Friday, February 26, 2010

Pontoon Boat Ride on the Rio Grande River

Roger here....

Time is short for us here in the Rio Grande Valley, so we are cramming in our last few adventures.

Dianne here: One of the perks of staying at Bentsen Palm Village RV Park (or buying a lot at Retama) is that if you get a group of eight together, for a small fee you can charter the pontoon boat owned and operated by Bentsen Palm Village. Back to Roger....

Yesterday, our next-door neighbors and new friends from Ontario
(here at Bentsen Palm Village) invited us to go with them on a pontoon boat trip up and down the Rio Grande. Kathy is a retired elementary school teacher and Chuck works in real estate. Others joining us on the trip were Paul and Suzanne from Quebec
and Bob and Merry. By the way, that is Dianne in the orange (Texas orange?) hooded sweatshirt.

Steve, who led us on our kayaking trip, steered the pontoon on the two-and-half-hour excursion.

It was a bit chilly that morning, but the sun was bright.
We got to see the downstream portion of the river this time, which was a little more developed than the sights we saw from the kayak. No wildlife pictures this time; several attempts, but all blurry.

We were able to see several parks on the Mexican side of the river and a few restaurant/bars
(Riverside, with the excursion boat,
that has running water; Pepe's, with the thatched roof,

and no running water
- but renowned margaritas) on the American side. We have not visited either establishment yet, but there is always next year.

We traveled all the way to the
dam that controls water flow but does not create a reservoir. We stopped at a public park on the U.S. side of the river for a restroom break.

(Dianne here:
I took this photo of a popular Mexican park across the river from the Texas park where we stopped for our potty break. It was very disorienting, because the river is so twisty-curvy that at this point Mexico was actually NORTH of Texas!! I just had to photograph the Mexican park from my vantage point south looking north.

Finally, we made our way back to "Smugglers' Cove."
"Smugglers' Cove" is a hidden offshoot of the river, where the pontoon is tethered. By the way, Smugglers' Cove was actually used for smuggling at one time. When Mike Rhodes bought the land, it was completely covered with plant growth and not navigable. He cut it all back and dredged the cove to build the boat docks.
Dianne again: Don't get the wrong idea; it wasn't drugs or even liquor or immigrants being smuggled.

The farmer who owned the land before Mike bought it was smuggling more than his share of water for irrigation from the river. The U.S. and Mexico share water rights to the Rio Grande River.

Another adventure in our new home in south Texas!

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