Well, now I’m leaving, here's some of what I’ll remember about the Valley. I don’t want to simply repeat images from past years; these are pictures from this season.
The Valley has one of the highest rates of poverty and obesity in the United States. Social problems abound. Violence, including spillover from Mexico, is worrying. That said, I’ve always felt safe on the American side and, so often, have been made to feel welcome.
In Palmview, this loco is slowly making its way through the weeds. Border Pacific has a 51 kilometre line paralleling the Rio Grande. According to its website, it carries ‘silica sand, ballast, crushed stone, asphalt, scrap paper, and feed grains.’
Engineer Jesse Longoria comes down, chats about the line, opened in 1925, and where to stop for a snack.
At a gas station in Mission, I spot this pickup and hesitantly ask the rather tough looking owner if I can take a picture.
A barbecue’s ideal to meet locals. Cue impressive grills and smokers, lots of wood and American flags.
Cue more wood.
There are big grills and little grills. Don’t know about the pink boots …
This chef insists I stop awhile and learn how to make a really good cookin’ fire.
He offers the best, warm cowboy biscuits I’ve ever had … and that was before meat of Texan proportions.
I don’t meet many in the Valley who’ve been in Toronto, but Fred has. In Harlingen, he poses with a, uh, well used car. I thought he said it was a 1937 Plymouth Coupe, but it doesn’t match pictures, so perhaps I misheard. Perhaps someone can identify it for me.
Fred has a remarkable face.
This time of year brings out one of my favourite characters, the Liberty man (or woman) touting for a tax preparation chain. In San Benito, this Liberty man dances through an intersection.
Finally, in Mexico, I’m taking shots of a campaign sign from the recent presidential election. Northern Mexico is particularly murderous with horror piled upon horror. From out of nowhere, an unknown man passes in front of the sign, poses, waves and disappears around the corner.
Last post coming up.