50 years ago this past December 1st, I stepped out of a propeller driven airplane having made several stops on my trip cross country from New York City to begin my basic training at Amarillo AFB, Texas. Amarillo AFB basic training had just recently opened because of an outbreak of spinal meningitis at Lackland AFB in San Antonio Texas.
The barracks, originally built in the 40s, had been closed and shuttered for several years when we were escorted off the bus to our home for the next 9 weeks. We spent the first two weeks taking the boards off the windows and repairing and painting the old building. The night we got the shutters off the windows a dust storm came up and for the next 2 days we were shoveling dirt out of the rooms facing the wind. It was always windy as I remember it and our visit this time is no exception. Winds have been howling at a steady 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 30.
There’s something beautiful about the vastness, the emptiness of the land spreading out as far as the eye can see. Monica and I were talking about it the other day as we were driving to Amarillo KOA, that it’s like being at sea, for those of you who have ever taken a cruise, where you look out at the ocean and the vastness and beauty are almost unfathomable—well that’s what the land in this part of Texas is like.
We’re off tomorrow to Albuquerque New Mexico tomorrow where the forecast has some snow in it for Monday; not unexpected with an altitude above 5,300 feet. Amarillo’s stands at 3500 feet above sea level and our home base of Nashville just over 500 feet.