Spring was *just* around the corner when I left Tow (Texas) – and the Texas Hill Country was about to be awash with POLLEN – TEXAS POLLEN! So… I KNEW enough to “hit the road.” I headed west to Sonora – a small dusty town on the edge of west Texas, and about 90 miles north of Del Rio – a border town.
I had flirted with the idea of camping closer to the border, particularly in Amistad National Recreation Area – just outside of Del Rio, but frankly due to the situation near the border, I was advised by “those in the know” to stay away. When I drove south through Amistad and saw the lay of the land, I had to agree with those who advised me. That’s not to say that private campgrounds are dangerous – I’m sure that most are not. As the old saying goes – there’s safety in numbers.
Special note: This is a much shorter post than my usual. Due to the nature of the issue I’m reporting on, I’m recording my thoughts into the video above – and NOT so much in writing here.
Del Rio, Texas
Upon my visit to Del Rio for a day (only with my truck), I began to understand why the advice I’d received from other RV’ers was wise counsel. I learned a few important things upon my visit to the United States southern border. Among them are the U.S. Border Patrol has their hands full (see my video for my story of a very disturbing encounter with some “travelers” fresh across the border) and the Rio Grande is NOT at all what I expected (again – see the video.)
In our current culture, I’m choosing my written words in this post very carefully – and you’ll note my video (unlike virtually all of my other videos here on RVAcrossAmerica.net) is NOT from YouTube – just a sign of what’s happening to video creators like myself in 2021. So… suffice to say, I’d rather put my thoughts on my border visit into the video than record them here.
I visited with a homeowner named “Joe” who lives right on the Rio Grande. He knew about the individuals I had seen a few minutes earlier (who were corralled by the Border Patrol) and he shared some of his concerns and frustrations as a homeowner living on the border.
UPDATE!!! Del Rio is IN the news and the Mayor has spoken out about what is happening to his city. He tells a compelling story and shares how the mis-handling of this crisis is directly impacting his residents HERE.
Big Bend National Park
I’m including a few photos from a visit to the SW corner of Big Bend National Park (I highly recommend visiting this region.) I had an extended discussion with a law enforcement ranger while there and hiked a canyon along the Rio Grande. The water body was so small and calm, at first I just thought it was a creek – not a river serving as an international border.
Big Bend NP is located about 100 miles south of Alpine, a college town situated in west Texas – but still over 200 miles east of El Paso – Texas never ends! Incidentally, if you enter Texas on the Louisiana border to the east and drive to El Paso, you’re looking at about a 900 mile drive!
I’m going to share more about Big Bend NP in another post, but for now, I’m including a few photos that illustrate what its like to be along the border. My visit to Big Bend was associated with a weeks stay in Alpine, Tx. – I highly recommend staying in the area as there is much to do and see – including a decommissioned United States fort named after a leading CONFEDERATE figure! When visiting Big Bend, be sure to visit Terlingua – more on that in an upcoming post!
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30 thoughts on “A visit to the border – an RV’ers perspective…”
Thanks for that video and your insight. When patients in my office tell me that “there’s no problem at the border” I usually suggest that they go down there, take a look for themselves and then come back and let me know what they found. You did just that. It’s impossible for some to ignore the drive-by media reports but it’s another thing to try to ignore your own eyes and the words of the people who live there in harm’s way. Very interesting that the Democrats in Washington D.C. argue that walls don’t work yet they constructed a wall around the Capitol Building. Apparently it’s the same old double talk again. It did strike me that people have waterfront homes that face Mexico. Logistically, if a 10 foot wall was put in their backyard, how would that affect their life and value of their home? Essentially they would no longer be waterfront, they would be facing a wall. What a mess of a situation. Thanks again.
There’s nuthin like going to the border and seeing the mess for yourself. Things have clearly deteriorated in Del Rio since my visit and I fear that all border/near border areas will suffer as well – and then farther into the interior. I believe Thomas Jefferson had some solid advice on how we should respond to what our “leaders” are allowing to happen to our nation. Al
After reading your post, I will be unfollowing you. Putting CONFEDERATE in all caps, as if it’s something you admire, was the last straw. You can be as biggoted as you want, but I don’t have to follow you. Maybe you should focus on your own good fortune of being born in this country by pure luck and stop describing others who are less fortunate so poorly.
You misinterpreted my reason for caps on CONFEDERATE – I put it in caps because its SURPRISING that a Confederate leader would have a US Fort named after him – there’s a story behind it that’s coming soon but since you’re unfollowing me, I guess you’ll never know.
As to your advice in your last sentence, you have NO idea of who I am and how I view my good fortune – but I will share this – I have a STRONG sense of JUSTICE – these people who are crossing our border ILLEGALLY are CRIMINALS. If you can’t see that, I suggest you stick to books and journals more at your level – such as those written for pre-schoolers.
Can you say Cancel Culture? Why is it that he can’t express his point of view and have you either leave quietly into the night or discuss it intelligently knowing that in the end you may agree to disagree? I think that your comment is really the problem with America today.
You’ve got Adrien pegged. A typical leftist (actually marxist) – the only opinion allowed is the one they approve of. Intelligent, intellectual discourse? Yea sure, its about as likely with Adrien as with any NAZI party insider, Soviet insider, or CCP insider. If she/he/it has truly left, it truly is their loss. Al
Wait I thought Trumpters all liked the Soviets now?
Dont be too shocked, what he did is no big deal. The Deocrats created the KKK and LBJ did welfare to keep them on the plantation. Biden said I’ll keep y’all in chains. Democrats re either stupid or evil.
You know your history.
ok, now I am out too,
I stuck around after you while bashing democrats trying to make health care affordable put your hand out after you got sick but there is plenty of good content out their I will not support your ignorance with my attention or dollars.
Thanks Ray for your “insights”. I apologize profusely for having an opinion and view that differs from yours. I fully realize that’s not allowed in today’s society. I will write on the board 1000x “I MUST CONFORM” That said… now I’m moving on.
What was the surveillance when Trump was President in this area? Has the number of people working on border patrol declined? It looks like one could get into the U.S. quite easily at this point. What are your suspicions about who might be funding the people from the Congo (for instance)? All I am saying is that this is a bipartisan issue – and the U.S. has to come up with a fair and reasonable immigration policy – and then enforce it. It also has to let the rulers of other countries know that they are responsible for agrarian reform and other civil rights for their citizens. Mexico can’t do it alone. Third world countries controlled by a few super rich families must take steps to end poverty and suffering – thus curtailing the urge to leave and get to the U.S. A strong border/immigration policy by the U.S. should slow down massive illegal immigration from Central America and other countries. Democrats and Republicans have to arrive at a sound policy that is fair to all.
Thank you for your thoughts. FACT: Trump had the border under control. FACT: Now it is NOT under control. Period.
As to solving the world’s problems – I’d be glad to discuss/debate with you. I see you’re in California, when you can, come to the United States, and I’ll meet with you and we can talk about it. I’ll agree that the USA needs a functional LEGAL immigration system. The fact that it needs work (and lots of it), does NOT in any way, shape or form excuse the current mayhem on the border as we are being over-run by CRIMINALS – who commit a crime the moment they cross the border ILLEGALLY – a policy CLEARLY supported (and encouraged) by the current interloper.
Wish more people saw what you did. Thanks for putting this out. It’s very bad for the US.
Thats why I shared it. Even the mayor of Del Rio (who happens to be a “D”) is trying to tell Washington he can’t handle the surge!
An eye opener for sure! Thank you for honest views of ALL areas you visit including this; we trust you for authentic – real. Criminy, I’ve been following your travels nearly since day 1. Get back to WY soon!
Thanks for your kind words. Wyoming is definitely on the docket for later this spring – and again later this summer (with Rapid City SD inbetween!)
The Rio Grande used to be just that, the fifth longest River in America and very vital to the citrus growers in southern Texas. Now it is nothing like it used to be, like the mighty Colorado, because o dams and diversions, and it’s tributaries being blocked and used in Mexico. This article from 2003 explains the frustrations of al of its users. https://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/the-end-of-the-river/
So now, you do not have to swim cattle and horses across its currents as in the old west, just wade! Time and he masses of people have seen fit to do other things with the natural flow of things!
Wow – thanks for the info. Great stuff.
These days the Rio Grande has so many dams across it, that it is a trickle by the time it reaches El Paso. Most of the water in the river at Big Bend comes from the Rio Conchos in Mexico. There are monsoon rains in the summertime, and that can cause some impressive flooding, but overall, the level of the river at BIBE is controlled by the release of water (or lack thereof) from Mexico. That said, there’s generally some great, challenging whitewater beyond Rio Grande Village (eastern edge of BIBE). The trip is called the Lower Canyons, and is done as a multi-day float trip. I’ve never done it, but if you’re interested, just Google Lower Canyons Rio Grande. The Big Bend Natural History Association has a great video of one of the river trips on YouTube.
There are times of the year when it can be hazardous to cross the Rio and it’s much deeper than ankle height. Springtime is generally the lowest water level, because the farmers in Mexico want the water to be kept there, and not released.
UDA’s (undocumented aliens) do come across the border into the park, and BIBE has its own US Border Patrol presence. It has to be a challenging journey in that part of Mexico. The terrain is not exactly hospitable. And this time of year, it’s generally very hot and dry. I have long wondered how these people make a journey hundreds of miles on foot (there were Salvadoran UDA’s coming into BIBE a couple of years ago; not sure of the situation now). Where are all of these people getting food and water?
Thanks for sharing – and good questions! Clearly their travels are WELL FUNDED (by whom??) and the cartels are getting RICH crossing them (illegally) into our nation. Even the Mayor of Del Rio is screaming at the feds in DC for mis-handling things so badly.
And a P.S. about the river. There’s a great “then and now” exhibit at the Park’s Rio Grande Village (RGV) Visitor Center.
Oh, and one more thing. When the river is low, it’s a great time to do a boomerang. Paddle up Santa Elena Canyon and float back down.
Thanks for the info , I am driving to Las Vegas from Pompano Beach FL in two weeks . Because of this I will take the northern route . This is not good, how will our country continue to exist ?
good question – I suggest we consult what Thomas Jefferson had to say!
In May my wife and I are planning our second visit to Big Bend this year.
Planning on staying in the Lajitas area, right in the border.
Do you see any cause for security concerns at this time for Big Bend?
YES. The entire situation is out of control. Just listen to the democrat mayor of Del Rio – he’s overwhelmed, food shortages, increased crime… and its not limited to that small border town.
Yeah Hollywood always tried to make crossing the “Reo Grande” seem like it was more of a challenge then it really is.. Sad