Saturday, March 31, 2012

Corpus Christi Campout

Corpus Christi was not on our original "plan".  However, one of the main reason we embarked on this journey was to be able to build in margin and be available to change.  Like I mentioned in my remarks at my retirement ceremony, relationships are important and the thing that counts in life.  That's the reason we made Corpus Christi a destination on our "world tour"...people.  One of my good friend's mother lives in Corpus Christi.  Ten months ago, she lost her husband and it goes without saying, my friend lost his Dad. My friend mentioned to me that he'd really like for us to see about visiting her.  While this "divert" took us about 6 hours off our "planned' route, boy are we glad we did!  It confirmed that this trip is bigger than us.   I will share this "checklist" for decision making.  1.  Is this person someone important in your life?  2.  Will your personal presence make a difference? 3.  Is this a one time event? If you can answer "yes" to all three questions, then you best show up or you'll regret it in the end.
Our trusty home on wheels set up on Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.  For your information, Corpus Christi is a primary Joint Undergraduate Pilot Training base.  Joint means that the Navy, Marines and Air Force send student pilots here to learn the basics of flying, resulting in the award of pilot wings.  My friend I mentioned above, went to training here.

Our dog Molly enjoys a early morning walk with me on the Naval Air Station beach, which was right behind our motor home.

We attended worship services the Sunday after we arrived.  It was a great service and I had the privilege to meet the worship director, Joell, who incidentally is in the process of writing a book on forgiveness.  The message this Sunday is one I can recommend to most all men. It was on maintaining sexual purity.  Follow this link to hear it: Sunday Sermon 

A neat treat for my girls was a short car ferry ride at Port Aransas.  

Hailey loved the idea of driving the car onto a boat!

My girls with Manuela Estell, my friends Mom.  She is an amazing, high-energy woman!  She shared so much of her story about being born in Mexico and her life in general.  What wisdom she had to impart to the younger generation.  She is a great American patriot, as well!  My girls have made her their adopted "Lita" or a shortened Spanish nickname for grandma! We felt like we've known her for our whole life!

"Lita" put on an awesome spread of food for Team Breitmann! I think we all gained ten pounds!

Sharing stories around the family dinner table.  What a joy!

Heidi and Hailey in front of the USS Lexington, a World War II era aircraft carrier. You can read about her at this link: USS_Lexington_(CV-16)

Hailey on the flight deck of the Lexington.

Hailey always wants to do the "photo ops"!

Heidi on the bridge of the Lexington.

Hailey hams it up again!

"Lita" takes us to Church on Thursday nite at Real Life Church where we meet her sisters and their husbands.  They all made us feel like a part of the family!  How nice!

We had the privilege to meet the Sr. Pastor, Micah at Real Life, who posed with us for this picture.  God has anointed this man in the Great Commission.  I ask all my Christian Brothers to pray for Pastor Micah specifically for three things in the ministry that God has called him to:  1.  Favor 2. Wisdom 3. That all the credit is given to God.  The sermon he preached was on communion.  I had never heard it preached upon like this.  I urge you to take a listen at the link here: Life Change: Broken Bread

Team Breitmann's Urban Assault Vehicle in front of "Lita's" house.  Cousin Eddie strikes, again!

We say tearful good-byes to our "Lita".  We already miss you and hope to see you again!  Much love from Team Breitmann!

Now, we're off to Big Bend National Park.  We don't know when we'll have internet again so hang on for the next update.

San Antonio Stay

Hello, San Antonio!  We set up camp at Ft. Sam Houston, now designated as Joint Base San Antonio due to the closing of Brooks Air Force base and it's subsequent combination with Ft. Sam Houston.  It was a very nice facility and we were blessed to have the San Antonio Military Care Center (SAMCC) - (gotta have an acronym, right?!) right there on base.  Stacey had a bit of a medical scare that she was seen for at the SAMCC.  She was given a clean bill of health.  
An interesting fact about the SAMCC is that it shares Level 1 trauma responsibilities with one other civilian trauma hospital in San Antonio.  The two facilities split the San Antonio metro area in two. The SAMCC is not only a trauma center but, it is a training facility where military doctors and staff get "combat" experience by treating local civilian trauma patients.  Likewise, the local community gets the benefit of having doctors who have seen and treated actual combat related wounds, while serving over seas in Afghanistan & Iraq. We saw many a helicopter Life Flight coming and going from this facility. On average, the trauma team treats at least six patients an evening for some sort of trauma (gunshot, knife wound, car accidents, etc..) From what I know, this is at no cost to patients or the community and it ensures that our military doctors are combat ready in order to care for our soldiers, who willing put their life on the line.  It is interesting how God works to never waste a hurt.
While in the SAMCC, Stacey met a mother of a 20 year old wounded warrior Marine, who had a leg removed below the knee, as a result of an Improvised Explosive Device.  The two of them have been in contact since and Stacey continues to share with her the love of Christ, as their family struggles.  
While at the Ft. Sam Houston campground, we also met another Marine, who was hit with an IED while serving overseas two years ago.  At the time he was hit he had 16 years in the Marines and his wife was pregnant with their first child.  His convoy was struck and he ended up paralyzed from the chest down.  His view of his situation he is humbling.  He shared that he was grateful to be alive and he noted that two of his comrades in his vehicle did not survive.  He said that if he had not been hit then he would have missed the birth of his child because he would have been still deployed.  He said he was grateful that he was grateful to be alive and with his family and that he did not have to worry about medical care. Due to his injuries he was medically retired and the VA had modified his vehicles for him.  God bless him and all who have been injured and made the ultimate sacrifice I am so blessed to have served so long in our military and not to have been wounded or killed.  To these men and others....I salute you!

Along with meeting some world class American patriots, we got to experience the rich history of San Antonio.  San Antonio was named after San Antonio de Paua, a Spanish explorer who stopped here on June 13, 1691.   Today, San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the U.S. Enjoy some of the photos of our time here in San Antonio!

Heidi & Hailey at the entrance to our "home" in San Antonio!
Stacey, me & Heidi in front of Mission San Jose.  Hailey took this picture of us. In the 18th Century, the Spanish empire established 5 Catholic missions along the San Antonio River.  This is one of the those that remain and is one of the best and most well preserved in the chain of missions you can visit.  Along the San Antonio River is the largest concentration of missions in North America, to include the Alamo itself.  The aqueducts built by the local natives (along with the missions themselves) under the direction of the Spanish priests still flow. 

Me and my girls in on the grounds of the Mission San Jose.

Heidi in front of the Church, in side the walls, of Mission San Jose. It was founded in 1720 and is referred to as the "Queen of the Missions" due to it's remarkable architecture.  It represents one of the finest examples of ornamental architecture in our Nation.  

Stacey and Heidi inside the sanctuary at mission San Jose. One of the marvels of this place is the stairway to the belfry.  Each one of the 25 risers was hand made from a solid piece of oak and linked together without nails.  It still is intake today.

Heidi, Stacey and Hailey on the beautiful river walk in downtown San Antonio. We learned that early city leaders, in order to curb flooding from the San Antonio river proposed paving over top the river that runs thru San Antonio and utilizing that section as a sewer runoff project!  I'm glad that they did not as the flood gates and routing of the river we see today is beautiful.  

Stacey, Hailey and Me in front of the squadron dormitory building  on Lackland Air Force Base, where my military experience started 24 years ago.  Back then I was a scared 19 year old thinking I'd never make it.  Surreal to come back now with my family for a visit as a retiring Lt Colonel!   I chatted with some Military Training Instructors (MTIs)  and met the squadron commander, also a Lt Colonel.  

Heidi, Me and Hailey in front of the my old Basic Training squadron mascot.

Heidi, Me and Hailey on the parade grounds of Lackland Air Force base, where all enlisted Airman make a final pass in review before the Commanding General in a massive graduation ceremony.

Molly our dog and Hailey "horse around" on a replica wagon set up on Joint Base San Antonio.

Our "wagon" set up on Joint Base San Antonio.

Me and my girls as we "Remember the Alamo!"  Why should we remember the Alamo, you ask? In 1836, "Remember the Alamo!" was the battle-cry of the Texas army.  The Texas Revolution, of which the Alamo battle cry was a part, led to the establishment of the independent Republic of Texas in 1836.  In 1845, Texas became the 28th State of the Union, an event that led to a war with Mexico.  At the close of the war in 1848, Mexico ceded the future states of New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and California to the United States.  This chain of events established the United stats as a continental power and made it possible for the nation to become the world power it is today.  Some may view this as a United States imperial land grab.  On the contrary, the Texas Revolution, much like the American Revolution was due to the abrupt change in Mexican government that led to the installment of a military dictator named General Santa Ana, who imposed strict taxes on Texas territory settlers and oppressive oversight....leading to the Texas Revolution against this totalitarian dictator.  The independent Texas Republic chose then to join the United States as a free territory. You can read more about the history of the Alamo at this link: The Alamo.'s off to Corpus Christi, Texas!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Awesome Austin & The Texas Hill Country

Well, I'm behind on the blog a couple of weeks due to lack of wifi connectivity but, hey that's the way it is when we are a wandering'! 
From Dallas-Fort Worth we headed on down the road to Austin.  Austin is the capital of Texas and has about 700,000 inhabitants.  It doesn't feel like a big city like Dallas.  It is also a college town and has a very young feel to it.  A common t-shirt and bumper sticker seen about town is one that states: "Keep Austin Weird".  It is also the Live Music capital of the world.  Neither Stacey nor I had ever been to Austin nor the surrounding areas.  Boy were we pleasantly surprised!  As of now, if we ever could have the luxury of choosing a place to live in Texas, then this would be the place.  The first thing that struck me was how hilly and picturesque the Austin area presents.  Enjoy what little we got on camera, while we were there.
We found a great campground within Austin located on Emma Long Metropolitan Park.  You can read about it here: Emma Long Metro Park

This is a picture of our campsite at Emma Long Park.  You can see Stacey visiting with her cousin Kevin.  What a surprise to learn that Kevin was working and living here!  He spent the entire day with us and took us around downtown to some eclectic sites!  Thanks, Kevin!  You da' man!

Hailey poses on some fallen trees right behind our campsite.  The rocks right behind us beckoned us to hike upwards!

Whew!  After a climb up the hill, Hailey takes a breather!

Sorry this picture is so dark but, it was late in the evening when I realized I should take this picture of Heidi enjoying a Texas style rib courtesy of a local couple we met at the park.  There are great American's everywhere and Thomas and Nancy epitomize it...Texas style!  Thank you Thomas & Nancy for sharing your EXCELLENT Texas barbecue!  We hope to hear from you via this blog!

Stacey's cousin Kevin took us to this funky, fun place where they serve awesome Tex-mex out of trailers!  It was a hoot and good food.

Fun with words in Austin!

Hey, no one said they take things serious here!

Stacey's weakness is cakes of any kind...include the cup kind! And what better way to get one than from a trailer!

Hailey hams it up in one of the funky antique shops in downtown Austin.

On our way out of town en route to San Antonio, we took the scenic route thru "Hill Country" and this place called "The Salt Lick BBQ" in Driftwood was recommended by a good friend of mine!  Thanks, Buff!  It was a real treat to get to eat here.  Never would have gone this way on my own. Y'all can read about the Salt Lick at this link:  The Salt Lick BBQ

Hailey poses in front of the "open pit".  My mouth is watering just typing this....

Stacey & Heidi on the grounds of the Salt Lick and one of their staff.

Hailey wanders along the stone paths around the Salt Lick.

Hailey says:  "Do we have to leave this awesome place called the Salt Lick?!  Yep,'s on to San Antonio.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Transition to Texas

Saturday the 17th of March marks one month on the road for Team Breitmann!  One thing we've struggled with a bit  is getting the kids to do their school work.  Fighting past the "vacation" mentality is a challenge.  Like us, they too have to get used to this new way of living over this next year.  With respect to our traveling, we stayed a bit longer in Oklahoma than we had planned due to all of us getting wicked sinus colds and generally fighting off feeling in poor health.  We all seem to be on the mend now and are grateful to be out of the incessant Oklahoma wind and wild temperature fluctuations. We've been in the Great State of Texas for about one week and the weather has been very nice.  It's been in the mid to upper 70's and partly sunny.  By the way, the word "Texas" is based upon the Indian Caddo Nation word of "Tejas", meaning "friends or "allies".  So far, our Texas "friends" have been very accommodating.  We've been here in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area and have visited Stacey's brother and sister-in-law, taken in the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas and visited the Fort Worth Stockyards.  We've enjoyed our stay and are hopeful to be able to get on down the road in the next day or so to the state capital of Austin.  
Our last night in OKC we took this picture with the girl's Great-Grandma Garrett, their Grandad Richard Garrett and Stacey

The Lone Star Flag

Hailey, Me, Heidi & our Dog Molly as we enter the Great State of Texas!

Heidi & Hailey in Dallas at the Sixth Floor Museum where we learned about the Kennedy Presidency and his assassination.  One thing I learned was that at the time of JFK's assassination it was not a federal felony to assassinate the President.  There was a heated dispute between the local law enforcement, the US Secret Service and President Kennedy's staffers over taking the President's body to D.C. that same day.  The locals pointed out that the crime was a local crime and was under their jurisdiction and would conduct the autopsy.  The US Secret Service forcibly removed the President's body anyway. You can learn about the museum at this link: The Sixth Floor Museum

Hailey at the corner of the Texas School Book Depository Building where Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly got off 3 rounds from an Italian-made bolt action rifle from the sixth floor, killing the President and wounding the Governor of Texas.

Dinner out at the Mesa Grille with Stacey's brother and sister-in-law.  From left to right:  Trish, Jeff, Me, Stacey, Heidi & Hailey.  It was very nice to see them and share in some upscale Tex-Mex.  

Heidi, Hailey, Stacey in front of the Fort Worth Stockyards.
From 1866-1890 Fort Worth was the last civilized stop on the Chisholm Trail.  With the advent of the railroad, Fort Worth became a destination for livestock rather than a mere thoroughfare.  It was a flurry of activity for more than a half century and was dubbed the "Wall Street of the West".  The Fort Worth Exchange Building was the hub of the cattle trade.  The biggest volume of sales were recorded in the Exchange in 1945 when 1.6 million head of cattle were sold here.  The new era of "Cow town" arrived in 2008 without the sound of a single moo or clomping of hoofs in the stockyards as the Superior  Livestock company broke the record and moved 1.9 million head of cattle "electronically".  Cattle are bought and sold on-line. You can learn a bit more about all their is to do in the Fort Worth Stock yards at this link: Fort Worth Stockyards

Hailey visits with a "Cowboy" in the Stockyard!

Hailey stands in front of a plaque explaining the formation & the positions the cowboys would take on their cattle drives.  Typical drives involved 3,500 head of cattle and over 150 cowboys under the supervision of a trail boss.

Heidi & Hailey enjoy visiting some other livestock exhibits at the Stockyard.  Here they feed a 3 week old goat.

Hailey tries here hand at mastering the mechanical bull!  She was surprised as she got thrown off!

Ride 'em cowgirl!  Heidi goes 8 seconds and the mechanical bull operator had to pump up the juice to toss her off!  Way to go Heidi!

Cowboys re-enact a cattle drive up the streets of the Stockyards and into the corrals.  

Too bad we were here on a Friday.  It would have been interesting to attend this service!

Okay...we know our family is weird and "non-standard" but...a pig for a pet in a motor home?!  Just sayin'!