San Juan del RIO

Our small city is named after John the Baptist (San Juan del Rio is literally “Saint John of the River” which refers to John the Baptist).  Of course, there is a river that runs on the edge of the old part of town.  “Old” as in the town is almost 500 years old.  That’s pretty old.

Unfortunately, it’s not a sparkling clear river.  In fact, most of the year it sure doesn’t look like a river at all.  It is too dry here for a continual flow.  Much of the year it is mostly river bed filled with rocks and occasional pools of stagnant water.  however, during a healthy rainy season, the river can swell dramatically.

From our house out to where Jason and Kristin live, there are two main routes.  Both of these routes traverse the river.  One route takes a loop to the north and crosses the river on one of the main streets that enters/exits the old town over a bridge that clears the river bed by dozens of feet.  The other route follows the contour of the land right by the river and crosses on a bridge that is only a few feet above the river bed.

A higher bridge would be a wonderful thing, but because this crossing point is right next to an iron train trestle, there just isn’t a practical way to engineer a vehicle bridge there.  Apparently, there aren’t any economical or practical ways to redo this bridge, so it remains the main way in and out of that part of the municipality.

The problem lies in the fact that when we finally do get a lot of rain, the river rises well over the level of that bridge.  To deal with this problem, the authorities have erected swinging gates a few blocks away from this bridge on either side.  When the water rises over the bridge, they close the gates and prevent traffic from entering the flooded area.

Occasionally, someone for no obvious reason somehow drives a vehicle into this flooded area.  It isn’t a good idea.

Here’s a picture from Google Maps taken from just across one side of the bridge:

riverroadHere is a pic taken from our local newspaper today of what this same area looks like when a vehicle tries to drive this road when it is flooded:

rivertruck

Doesn’t appear to have been a good decision.  I suspect the driver realizes this now.  At least, the man and his wife escaped without injury or drowning.

So, lesson learned:  never drive a vehicle into a river that is as high as the vehicle or else it will be baptized…perhaps by Saint John himself (or at least by his namesake).

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