Sunday, January 31
We spent most of Sunday afternoon at Boca Chica beach where is was breezy but comfortable. To get there, we drove past SpaceX and the rockets that are scheduled to be launched in the near future. Hopefully, we’ll get to witness at least one of those launches.
Part of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge Boca Chica Beach is about 8 miles long, a public beach that is always open. You can drive your vehicle onto the beach, but it helps to have 4 wheel drive, as sand drifts can act much like snowdrifts. More than one car has gotten stuck in the sand.
The beach affords miles of walking, along the water, on dry sand, even in the dunes that line the park. Just stay on the paths through the dunes so you don’t cause any damage. You may run into someone with a metal detector, you will certainly see plenty of detritus washed up on shore.
You can also get a great view of the SpaceX launch pads, where two rockets were waiting for launch now.
Monday, February 1
This morning, we went searching for the original Fort Brown site, located less than a mile form the condo where we were currently staying. There isn’t much there except an historical marker, which indicated that there were the remains of breastworks in the distance. They appear to be located in or next to an abandoned golf course. Originally named, Fort Texas, Fort Brown was an earthwork construction built to protect the new Republic of Texas from Mexico. Shortly after Texas joined the United States in 1846, it was subjected to a siege by Mexican forces. The fort commander, Major Jacob Brown, was able to mount a successful defense, although he, himself, died just hours before the siege ended. The fort was later renamed in his honor. The original fort also was active during the Civil War.
I walked over to the campus of the Texas Southmost College, where several other buildings from Fort Brown are located. The Fort Brown Commissary and Guardhouse, constructed in 1904 to replace the original fort, was acquired by the City of Brownsville and School District. The Calvary Building, built in 1869, served as a barracks until WWI. It was purchased by private industry after WWII, and later purchased by the college. The Post Morgue was built around 1870. I was excited to learn that William Crawford Gorgas had served here when doing research on Yellow Fever. When reading about the Panama Canal before our last cruise, I learned that Dr. Gorgas was truly a hero of the Panama Canal construction. He determined that Yellow Fever was transmitted by a specific breed of mosquito, and he developed the protocol used to eradicate the mosquito and the disease from Panama Canal. Prior to this, Yellow Fever was a leading killer of the people who worked on the construction of the canal.
All of the former Fort Brown buildings on campus are now used by Texas Southmost College.
This afternoon, we moved to our new lodging on South Padre Island. Our unit faces the Gulf. I spent some time on our deck just enjoying the sound of the surf. This is the life!