Cave Dwellings: Our Day "On The Town"
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Our Day "On The Town"

When we woke up this morning it was 59 degrees and the sun was just coming up...By the time we took our walk a very thick fog had come in and the sun disappeared. Yesterday we washed a load of rugs and rags and it was so sunny and windy we decided to hang them the Clampetts...Trust me, many campers do this on a regular basis. It got to 90 degrees by 3PM, so everything dried fast.

Harold came and paid a visit. He wanted Dennis to check an item on Ebay he had bid on. Harold is also a great "birder"..He gave us hints on how to feed the birds using a mixture or peanut butter, lard and cornmeal. He also takes great photos with a digital camera made by Lumix. This park is also known for the many butterflies that migrate through and Harold gave us yet another recipe. This one is to attract butterflies, consisting of beer and bananas...yes, I did say beer and bananas. This could be troublesome... trying to keep Dennis out of it, that is..he loves both.
About noon we headed for Roma, which is 10 miles South of us. Roma was originally called Roma-Los Saenz and was founded in the 1760's. In the 1850's the Oblates of Mary Immaculate founded a mission there and renamed the town Roma. In 1848 it became part of the United States. It sits right on the Rio Grande and was the Westernmost port for steamboats from 1850 to 1900. Part of it was declared a National Historic District in the 1970's.

Roma has one of the oldest suspension bridges in Texas, but it is no longer used. They built a new bridge in 1927 right next to the old one, as you can see in the photo...the bridge crosses into Mexico. If you walk across, it costs you 25 cents to go into Mexico and 50 cents to come back into the car it is $2.50 each way.
We found the World Birding Center, which is housed in an old, old building in the historic area on the plaza. Part of it was the old Guerra Store and part was the Ramirez Hospital. They have just started uncovering old stencils on the walls...I took a picture of these just inside the door...they are really beautiful!

We got a map of the self guided walking tour and strolled out into the plaza, where Den took my picture by the "mini fountain"..Roma is not a rich town.

Just across from the plaza is another old building that once housed "Rosita's Cantina"..note the word "BEER" painted on the side of the building, which your tour guide is pointing out.

As we walked along on the road just above the Rio Grande, we spotted a tall portable structure that said "US Border Patrol" on it...there were also a bunch of huge spotlights which they use at night, pointed at the Rio Grande....No one was actually IN the top of the structure.. But Den said it had cameras in it..I asked him to take my picture, but you know how Dennis is.. has to get EVERYTHING PERFECT...I thought I would be arrested before he finally snapped the shot! Keep in mind that during this whole time we were doing our "tour", there was a Border Patrol helicopter flying low over the whole area!!

We walked to an observation deck overlooking the Rio Grande..(Now I can see exactly WHY the big camera.) The river in town is very narrow here , and it would be easy to just swim over..kind of like escaping Alcatraz. We took a few photos of people on the other side swimming and rafting...I'll bet there were a few more cameras aimed on them besides ours!!

We continued on down some of the side streets. I think I have told you that they filmed the outdoor scenes of Viva Zapata here in 1952, with Marlon Brando in the leading roll. They filmed at the plaza and many other areas. This building was one of them, so I took Den's picture. "VIVA DENNISO!"

The church that is pictured here is called Our Lady of Refuge and was also filmed in the movie.. There is a grave of a French Priest on the property. He is the one who began "The Calvary of Christ on the Rio Grande".

A huge mural is painted on one side of the church and a photo of the same is on his pictured.

In another photo, that would be me amongst the front of the, in front of the convent,now there is a real faux paux if I ever saw one. We finished our tour on the nonhistorical side of Roma...the Dollar General, the Valero gas station and finalized our dinner plans by picking up a pizza from Pizza Hut..I'm not sure about the other choices here, with the exception of Church's Chicken. They have a restaurant called "The Seafood House" and it boasts an oyster bar on it's sign.. oysters??from the Rio Grande?? I think I'll wait for oysters till we get to Fulton on the bay. We brought our pizza back to our camper, where we will reheat it later after cocktail hour.
All in all, our day was good..

I took one last photo..It is of our truck and you may wonder why we have WalMart bags attached with clothespins onto our side mirrors. Everyone does it down here. It seems that the birds down here are very vain...they love to see themselves in reflections, and in doing so, scratch the crap out of your mirrors...We found out the hard way when we found our mirrors badly scratched after we left here 2 years ago. Just another perk of being in one of the best "birding" spots in South Texas..

Well, it is now 5PM and I need a shower, followed by a Rum and Coke...this to be enjoyed outside with a view of another beautiful is, as ever, amazing. More later!

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