We are not car trip virgins. We have drove from S Florida all the way up to Killeen, Texas, then to Fayetteville, NC, then back to S. Florida, then up to PA twice, to Virginia and many places in between, so when the hubby found out we were going to Ft Bliss, El Paso, Texas, we decided to drive and save a good chunk of change instead of shipping the car, flying and then renting a car.
Well we did it, after 1900 miles we arrived safe and sound. We left S Florida at noon on monday, (were to supposed to leave earlier, if it wasn't for my parents to deal with my dou-chebag movers we would have left later but that is a tale for another day when my stuff has finally been delivered), and I worried very much if this was the way our trip was to start how would it end?? but I learned a good lesson before it was all over!
First lets not get ahead of ourselves, the trip was good. The portable dvd player that only comes in the car for long road trips was a lifesaver just like it was on previous trips. I don't have a fixed dvd player in the car, it turns children into zombies in my opinion, but for long road trips, zombies is exactly what I am going for. Zone in to disney's latest creation and let us navigate this mess.
Also I knew we were going to be guests in at least 2 different hotels, before we arrived at our final hotel for a good 4-5 days so I packed accordingly. I separated 1 bag with extra clothes for the drive in case someone got sick, 2 small bags with pjs and change of clothes for the hotel and the rest in our suitcase. We stopped for the night, grabbed 1 of the small bags, the bathroom bags and voila. We were set. It was so easy dh complimented me hundreds of times (previous trips he had to drag in 3 suitcases every hotel stop we made), also I filled little ziplock bags with snacks, put some extra juice cups, and other kind of snacks in a bin and kept it by the children's feet. Anyone wanted a snack I handed them a ziplock bag, at the gas station stops we grabbed some ice from vending machines for the sip cups and our cups, poured the juice or the soda. Also I bought ds 1 new game for his mobigo, Juju got one annoying talking toy, and 2 brand new movies. It was by far the easiest trip ever. Longest but easiest. I have become a pro at this and for the girl that only wants stability, I don't know where that leaves me.
My complains are minor. The highway mess that is Houston and San Antonio and getting through those city centers ages me a couple years, fog, and dh just discovering Adele after being overseas for 1 year and not being able to get enough. I know I know I introduced him to her, but he played Rolling in the Deep 500 times. Oh well!
One thing I do want to mention is something that I think its extremely important and I hope anyone that is PCsing or moving to Bliss will see this.
You see ever since we found out about this assignment, I have been online non stop researching, searching, and searching some more. I have read pretty darn near everything there is to read about this area and not once has anyone mentioned what I nicknamed the "Danger Zone". I am going to talk about in hopes of someone seeing this and actually saving a life.
Right outside of San Antonio, about 10 miles outside, on highway 10-West, pretty much the one you will take, if you are coming from the east, there is absolutely nothing. When I mean nothing I mean nothing. I am not exaggerating. Its almost 560 miles from the outside of San Antonio to El Paso, 2 lanes going West 2 lanes going east. For the whole time there is vast empty land, and the most boring scenery ever. There is hardly any towers, so cellphone is sketchy, no cops around, not even a hospital sign. You are going through and around the mountains so its about 30-50% elevation and curvy and windy. The speed limits is 80 for cars and 70 for trucks. Gas stations are very few and far between and no street lights at all.
After we got out of San Antonio, we all had to pee, I started looking for a gas station. After driving almost 50 miles and not finding one we all peed on the side of the road. No joke. Not even a cow to make us embarrassed. It took us another 20 miles to find a gas station then something like 100 miles to find another. In that 560 mile stretch there is 2 little towns and you guessed it nothing else. Cue in the scary music and you got the settings of a horror film. There weren't even birds flying around, no cactus. Only crows and dead skunks on the side of the road. I know, I know, you are wondering how could I have gotten so lucky ;)
Our saving grace is that we only left FLl at noon, so therefore we only made it to before San Antonio by the 2nd night and slept. Early in the morning rested and in good weather, is when we braved this Danger Zone. If we had left early more than likely by the afternoon the 2nd day we would have entered this Danger Zone and we would have said "Oh lets just drive and get there" and it would have been fatal. No joke. I would never want to be caught in this area at night or in bad weather and I feel its absolutely important to share that with people. I got lucky , I hope others are smart about it.
After arriving I went straight to the house I had selected to see first, on the way to me the realtor got into a car accident. She is okay, her car is fine, but she rescheduled for tomorrow. I just wanted to cry. I had everything set up and something gets thrown in my way, then I remembered my luck of my movers arriving late and pretty much saving my life, so I decided to drive by dh's work just to make sure what I figured out online about the house being close to it is actually correct. It is and I am amazing. I seriously can find my way out of hell with a laptop and a cellphone :)
We then went to Walmart to buy some groceries because days of eating out is taking a toll, checked into our hotel, got everyone fed and bathed and happy. Our noses are dry as heck and we are jet legged. This is 2 hours behind what we were used to, but we will make it.
1st impressions..well that drive through the Danger Zone scared the crap out of me, but after getting here I am feeling okay. Its crowded, there is every kind of shop you can possibly imagine, I drive 5 minutes a Starbucks is there. There seems to be a lot to do but its odd. It seems like someone drew a circle in the middle of nowhere land and decided to add everything, totally odd.
The kids love that we are right by the airport. Seeing the jet planes go up and coming in for a landing is amazing. In the upcoming days , I will have a better grasp on things and can share more.
The most awesome news is dh, who is a bobble head, posted yesterday for the first time ever in his FB that we were coming here. Well two friends from his old Hood unit, and 1 from his Bragg unit are here. How crazy is that?? and I could have totally picked their brain for stuff. Oh well. Dh called them and they filled us in on how crowded this place this, how common car accidents are, how there is so much to do, how it snows hard here, there is no rain ever but then there is something called monsoon season. Can I run back home now???
Tonight I am feeling bummed out that I have to learn how to get around, get lost, get lost some more, heck there is a lot of streets not showing up on the GPS, get a house, get settled, do all the crappy things a housewife have to do, but I am content this is a very varied placed. I hear Spanish everywhere, this is such a cultural mesh and I love it.
Hopefully things will go smoother tomorrow, no more roadblocks and I will learn to bloom, until then I am going to try to figure out why my nose is so dry and what the heck I need to make it better and how to get used to seeing mountains after being in flatland for so long.
* Dh and I joked so much about this scenery. All you had to do is attach these pictures one next to the other to make it 560 miles and you can feel and see exactly what we saw in this Danger Zone.
** SO please if you have the luck or despair (whichever way you want to see) of getting this assignment, sleep in San Antonio and attack this area early in the morning and pray for good weather.
Much love A