Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

Hand Drawn Ferry

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Click for Sullivan City, Texas Forecast

About twenty people from our RV park planned a crossing to Mexico by bicycle and we decided to go along.  For two reasons; 1) It was the coldest day of the year, and 2) Rick’s knee was bothering him, we opted to follow along in the jeep.  Here are a few of the bikers  making preparations.


By now, you’re probably thinking that we spend all of our time in Mexico.  Well, we do make quite a few crossings.  This entry into Mexico was made by way of the only human powered ferry along any US border.

The Rio Grande ferry crossing is located at Sullivan City, Texas.  The ferry is known as the Los Ebanos Ferry because it has been tethered to a couple of Texas Ebony trees for years. This crossing has been in use since the 1740’s.

Spanish explorers and colonists, under Jose de Escandon, made use of this Rio Grande crossing in the 1740’s.  A salt trail led from here to El Sal del Rey (40 mi. NE).  The ford was used by Mexican War troops circa 1846, by  Texas Rangers chasing cattle rustlers from 1874, and by smugglers in many eras, especially during the American prohibition years, 1920’s and 30’s.  The ferry and inspection station were established in 1950.  Named for the ebony trees here, this is known as the only government licensed, hand-pulled ferry on any boundary of the United States.

We tried to make this crossing last year, but it was closed due to high water.

The ferry can carry two cars and some pedestrians.  A round trip for the ferry is about 10 minutes.  Here, some of the bikers and a couple of cars made it across and the rest are waiting to follow.


The town on the Mexican side of the river is Ciudad Gustav Díaz Ordaz in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.  By the way, the Mexican name for the Rio Grande is El Rio Bravo del Norte, or more simply, El Rio Bravo, like the John Wayne movie.

We were impressed with the conditions on the Mexican side of the river.  This is the approach from the ferry to the Mexican customs and immigration station.


The town of Gustav Díaz Ordaz is quite old, but a lot more prosperous than its US counterpart of Sullivan City. Here is one of the many nice houses that we spotted on the way through town.


The entire group gathered for a wonderful lunch at the Restaurante Vallarta.


The wait for the ferry was extremely short as we entered Mexico, but we had about an hour wait on our return.  We would have headed to another crossing, but we weren’t in any hurry.  The bikers made it back with no wait.

While we waited, we spotted some very nice rest rooms and there were vendor stations selling food and souvenirs.


Finally, we were next to go on the ferry.  This picture shows some interesting things.  Uncharacteristically, the Mexican side of the crossing was far better maintained.  You can see the Mexican cement ramps and walls to prevent erosion. On the US side you’ll notice the unimproved dirt road heading to the Homeland Security station.  The road was full of ruts and holes.  Luckily, it wasn’t raining or the mud would have been incredible.


As the ferry came back to get us, we got a good shot of the boat’s “engine”.  They didn’t work all that hard.


With  the jeep loaded, we were ready for our crossing.


The southbound crossing cost $2.75 and the northbound $2.00.  Pedestrians paid $1.00 each way.  We had a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Back to Angels

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

Click for Progreso, Texas Forecast

We had a nice visit, last weekend, from some of our Dallas/Fort Worth friends, Linda, Bill, Carla and David.

Across the border we headed for a nice lunch at Rick’s favorite restaurant, Angels.


Carla was having a little fun with the tortilla chips.  We wanted to thank David for treating us to a nice meal.

Wonders Never Cease

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Click for Progreso, Texas Forecast

Well, we can’t believe it.  Having spent a lot of time in Mexico over the past few years, we have come to understand what is meant by Mexican time.  The term “mañana”  doesn’t always mean tomorrow.

Our previous blog entry (Click Here) questioned the logic in beginning a massive sewer project as the busy season approached.  You can see by the two photos below that the project is now successfully completed.



While we were there, we visited a bar named Arriba, which is located about 5 blocks south and a block west of the border crossing, in the Progreso Market.

progreso-map1.jpgClick to enlarge map.

The Arriba bar is very modern, clean and everything is reasonably priced.  They also have a nice dance floor.



You can see that during the daytime,   the clientele consists of mostly Winter Texans.

Tinka decided to chow down on nachos.  A very good choice.


A report on our trip out of Mexico will follow tomorrow.

Good Luck at the Bad Timing Awards

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

Click for Progreso, Texas Forecast

Nuevo Progreso, Mexico is located just across the border from Weslaco and Progreso, Texas. (Click on Photo to Enlarge)


The town is a fairly sleepy place to go to from April through October.  During the winter, however, it becomes a bustling mecca for “Winter Texans” taking advantage of the great restaurants, shopping, visiting one of the hundreds of dentists, and stocking up on medications from nearly as many farmacias (pharmacies).


I don’t know who’s idea it was to begin a major street and sewer project at the beginning of their busy season, but somebody deserves the “Bad Timing” award for this one.  When you cross the border at the Progreso Bridge you find yourself on the main downtown street.  They have torn up the entire street.  This is normally a major parking location for visitors and residents.




These photos were taken last weekend.  We’re heading over there today and will see how much progress they’ve made.

One Stop Shopping

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

No, it’s not Wal*Mart, it’s Angels. When you cross the Mexican border, south of Weslaco, TX, and walk across the International Bridge to Nuevo Progreso, Mexico to shop or dine, you can’t go wrong with Angels.  Located about a block or two down the right-hand side of the street from the International Bridge you will run across Angels.  The door opens at the corner of the building at a 45-degree angle to the street.  It’s the only one like it.

Angels has a pharmacy, liquor, and gift store on the first floor.  Hop on the elevator and go to the 4th floor and you will find Angels Restaurant, Rick’s favorite Progreso restaurant.

As we entered the restaurant, we noticed a sign that said, “Ask your waiter for a coupon for a free teeth cleaning”.  So we did.  Our normal dentist in Progreso is Dr. Tuttle,  but we figured, for a cleaning, what the heck.  (Progreso has 200 dental offices and 500 dentists.)

After lunch, and with coupon in hand, the waiter escorted us to the 3rd floor where there are dentist and cosmetic surgery offices.  Here is a picture from the dentist office window looking back north toward the border.


The dental equipment was very modern and the dentist worked his magic on our smiles.  He used ultra-sonic cleaning techniques and for polishing, the standard rotary polishing tools.  He used hand held color photography to show features on your teeth that may need attention in the future, such as cracked fillings, etc.  These photos were displayed on a computer monitor.  The cleaning was free and there was no pressure to have any of the suggested work done immediately.  They suggested that, upon our return, we may wish to have certain things done.

Once again, it was a good experience and now we know where we can go for liposuction.