When you’re traveling to a strange place, ask a local what to do.
And so, as US 77 carried me south toward a week-long adventure in the palm-studded Rio Grande Valley, I anticipated great things from my dog-eared list of must-dos, must-trys, and don’t-misses. I had borrowed a whale-like pickup truck for the trip, and with my longtime friend Christine riding shotgun, I felt like I was steering a sofa down the freeway. Rio Grande Valley, here we come!
The Valley, which encompasses a 43,000-square-mile delta in Willacy, Cameron, Hidalgo, and Starr counties, enjoys an intriguing and complicated history steeped in the melding of nations. It’s a region shaped by Spanish cattle ranching, military conflicts, railroading, agriculture, international commerce and tourism, and, of course, the beleaguered-yet-persevering Big River itself, which has served as the boundary between the United States and Mexico since the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican War in 1848.
From the November 2002 issue.