A Landing a Day

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Laredo, Texas

Posted by graywacke on December 21, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2070; A Landing A Day blog post number 497.

Dan –  I’m on a 7/8 roll with this USer landing in . . . TX; 151/182; 7/10; 1488.  Here’s my regional landing map:


My closer-in landing map shows that I’m quite a ways from Laredo (about 25 miles), but the closest towns (Hidalgo and Columbia) are in Mexico!


My Google Earth (GE) map shows a confused patchwork of man-made landscape scars:


My landing is totally in the arid boonies.  I’m not really sure what’s going on, but I assume it has to do with oil and gas.  Let me zoom out a little:


Doesn’t exactly look like oil and gas operations, but what else could it be?  After a little research, I found this, from Eagle Ford Shale dot com (Eagle Ford is an oil and gas bearing geologic formation):

Eagle Ford Shale dot com

My landing is just to the right of the number 10,000.  I assume the contour lines represent the depth of the Eagle Ford Formation, and the red dots are oil or gas wells.  Here’s a little of the write-up from the website:

Webb County is now targeted for the liquids-rich nature of the Eagle Ford formation in the northern parts of the county.  Much of the county will be prospective for shale gas or simply dry gas as natural gas prices may improve above the $4 level. The county is part of the southern extreme of the play that borders Mexico.  Activity in the county is focused in northwest portion of the county where wells produce rich gas and the formation is found at depths of 8,000 ft to 10,000 ft.

Sure ‘nuf.

 I had some trouble identifying my watershed (on a more local level than the Rio Grande).  Here’s a GE shot showing that there’s a stream (located just west of the yellow line), that runs almost due south for 15 miles from my landing, finally discharging into the Rio Grande:


 I think that the stream is the Santa Isabelle Ck (based on extremely sketchy identification in my StreetAtlas program).  As stated above, the Santa Isabelle flows to the Rio Grande (40th hit).

Here’s a GE StreetView shot from a road that crosses the Santa Isabelle just upstream from the Rio Grande:


So, Laredo’s a pretty big town (pop 236,000), which makes it the 10th largest city in Texas (behind Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso, Arlington, Corpus Christi and Plano).  For what it’s worth, I would have put Dallas before San Antonio, and I never would have thought of Arlington and Plano.  Laredo is also the third-largest border town (behind San Diego and El Paso).  That said, I’m having a very tough time coming up with a hook.  I saw in Wiki that Laredo claims seven flags, not just the usual six flags over Texas.

 OK.  Six flags over Texas, eh?  What six flags?

 Spain (more specifically the Flag of Castille (1519 – 1685 and 1690 – 1821):


France (more specifically the Bourbonne Royal Standard, the Royal Banner of the Kingdom of France, (1685 – 1689)


Mexico (1821 – 1836)


Republic of Texas (1836 – 1845)

republic of texas

USA  (1846 – 1861)


Confederate States of America (1861 – 1865)


It turns out that Laredo (and parts of far South Texas) can also claim a seventh flag, the flag of the Republic of the Rio Grande (January – Nov 1840).  This flag is today’s City of Laredo flag:

republic of the rio grande

Here’s what Wiki has to say about the Republic of Rio Grande:

The Republic of the Rio Grande was an independent nation that insurgents against the Central Mexican Government sought to establish in northern Mexico. The rebellion lasted from January 17 to November 6, 1840 and the Republic of the Rio Grande was never officially recognized.

I’ll be honest.  There’s quite the tangled history of northern Mexico from 1836 through 1845.  I just don’t have the patience (or inclination) to sort out the relationship between the Republic of the Rio Grande, Mexico and the Republic of Texas.  Here’s a map showing the confused landscape of that era:


In a nutshell (a very small nutshell), Mexico broke away from Spain in 1821, with Santa Anna in charge.  His dictatorial style didn’t sit well with everyone, especially the outlying northern states (including Texas).  In 1835 – 1836, open warfare broke out (including the Battle of the Alamo); but on April 16, 1836, the Independent Republic of Texas was born.  In 1845, Texas was annexed by the United States, which led to additional strife with Mexico (the Mexican Wars of 1846 – 1848).

 There’s a ton of history here; anyone wanting to learn more can just start Googling . . .

Moving right along.  As a kid I remember the song “The Streets of Laredo.”  Here’s a classic Johnny Cash rendition (with the lyrics following):

As I walked out on the streets of Laredo.
As I walked out on Laredo one day,
I spied a young cowboy wrapped in white linen,
Wrapped in white linen as cold as the clay.

“I can see by your outfit that you are a cowboy.”
These words he did say as I boldly walked by.
“Come an’ sit down beside me an’ hear my sad story.
“I’m shot in the breast an’ I know I must die.”

“It was once in the saddle, I used to go dashing.
“Once in the saddle, I used to go gay.
“First to the card-house and then down to Rose’s.
“But I’m shot in the breast and I’m dying today.”

“Get six jolly cowboys to carry my coffin.
“Six dance-hall maidens to bear up my pall.
“Throw bunches of roses all over my coffin.
“Roses to deaden the clods as they fall.”

“Then beat the drum slowly, play the Fife lowly.
“Play the dead march as you carry me along.
“Take me to the green valley, lay the sod o’er me,
“I’m a young cowboy and I know I’ve done wrong.”

“Then go write a letter to my grey-haired mother,
“An’ tell her the cowboy that she loved has gone.
“But please not one word of the man who had killed me.
“Don’t mention his name and his name will pass on.”

When thus he had spoken, the hot sun was setting.
The streets of Laredo grew cold as the clay.
We took the young cowboy down to the green valley,
And there stands his marker, we made, to this day.

We beat the drum slowly and played the Fife lowly,
Played the dead march as we carried him along.
Down in the green valley, laid the sod o’er him.
He was a young cowboy and he said he’d done wrong.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that it was a Kingston Trio knockoff (entitled Laredo?) that I actually remember:

As I walked out in the streets of Laredo
As I walked out in Laredo one day.
I spied a young cowboy dressed in white linen
Dressed in white linen and cold as the clay.

I can see by your outfit that you are a cowboy
You can see by my outfit I’m a cowboy, too.
You can see by our outfits that we are both cowboys.
Get yourself an outfit and be a cowboy, too!

I’m going to close with a series of Panoramio photos shot by J Jesus Perez.  These photos were taken about 10 miles north of my landing, starting with a roadrunner (beep beep):

 jj mr roadrunner

This one,  of a Spanish Dagger:

jj spanish dagger

Here’s one of a “biznagas.”

jj biznagas

I’ll close with “un dia de primavera”  (a day in springtime):

jj un dia de primavera

That’ll do it.



© 2013 A Landing A Day

3 Responses to “Laredo, Texas”

  1. Sarah said

    Laredo also has the dubious distinction of being the largest city in America without a bookstore. It’s basically a very large truck stop these days, as huge amounts of manufactured goods get shipped north through there. It’s an unreal place to be, since everyone seems to be just passing through. Definitely no reason to go there, unless you’re a truckdriver.

    i’ve read your blog for awhile now, and am always impressed with the interesting stuff you find!


    • graywacke said

      Sarah – Thanks much for the comment. How is it that you know Laredo? For some reason, I’m assuming that you don’t live there.

      Also, glad you enjoy ALAD. I’m delighted to hear about folks that enjoy what I do . . .


  2. Sarah said

    I used to be a mudlogger, and did a few sites in that area just as the Eagleford was getting started. I detested the area, and was luckily pretty quickly reassigned further north…. but i did have an oilfield adventure mere miles from this landing: i was driving down a desolate dirt road searching for my first site down there, when out of nowhere border patrol pulled me over. They didn’t seem to believe me at first as to my reason for being there, but then they saw my hardhat, muddy boots, and geologic maps in the backseat and decided i must be who/what i said i was. Once they decided/realized i was a geologist, they apologized profusely and offered all sorts of unnecessary assistance. It was pretty scary for me at the time, but it turned out all the regulars in the area dealt with border patrol all the time.

    ALAD is brilliant, especially when you find weird history and good geologic photos!


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