Heading southeast from Laredo down US-83 (called the Zapata Hwy) you pass through the Rio Grande Valley, a subtropical slice of South Texas decidedly well removed from the typical state itinerary. Actually a delta prone to flooding, the 180-mile-long valley contains few immediately identifiable sights, though a string of atmospheric farming communities, with tiny downtowns that have barely been touched in two hundred years, more than warrant a trip this far south.

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