"Sure," we said, "we're up for an adventure."
And that's how we ended up driving two hours with Susan and Darren, through pretty roadside wildflowers, under a brilliant blue sky to Eagle Pass, Texas, a town of 50,000 on the border with Mexico. First we had lunch at Wendy's, and then we were to meet Clay and Katie at noon at a park next to the border crossing.
Passports in our packs, along with water and driver's licenses (just in case), we set off following the directions Clay had written for the potential walk. Clay and Katie assured us they cross the border here all the time and haven't had any problems in Piedras Negras, Mexico.
From the park, it was about a two block walk to the border. Since we weren't in a car, we walked up to the U.S. border crossing window and paid our 50 cents to cross the bridge.
|Pretty art at the border crossing bridge |
(with barbed wire in the background)
|Susan M., Darren, Bob, Clay and Katie|
on the International Bridge 2 over the Rio Grande
|Border boundary line on the bridge|
|The Rio Grande has lots of water in it here|
|Where we'll be walking - Paseo del Rio|
Where we walked was only a minute portion of Piedras Negras, Mexico, a city of 500,000; ten times bigger than Eagle Pass, Texas. From our vantage point, we saw only the river and Gran Plaza.
Clay and Katie made a big deal about the veterinary clinic in Mexico. Eagle Pass, Texas, apparently does not have a veterinarian in an office, only a mobile vet.
We walked about three blocks on the city streets, then headed down to Paseo del Rio, a broad path along the Rio Grande.
|Darren, Susan M., Clay, Katie and Bob|
Along Paseo del Rio is a huge retaining wall to prevent erosion when the Rio Grande reaches flood stage. The river then spreads out along the lower U.S. side of the river until it subsides.
|Ramps and stairs down the retaining wall - Piedras Negras|
|Retaining wall along Paseo del Rio|
From the river we walked up ramps to the Grand Plaza. It was Palm Sunday so all the vendors weren't out today.
|Coming up the ramp into the Gran Plaza|
|Katie, Susan M., me, Bob and Clay|
|The Piedras Negras sign|
|Businesses (dentists/doctors/church/art museum) around |
the Gran Plaza
|Kids playing on the artwork.|
|Dentists and opticians abound in border towns.|
|Palm Sunday at Santuaria de Guadalupe|
|Artistic shade (kids played on it too)|
|The fenced-off entrance to the border crossing pedestrian bridge|
The walk then took us through business and residential areas of Eagle Pass, TX. I'll tell you what, this side of the river didn't look much different from the Mexican side.
|Another sculpture on this bridge|
|Looking back at International Bridge 1|
|Eagle Pass businesses|
|Painted U.S. flag under the International Bridge #1|
|Border fence built during the George Bush, Jr., presidency|
|Formerly the Eagle Pass Post Office; now the Public Library|
(currently undergoing renovations)
|Maverick County Courthouse on El Camino Real|
|Eagle Pass grocery store|
|Notice van on left side of photo.|
|Fort Duncan Hospital|
After the walk, Susan M., Darren, Bob and I drove over to the Lucky Eagle Casino. None of us had been there before. We took the opportunity (after our 6.2 mile walk) to walk through this large casino. We didn't gamble, not even a penny.
Then it was back to San Antonio for us. Good walk.
Susan's considering submitting the walk we did today as a Volksmarch, but there are a lot of logistics, foremost is the American Volkssport Association obtaining insurance. People who come to walk would have to have their passports with them. We'll see how it goes.