2019 Travels May thru December travel blog

Barksdale Air Force Base

Pete and Ingrid Ellis

Kyle and Jennifer Parris Dinner

Touring Barksdale's Air Museum with Jennifer

Touring Barksdale's Air Museum with Jennifer

Touring Barksdale's Air Museum with Jennifer

Touring Barksdale's Air Museum with Jennifer

Touring Barksdale's Air Museum with Jennifer

Touring Barksdale's Air Museum with Jennifer

Now, HERE’s a story to share: This saying hit really close to home today.

A "friend" posted this on FaceBook and hit me directly between the eyes. It said

"I’m just going to put an “out of order” sticker on my forehead and call it a day."

So – we are in month FIVE of a SEVEN month trip. Add to that the THREE months of planning, making reservations for motels, resorts, military bases, cars, planes, etc., etc. you would THINK that I just may have my “stuff” together. But, nooooooo.

After leaving Branson, Missouri the plan was to head almost straight south to Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, about a four hour drive, which is the kind of drive I like. I made reservations at the base lodging office for four days because we were going to use this stop to visit with an old friend. I had sent him a few emails and mentioned that we were set to go to visit him and his and had the reservations on base. We talked back and forth about what time we would arrive and what we would like to see or do. It came down to TWO days before we were to leave Branson when my friend asked me how I expected to meet him at the appointed time at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana when I’d have to drive from Little Rock. Huh? I thought he was at Little Rock AFB. Did he move to Barksdale since the last time we visited? No, dummy, he never was at Little Rock. He’s always been at Barksdale. How in the heck did I manage to screw that up?

I tossed and turned all night. We had other friends recently move to Barksdale from Japan who we also wanted to visit and we had a half-plan of visiting them in November, an eight hour drive from Houston. During my tossing and turning I got up and turned on the computer to help me compute. Without friend #1 not even being at Little Rock we had absolutely NO reason to go there. So I deleted all the travel maps I had with Little Rock and called Barksdale lodging for a reservation. After confirming that reservation I cancelled the Little Rock reservation. I then asked my computer to help me map out the new route to Barksdale. The main problem was that driving from Branson to Barksdale was going to take over EIGHT hours --- a time I try to stay away from. My bride pointed out that I had nothing scheduled for Friday (in the way of shows, etc.) so why don’t we leave on Friday instead of Saturday, stop somewhere around the halfway point to Barksdale, which would break the trip into two four hour blocks. Good idea, spousal unit!! So I plotted the trip on my computer and found that the best mid-point from Branson to Barksdale to stop at was Jacksonville, Arkansas. Found a motel that had a TripAdvisor rating of 8.4 (out of 10) for only $32.00 – the best deal I’ve seen recently, and I booked it.

Friday morning we hit the road. My GPS kept telling me that we were getting closer to the Jacksonville address, but all the signs on the road said we were getting closer to Little Rock. Yes, I was confused. I thought that Little Rock was, pretty much, a straight shot south of Branson while Jacksonville was more South East. We just kept going and going, wondering and wondering (did I put the wrong address into the GPS?) and I was beginning to worry. Just as I was about to give up, stop and re-input the Jacksonville address back into the GPS, we spotted the motel, right where the GPS said it was. As we made the turn under the overpass, we also spotted a huge sign that said LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE ENTRANCE, about 100 yards from the motel.

I was too tired to figure out how the town of Little Rock was a few miles west of us, but the Air Force Base was right in front of us in JACKSONVILLE. Then I came upon the posting I mentioned above, on FaceBook --- KARMA STRIKES AGAIN !!!

So the next day, we made it to Barksdale Air Force Base, an United States Air Force base in northwest Louisiana, in Bossier Parish. It is contiguous to Bossier City, Louisiana along the base's western and northwestern edge. Barksdale Air Force Base occupies more than 22,000 acres east of Bossier City and along the southern edge of Interstate Highway 20. More than 15,000 active-duty and Air Force Reserve members serve here. The host unit at Barksdale is the 2d Bomb Wing (2 BW), the oldest bomb wing in the Air Force (The 2d participated in Brig Gen Billy Mitchell's 1921 off-shore bombing test (as the 2nd Bomb Group)). It is assigned to the Air Force Global Strike Command's (AFGSC) Eighth Air Force (8 AF). Equipped with about 44 B-52H Stratofortress bombers, 2 BW provides flexible, responsive global combat capability and trains all Air Force Global Strike Command and Air Force Reserve Command Boeing B-52 Stratofortress crews. The base was established in 1932 as Barksdale Field, named for World War I aviator and test pilot Lieutenant Eugene Hoy Barksdale (1896-1926).

In April 1992, 265 buildings on Barksdale's main base were placed on the National Register of Historic Places and we could really see why – these old buildings are just beautiful, but I’d hate to live there and be responsible for the cleaning; just too big. The area from the Shreveport Gate to the flightline and from the Bossier Gate to Hoban Hall make up the Barksdale Field Historic District, along with much of family housing. I’ve included some housing photos.

My GPS is either trying to get me killed or at least arrested by taking us through housing areas that have signs saying “NO THRU TRAFFIC” or “RESTRICTED AREA”. Once it took me down a one way street the wrong way! The traffic patterns on this base are a bit confusing, but we’ll make it through.

Tonight we visited with old friends from Korea (2004-2007 days), Pete and Ingrid Ellis. They have four rescue dogs, the smallest weighing around 50 pounds. All very lovable and Julieann worked her magic on them. Of course, when you have four huge dogs you NEED a huge home and a pool. Dogs have it made here. We had a great visit and compared medical history. I still think I’m winning and will make it out of here first.

The next day more old friends from Korea, Jennifer and Kyle Parris who recently arrived from Japan invited us over for dinner. Another huge, beautiful house for someone else to take care of (not me). We had an excellent dinner and great conversation to catch up. Love these folks. The following day we met for lunch and Jennifer took us to the Air Museum; nice place with a lot of history. The temperature had dropped 20 degrees (not counting the wind chill factor) and these Hawaiians got cold quickly. Lucky for us, Jennifer was also cold so that gave us each a way out to get back to warmer quarters.

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