Big Bend National Park
This park, comprising the Chisos Mountains and the Chihuahuan Desert, hugs the Rio Grande River along the border with Mexico. It was formed in 1935 and is 125 square miles in area. It does not possess the grandeur of most national parks, but does have a rugged beauty that many people enjoy. Its tallest mountain, Mt. Emory, is 7625 feet high.
Phantly Roy Bean, 1825-1903, was the Justice of the Peace for Val Verde County, Texas. He was known as Judge Roy Bean. Though he was not an actual judge, he filled the role of a judge from his saloon, the "Jersey Lily," in the small town of Langtry. Besides actual state and county laws, he meted out fines for other "laws" he made up himself. Thus, he was known as Judge Roy Bean, Law West of the Pecos. The Pecos referred to the Pecos River, a tributary of the Rio Grande.
Texas is famous for its displays of spring wildflowers along its highways. President Johnson's wife, Lady Bird Johnson, was very active in promoting the growth of the wildflowers as part of her highway beautification efforts. She was also active in removing highway billboards.
The Catholic Church of Spain established many missions in the 1700s in what is now Texas. What became the city of San Antonio had its share, the most famous being what is now known as the Alamo. The missions were largely self-sustaining, each with large areas surrounding the centralized church for raising crops and animals
The famous River Walk along the San Antonio River extends 15 miles, five miles of it in the center of San Antonio. Its development began in the 1930s, but it was extended in recent decades. Its center has a great deal of businesses catering to tourists, including boat trips, restaurants, hotels, and shops. It is especially pretty at night, as there are enormous amounts of light displays.
In 1844 Henri Castro led about 50 men about 25 west of San Antonio to settle a new town. Most of them had immigrated from the Alsace region, in the northeast part of France, which borders both Germany and Switzerland. Today about 20 of the houses they constructed still exist in modern Castroville, all retaining the appearance of the styles of dwellings common to Alsace.
Well, now I've gotten South Texas out of the way, so I'm a little bit closer to seeing everything in the US I just must have to visit. It's not my favorite part of the country, but I am certainly glad I got to see lots of nice places there.
Next up will be a short piece on the Maritime Provinces of Canada and a bit of northern New England, where I visited in September.