At last, we have made it to Falfurrias! We gathered at the Indianapolis International Airport at 6:00 am this morning, where we began our long journey to South Texas. Our first flight brought us to Dallas swiftly and safely, with everything going impressively smoothly thus far. However, as any member of my immediate family would tell you, the Cantor curse ensures that no trip is complete without at least a few hiccups. So perhaps I am to blame for the longer-than-expected day of travel that was to follow. After a delayed flight in Dallas, we arrived in San Antonio a couple of hours behind schedule. Fortunately, all of our luggage arrived with us, which is something I think we were all very grateful for. However, difficulties with the rental car company delayed us even further and so at about 3:30 pm we finally set out with our 3-car caravan on the 3-hour drive to Falfurrias, Texas.
We arrived at our hotel at about 6:30 pm, just over 12 hours after our journey began. Needless to say, it was a long day of travel but our work for the day was not yet complete. We briefly settled in our hotel rooms before our stomachs got the best of us, so we picked up pizza from across the street and hunkered down to plan our first day out in the field. After plans had been made, several of us traveled to the only grocery store in town to grab supplies for lunch, as well as to pick up any personal items that may have been forgotten (lets be honest, no matter how many lists one may write, odds are that something will be left behind). At last, we had fulfilled all of our duties for our first day in South Texas and I know that by the end of the night, everyone was ready to begin our work in the field the following morning.
Something that surprised me through all of the setbacks and complications that we experienced today was that everyone on our team remained in remarkably high spirits. After two flights and waiting outside the rental company for at least an hour, the daunting 3-hour drive seemed to fly by and was actually quite enjoyable. I rode shotgun in a car with my fellow graduate students, Justin, Leann, and Jessica. We jammed to some good old AC/DC Pandora radio and watched the gorgeous sunset over the vast Texan expanse. Justin educated us all on several native bird species and we discussed our thoughts on the work and days to come. I think our persistent good spirits and optimism throughout our 12-hour journey reflects each of our excitement for what is to come. I think we are all more than ready to begin doing what we can to help and I can honestly say that I am incredibly proud to be a member of such a driven and determined team.