Padre Island to Brownsville to Laredo to Austin
December 21, 2019
Each of these legs is give or take 200 miles long. And there is very little to keep you the driver entertained. There is some farm land around Brownsville but for the most part these drives are through a vast wilderness of scrub trees. On the Padre Island to Brownsville route, there is a sign saying there are no services for the next 60 miles. That sign could easily be applied to the other two legs. Nothing. No gas stations, convenience stores - no sign of civilization. Lots of 18 wheelers. The roads are flat, mostly two lanes with a third "passing lane" every now and then. Between Brownsville and Laredo and again between Laredo and Austin, there are Border Patrol checkpoints where I had to stop and have the officer peer into the mess that is my truck. On that Brownsville to Laredo leg, there are fences along the road and on one side there is a six-foot wide groomed dirt path. The Border Patrol checks that path by truck looking for footprints. That and the large drums labelled "agua" along the fence reminded me of the reality of the border.
Both Brownsville and Laredo were much larger than I had expected; both over 200,000 residents. And both cities seem to be thriving, with busy downtowns and suburbs. I saw lots of trucking companies and industrial businesses. However, ten miles away from the border there is not much of anything.
I learned that Laredo is the largest, least diverse city in the United States. Almost 99 percent Hispanic. Maybe one day that will be a statistic that will be irrelevant - race. I can hope.
Here are some photos from my drive from Brownsville to Laredo:
Here are some photos from my drive from Laredo to Austin: