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The Graduation of Travis Part II

So sorry that I haven’t updated our trip to San Antonio for Travis’ Air Force Boot Camp Graduation (which occurred in the first week of April) but we have been busy with the new house, cleaning this house, getting rid of stuff, yard maintenance and other road adventures (see the next post for our trip to the Great Sand Dunes in Alamosa, CO.

Okay, back to Travis. We started our 1,200 mile+ trip to San Antonio early in the morning in hopes of getting to the half-way point of Amarillo, TX by early evening. We really didn’t f**k around too much along the way.

 

 

We stopped at this wonderful roadside picnic area complete with a tank of propane. If I would have known they provided propane, I would have brought some franks.

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We didn’t notice this beanery across the street until we already pilfered the propane:

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After our bellies were full we hit the road again.

 

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We got the Holiday Inn in Amarillo around dinner time. Not a moment too soon. We were starving.

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I checked the yellow pages and found a steak house (we are in Texas) that sounded good. We ate at the “Double Knickel” Steak House. We went in wearing shorts and t-shirts and immediately knew we were underdressed and the food wasn’t going to be cheap. What could we do? We were already in and being stared at. Most everybody were dressed casual at the least and were definitely regulars. We got a few looks here and there but we didn’t mind. The food was excellent. I got the rib-eye. I didn’t even need a knife. It was that tender.

Back to the hotel. Big day tomorrow.

Next Stop, Cadillac Ranch. Come on, you know the song written (plagiarized) by Bruce Springstreet and The Dead End Kids Gang (can’t really use the real name as I don’t want to get sued for slander).

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It was windy as f**k out here. Even my hair(s) were blowing in the wind.

So, we get back in the car to finish the drive to San Antonio. Oh, did I mention that it was around 34 degrees in Denver when we left? If I didn’t, you know now that it was 34 degrees in Denver when we left. I only say this because it was in the low 80s in San Antonio, not 34 degrees like it was in Denver (when we left).

The last leg of the trip was uneventful and we made it unscathed to the Wyndam Hotel in San Antonio.

Our hotel was on the San Antonio “River Walk”. The River Walk will take you all the way historic downtown. The walk takes about thirty minutes or so. There is a water taxi but it costs $15 per person. No group rate or roundtrip fares are offered. A little too steep for my liking. Considering that we were in the car for the past day and a half, the walk would do us good.

The rear of the hotel:

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The view from our room:

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The river walk is full of shops and restaurants. They even have a Harley shop on the river. Of course we stopped by and picked up a couple of t-shirts and pins (we collect pins by the way).

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After sight seeing, we headed back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep. We have to be on base by 7am. This means getting up at 4:30 so we can eat and bath. The Air Base is only eight miles away. What could possible go wrong?

The alarm clock didn’t go off (iPhone was on vibrate) and the restaurant doesn’t open until 6:30am. Oh well, we will pick something up on the base.

The graduation orientation starts at 7am. Plenty of time.

6:01am        In the car.

6:03 am        On the freeway

6:17am        The drive to the base was a madhouse. Traffic was light getting to the off ramp but then it was bumper to bumper traffic. I guess we are not the only ones going to the graduation.

6:32 am        Two entrances to the Air Base (left or right) so we took the left one. WRONG. We had to turn around and go the other way. We were not the only ones who made this mistake.                 This wouldn’t have been too bad but the traffic light only lets one to two cars through at a time. About twelve light changes later we made it across the street and through the checkpoint.

6:44am        Almost there…..

6:57 am         Now we have to find a parking space. The lots were full but we found a spot about a 1/4 mile away. I was weary about the lot as the spaces were extremely small. Semi new car in a small spot equals a door ding. Oh well, maybe I’ll get lucky. I’ll spare you the heart pounding wait and tell you now that rear quarter panel got dinged. Of course the cars on both side of me were gone when we got back to the car so I couldn’t get the satisfaction of keying the one who dinged me. Grrrrrr

6:59 am        We can do this…

7:09 am        Made it via a bathroom pitstop

We were able to hear most of the orientation. The orientation was for the Dos and Dont’s with the airmen. You would think the MC would be a service member. Nope, some civilian guy trying to be funny. After the show, we were directed outside to watch the airmen do their morning run.

Maybe we will see him run by…

 

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A little excited huh?

 

 

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Even more excited!

 

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Notice that tub of (yogurt) she is carrying. 99% fat free…

 

 

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Look! We even made a sign (and hired kids to hold it for us):

 

 

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I don’t care how good a photographer you are, you can never get a good picture of people running.

 

Did you see Travis? No, don’t worry, we didn’t either. Maybe we will see him at the Honor Roll Ceremony!

The Honor Roll Ceremony took place about a hour later (the recruits had to change into their uniforms (hopefully they showered first).

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There were only a few honor roll winners and Travis wasn’t one of them. We still haven’t seen him.

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After looking and looking and looking we couldn’t find Travis. We eventually found an airman that knew him and he told us that Travis had to stay back with a sick airman. I guess that “no man gets left behind”.

So, we start walking and attempt to follow the lame ass map that they gave us to find his barracks. We felt if we could possibly get close enough to the barracks we could start yelling out his name or start hucking rocks at the windows and maybe he would look out the window or something. Would this get us in trouble? Probably. More importantly, would this get Travis in Trouble? Big time. Did we care? Michelle did. If that didn’t work, I figured that we can play stupid and just waltz into the barracks and ask to see him.

We waltzed in…that is about it. The Drill Sergeants were hanging out downstairs. When we told them our sob story they told us we could go to the visitor center for more information. Yeah, like that is going to work. It was their way of telling us to scram. They did as who we were going to see and we gave them Travis’s name. Needless to say, the Drill Sergeants were snickering when we walked out.

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We have been on base for most of the day and we have yet to see Travis. Reminded me of Jurassic Park when the dinosaurs were a no show on the tour.

We started walking back to the car and all of a sudden some dude starts running towards me. Kind of freaked me out since he broke formation and was building up speed. Michelle screamed fire (nobody comes when you scream rape) and we then noticed it was a very happy Travis.

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Travis looks real good! Lost weight, gained muscle and learned how to make a bed. It will be interesting to see how neat he is if he visits us after Tech School.

Travis was now free to roam the base with us. He has to be back at the barracks by 8pm so we went to the BX (base exchange) to get some souvenirs and to the bowling alley. Haven’t bowled in years but I still managed to beat Travis and Michelle (which really isn’t saying much). The price for bowling on base has gone up quite a bit. When I was in the Army, it was .25 cents a game. We bowled two games each and it cost me $20 - Oh well, I beat Michelle and Travis. That is what really counts.

Tomorrow is Graduation so Travis needs to get back to the barracks and get ready.

 

Graduation was great. We got a glimpse of Travis as they marched passed us. The wind was really strong. No one airman lost a hat though.

 

 

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If you look really hard, you can see Travis (he is the one in blue uniform and short hair)

 

 

Just how long did you look at that picture and realize he is not really in the picture? I thought it was funny.

 

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After Graduation Travis could leave the base. He had to stay in uniform and couldn’t drink or drive. He could use his (our) cell phone so he called Chelsea and his dad.

We took him to the River Walk to see “The Alamo” and to have lunch and later dinner on the river.

 

 

 

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Michelle at The Alamo        

 

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Dyan Cannon at The Alamo

                                                        

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Travis at the Alamo

 

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Lunch was pretty good. We ate at the Republic of Texas.

After lunch we walked (which seemed like forever) to the Mexican Marketplace This is where all of the locals setup shops. Kind of like a flea market/open market.

We ate dinner at Dick’s Last Resort. If you have been to a Dick’s before, you know what your up against. Travis has never been. The door to the restaurant has a sign saying PUSH but in actuality, they pull out. The waiters gave me shit as they watched me try to open the door.

I think the sign says it all:

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Time to take Travis home….

 

 

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