Well, we’ve moved on back to Rockport on the central Texas coast. As it turned out, we probably didn’t have to leave the area since Hurricane Ike turned north and hammered Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula. However, we didn’t want to take any chances.
Last year, about this time, we were leaving Florida and overwhelmed by the love-bugs that smash easily on the front of vehicles and destroy the paint. Well, it turns out that love-bugs are pests throughout the Gulf Coast. They are not as dense as you would find in Florida, but they are certainly present near Rockport.
As we moved away from the coast, the love-bugs vanished and were replaced by swarms of butterflies all the way to Laredo. They are still messy, but not as destructive as the love-bugs.
We had considered heading south to South Padre, but settled on going west to Laredo, Texas. Laredo is located on the Rio Grande, about 180 miles due west of Corpus Christi.
We had made arrangements to stay at Lake Casa Blanca State Park. Because we were “evacuees” we were allowed to stay free. There were several people that didn’t get reservations in on time and had to “dry camp”. In other words, find a place in a parking lot and camp without electric or water. Luckily we had 50 Amp service and city water. As with most of the state parks, Lake Casa Blanca had large, well maintained RV sites. The park was quite active and has a fishing and swimming lake within its borders.
We expected a small, older town. It turns out that there are several new subdivisions to house the beneficiaries of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Interstate 35 terminates at the Mexican border and is a major entry point for goods being moved between Mexico, Canada, and the US.
In the older part of town we noticed a variety of businesses selling various crafts. Here’s one with wire statuary.
The buildings in the downtown area date back a number of years.
The building on the left has ornate tile-work.
Many of the Laredo streets were obviously designed for horse traffic rather than cars. They are extremely narrow.
On Friday, we decided to head across the border to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico in the state of Tamaulipas. We parked on the US side and walked across Bridge #1. From the bridge we had a nice view of a beautiful riverside park in Laredo.
Looking southeast from the bridge we see the Rio Grande and Bridge # 2.
On the south end of the bridge we found ourselves at the Mexican Point of Entry.
Before we crossed, we asked where the good restaurants were and were told that many of them had closed. It appeared that the streets were quite busy, but we found no upscale restaurants near the border.
Had we arrived a week later the place would have been crammed with people celebrating diesyseis de septembre (September 16th), which is Mexican Independence Day. You can see that the vendors in the park were getting prepared for the holiday.
We spent a few hours in Nuevo Laredo and had guacamole and a couple of beers at one of the few restaurants we found. We left Mexico carrying a tube of arthritis cream and a couple of bottles of Bacardi Añejo which is made in Mexico and makes the best rum and cokes.
Friday night we found a very good restaraunt, the Palenque Grill, which is located near the state park at 7720 Bob Bullock Loop. The food was excellent. Tinka had the pollo asado and I had the sirloin steak.
In this area, it appears that the hunters set themselves up in mobile deer stands. We saw a number of vehicles set up with racks, and seats on the roof.
This one gave us an idea for upgrades to our jeep. I especially like the seats mounted to the hood.
Sunday we made our uneventful way back to Rockport and were able to set up between rain storms.