Los Ebanos,The Little Ferry That Could

The small town of Los Ebanos right on the Rio Grande river is one of those places that time forgot.

a scene out of an old western

a scene out of an old western

old building

Pingo city

Pingo city

I’m sure everyone who lives there is of Mexican descent, the homes are old and quaint, often just shacks, but still, home for someone. Dogs wander the streets, goats are in many yards and chickens are definitely “free range”.

Ferry Junction

Ferry Junction

Town jail

Town jail

The claim to fame for this town is the ferry crossing over to Mexico and what’s so special about this ferry is that it is the only hand pulled ferry in the US. The ferry itself was established in 1950 but the site has been used as a ford crossing since as early as 1740 by the Spaniards and more recently smugglers during Prohibition.

Ferry junction sign

Ferry junction sign

the Mexican side

the Mexican side

the engines that pull the ferry human engines that pull the ferry

pulling the ferry across

pulling the ferry across

Mostly a tourist attraction, it still carries cars, trucks and bicycles. Even though it is a small crossing there is a Duty Free shop on the American side. You pick out what you want, they bring it down to the ferry where you pay for it, take it across and then bring it right back on the next trip.

duty free

duty free

welcome to Mexico

welcome to Mexico

There is a modern Customs building on the American side and what looks like a nice building on the Mexican side although we didn’t go through the check point. We stayed in the no man’s land between the river and the actual customs check.

boarding

boarding

the rope

the rope that tethers the ferry to land on the American side

Interesting that the American side was not as nice as the Mexican side.The road was paved up to the ferry on the Mexican side, there were planters with flowers and everything was freshly painted. On the US side a dirt road ran down to the ferry and even the “life boat” on the American side was just a row boat while the one on the other side was powered by an outboard motor.

Life boat American side, where are the oars?

Life boat American side, where are the oars?

lifeboat Mexican side

lifeboat Mexican side

The American side

The American side

A bargain at $1 per one way trip for pedestrians and $2.75 for cars. Valid passports are required even if you stay on the ferry for the return trip and don’t be surprised if you see Border Patrol vehicles and you will notice when you get there there is no there.

Border patrol always on duty

Border patrol always on duty

On the day of our visit 67 bicyclists (all French Canadians) made the crossing. It took four trips to get them all across, it gave us a chance to chat with some of them, a very cheerful group.

friendly cyclists

friendly cyclists

flags

Their destination was a small park in the town of Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, in the province of Tamaulipas Mexico; about three miles away, where they would eat their packed lunch before returning to the trucks that brought them to the ferry.

I think this means "Thou shalt not bribe officials or you will be thrown into the slammer" but don't quote me on that.

I think this means “Thou shalt not bribe officials or you will be thrown into the slammer” but don’t quote me on that.

Didn’t really see any of Mexico, except for some interesting signs that kind of got lost in translation. Will be crossing into Progreso, Mexico for a day trip soon. Watch for a post on that.

good translation

good translation

Not true. It seems to be a way of life on both sides of the border

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