Traveling to Falfurrias

We’ve made it to Texas!  Starting with an early morning wake up, we all made it through security in Indianapolis with only two of our bags being checked (TSA questioned my bag full of quarters for laundry but after a quick check we were good to go). The rest of the trip went off without a hitch.  We flew from Indianapolis to Dallas, and then from there to San Antonio.  

The team in the Indianapolis Airport ready to head to Texas.  In the front row is Hannah, and behind her from left to right is Ella, Claire, Dr. Latham, and Chastidy.
In the airport ready to go!

For some of us this is our first time traveling to Texas, while others have been before and can give a little more insight into what we can look forward to in the next week.  I can tell we’re all excited to finally be on our way. After several weeks of discussing and reading about what we’ll be doing we’re all anxious to begin, and our cross-country journey was the first obstacle in our way.  We landed in San Antonio and after a very delicious lunch at Torchy’s Tacos took the 2 and a half hour drive to Falfurrias.  Honestly the hardest part of our drive was playing tetris to fit all of our luggage into the minivan.  We began our drive through San Antonio and into the countryside, passing Mexican restaurants, ranches, and oil refineries.  

Hannah, Claire, and Chastidy smile as they wait for their lunch in San Antonio
Just landed in Texas and ready for tacos!

As much as I’m struck by how different Texas is, it still feels eerily similar to my own home thousands of miles away.  Large expanses of trees, with tiny little towns sprinkled throughout and populated by family-owned restaurants, churches, and the occasional gas station.  The food the restaurants serve is different and the trees are a lot different here, but it still has the same feeling of small town America that is surprisingly similar to how I grew up.  My hometown is even about the same size as Falfurrias, it’s been really interesting to really see first person just how much variety can exist in one country.  Driving into Falfurrias felt climactic.  We’ve been preparing so much and it feels surreal that we are actually here now.  Deputy Don White joined us for a preliminary meeting and dinner at Whataburger, where we talked a little more about the structure of Falfurrias and the work we’ll be doing this week.  

Deputy Don White, Hannah, Ella, Chastidy, and Claire sit in a circle discussing what they should expect out in the field.
Deputy Don White explains to the team what they should expect and what to look out for

It was at this point that I realized that we begin working tomorrow, and while that excites me it also scares me a little bit.  So, after a late night run to the grocery store for food and supplies, and then another tour of Falfurrias as we searched different gas stations for a Styrofoam cooler, we’ve settled down for the night to prep for our first day.  Prepping for our first day includes double checking the batteries in the camera, making sure the walkie talkies work, and triple checking our field bags to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything that could be important out in the field.  I think the worst part of a new experience is the anticipation beforehand, so I’m ready to start the day tomorrow.