate is an understatement.  Here’s a picture of Mary in front of it.

I got to watch a Border Patrol stop at the site.  They had a pickup hauling a trailer stopped and were apparently also using it as a training because four or five extra guys were there.  The interesting thing was the Xray truck -- a big van which slowly drove closely past one side of the stopped trailer and then past the other side.  Obviously, they have gear that can look through metal side of vans.  I think they let the guys move on after going through the items in the trailer.

Shortly thereafter, we went through a Border Patrol stop.  Of course, Penny saw the drug dog, a Doberman, and started to go nuts while I reached back for her and her collar came off -- all while trying to talk sanely to the young guy asking me questions.  We’re pretty white bread tourists -- he just waved me on.

We are at Amistad, a national recreation area on the shore of Lake Amistad which is formed by the dammed Rio Grande.  No one here besides a host camper and one other family.  We have a site overlooking the water and while there’s a little noise from the highway not too far away, it’s a nice location.  We are going to a “Cowboy Coffee” in the morning where they make coffee the old way, over a campfire -- and the park superintendent is going to talk some about border issues.

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