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Mexico Border Towns….

When I was young my parents were smart enough to introduce us to “camping”.  We started in a tent and moved up to a bumper pull travel trailer.  I’ve got a lot of fond memories of those fun filled weekends and summer travels.  Since my dad was a high school teacher he was very interested in history and made sure that we were able to experience history first-hand.

Dad would end the school year in June and then take a job teaching summer school to make some extra money so we could go out and explore.  My parents would break up the country into sections and we’d spend three to six weeks on the road visiting interesting places each summer.  One year we would visit the Washington, DC area, another we would visit the gulf coast, and so-on.  Before I graduated from high school I was proud to say I had visited 48 states, about a third of Canada and about half of Mexico – all in a travel trailer!  I remember sitting in history class and thinking to myself – “I remember that place!”  One of my last trips with the family was a trip down the gulf side of Mexico, on to Mexico City and then back up the western side of the country.  It was a great experience and a lot of fun.

Kellie and I have visited Mexican border towns over the years we’ve been married.  Today with the uncertainty of Mexico and US security one often wonders if it’s still safe to visit Mexico.  We’re wintering here in south Texas within a stones throw of the border.  We often see the Border Patrol helicopters overhead as well as numerous Border Patrol trucks in the area.  We have seen the agents walking men through the nearby woods in handcuffs.  Does it make us nervous?  Not really….we’ve been told that the people that are crossing the river are trying to get through this agriculture landscape to a bigger city where they can “disappear” into the crowds.  We’ve never felt threatened.

I will admit, when we were invited to visit one of the nearby border towns for lunch with a group of friends we were a little uneasy.  But with passports in hand and good friends to share the ride….off we went!  We’ve been told that we don’t want to visit the closest town of Reynosa.  For some reason it has a lot more violence than some of the smaller towns.  So we visited Nuevo Progreso, a town of about 10,000 residents.  When we crossed the bridge I was surprised to see that the Mexican authorities weren’t checking our passports.  We just walked across and right into town!  We met our group at one of the local establishments….Pancho’s Bar And Grill.

After drinks and conversation at Pancho’s we headed back onto the street to find a place to have lunch.  The trinket sellers were just like Kellie and I remembered them on other visits to border towns….cramped and persistent!  As we walked down the sidewalk we were surprised to see three military style trucks with guns and camo-clad men.  I guess it should have made us feel safe, but it really was a little strange.
All in all it was a fun trip.  Nuevo Progreso is full of sidewalk sellers as well as pharmacies, dentists and optometrists.   Sharing the experience with friends was fun and comforting.  Will we visit again?  Absolutely, but now that we live in an RV full time we don’t have a lot of room for trinkets and hammocks.  The time we get to spend exploring with friends is memorable, so we’ll do it again.
As we almost always do, we created a video on our YouTube channel to document this journey.  If you haven’t seen it yet you can view it here.