Homeward Bound

Returning home is always bittersweet. We miss our families, pets, beds, etc… and are eager to get back to our normal routines.  But it is also difficult to return home when there is so much more work to be done here Texas. Yesterday, the Texas State group invited us to their hotel for a last night together pool party. It was a great way to come together and celebrate a week of hard work and to unwind together.

We left bright and early for the long drive to the airport. We decided to stop for Close up of a spider on a leaf.Whataburer taquitos to eat en route.  About an hour into our journey I see a large furry spider crawling over the vent and towards my hands on the steering wheel. I’m not scared of spiders, but not knowing if it’s poisonous was frightening. So I turn to Erica in the co-pilot seat and ask her what to do. She tells me to pull over and immediately makes a mad dash from the van. She nearly stumbles into a fire ant mound and ends up in a mess of sticker burrs. The spider retreats behind the odometer (meaning we  can’t remove it from the van and now have to drive over 3 hours watching to see if it emerges). We identified it as a jumping spider and read that they rarely bite humans and can jump over 50 times their body length.

As we drove north we had to go through the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint. We saw the construction work indicating the plans to expand the size of the checkpoint. We decided to make a pit stop in Falfurrias at the gas station next to the hotel where we always stay there. We just couldn’t imagine a trip to South TX without at least a few minutes in Falfurrias! Then we return the rental vehicle and make it to the airport with enough time for a last meal together.

Man holding a toddler in cowboy hats.It has been a very successful trip to South Texas! We analyzed 9 individuals at the lab at Texas State University and exhumed 5 individuals at the Rio Grande Cemetery. Not only did I have a great team of students that worked hard together as a team to get the work done. But we also had Jorge with us behind the scenes at the hotel each day. It took all of us working together to accomplish as much as we did this trip. Even though we are home, we will continue to post daily blogs for the next week or so. Please keep reading for more on our trip and our reflections.     ~KEL