Keeping Up With The Joneses - Barb & Greg travel blog

First stop - Roma - along the banks of the Rio Grande...

When in Roma - do as the Romans do?

This sign indicated just how close to Mexico we were.

Roma sits on small cliffs with this observation deck on the river.

Barb waits while Buddy reads his 'pee'-mail.

On the deck.

Looking across the river to the Mexico side.

And the bridge that crosses over.

These portable floodlights are used to spot illegals crossing the river.

But it looks like one got away.

The nearby bird park also looks across the river.

A closer view.

These birders were waiting for a new find.

A typical store in Roma.

These types of stores were common along the route.

At Falcon State Park you get a covered picnic table with your...

Oops - looks like the lake is high.

Cactus plants are natural here.

Boat trailers line the parking lot.

Another row of campers.

And a nature trail.

On the way back home we passed a couple of cemeteries -...

A street in the town of Rio Grande.

And a quaint boarding house.

An interesting tire pressure monitoring system on a bus we passed.

Last week we headed east down the 'valley' to visit the Wishnies at Harlingen. This week we headed west via Roma to Falcon State Park where our section of the Rio Grande's upper dam lies forming a lake on its upper side.

The highway (83) becomes less urban and more rural as you head west from here. We stopped at Roma on the way which is right on the Rio Grande River and about halfway between Laredo and Brownsville. It's a city of mixed flavors and being right across from Mexico, the cultures seem to meld.

We found an overlook that gave us a view of the river and the town of Ciudad Miquel Aleman on the other side which is about three times the 10,000 population of Roma. The overlook had not only telescopes that gave us a closeup view of the Mexican town, it also had a portable border patrol tower right next door. The window was tinted, but as I leaned over for a closer look the man in the tower peaked around the corner and waved. (I didn't think a picture was appropriate).

Now we were wondering...are we safe or should we be nervous? It probably didn't help that adjacent to the observation deck was a tall portable tower with huge spotlights - presumably to light the area at night to catch possible illegals attempting to cross the river. A closeup of the shoreline revealed a leftover inner tube - a day in the life on the border.

On to Falcon State Park - the total drive there was about an hour. But as we approached there was a sign indicating the dam down another road. I decided to see the dam first, with an international bridge going across. Barb freaked out as we approached. "Don't cross it - we don't have our passports!" Sheez - no worry - I had no plans for crossing but just an FYI - you can get into Mexico without a passport, but good luck trying to get back home.

We then headed to the park. Not only does it have camping, but (having lack of tall trees) it also has covered patios at each site. However, as we got near the lake we could tell that for some reason (they say rain from spring) has the lake higher than usual and some tables were in the water.

We had stopped earlier for diesel and some lunch to go and enjoyed a quick picnic under one of the covered tables. We saw a nature trail, but didn't partake. We drove around the boat launch area where there was a birding tower, then headed out.

On the way home we drove through the town of Rio Grande with it's historic buildings then caught this unusual setup on a luxury bus - apparently to monitor tire pressure. Wonder if I can get one.

So now we've been both east and west and still not sure which direction we'll head when we leave here in March. But we are still very anxious to go clear east for a few days to the gulf at South Padre Island when we move from our rented lot to our purchased lot at the end of the month.

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