Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Where the Rio Grande meets the Gulf

We had heard from several people that Boca Chica Beach, east of Brownsville, is even nice than South Padre Island – more remote and less commercial.  That much is definitely true – there’s one road leading from Brownsville to Boca Chica, and there’s absolutely nothing there.  No beach shops, no restaurants, no hotels or beach houses . . . no facilities of any kind!

You pick up Highway 4 in Brownsville, drive past the airport, and then just keep going until the road ends at the ocean.

Right before we got to the beach, we did come upon this interesting sight.

SpaceX has purchased a chunk of land out there, and has established their South Texas Operations.  There is a prototype rocket under construction

-- literally, right off the side of the highway; we could have walked right up to the fence.

On the news, we’ve seen pictures of the rocket apart, like we saw it, and also complete . . . so it must be fairly simple to lift the top on and off.

On the other side of the highway, they are building the launch pad – again, just a few feet from the edge of the highway!

We were shocked to see this going on so close to the road!  In a news story on TV, they said that the rocket is supposed to be ready for launch as soon as possibly March.  They also talked to several people who live in Boca Chica Village, which is just behind the rocket assembly area.  They are not going to be able to stay in their homes when this launch happens, but they haven’t heard anything definite about what they are going to have to do, or for how long they may have to leave.

We continued on, and a minute later arrived at the beach – the end of the road.

We knew that by going to the right, we would reach the Rio Grande River, where it flows into the Gulf of Mexico.  We wanted to see that, and we only had about 3-1/2 hours until high tide, and we didn’t know how accessible the beach would be as the tide came in, so we went that way first.

The beach was fairly wide, and there were lots of people out fishing . . . and Great Blue Herons keeping watch from the dunes,

and in some cases, from the beach, right next to the fishermen!

We startled this one as he was walking along the beach.

We drove about as far as we could along the beach,

and stopped near some fishermen from Wisconsin.

They took our picture for us . . . with Mexico in the background.

Tom chatted with the fishermen while I walked the beach.  The water looked nice and clear – but chilly – and there were some nice shells . . . and an occasional jellyfish.

Unfortunately, though, the whole area had an overwhelming smell of fish, and there was a ton of trash washed up on the beach and the dunes.  It really was too bad; it could be a really nice beach.

In addition to all the Blue Herons hanging around, there were pelicans flying around to.  This group was flying back and forth across the river.

Walking along the river, the landscape gradually changed from sandy beach to a rocky cliff edge.  The river was actually deeper than it looked here.

We could see people over on the Mexico side – doing the same as the people on the US side – fishing and feeding the birds on the beach.

When the fishermen would catch something that wasn’t big enough the keep, they would throw it to the herons. 

As I walked back toward them, they were getting ready to throw this guy a fish.

He swooped over to get it!

Then, just as quickly, flew back off to his perch on the dune!

The clouds were starting to disperse, and with the sun out, it was a really nice afternoon at the beach.  We got our chairs out and sat there for awhile, enjoying the sun and the surf, until the water crept closer and the tide came in.

We packed up then, and made our way back to the road, as the beach got smaller and smaller.

The beach was nice, but we still prefer South Padre Island better – it doesn’t take as long to get there, and we do like to have a little bit of civilization nearby!  At least it wasn’t as windy this afternoon – the Jeep didn’t end up full of sand, even with the top open! 

Leaving the beach, we had to pass through a border checkpoint – that’s the first one we’ve seen down here!  We pulled up and stopped, the Border Patrol Agents said, “Hi . . . Go ahead, you’re OK”  That was easy!  We thanked them for being there, and continued on our way!

We finished our day with dinner in Brownsville, before heading home – another nice day in the RGV!


  1. Just getting caught up again. Always getting distracted by life.
    Glad to see you are still exploring and finding things of Interest to write about. Another nice thing is you have warmer temperatures then we do.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. Did you hear that the rocket blown over by the strong winds Wednesday? We are in Mission..was windy here too but not as bbad as Harlingen or South Padre.

    1. Yes, I saw that on the news last night. It didn’t surprise me - the winds have been brutal over here the last couple days!


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