Saturday, February 12, 2011

Zapata, Texas

It is warmer now!! We are in Zapata, TX, which is located on the border west of Brownsville. This is a destination for fishermen from Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota and other Midwest states. The town is located next to Falcon Lake, which is a large expanse of the Rio Grande.

Earlier in the week we stayed three nights at Amistad Lake near Del Rio but it was so cold and windy that we didn’t experience the lake or the area. We stayed at San Pedro Flats campground and only paid $2 per night so that was nice. But we still had to use buckets for our water and could not shower since we were still winterized. We did go into Del Rio one day but it was so cold that we shopped, ate Mexican food, and came home.

It is much nicer here in Zapata. We are staying at the New Harbor Lodge and RV Park. It is not a beautiful park but the people are very friendly. When we got here we flushed out our tanks and got rid of the RV antifreeze and took long hot showers. Oh, the joy of full hookups!! We have meet some very nice people from South Dakota (Betty and Marty) and last night the four of us went to see a performance by the Alaska String Band – a family of 5 (mom, dad, and three kids) who play almost all of the string instruments and sing. They were very talented and we all enjoyed the performance.

When we arrived on Thursday, we met some brand new full timers from Kansas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. In fact, one of the guys went to Emporia State when Dean was a student there. They left for Falcon Lake State Park and tomorrow we are going to join them for a few days.

The Alaska String Band out of Juneau.

Falcon Lake: fisherman's paradise

New Harbor Lodge and RV Park.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Big Bend, Boquillas Canyon and Rio Grande CG

After two days of staying in the RV we finally ventured out and saw some more sites of this beautiful national park. On Friday we drove over to Boquillas Canyon and did a short hike. The Mexicans come across the river here and place trinkets and walking sticks on the ground for sale. Their signs say that buying these items will be a donation to the school at Boquillas, Mexico. This town is across the river from our campground, has no electricity, and is located a long way from any town in Mexico. Of course, the national park service has signs posted if you buy anything from the Mexicans the item you purchased will be confiscated and you may be prosecuted. It is a pity that these hardworking Mexicans cannot sell their products. On this hike, we were serenaded by Victor, the singing Mexican. He has a tip jar on our side of the river and he sings on the Mexican side at the entrance to the canyon.

Back at camp we did the Rio Grande nature hike adjacent to the camp. We have taken pictures of coyotes, javelina, and roadrunners around our camp.

On Saturday, we drove to Chisos Basin, which is in the mountainous center of the park. There is a campground there but the road in not recommended for trailers or vehicles over 25 feet. We hiked the Window View trail and the Basin Loop trail (which had a lot of snow on it). The Window is the areas big highlight – a cut in the mountains with a fantastic view to the west. Our next stop was the Hot Springs. After a short hike, past many historic buildings along the Rio Grande river, there is a hot pool (105 degrees). We soaked about 20 minutes and then returned to our campground for showers at the store and one load of laundry. The washers and dryers are so cheap I returned on Sunday to do another load.

Sunday was Dean’s birthday. Last year we spent his birthday at Ajo with the boondockers. This year we are spending it here in Big Bend. And it is a beautiful day. Tomorrow we leave for Amistad National Park outside of Del Rio.

Friendly coyote at Rio Grande Campground

The Window View at Chisos Mountains and the campground

Dean walking the Basin Loop Trail at the Chisos Basin area (in snow).

Hot Springs with the Rio Grande river in background

Dean in warm hat on Nature hike with Rio Grande Campground in trees.

The little town o Boquillas, Mexico across the Rio Grande from our CG.

Entrance to Boquillas Canyon

Victor, the singing Mexican

Trinkets and walking sticks for sale by Mexicans.