Section 14: Laredo to McAllen
Happy Cinco de Mayo! A celebrated date that marked Mexico’s victory over French forces way back in the day. It became popular again in the US in the
1960s as a celebration of Mexican culture. Corporate beer companies (Modelo and Corona) took advantage of the date and its appeal to the Chicano population by using it in their advertisements. Ads like Corona De Mayo were printed in mass in the 1980s. We had forgotten about it until we passed by a school, which was holding a Cinco de Mayo celebration outside. Tiny children skipped around wearing traditional dress - the girls with brilliantly colored skirts and tops and the boys in white shirts and hats. So cute! We wanted to investigate more but got self-conscious about standing around and staring at kids for too long.
Westward bound today! Back toward Roma to catch up on the miles we skipped by bussing ahead. We started the day in Rio Grande City and were pleasantly surprised by how well preserved the streets were. Lots of historical markers and signs and original buildings. We enjoyed the aged structures which came in an array of pastel colors and had Spanish, Mexican and French architectural influences.
Fort Ringgold was on our route. The fort hasn't been active since the 1940s when it monitored the Rio and served as a safeguard against border strife. Another historical marker informed us that the founder of Rio Grande City, Henry Clay Davis, was from Tenny’s home state of Kentucky.
Later in life he traveled to Texas thanks to his enthusiasm for adventure (sound familiar!?).
He served in the military during the mid-1800’s defending the border from Laredo to Brownsville. After galavanting around the area for many years he settled down, married a wealthy local and established a crossing in Rio Grande City.
We used a Valero gas station as an excuse to stop. Bathroom, snacks, water break, the usual. A customer out front struck up a conversation, telling us that he had seen us walking earlier today. First he gave us his story, he’s from up north in the Dakotas, but now he and his family live in the borderlands. He was with his father when he spotted us and his father, seeing our backpacks, commented that girls shouldn't be out doing that. This guy proudly reassured us that he scolded his dad and told him that these are different times and women can do whatever they want. Heck yeah we can!
Yesterday’s bus system treated us well and at the end of the day we hopped back on. It was a different driver today but as we were boarding we saw Dolores pulling up in a different bus and yelled a quick hello. We’re becoming regulars and we like it. Only 100 miles left to Brownsville!