The McGregor Range
Traveling down from Alamogordo, NM, on US 54, to El Paso, it wasn’t long before we were in the Ft Bliss McGregor Range. This training range is immense! Some of it is mountainous while other parts are flat and vast! We could see columns of desert dust rising in different directions. These were coming from military vehicles traveling on dusty roads. It brought back memories of Ft Drum, NY and our Field Artillery, Battalion and Battery convoys on rough, dust-filled roads. Howitzer crews, riding in the back, on 5-ton trucks filled with tons of equipment. The dust so bad that many guys wearing their gas mask! Ah, those were the days! NOT! I continued to drive south thinking of those soldiers, back then and now. Unless you ’ve experienced this dry, hot and dusty environment, you can’t fathom what soldiers put up with to protect the United States of America!
Ft Bliss RV Park ~ Friends
As we travel from one place to another, we meet people, make friends, stay in touch and so on. It is no different here at Ft Bliss. Our Tucson, Davis/Monthan AFB friends, Tom and Nancy were here at the park. A text from Nancy, as we left La Cruces, NM, indicated that Ft Bliss had availability. We had their site number and Nancy indicated not to take site 45 as it had a lot of kids next door. Checking in at the office, we got a perfect end of row site just three sites from Tom and Nancy. Life is Good at Ft Bliss!
Ft Bliss ~ The Lay of the Land
On our way west, we stayed at Ft Bliss two nights, really one full day. We didn’t get chance to explore this Army base. Here are some interesting facts: (I’m a facts guy)
- Fort Bliss is the nation’s air defense headquarters
- Fort Bliss is the second largest military installation in the US Army
- Fort Bliss military community has grown to over 164,000 people
- Females represent 48% of the military community at Fort Bliss
- Approximately 58% of the military community at Fort Bliss is married
The heart of the growing Fort Bliss community is the Freedom Crossing. It is the first of its kind shopping center in the world! In addition to shops and restaurants, Freedom Crossing features a 10-screen, stadium seating first-run movie theatre. “The Grand Theatre”
In short, Fort Bliss is a good size city and very healthy! Even in the worship area, it has four dedicated chapels covering several faiths. We enjoyed exploring this military community!
El Paso ~ And The Zoo
On our first night at Fort Bliss, Tom and Nancy invited us over for dinner. We did a lot of catching up. The following day the four of us went to the El Paso Zoo. It took us the middle part of the day to view all the exhibits. By mid-afternoon, the sun had cooked the energy out of us and we called it a day! That evening we all ended up in the community room, doing internet stuff, Helen and Nancy looked at Nancy’s daughter’s wedding pictures. I watched some of my YouTube favorites and Tom did the same on his computer. That’s the age of electronic indulgences!
Saturday was a long-awaited re-supply day at Freedom Crossing. As mentioned above, Freedom Crossing is a world-class shopping mecca! We spent nearly all day shopping (groceries mostly) and exploring the complex. It is nice to have your refrigerator with you so you don’t have to run home to put away your frozen products. Lunch was at the food court with dozens and dozens of food outlets. Remember the base has 164,000 community members! A lot of customers!
We located the Catholic Chapel on base and went to 5pm mass. After mass, we had dinner in the camper on base. The plan here was to go the movies at the 7:05 showing of “Death Wish”. This 10 screen movie theatre does have first-run movies and charges $6 (military discount). Not bad for an evening first run movie. Oh, if you wanted popcorn, a “small” would cost you $6.50 and a large $8.50…No thanks, we just had dinner!
Sunday Morning ~ Blog Writing
You wouldn’t believe it but this Sunday morning is the first real day of rain since we left home in early November! It isn’t pouring, but more of a soaking drizzle. We are getting into the winter jet stream pattern. Yesterday, FaceTiming our granddaughter, Aspen, was a sobering reality of the snowy conditions back home in New Hampshire. We must, must slow down and crawl home so, so slowly! We leave here tomorrow morning!
Another footnote: I’ve been able to post my blogs’ frequently because of the reliable Internet. Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue this as we move Eastward!
That is what we saw and did!