by Fran Crawford and Steven Fletcher
The southern most tip of Texas was the fartherest point of our ‘03-’04
winters trip. South Padre Island is beautiful even when it is cloudy.
It would have been fun to hang out there and wander the beaches
and the tourist shops for a while but they were gearing up for
Spring Break 2004 and we had a whole list of other things we wanted
Entrance to South Padre Island
The day we hitched up to head west was overcast and very humid.
We headed north on Highway 83 from Harlingen with Laredo, Texas,
as our goal. Fran wanted to revisit the street where she lived
many years ago so we planned to stay over and explore Laredo’s
We found no RV parks in the whole area which was pretty amazing
after driving past probably 40 or 50 on the way up the highway
through the Rio Grande Valley. None of the RV books we had listed
parks in the Laredo area so we parked our house in a restaurant
parking lot and explored the town. After dinner at the Mexican
restaurant, we hitched up and headed north on 83/35 to where the
two highways separated. Continuing on highway 83 we found the Vaquero
Village RV Park and spent the night.
Next day we started early with Marathon, TX, as our destination.
At Carrizo Springs we took U.S. 277 west to Eagle Pass where we
refueled and had lunch. Just north of a little town called Quemado
we stopped at a rest area so Steve could check the tires and Fran
could check the restroom (wink, wink) and then we proceeded onward.
But not far.
On a two way/two lane highway, being passed now and then by faster
moving vehicles a SUV passed us with the folks motioning back toward
our rig. A check in the mirrors revealed a wobbling wheel so we
quickly pulled off the road. We were fortunate that the folks who
passed us alerted us to the problem so we could get off to the
side of the road before the wheel came off and rolled into the
road to caused an accident.
Thanks to our emergency road service and their serviceman Marvin,
dispatched from Uvalde sixty five miles away, we were back on the
road three and a half hours later. We had to adjust our destination
a bit. We would need to stay in a larger town to find a replacement
for the wheel we’d lost. We stopped in Del Rio not suspecting
it would be ‘home’ for the next eight days. A fuel
leak in the truck required parts to be ordered then installed.
-- read about our breakdown
American Campground, the place we stayed near Del Rio, is next
to Amistad National Recreation Area. Amistad Dam holds back beautiful
International Amistad Reservoir filled by water from Devils River
and the Rio Grande. A road on top of the dam connects Texas to
Mexico and tourists, who prefer not to go any further into Mexico
can ride across the dam to a turn-around and then return to Texas.
On the road again, with a relatively short day scheduled to Marathon,
we stopped at Langtry to visit the stomping grounds and museum
of Judge Roy Bean, Justice of the Peace, and Law West of the Pecos.
Our rig parked in front ot the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center
After overnighting in Marathon and heading down the road to Big
Bend National Park we began to get a feel for how big, and awesome
it is. At the visitor center we were told the RV area was almost
full so we decided to take the rig to Study Butte or Terlingua
and explore the park from there.
Exploring Big Bend we covered all the paved roads and one 12 mile
long gravel road. Even in the overcast day the colors of everything
were amazing. The canyons are incredible, the mountains are awesome,
the cacti and other plants are beautiful, the park is ... big...
Sunset shinning through a canyon at Big Bend NP
The following day we drove the road along the Rio Grande in Big
Bend Ranch State Park to Presidio. The road is good road with great
scenery but not recommended for big rigs. We left the house in
Study Butte (pronounced StooodeeButte).
The dawn of the next day brought us to the last day of our waltz
across Texas. From Study Butte north to Alpine and State Highway
90 which took us to Interstate 10. We planned to stop overnight
in Anthony on the border of Texas and Mexico but found no RV park
readily accessible so we continued on to Butterfield Station, just
west of Deming, NM and east of the Continental Divide.
We loved waltzing through Texas even though we feel we have a
lot more to see there. Texas is big. We spent a little more than
two months there ... it would probably take six months to a year
to do it right.
river rv travel