Our Riverside Dreamer Cruise in Mission

Last year we rode this boat with Larry and Cici. They offer an hour ride and a 2 hour ride.  I wanted to try this as a group activity but I was worried because it is almost an hour away.  We always have to car pool.  So I booked a cruise for afternoon from 1pm to 3pm.   Hoping to get 25 so we could still go, I hung up the sign up sheet…..Would you believe, I filled the boat for 45 people.  Put up another sign up sheet for standby.  Over 50 signed up the 2nd time.  Amazing.  Never believed they would be all that excited.  The cruise was $19.  They have a nice restaurant with seating indoors or patio areas outside amongst the tropical settings of plants and patio areas.  So last Tuesday we all met at the parking lot and made the drive to Mission to the Riverside Club on the Rio Grande River.  It was a beautiful day.  We all took our time and enjoyed ordering from the menu.  Some ate inside and others outside.20170110_114529.jpg

Many of us ordered their good ole Midwestern tenderloin.  It was only $8.99.  Not a bad price.  You can’t hardly find one done here so this was a real treat.  It was huge, the size of the plate.  Rich made a face on his.  …..Ketchup and Mayo face…..20170110_173038.jpg

Finally we were all done.  I paid for the tickets and handed out 45 boarding passes for our very own private cruise.  We all went outside and wandered the grounds and lined up.  The boat came in from its 1 hour cruise.  Everyone debarked and we all boarded.  20170110_172934.jpg

Usually the boat goes down river for the 1 hour cruise to the Anzalduas Dam and then back.   The 2 hour cruise goes up river as far as it can go before turning around.  Since this was our own  cruise we were given the option to go down to the dam and then up river as far as we could go.  So that is what we decided.  We hadn’t been to the dam before.  It was a nice ride.20170110_133055.jpg

We cruised up near the dam so we could see over.  On the other side the captain said occasionally the water gets shallow enough that one can walk over to the other side.

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The flood gates were huge.  You can see how far up the gates can go to keep the water from flowing down river and flooding the low lands.  Their was a lot of flooding and damage along the river back in 2010 when Hurricane Alex came inland.  Also note the American and Mexican flag flying overhead.  We turned around and went back past the Riverside Club up stream.  20170110_171633.jpg

We passed Chimney Park boat ramp.  You can see the police lookout up in the area.  These are all over on the boarder areas, even at shopping malls and busy areas in the city’s.  They have a great visual to watch for migrants or crime.  You can also see all the border patrol trucks parked.  20170110_171507.jpg

Right past the ramp is the actual Chimney Park Rv Resort and the Chimney of the original lift station that was started in 1907.  The brick was made by hand in the small town of Madero not to far away.  They chimney is 106 ft tall, and 6 ft in diameter.  The boilers were started in 1907, and the lift station started pumping water for irrigation.  The station was used for irrigation until 1952-53 droughts.  After that Falcon and Anzalduas Dams were constructed and the pump wasn’t needed anymore.  In the 1960’s it opened as a fishing area and eventually became the Chimney Park Resort.  20170110_173338.jpg

We passed one area on the Mexican side which was a resort.  They had sheep grazing on the grounds.  riverside-club-6

On down the river was beautiful home with an Infinity Pool out front.  Just Beautiful.  All this area right now is deserted as its off season.  I would love to see these areas in the summer.  On the Mexican side we passed several resorts.  Some were classy with boat docks and beautiful buildings with large ground areas.  One was damaged in  Hurricane Alex in 2010, and has never really been rebuilt.  On the American side it, other than Chimney Rock, it was mainly Sugar Cane fields.  Bentsen State Park also boarders on the Rio Grande as well as The Butterfly Gardens by Mission Tx.  .20170110_141832.jpg

We also seen the Border Patrol speed by…..and then another one….Along the river, we also seen the Border Conservation Police tied up on the American side.  Eventually after an absolutely beautiful day, we turned back.  The Captain told us many facts on his PA system as we rode.  Also mentioned that a wall would take 40 years to build partly because of land that would have to be take by imminent domain.  Its true. There is so many homes and business all over the banks of the Rio Grande River.  Also the sugar cane fields go all the way the the Rio……

So I guess Time Will Tell……What Will Trump Do…….

So back to the dock and we all headed home after a gorgeous day on the river.  While I was their I booked a 3rd trip.  We’ll see how this goes.  I’m collecting money right now for our next one on Feb 9th.  Already have 20 paid.  Will stop at 40 and start collecting for the 3rd trip on Feb 23.  Who would have ever thought.   I was only hoping for at least 25 so we could send out the boat…..

So tomorrow I have Segway in Bentsen State Park.  This will be an awesome ride.  I’ve never been their before.  Again this is a park event.  Wednesday nite, Us, Cici and Larry, Alice and Tom are all going to see the Oak Ridge Boys.  Now that will be a fun evening.  Busy days ahead.  Oh gees, that means we eat out AGAIN…..lol

Texas Gulf Trawling Shrimp Boil & Tour

Monday Feb. 22, I had a car pool trip scheduled to Brownsville to the Texas Gulf Trawling Co.  It’s about a half hour drive, located at the Port of Brownsville, which the mouth opens up to the Gulf of Mexico.  This company is one of the largest Shrimp Company’s in the area, with 15 boats in their fleet.  At the height of the business, they had around 30 boats.  They fish for shrimp from the Rio Grande River in Mexico up to Louisiana.  Where they fish is according to the season of the year.  The boats leave with a crew of anywhere from 3 to 6, depending on peak season.  The crew consists of a captain, header, and a rigger.  Their is always just one captain of course, but more of the other 2.  The headers job is to dehead the shrimp when they are brought aboard.  He is also a cook.  The riggers are dropping the nets and bringing them in.   They are the lowest pay of the jobs.  They are out in the gulf for min. of 30 days, but can be up to 60 days.20160222_112642When we first got their, we were taken to a metal building out by the basin.  It was open to the water at the shore side.  Their was 2 conveyors running from this building to a shrimp boat by the dock.20160222_094718

This is how the shrimp are unloaded from the boat.  We were served coffee and cookies.  Finally it began.  The son told us the history of the business.  It has always been family owned starting with his grandpa.  In the 50’s they not only were building boats for others, but now built their own boats to go shrimping.  At the peak year, they built 22 boats.  They no longer build them.  Their last boat was built in 2001.  They no longer foresee building anymore as the shrimp industry in the US. is dwindling to 10 percent.  The foreign markets are now flooding the stores with farm produced shrimp.  Many of them contain antibiotics, growth hormones or animal  byproducts.  Texas Gold Shrimp are wild caught.   The are caught in the deep Gulf and headed and immediately frozen to keep them fresh.

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We were taken on the boat and the father continued with the tour. In the back of this picture, this boat had just come in while we were in the building.  It had been out 33 days.  They were now repairing and getting all their duties done.  This also includes emptying their freezer before they could leave the boat.  They were busy with nets and hosing of the decks. The father was full of info.  He answered all the questions that were thrown at him.  We seen the freezer which was in the hull.  It was huge and a walk in freezer.  The header came aboard and gave us a demonstration. He puts a shrimp in each hand and simply flicks the head off with each thumb. He must be extremely fast to keep up with the catch.

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20160222_122743It is his job to dehead all the fish that is dropped on the deck as the nets are pulled up.  The boat is equipped with 4 nets that are dragged on the bottom.  Wooden doors on the nets, keep the mouths open as tickler chains drag the bottom and keep it stirred up, driving the shrimp into the nets.    The nets are lifted every 45 mins or so to see if they are needed to dump on the deck for the header.  The nets are dumped and immediately put back in the water and the header keeps deheading.

We were then allowed to walk through the cabin area…..What an Eye Opener……Not a Job for Me….

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The Kitchen area….so so tiny…Their was just enough room to walk through.

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The booth were they eat their meals…..Notice the edge on the table, so their food wouldn’t fall off.

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Their were 2 bedrooms with bunks….The crew might have to take turns sleeping if their are more than 3.

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Oh My ……the bathroom…..Rather disgusting….lol…

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Then up the stairs to the captains helm.

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The view from the windows…

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Rich and another girl from the park, Pat in the cabin.

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Nice soft seat….lol….Our neighbors Gayle and Marjo and one of the employees.

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Finally time to go back in to our tables and get ready for a shrimp feed and contest….

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They were preparing all the shrimp as we walked in.

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The son showed us how to use a deveiner.  You can devein the shrimp with out the tail or leave it on.    Your Choice.

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We had a contest and 2 of our girls competed against each other.  Who could be fastest, Marilyn on the left or Terri on the right……Well Terri won.  She LOVVVVES Shrimp. She won a free Deveiner.

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Rich tried it also just to see how easy it was.

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Finally it was time to try the shrimp……Well I don’t like it at Alllll……So Rich ate mine.   Margo decided to try it even though she doesn’t like it…..lol

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Look at that face…..hahaha….After we left, we stopped at McDonalds for me….lol…It was a very fun morning.  We learned so much.  Again I have only shared a portion of what we learned.  They covered all about the market, what wild caught means versus farm raised,  quality, and the processing of the shrimp that takes place in Port Isabel, which is only about 10 miles away.  We also learned that this summer they will be refurbishing 2 of the boats, including the one we were on.  The price tag is over $120,000 each.  So much information.20160222_095719