Blue People, Red State - Winter 2010 travel blog

bike ride

cabbage fields

close up

harvesting

buying veggies

carving lesson

veggie stand


Our goal every day is to do something fun or interesting and get a little exercise. Although there is a nice health club where we live and one here in the campground as well, we'd much rather be outside. Even though we don't dare complain when we look at the frigid and snowy weather in the rest of the country, the weather here can be unpleasant as well. So far we have played the campground golf course, making it around the nine holes just in time as the forecast misty turned into downright rain. Yesterday the bike ride to local restaurants for breakfast was cancelled because the temperatures were still in the 40's. Nevertheless everyone made it to breakfast - by car, of course.

On Wednesdays the schedule lists a twenty mile bike ride. There aren't too many geezers interested in riding that distance, and a small, but dedicated group of us showed up wearing gloves and many layers since it wasn't much warmer today. This area doesn't have the bike trails we like to ride at home, but many Texas roads have wide shoulders and as we headed toward the Mexican border the traffic was fairly light. Many of the cars and trucks that passed us honked. At first I thought they were annoyed that we might be in the way - that's the big city reaction. But when I looked at the driver's faces I saw beaming smiles and thumbs up. Perhaps they took it as a positive sign that when they have gray hair and wrinkles, life will not be over.

We rode past fields; some were tilled and ready for spring planting, and some still were growing crops. It is likely that the red and green cabbage in your supermarket were harvested around here. The land is very flat, perhaps delta land from the times when the Rio Grande flowed unfettered by dams and canals. But when we did come to hills they were man made earthworks, constructed to channel the precious water toward the plants. Last time we were here we learned that the water flows inland with the force of gravity about thirty miles north. These days the term "wetback" for illegal Mexican immigrants would be a figurative term. In most spots you can just wade across.

As we rode back into the campground we stopped to shop at the fruit and vegetable vendor who comes to the campground every week with freshly picked produce from the area and farms a bit further south. He gives out lots of samples and has a machine that cores and peels the fresh pineapple on the spot. Business was flourishing.

Local forecasters are sending all sorts of dire warnings because we might have 24 hours below freezing later in the week. Hopefully, we'll be able to fit in one more active pursuit before we have to hunker down and turn up the furnace.

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