Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Tecate Journals: Seventy Days on the Rio Grande

The Tecate Journals: Seventy Days on the Rio Grande

by Keith Bowden

See All Formats & Editions

CLICK HERE to download a sample chapter from The Tecate Journals

* More than a man-against-nature adventure-the author floats us along the border of political furor, cultural limbo, and dangerous human encounters
*Touches on environmental issues, adrenalin-spiked action, and the author's ambivalence with his own cultural identity


CLICK HERE to download a sample chapter from The Tecate Journals

* More than a man-against-nature adventure-the author floats us along the border of political furor, cultural limbo, and dangerous human encounters
*Touches on environmental issues, adrenalin-spiked action, and the author's ambivalence with his own cultural identity
* A first work from a new voice that is parts gritty, elegant, and contemporary

The Rio Grande is a national border, a water source, a dangerous rapid with house-sized boulders, a nature refuge, a garbage dump, and a playground, depending on where you are on its 1885-mile course.

That's why journalist Keith Bowden decided to become the first person to travel the entire length of the Rio as it forms the border between America and Mexico. This is his fascinating account of the journey by bike, canoe, and raft along one of North America's most overlooked resources. From illegal immigrants and drug runners trying to make it into America to the border patrol working to stop them; from human coyotes -- smugglers who help people navigate their way into the United States -- to encounters with real coyotes, mountain lions, and other flora and fauna, Bowden reveals a side of America that few of us ever see. The border between the U.S. and Mexico is, in many ways, a country unto itself, where inhabitants share more in common with fellow riverside dwellers than they do with the rest of their countrymen. With this isolated and colorful micro-world as his backdrop, Bowden not only explores his surroundings, but also tests his inner mettle along some of the most dangerous and remote riparian wilderness in North America.

Editorial Reviews

author of Legends of Winter Hill and City in Amber - Jay Atkinson
THE TECATE JOURNALS is a first-rate adventure story, teeming with drug-running thugs, riverside eccentrics, vigilant Border Patrol agents, and tales of hard living on the Rio Grande. By examining such a misunderstood aspect of the American landscape, Bowden, like his literary ancestor Thoreau, has fashioned an epic that will last for generations.
Austin American-Statesman
"[Keith Bowden has a] knack for evoking extremity in spare yet vivid language."
The Sacramento Bee
"Though constantly in harm's way, the author meets no real harm and offers a vicarious adventure that's a pleaseure to join, Pop another round of Tecate, por favor."
Dallas Morning News
"lighthearted but powerful tribute to the Great River."
Texas Monthly
"It's a simple and candid adventure story made complex by twenty-first-century geopolitics."
San Antonio TX Conexion Weekly
"[Bowden's] account in The Tecate Journal is so unflinchingly honest and balanced, readers should check in preconceived notions about the border and the two worlds on either side…[Bowden] offers us a long, graceful ride along the Rio Grande and a glimpse into what is woefully regrettable about the river, but also what is achingly beautiful about it…Each daily entry in The Tecate Journal is another ripple on the water-another resonance-and a testament to the river's poer to mesmerize writers who brave the journey and captivate readers who go along for the ride."
San Antonio Express News
"The Tecate Journals is an impressive memoir about one man's single-minded affection and respect for a river he perceives as a living thing. He made that journey on the river, witnessed the complicated drama inherent there, and shared the story. Those of us who will never, ever make the same trip ourselves can begin to understand why Keith Bowden did."
Country Lifestyle Magazine
"An engaging diary of a man who knows no limits other than this own, and just how far he is willing to push himself to find inner peace."
The Oklahoma Observer
"This is a well-written narrative of an epic journey by bike, canoe, and raft along a diving line between cultures and humanity. Well worth the reader's time."
Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine
"Bowden's literary account of his river journey from El Paso to Boca Chica… does a well-crafted job of documenting the complexities inherent in sharing a waterway with another country. More than a good adventure story, The Tecate Journals offers a concise, eyewitness account of the controversial border today."
The San Diego Union Tribune
"When people come back into view [in the story], the book picks up speed, because Bowden the writer has a gift for capturing the quirks of border culture."
Kirkus Reviews
An account of the author's journey-by canoe, raft and mountain bike-down the Rio Grande. An avid outdoorsman and adventurer, Bowden set out to explore the winding river that divides Mexico and Texas, from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico, despite numerous warnings from friends and experts about drug cartels, the Border Patrol, the dangerous rapids and aggressive wildlife. Not to mention the river itself, allegedly full of murdered bodies, pollution and desolate stretches through which no man or woman in memory has navigated alive. The warnings, while exaggerated, are not misinformed-news reports from the months leading up to Bowden's journey were filled with violent murders and kidnappings that would make any Sopranos fan shudder. But the author persevered, embarking on his 70-day jaunt to the sandy bank that marks the end of the river and the beginning of the Gulf. Deft writing keeps the narrative moving at a brisk pace, and Bowden-a loner who can happily subsist on scant portions of tortillas, beer, beans and cheese without complaint-is an astute observer. Equally adept at describing wildlife, stinking garbage dumps and the endless stream of illegal workers crossing the river naked with clothes bundled atop their heads, Bowden is a welcome guide. (His fluency in Spanish certainly helps.) The minute details about each obstacle in the river-to portage or not to portage seems to be the prevailing question-occasionally become tedious, and the lack of a map is a glaring omission. But Bowden offers a unique view of this border barrier and the fate it suffers under political tensions. Part cultural study, part environmental espionage, part adventure, this is a welcome look at one of the mostheavily guarded yet mysteriously neglected waterways in the United States.

Product Details

Mountaineers Books, The
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Fluent in Spanish, KEITH BOWDEN has found his place in the dry, cross-cultural expanses of the Texas-Mexico border region. Living in Laredo -- where he teaches writing at Laredo Community College -- Keith has spent countless hours both exploring the canyons of the Rio Grande River and and snagging hot ground balls on the cross-border baseball teams for which he has played. He has also traveled extensively throughout Mexico and in South and Central America. Tecate Journals is his first book.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews