We had 16 months to prepare, and yet we left in a hurry. Maybe it was because we secretly thought we would never actually leave. Maybe it was because we lost track of the departure date, or that the date was April Fool’s Day. In any case, our passports, our drone, lots of RV appropriate clothes and dozens of other things remain in Florida – and not with us. Without our passports, we could not cross into Mexico and the border town of Boquillas, across the river from Big Bend.
Loading up the Comos for a day out, we ventured to Boquillas Crossing, 3 or 4 miles from the RV park anyway. A lone Border Patrol agent was bravely holding down the fort. We could see the path that led down to the Rio Grande river, but an ornate gate in the stylish block building kept us from proceeding even after we asked the agent really nicely. An elderly gentlemen slipped through with containers of water while she was distracted.
Had we been properly documented, we could have walked the half mile down to the river where a flat bottom boat would have taken us across for a small fee. Then, it was a short one mile guided stroll in to town for a small fee, and lunch at Falcons for a small fee. Know that we have to live with this regret.
Beyond disappointed, we cycled another 5 miles passing unattended illegal impromptu flea markets along the way. A Jeep meet-up had just pulled off the Old Ore Trail. The Jeeps looked super stoked to be in Big Bend, the occupants a bit rattled. Below us, the Rio Grande snaked through scrub brush, willows, and cottonwood groves. Not a wall was in sight. Except for the ornate gate at the crossing, not a fence was in sight.
The Rio Grande river slices through the imposing Sierra del Carmen range forming a steep and beautiful canyon reminiscent of Zion, Utah. A short hike from the access road took us past blooming cacti and feral horses to the mouth of the canyon where we keep seeing the same people at every popular destination. There’s actually only about 50 of us adventuring here now. What flow is left of the Rio Grande river provided a perfect swimming hole for the children of the families in the custom conversion van that had also made the hike.
Because the steep cliffs provided shade on the Mexican side, and because we were determined to have lunch in Mexico, we braved the shin deep crossing for a gourmet lunch in Mexico. We waved to the United States citizens on the far bank and thought, perhaps we will return to America one day, like after lunch.
By the time of our return, temperatures were in the triple digits. The Comos shone as transportation up and down the steep grades in the high heat. Upon return to the RV, we watched a young happy couple in their Tesla pull in next to us. They reserved the spot for 2 nights and will be sleeping in the car. Until then, the picnic table in the shade would suffice, in between sitting in the car with the A/C running high. It was heartening to see young folks taking a green approach to RV’ing.
In the morning we made dinner at breakfast to reheat in the microwave at dinnertime. Massaman curry with pineapple, vegetables and basmati rice. The propane burners can raise the temp inside by 10 degrees on a 30 minute meal so we’re experimenting with doing all the cooking in the early morning. Roxie is working hard to keep the fridge cold and the air moving in the most extreme temperatures she’s faced in tow. We’re holding our breath, hoping the constant overtime doesn’t cause her to join the great resignation.
After dinner is a sunset adventure. Tonight we took the Rio Grande Nature Trail though marshland surrounding the river and climbed to an overlook with a 360 view of the Chisos to the North, the Sierra del Carmen to the South and the Chihuahuan desert in between with a river snaking through it. It was the place to be if you are a professional sunset photographer. We watched the sun sink behind the Chisos and light up the Carmen while a Lone Ranger on horseback crossed the river into Mexico and another crossed on foot into the US. Curious, we’ll return tomorrow with binoculars!