Flood control works along the Rio Grande include 102 miles of levees and floodplain from Penitas to beyond Brownsville. It also serves as a sort of border protection because there is no border fence along here. There is a one lane road along the top of the levee and numerous places where roads go up and over it. It's high and somewhat scary where you have to drive along it especially if you are driving a big truck. The first place I had to up, drive along the top, and then go down the other side was to reach Lomita Chapel. Whooo!
The original chapel was built in 1865 and relocated to this site in 1899.
Hidden away in Texas mesquite, La Lomita (Little Hill) Chapel was first built in 1865, an adobe overnight way station for Oblate padres who regularly traveled on horseback between Brownsville and Roma. The tiny (12 by 25 feet) structure rebuilt of sandstone in 1889 still exhibits original brick floors, rough heavy-beamed ceilings shaped from native trees, outdoor beehive oven, and original waterwell. The chapel is still used for private services such as weddings. There is a seven-acre park with picnic facilities, cooking grills, rest rooms, brick walkways, and historical site.
Right next to the Lomita chapel there are several huge thatched pavilions. My friend Sue said this was a very popular gathering place prior to the extensive flooding a few years ago. It was all underwater and has not been restored to date. I did see a big dumpster there though so perhaps this is going to happen.
West of the chapel is the Riverside Club, a popular bar and grill and special events establishment. I didn't get a picture of that because I was too busy watching where I was going on top of the levee and praying no other cars would come along. There is about room for motorcycles to pass each other. Anyway, I found out later that they also have river tours every day. That would have been fun. Going the other direction from the chapel, there was a border patrol office complete with tower and patrol trucks.
I can't image pulling my RV up and over the levee to get to the Chimney Park RV Resort but obviously a lot of people love it because it was pretty full. The closest road to this park is just to the right of my truck hood. You make a little jog to the left and then go down the other side of the levee into the park. I don't think I would want to park where those RVs are right next to the levee because I would be picturing an RV coming over the top of the levee and failing to make the turn to the left.
The Traveling Longdogs and I headed further west where we saw this beautiful shell of a building. There was also a school inside the grounds but I didn't get the name of it.
Next stop was Anzalduas Park. This park is well-known by birding enthusiasts. It cost $4 per person to enter.
Signs all over the park encourage you to watch for snakes but this is not unusual in south Texas.
The grounds are quite nice with lots of picnic tables.
There are several playscapes for the kids.
This is a look across the Rio Grande River to Mexico.
There is a nice park on that side too. It has to be fairly new since the old park on the Mexican side was wiped out a few years ago by flooding.
This sign could be a little more illuminating when warning that it is U.S. Government Property-Do Not Molest (molestar is spanish for "to distub" or "to bother".) Why all this security for what looks like a more or less empty area with black and yellow posts and yellow ground plugs. When flowing water passes over metal (as at the Dam), it builds up a huge electrical charge. Not only is this dangerous to workers, it vastly increases corrosion in metals. This site takes the electrical charge off the Dam and sends it into the ground.
Another little jaunt down the road and we come to the El Granjeno Cemetery. It was established in 1872 with the burial of Don Antonio Garza and donated to the nearby U.S. and Mexican communities.
One thing I noticed about all the cemeteries I have seen down here is that all the graves are very well decorated with artificial flowers so it is a very colorful site.
Next stop, Hidalgo Viejo (Old Hidalgo).
This building has an awful lot of entrances.
This is the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse.
This is an interesting place to visit. Check out my blog post from April 2013 for more details.
It was time to head on home. The Traveling Longdogs were worn out from all their adventures and ready for dinner. And I was off to meet Birdie and Sue at B.J.'s Brewery Pub for a burger.
Harley snuck off to the bedroom after we all got home to get in a little snooze.