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Texas Trip – Day 3, Part 2

Texas Trip – Day 3, Part 2


[smartads] Getting right to the question left lingering from the last post, I made it to the Japanese Immigration Office, and back, in about 20 minutes.  I surprised even myself.  So it was 12:05 when I returned and they sent us straight to the processing line.  We were the last ones in line for that flight, but I didn’t care because our seats were secure.  I sure was ready to sit down for awhile too because my feet and legs were really hurting.  We decided to buy one of the box lunches they offered for the flight.  The price was $4.55 and I guess it was almost worth the price.  It contained a cold grilled chicken sandwich with cheese, 2 bottles of water, an orange, a granola bar, small pasta and yogurt.  I ate the sandwich, the granola bar, 1/2 the orange and drank about 1 1/2 of the water.  Lita ate the rest.  There were also free sodas and chips for the flight.  I had a couple cans of Dr. Pepper also and 2 bags of Frito’s. 

C17 Cargo Seats

I also discovered while at Yokota that the price of 20oz soft drinks has increased since the last time I bought any.  I remember them being around $1.19, but they are now around $1.59 (about P69).  I can buy a cold 3L Mountain Dew for only P45 ($1.04) in the Philippines.

The flight leaving Yokota was the same one that we flew into Yokota on.  I didn’t know until shortly before we left Japan, but this flight was not going directly to Travis, but it was going through Elmendorf AFB in Alaska first.  That meant that unless something wonderful happens, we would be missing that flight to Ft. Hood that was leaving Travis AFB in about 14 hours.  I was told it was an 8 hour trip to Elemendorf, at least a 3 hour layover in Alaska, then a 6 hour trip to Travis. 

As it turned out, the flight to Alaska was only 6 1/2 hours, the layover was only 2 hours and the flight to Travis was only 4 1/2 hours.  That still would be cutting it close for making the Fort Hood flight, even with the time change.  Well as it turned out, the flight time was not only changed to about 3 hours later, but they split up the flight.  What I mean is the original flight was suppose to be going to Fort Hood, Kelly AFB and Briggs AFB (all in Texas), but they separated out the Fort Hood flight and used a different plane.  The original plane was to be a C-130, but the new plane was a C-17.  So not only did we get there on time, we had to wait a couple of hours, hoping that there would be seats for the flight.  As it turned out there were only 10 seats available.  Our luck for flights was still with us because there were only like 8 people waiting for flights and 2 of those were not going to Texas.  So there were 10 seats and only 6 passengers, so we were guaranteed a seat.  

We waited in the nice little terminal at Travis, but there was an announcement that we were not allowed to sleep there.  I was confused because when I contacted the Travis passenger terminal on Facebook the said it would be okay as long as we followed the safety and sanitation regulations.  I’ll have to ask them about that again.  They have some very good potato salad and Italian sandwich at the Travis Passenger Terminal.  I’d recommend both of them if you happen to be there.

As it turned out there were only 5 passengers.  The first lady that signed up changed her mind and decided to do something else.  So there was just Lita and I, another couple and a guy that had been traveling with us since Yokota.  I am writing these notes while sitting in the seats of the C17, but we are not allowed to take pictures on or of the plane or even not on the flight line.  I don’t know why they got us out here so early because it is still about an hour before we take off.  They don’t want us walking around in the plane, except to go to the CR, until the plane has reached cruising altitude. 

Now at cruising altitude I seem to be the only one that is tired of sitting and wants to walk around.  There is no cargo in the area we are in so there is plenty of room to walk around.  I probably walked around for at least half that flight.  The seats on the C17 were not as good as the seats on the C5 we were on, but they were alright, especially since we did not have to pay for them.

The about 10:00pm arrival time was confirmed by the pilot, but I don’t expect my Dad to be waiting for us when we arrive because he does not have a sticker on his car or a pass to get on post.  I figure we will have to take a taxi to the gate and wait on him there or hopefully he will be waiting for us already.  My Mom and Dad are both night owls, but I don’t know how much night driving he actually does these days.  I’ll call him or e-mail him as soon as I can after we arrive.  I suppose we will start out staying at my parents apartment until we can figure out what other options are available to us. 

It seems unusual to me that we were told only 10 seats were available for this flight, but there are about 40 empty seats.  As I said, there is no cargo in the way either.  I found out later the flight we are on normally does not take passengers at all, but for some reason they made an exception in this case.  Just another example of the good luck we have had in making our connections. 

Travis AFB California

Okay, so we land but since there are normally no passengers on this flight, there was no one there to meet and greet us.  This is a requirement for the military I guess because we had to wait for someone to show up.  After he arrived and gave us the short brief, we took us 2 at a time to where ever we needed to go on post.  I also found out from this guy that outgoing flights from Fort Hood were little to nil.  I guess when it is time to go, I’ll have to find us another way.  Lita and I just needed to get to either the West Fort Hood gate or to Base Ops so I could call my Dad.  We were taken to the Base Ops (it was a little closer).  I wanted to e-mail him, but their Internet was down, so a phone call was my only option.  There was no answer.  I decided to call us a taxi and head for the gate in case he was already there waiting.  A taxi shows up, but he is in the wrong place.  We got in that taxi anyway.  As we were leaving another taxi showed up, probably ours, but I didn’t care, we were on our way.

As we approach the gate, I think I see him there, but I’m not sure yet.  I haven’t seen him or the car in 2 years, plus it is night time and the bright lights of the gate are shining in my eyes.  You would hope that after everything we’ve been through, it would go smoothly now that we were at the end.  Of course that didn’t happen.  Next post I will tell you about the final problem we encountered while trying to get back to the old hometown, and it’s a doozy.

Salamat Y’all



  1. Mark, that’s a long time to be commuting back and forth. For some reason, I thought you were nearly retired or only had a couple two years left. If you still have 12 years, couldn’t you bring your asawa to the states where she could work and pay into social security? Then again I guess there is no guarantee that SS will still be a viable thing to look forward to. At least you wouldn’t have to support the two households. Someday, our paths will cross and we can share a cold one together.

    • That’s the plan: to bring her over and let her be the new kid on the block for a change. I have some issues with the ex- and that’s adversely affecting things at the moment. So I’ll be commuting for a bit.

      • Been there done that with the “ex” thing. It does put a strain on a marriage early on. We all get past it, sometimes it’s just not fast enough.

  2. Randy
    The asawa was so bored on the island that she was getting into arguments with family etc. This will be better for her. It’s temporary but for how long is a good question. I’m not sure just how far out of town it is but it’s still considered Calbayog. Despite the fact we’ve had to incur a few expenses furnishing the place I can sense that she is happier now. I’m not so sure our boy will be though. His cousins kept him fairly busy (entertained, lol). There’s always a trade off. If I could retire now I’d be there in a heart beat however I have 12 more years before Uncle Sam says I can go. My retirement is tied up in company stock which I can’t touch without losing roughly 30-50% in taxes until I do retire. It’s kind of a catch 22. She wants to come to the US and I told her I’d bring her here so that’s that for the time being.
    Mark G.

  3. Wow, going home to PH. Doesn’t seem that long ago that you two were on your way out of there. Can’t wait to see the rest of your photos and read about the rest of the vacation.

    Don’t forget good walking or running shoes, a toaster, and I can’t remember what else you were missing back in Calbayog. Did you get rid of all of your things in storage? Did you have a garage sale?

    Vaya con Dios!

    • I’ve got some shoes, but we decided we are going to buy any appliances in the PI. We don’t want to mess with the transformers if we don’t have to.
      You’ll have to read the blog to find out about the storage and what happen. I thought I was past that point already, but I could be wrong. Sometimes when I write it down, I think it was already posted.
      We had a few interesting times here, but we will both be glad to get back to some normalcy.

  4. So you’re on your way home soon? Good to know I’ll be getting my daily Calbayog fix again in the near future, lol. The Missus has taken an apartment just north of the city proper and is fairly happy with the convenience the city offers her. When you get all settled in again I’ll have her wander by and introduce herself. You’ll still be across from the Ciriaco I assume, even though the store is closed?

    • We’ll still be there and a bakery is now in place of the store. We should have 3 or 4 businesses there in a short while, hopefully including the restaurant so I can have monthly expat get togethers. We should be leaving this Sunday (or there abouts), but we don’t know how long we will be stuck in the Travis AFB area.
      We sure will be glad to get back to something normal. A 2 month vacation is too long for us when we don’t have our own place to stay.

    • Mark, so are you guys now planning on moving into the city of Calbayog? Might make it a little easier to live there and until you get that super yacht running than you can zip back and forth at will. (Passenger Ferry} Let me know when you will be making the move as maybe I can help.

  5. I am suffering for not keeping up with your blog! Missed you coming to Texas??? I am not finished reading yet, hopefully you are still in Texas. If you are I am hoping you could swing through here????? I’d love to see ya’ll! Sherry is here also 🙂 I know it may not be possible. Looks pretty impossible for me to make any trips at the moment, total chaos around here.. one lost a baby and going in hosp Tues.. etc etc etc.. you know how it is around here always drama. Come pack me in your suitcase and take me home with ya’ll!!! 🙂

    • Well Glenda, we are in the process of returning to the Philippines now. We should be leaving this weekend.
      We were kind of stuck about doing things. We figured we’d be busy, but it turned out to be more than we wanted. My best friend is in the hospital and I can’t even go see him. The car I was using I no longer have and the one I got to replace it I don’t trust to make the trip. We did get a lot of things accomplished here and I figure our next trip will be more of a vacation than business and cleaning up, especially if the blog starts doing well.
      Yeah I know it is always drama around your area. I did not know about a new daughter. It sounds like you adopted her by your statement.
      Okay well I guess we’ll miss you again this time. You can come visit us in the Philippines whenever you want. Just contact me through this blog. I’m limited on luggage, so I can’t pack you in there, sorry.

      • I do understand you were very busy on this trip. Those type trips are so hectic too! Tell everyone hello for me. Yes I adopted her. Sometimes I feel like it’s more than I can handle but I have to do it.
        Have a safe trip home!

        • Thanks Cuz. It’s going to be another adventure heading back for sure.

  6. Hi JJ! I was getting updates by individual email on any comments you posted but it stopped. I though you hadn’t had time to go online. What a surprise to find Day 3 part 1 in your website!

    You certainly kept good notes of your trip – so good I couldn’t help mentally urging you on each time you hit a snag. 🙂

    Do you know that there’s free wi-fi at over 11,500 McDonalds? Check your area. I found out by accident on our last roadtrip a few weeks ago. I asked a best buy teenager who was handling their day’s flyer for directions to the nearest internet cafe. He look blankly at me but when I explained, he sent us across the street to McDonalds. And their coffee has been upgraded in the last year or two, too. A far cry frm when I used to take the kids there.

    OK, I’ll wait for your next installment. 🙂 Keep typing!

    • Howdy again Winda. Yes I started out keeping excellent notes I thought, but I slacked off later as I had things to accomplish here. When I get to that part of the trip, I will have to do a lot from memory.
      Wifi will do me no good without a laptop, which I still can not afford at this time. We have made some strides in completeing everything we need to, but it hasn’t turned out perfect, but what does anyway.
      Right now I am looking at how we will get back. Not sure how we will do it yet because Space A is not very possible from Ft. Hood where we came in at.
      I hope to have at least one more post from here, maybe 2 and I will finish the rest when we return. I have to get the status of the site back up. When you don’t update everyday, things are too slow and the Google rating suffers.

  7. Are you Irish? You must have had a leprechaun on your shoulder during that bit in Yokota, lol. I can’t wait for the next installment of ‘The Perils of UJ + Lita’.
    Mark G.

    • No Mark we are not Irish, but I’ll have to admit we were very lucky in Korea and Yokota. I hope we didn’t use up all our luck because we will need some of it for the return trip in about 3 or 4 weeks.

Texan in the Philippines