Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tom's Takeover Tuesday - 3/15: Triumphant Return from Kuwait!

What is this?! A blog from Tom on Tuesday?! This can't be...he vanished off the face of the earth!

I assure you, I am alive, I have revived the blog takeover (not that Lynette uses it anymore, :p) and I will be keeping you abreast as well as possible while I do what I do in the desert.

Where to begin? Since my birthday, as I mentioned, I was going in and out of Everett in preparation for the deployment and to make some money since my unemployment benefits had run out. I was activated in mid-September and the journey to Kuwait began. I was in the middle of the kids' 65 day caching streak and about 18 days shy of 300 straight days for Lynette and I before I was sent to NJ where all caching seemed to stop! NJ was 32 days of interesting weather patterns, HWMMV driving, and lack of reliable communication with the outside world.

After that I got about two weeks in Everett before the rest of the crew got activated for us to go to San Diego for 6 weeks. The trip in terms of being a trip was fine, the weather was nice, I got to spend Thanksgiving with Lynette's aunt and uncle, I got a nice room to myself with a decent view of the bay in San Diego, and did I mention the weather was nice? :p I was able to do a little caching there as well, to include my first out-of-state FTF! I just can't get enough of those. ;)

After coming home from San Diego it was time for Christmas and some much needed R&R before the main body of the crew took their journey to NJ. Their experience was far different than ours...it included 8" of snow on their second day and an approximate combined total of 8' of snow in there 32 days...NO THANK YOU! While the crew was in NJ, those of us who had already gone were making our arrangements to leave for Kuwait and tie up any loose ends.

We left in the last week of January. Our flight plan included a direct flight from Sea-Tac to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam we had an 8 hour layover, which meant we could leave the airport if we so desired before our next flight. I took the opportunity, and initially 7 guys, to geocache in a foreign country for the first time! I had loaded some caches in the trusty Garmin before we left home and we made the trek to the "closest" one. A cache 2.7 miles from the airport ended up being a 6 mile one way hike and a short train ride back to the airport just in time to get some food and get on our next plane to Bahrain/Kuwait.

We made a short stop in Bahrain to drop off a few people and pick up a few more before heading to Kuwait. We arrived at roughly 12:45 AM where the folks we relieved were waiting patiently and eagerly for us to get our luggage through customs. The car ride from the airport was about 45 minutes so by the time it was all said and done it was about 3:30 AM when we finally arrived at Kuwait Naval Base, home for the next ??? months!

The first week and a half was all about turnover and inventories and area familiarization. It was just 10 of us, and by the time week one was over we were ready for the rest of the guys to arrive and the outgoing guys to go out!

That is where I will leave for now...it's 10:15 PM here and I just had to make a bunch of phone calls back to the States in the middle of writing this. Tune in next week for the next portion of this now 7 month old story. :D