It was just outside of Brownsville, Texas where I drove amidst the beach. With the Gulf of Mexico to my left while I took a four-wheel drive through the sand and surf along what seemed like the far reaches as I skirted around fishermen and beach goers. It was early in the afternoon, and I’d already navigated along the inland border fence and a past a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) checkpoint to get eyes on my start point.

The checkpoint that I passed was strange to me, as it only appeared to check those coming in the opposite direction that I was – from the Gulf. When I made my way to it, I stopped my vehicle to ask if I was supposed to stop. After all, there is no sense in getting gunned down on the border at the beginning of my physical investigation. The exchange of words was swift in-between the traffic flow, and the agent quickly said as he motioned me to move on: “Make sure you have your ID.”

On the path to the coast, I took note of the many historical markers and soaked up my surrounding. The beginning is always the best when my perspective is at its height. I have yet to be enveloped in another multipronged behavioral assimilation as I grasp onto all of the complicated points, perspectives, and direction interactions that will strip away the innocence of the situation. At this point, I had a few hours left of that.

The summaries I was reading on the border placed my intrigue on the nature of, who is doing what, why, and how because I was already there. The historical markers put this point as a place of significance, with a mercenary/militia past. I was standing at the site where 50,000 volunteers met to supplement the U.S. Army, at the advent of the war with Mexico; and the location of the last land battle of the Civil War.

A coast to coast, journey. Start point, the Gulf of Mexico. Image Courtesy of Buck Clay.

Next laid the beachhead and a place that I won’t claim as one of my other illegal crossings on this trip. All of which I made just for the hell of it. I coasted along until an odd collection of staggered metallic barriers and coastline blocked my vehicles path. The obstructions extended from a low, sloping plateau that was overlooking the beachhead extended into the Gulf – where the Rio Grande River meets the Gulf of Mexico. The rental SUV wasn’t going to breach this mix of natural and man-made obstacles, so I acquiesced and dismounted to poke around.

I had never been to anyplace where a river met the sea and was most certainly was not calculating for commonsense when I sent forth into the frigid water. The tides were low, but the current was high as I sloshed about through a mix of muck and trash to set foot on a sandbar. Now satisfied that I’ve achieved as much I could without causing an international incident. I turned about, after sending one of my few in-the-field reports:

“I’ve begun at the Gulf, and drove south – past the international cell coverage alert and until the route was blocked . . . Moving off the beach now, and heading west to the Pacific Ocean, via the Borderlands.”

As it turns out, we aren’t one of those news agencies. Despite this, my digital communications fell upon deaf ears, and into the soullessness of cyberspace. So I only sent up a few more before deciding to hold longer conversations with myself instead.