My Life on the Road: Accidental Rocket Sighting

In April, my wife and I returned from a few months in Mexico, to Texas. We were planning on hanging around until the end of the month before driving back up to Canada. On a particularly hot day, we thought it'd be nice to take our pooch to the beach so that she could cool off. Landlocked as we were, in Mission, we opted to drive east, to the coast. We considered South Padre Island, but seeing the traffic thicken the closer we got, we opted out at the last minute. Instead, on the advice of a fella we met while pulled over for a few licks of an ice cream, we set our Garmin to direct us to Boca Chica. The beach was beautiful, we were told, and no one cares if your dog plays the goof, provided she doesn't bother anyone else.

We were sold.

It wasn't a long drive, but it was a damn flat one. When we arrive in south Texas each year, I'm always thrilled to see the scrub brush, flatlands and palm trees. It's a completely alien world compared to what I grew up with in Canada. By the time we're getting ready to head north, I long for mountains. As the miles down the lone road to Boca Chica clicked by, I starting to whine that I knew what would be around the next corner... it would be flat and dry, with just a hint of dust, just as with the last corner we'd whipped around. As soon as that bullshit left my cake hole, we saw this:

Neither of us were aware that SpaceX had a research facility out there. The compound, built around what appeared to be the ass end of a rocket, was secure, but almost completely deserted. A lone, bored security officer sat in a pickup truck by the compound's main entrance, eyeing us as we slowed down to gawk. Later on, when I came back to take this photo, he was suspicious of us as we slowly drove up with both of my hands sticking out of the window. He warmed up and relaxed when I asked him for his permission to take a few shots of Elon Musk's hardware, through the facility's open gate. "No one ever bothers to ask me," he said as he smiled and waved us ahead.

The beach was lovely, as promised. dozens of families had driven out on to the sand to set up shop for cookouts, fires and an escape from the inland heat. We let the pooch loose. It's the first year that's she hasn't been convinced that the ocean was going to eat her. She smelt of brine all the way home. Once we settled back into the RV for the evening, I looked up the launch site online. a few months previous, the rocket ass, called the Starhopper, apparently, had been blown over in high winds. I wasn't surprised to hear this: the winds in south Texas are no joke.

We've been home for months. I haven't thought too often about Boca Chica. On Thursday evening, I was scrolling around online when I ran across this video:

It's a hell of a thing to see something that had been kicked around by the wind and left tended to by a lone man in a truck take flight—and land in one—piece. Knowing that it may well help us get into orbit one day soon, and beyond? Having been so close to such a thing gives me goosebumps.