Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Day in Del Rio with Flat Stanley

For a school project, my nephew sent us Flat Stanley for us to show him a good time. If you're not familiar, Flat Stanley, or Flat Stacey, is a paper cut-out that children can color and send to far away locales. The recipients of Flat Stanley are to make a journal and take photos of what Flat Stanley did on his adventure to Somewhere New.

Last week, the kids and I took Flat Stanley out for a day in fun in Del Rio.

After our excursion, while emailing his photos to my SIL, I realized Flat Stanley's adventures would be a good, basic tour for others to see our small, brown part of the world.

Here we go!

Flat Stanley started his West Texas Desert Day of Fun with a ride in a Suburban, the unofficial vehicle of Texas.

Our first stop was approximately 200 yards from our house. We were lazy. This is a T-38 static display. A T-38 is a supersonic jet the Air Force uses to train fighter/bomber pilots. This is Jerry's work vehicle. The big dork.

Here are the kids with Flat Stanley. Somehow we all wore the same outfit this day, a Pig Pickin' shirt, so as we traveled around snapping photos, we looked like a group of tourists.

Next we went to the San Felipe Springs. We get a lot of our water from these springs that feed off of the Edwardian water table.

MMmmm. Edward.

These fast moving waters are a steady 72 degrees year round. In the summer, the banks are overflowing with locals barbequing and cooling off in the crisp water.

Next we tried to let Flat Stanley get a glimpse of Mexico since it is only 3 miles away from us. This is as close as I could get without going too far. As US service members and their dependents, we are not allowed to go across the border into the Mexican border towns. Oh, something about drug cartels, kidnapping, and dismemberment. You know, all of that nice stuff.

This is one rule I am happy to obey.

This is as close as he got. He was scared so we turned around.

Yes. This is better. Welcome to the US! Welcome to Texas!

Here is Flat Stanley on an overpass looking at the sweeping desert vista. And a train. Always a train. We have more trains plowing through this area than anywhere I've ever lived. On trips to and from San Antonio, we often race the trains as the tracks follow the highway. We usually win. Usually.

Again we tried to get Flat Stanley close to Mexico. Far off in the distance is the Amistad Dam that spans from the US to Mexico across the Rio Grande River.

The dam was a joint venture between America and Mexico to help regulate the levels of the Rio Grande River to the south. There is a small border station here, but most people come across the border in Del Rio while this is border crossing is 15 miles to the north.

And of course, many cross the border everywhere else in between. But I won't get into that.

When they dammed the river, Lake Amistad was created. It is the 31st largest man-made lake in the country and is one of the best bass fishing spots in the world.

All throughout town you can see signs hanging in restaurants and stores saying, "Welcome Anglers!" Or else, "Welcome Hunters!" as this area is bountiful in deer, axis, boar, dove, and other more exotic game.

Having fun, Stanley?

Flat Stanley enjoyed the lake. He was a bit stiff, though. Like he had a stick up his butt.

Poor guy.

Though the banks of the lake look fun to climb on barefoot, you would be remiss to do so. No, you would be stupid.

One wrong step and you'll be on your way to our every popular, always crowded, used as a primary care center for Mexicans, 12 hour wait, emergency room.

The water here gets warm in the summer but it's winter. You're welcome for that piece of information. Josh was the only one willing to freeze his feet. Flat Stanley got close but he too chickened out.

Another ubiquitous sight in our area are prickly pear. They are still recovering from a harsh, hard freeze last winter so they are not as robust as I have seen them. But you still have to watch out.

Flat Stanley was not harmed in the making of this picture. I, on the other hand, suffered a bunch of microscopic pin pricks when I got too close. You would think I would know better.

The desert is a dusty place, so after a few hours of sight-seeing, it was time to get cleaned up. Flat Stanley, like most children, really enjoyed going through the car wash. He wasn't scared of the big blue-haired monster at all!

And when you've seen the rest of Del Rio, there is only one place left to go. Wal-Mart. Yes, even in the middle of nowhere we have one of those.

See? Our home really isn't all that much different than yours.