Section 12: Del Rio to Carizzo Springs
It was hard to pack up this morning knowing we were leaving Bob for good. We’ve grown attached. This is by far the longest we’ve stayed in one hotel, in large part because of Bob’s kindness. He offered to give us a ride to Quemado, where we left off, but not before spoiling us with more food. He scrambled some of the most delicious eggs we’ve ever had, complete with ginger, tumeric and delicious Indian flavors from his deep shelves of imported spices. He wrapped up the extras in burritos for later. We love Bob. Bob, we will miss you!
Despite the tasty breakfast we were all too happy to procrastinate on starting our day with more food.
How convenient was it that our route through Quemado took us past a cafe just dying for our business?
Yum, more breakfast food. Our oversized backpacks inspired the curiosity of our waitress and she got straight to the point with questions about what we were doing and why. In exchange she told us about Quemado, which we all agreed is a neat little place. Its economy is partially fueled by watermelon, onions and pecan crops. Sweet!
We left reluctantly with warm wishes from our waitress and the only other diner in the small space. We have good things to say about Quemado (although we have had to conveniently ignore the occasional Confederate flag). Unfortunately, we had wasted away the morning and were now starting out in the heat of the day, which by this point in the year is considerable. If we thought getting out of Del Rio was hard, this was worse! We gratefully ran (crawled) for cover at the sight of a a picnic table under a shade awning by the side of the road. Time to regroup.
After ample time sitting around (and vigorous combat with a sizeable and brazen spider - we won) we still were no closer to doing much of anything. A white pickup truck pulled into the picnic area and a middle-aged man got out. He walked over and greeted us, guessing from our backpacks that we were on an adventure. Saúl was a fellow hiker and had spent many a day lugging a backpack, most recently on a section hike of New Mexico’s portion of the CDT. The hiker community pulls through again! Within moments we were chatting away about hiking and adventures and New Mexico as the sun beat down overhead. Saúl lived in Eagle Pass, our destination for the day about 16 miles down the road, and he repeatedly offered to give us a ride warning us that “today’s gonna be a hot one”.
Why hike today when we could procrastinate and hike this tomorrow?!
It didn’t take much convincing. We had planned on taking tomorrow off and decided to switch the days and get an early start in the morning. Yes please and thank you Saúl! Hearing our deliberations, he worked out a plan for getting us back here tomorrow so we wouldn’t have to hitch.
He helped heave our backpacks into the back of his truck and off we went, ready for a tour of the area through Saúl’s eyes. He and his wife run an adult daycare business in Eagle’s Pass and recently hiked the Camino de Santiago in Spain with a church group. It’s on the bucket list for both of us so we had plenty of questions. When we reached Eagle Pass, Saúl gave us a mini-tour. He drove us down to the river, wanting to impress upon us how close it was. We haven’t seen the Rio since Langtry and the rush we felt at seeing it again reinforced how attached we have become. It’s always good to remember how close we are to Mexico. It’s special that there's another country only a stone's throw away. Saúl furthered the idea by sharing that both sides of the river are his home. He and his family cross the border every other day, they do business there, they shop there, and they have more family there. It’s a way of life down here on the border, a sentiment echoed in most of the border towns we have passed through.
Saúl wanted to stop by his wife’s business so we could meet Marta, the woman who would be giving us a ride back to Quemado tomorrow. She drove a van there every day to pick up the handful of seniors that used the adult daycare facilities. At the office we met Saúl’s wife and daughter and Marta, as well as one of the doctors who volunteers at the center. Everyone was friendly and interested and kind. When we had solidified our plan for the morning, Saúl’s wife dropped us off at the hotel, where a dark and ice-cold room awaited.