Jan 092009

We left Mission, Texas yesterday morning and traveled northwest and then north along U.S. Highway 83, which ranged from a divided four lane highway to a winding two lane road, as it made its way through the small towns of La Joya, Rio Grande City, and Zapata before bringing us to the busy border city of Laredo.  I found myself humming the old cowboy tune Streets of Laredo as we bypassed the center of the city on State Route 20.

We were surprised when we passed the huge Falcon Reservoir. Who knew there was that much water in West Texas? The lake goes on and on for miles, and I bet there is some darned good bass fishing on it.

The small village of San Ygnacio, about 35 miles south of Laredo, looks like it could be a speed trap. The speed limit is 60 miles per hour on the highway, you come around a curve and it drops immediately to a 35 miles per hour school zone, with no warning, and there was a cop sitting there with his radar gun. We were poking along, so it wasn’t a problem for us, but I bet they write a few tickets in San Ygnacio.

On the north side of Laredo we joined Interstate 35 for ten miles, and then exited it when U.S. 83 branched off again. We were undecided whether to take U.S. 83 all the way to Uvalde and then pick up U.S. 90 into Del Rio, or to get off of it at Carrizo Springs and follow U.S. 277 through Eagle Pass and on to Del Rio.

There was a big rest area with a Texas Travel Info Center right at the exit when we got off I-35, so I pulled in to do a walk around the bus and van, then went inside to ask for advice on which route would be best. The friendly lady behind the counter said that there was road construction on Highway 277 just before Del Rio that might delay us, and that we could expect to be stopped at least once, if not twice by the Border Patrol on U.S. 277. I have nothing against the folks protecting our borders, in fact I love them for the job they do and we had nothing to hide, but we opted to stay on U.S. 83 just to save time.

The route was all two lane road with very little traffic, the kind we love the most. We saw a lot of deer, including one handsome buck with a lame rear leg. Terry spotted a snake on the road right before I ran over it. She also saw a Northern Crested Caracara, and there were plenty of hawks.

Somewhere around Crystal City we came upon a Border Patrol checkpoint, and stopped to answer their questions and let their drug dog have a sniff or two, then they wished us well and sent us on our way. But not before one of the agents spotted our Escapees RV Club decal on the passenger window and wanted to know what we escaped from. We all got a laugh out of that, and we thanked them for the job they do for our country.

At Uvalde, we turned west on U.S. Highway 90, passed the cemetery where Vice President John Nance Garner is buried, and then drove 70 miles into the setting sun to Del Rio, hoping we’d get there before dark. We made it with about 30 minutes to spare, and parked at the WalMart Super Center on the north side of town, which has long spaces marked for RV parking only, on the south side of the building.

Apparently very few people know about this, because there was only us and a Prevost bus conversion in the eight RV sites, but there were about ten RVs parked on the edge of the main parking lot, including one clod with both of his slides out and his jacks down on the pavement. After a quick dinner, we went into the store and did some shopping, and thanked the assistant manager for allowing us to park overnight. It’s important to let RV friendly businesses know that you are patronizing them, and that we appreciate their courtesy.

We covered about 330 miles yesterday, most of it on two lane roads, and though we were tired by bedtime, it sure is nice to be on the road again.

 Thought For The Day – No one knows what’s in my mind until it comes out of my mouth.

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Nick Russell

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  3 Responses to “Texas Two Lane Roads”

  1. I would not call every motorhomer a “clod” because they have their slides out at Wal Mart. I know of motorhomes that have a bedroom slide, that aside from being inconvenient to crawl over their partner to get into the bed, do not allow you to open bedroom drawers and closets with the slide in. I also have a very high line motorhome parked next to me right now that has the furnace vents covered when the living room slides are in. Poor design, but you may want to run your furnace if it gets cold. The next point is that many motorhome manufacturers say to not put out the slides without leveling first. If the parking lot is pretty flat then this should be no problem but otherwise you have to level in order to put out the slides. Of course you should but pads under the jacks to protect the pavement.

  2. Good choice on the Del Rio Walmart. We stayed a night last year at the Eagle Pass Walmart. Bad choice. The place was packed. We found a space behind a truck by their loading docks. Even early in the morning the lot was packed. Locals told us it’s like this everyday. One to avoid.

  3. Nick, there is nothing wrong with putting out slides in a WalMart if you need to, and can do it safely. Even the SKP boondocking etiquette brochure says that….We often put ours out on the left side to make the rig usable. You just need to be careful that you park by a curb or in a safe area…..

    You should not use Jacks, though. They can easily damage pavement. If you are that unlevel then you should find another place…..

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