I’d never been to Mexico before. My passport expired back in 2015, and I hadn’t managed to get it renewed in time for my last visit to Big Bend. I got a little help getting that done from someone special in late 2017, help for which I’ll forever be grateful. Since then, I’d managed to get to The Bahamas, a fiftieth birthday gift for which I’ll also be forever grateful, and to Canada last summer. But I really wanted to go to Mexico.

After leaving the Rose Marie and spending a night in a rest area somewhere near Sonora, Texas, I got to Big Bend and set up camp, this time in Rio Grande Village, rather than just out on the desert floor like last time (careful clicking, I’m very nekkid in a shot on that post!).

Big Bend Campsite

Almost immediately, I made a couple of new friends.

…and of course the views were as gorgeous as I’d remembered them.

I didn’t have as much time to spend at Big Bend this time as I did last time, so the trip had to be short, and as I mentioned had to include a trip across the border. All over that part of the park, there are little trinkets for sale by Mexican nationals, on the honor system, especially around the border crossing.

The border crossing there is pedestrian-only, and with good reason. There’s no bridge. After going through the border checkpoint, one has to walk down to the Rio Grande, and either hire a rowboat that’s there to row people across or wade (which is not recommended). And by “row”, I mean, “use the oars to push the barely floating rowboat by digging them into the gravel bottom and pushing with a rowing-like motion”. The river there, when I crossed, couldn’t have been more than half a meter deep. (That’s not always the case, and they say the current can be swift and strong there. Just hire the boat, it’s five bucks, round trip, and your shoes won’t be all wet.)

Once across the river, I had the options of walking the kilometer or so into town, or hiring a horse or burro to take me (each five bucks, each comes with a guide). It was hot (45 degrees), I wanted to save what ability I had for walking that day for the town itself, and though I’ve ridden plenty of horses back in the day, I’d never ridden a burro. With a little (or a lot, really) of help from my new friend and guide, Vincente, I managed to board the burro and make the short trek into town. We stopped along the way so Vincente could take a few pictures of me, which was a very thoughtful thing for him to do.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Boquillas del Carmen at first. It seemed a village that can’t decide if it wants to be in the 1880s or the 1950s. But when Vincente noticed me eyeballing the power lines, between his broken English and my more broken Spanish, he managed to figure out what I was wondering and take me to the power source for the little town. There was a field of solar panels behind the elementary school that apparently powers the whole town. I think that’s when I realized that Boquillas del Carmen isn’t having any trouble at all deciding what it wants to be, it is exactly that already.

BoquillasdelCarmen-6

After Vincente’s tour of Boquillas, we sat down at Boquillas Restaurant, where, like all over the rest of the village, no one was shy about their opinion of The Orange Shitgibbon and his ridiculous wall.

I had the most lovely margarita there, before tipping Vincente, buying some souvenirs from his wife and each of his beautiful children, and electing to walk back to the border crossing. It was a perfectly gorgeous day for it, and I hadn’t used up all my spoons.

Once back at Big Bend, I drove a little ways up the road to take another picture of my favorite tunnel in the whole world, make myself a late lunch of potatoes and sausage, and watch the sunset over the Rio Grande.

It was short, but my visit to Big Bend has still managed to be a major highlight of The Making Lemonade Road Tour 2019.

I can’t wait to go back.