Sunday, October 18, 2009


So for the past 9 weeks thanks to Uncle Sam I have been a tenant of "The Great Place" aka Ft Hood TX. I will forgo talking about the actual training (not for OPSEC since that really doesn't apply in this case... just because I am trying to get over the fact that the 10 weeks of training could have been condensed into 4, maybe 5, weeks and there is so much wasted time in this stuff that it makes me sad... when I find myself fondly wishing to be back at work? I am bored).

Not exactly where I wanted to be (since I get to miss 4 of the 8 weeks in DC where the weather is pleasant by my standards) but I am a true believer taking lemons and making something approximating lemonaide, so I took it upon myself to explore the heck out TX (I spent 5 months in Houston in 2000, but never got over to this side except for one trip to Austin). I went out drinking on 6th Street in Austin, made my arteries cry out for mercy when I went to the TX State Fair, explored Austin and San Antonio pretty extensively with Cupcake Girl and my parents, and even went in and went to a University of Texas game (vs Colorado).

I think I will borrow from some other bloggers and present some of the good things and some of the bad things in a list:
  • Friendly people - really.... My favorite story is that after walking around for 2 hours in 90 degree heat we were looking among the tailgaters at UT for a beer to buy. My Dad said that he was a tourist, was hot, tired and just wanted to buy a beer. The man just reached around, grabbed into his cooler and gave my Dad a beer.
  • Great BBQ - really, some of the best!
  • Best Tex-Mex ever
  • Short work day (average day started at 0800, broke for lunch from 1130 to 1300 and then was done by 1530). I think going back to working 8-9 hour days is going to kill me
  • Lots of space for long runs (training for MCM and the Army Ten Miler)
  • Surprisingly bad trails. Sidewalks ending, poorly maintained... Kind of surprising on an Army base.
  • Interesting (new) things to run into the trails. I had to hop off one when a M2 Bradley APC came roaring up past me. Also a whole new assortment of wildlife, snakes and cattle. And because of the cattle? They have these things called cattle guards that are meant to coincide with streams etc that were meant to keep the cattle constrained. Large bars about 9in separation.
  • Driving... everywhere.... Distances that I would never drive had to be driven because walking was just unsafe.
  • The motel I spent this time in. Completely sealed (poor ventilation that can lead to mold if not run continiously), crappy shower and right next to the cannon at the 3 Corps HQ.
  • Living on base. The above mentioned cannons that go off every weekday at 0600 and 1700.... Very hard to sleep through.
  • And yes, being so far from home
But in just another 2-3 days I can leave. 1500 miles of driving and I will be home!!!

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