We left our tents at Ft. Bliss (Westbrook facility near McGregor Range in New Mexico). This was a few nights ago. The buses left at 11PM at night, and drove all night Eastward. It was about a 15 hour bus ride from Ft Bliss (which is at the extreme western part of Texas) to Fort Hood, which is in the eastern/middle part of Texas, sort of between Dallas and Austin, and near Killeen/Waco.
The drive was no pleasure, but most of us did manage to get some sleep on the bus. When I woke up, we were in a new world. You could really tell where the West Coast scenery of dry scrub and desert in the west gave way to the East Coast scenery of trees and forests.
We drove through a town named Fredricksburg, which looked lovely. I learned it is a resort town out here in central Texas. A few miles later, we stopped for lunch at Johnson City, where most of the group ate at a Dairy Queen. I went a few stops down to Ronnie’s BBQ, where they had a selection of slow-cooked Texas BBQ meats. It was surprising, but a guy in boots and a cowboy hat bought my lunch for me! This is the 6th or 7th time since 9/11 that someone has bought my lunch upon seeing me order in restaurant. I feel a bit guilty about taking the free meal, as I could well afford to pay, but it would be rude to turn down a patriotic gesture like this. I thanked the guy, and ended up spending some time talking with the regulars at Ronnies in Johnson City, Texas. Turns out this was a childhood home of former president LBJ. And you can buy a full house here for under $100K! I always like to find out a bit about wherever I am, and although i doubt I’ll ever end up living in Texas, I was attracted by the low cost of housing and the friendly people I met at the BBQ place.
We are now at Fort Hood. I can’t say this is a pretty place. The base is bleak and unattractive, and it is sprawling over a large area with virtually nothing of interest to see. It’s the home to many large armored and mechanized units. Lots of rain over the past two days. Our barracks are better than the tents at Ft. Bliss. I have a room to myself, with a shared bathroom between my room and MAJ Oliver’s. We are getting ready for an exercise to prepare for our mission.
Who is MAJ Lance Oliver?, You ask? HERE is Major Lance Oliver: