Last week we chronicled the first five days of Troop 229’s
journey from Winamac, Ind., to Texas. We took you along for for some adventures
of the historic, culinary, and medical variety as the troop visited the NASA
Space Center in Houston, ate alligator in Louisiana, and spent some unexpected
time in an emergency room in Corpus Christi. But they weren’t even half done!
If you haven’t read about Days 1 to 5, do that first by
clicking here. If you’re ready for Days 6 to 11, follow the jump
for the story and pictures.
Day 6: Corpus Christi, Tex., to San Antonio, Tex., about 150 miles.
After an exciting stay on board an aircraft carrier, Troop 229
watched the Gulf Coast recede in its rear-view mirror as the vans motored
toward San Antonio. No visit to this beautiful Texas city would be complete
without two stops: the Alamo and the Riverwalk. At the Alamo, the troop learned
about the famous battle of 1836
and saw original artifacts from that fight. An impressive fort full of guns and
knives? What teenager wouldn’t enjoy seeing that?
Stepping back into the 21st century, the group
checked out the shops and restaurants along San Antonio’s colorful Riverwalk,
and then it was off to bed to prepare for another change of scenery on Day 7.
Day 7: San Antonio, Tex., to Fort Worth, about 275 miles.
The next morning, the troop headed up I-35 toward the
Dallas-Fort Worth area but first they stopped in the capital of Texas: Austin.
After a quick tour of the granite capitol building, a Renaissance revival-style
masterpiece of architecture that was finished in 1888, they headed back to the
vans and to the interstate heading north. When they arrived in Fort Worth, the
crew grabbed dinner at Billy Bob’s Texas, “The World’s Largest Honky Tonk.”
Situated in the Fort Worth Stockyards, the family friendly spot features games,
music, and great food. The group also enjoyed a presentation from Jack Yuill (pictured above), a
relative of one of the boys on the trip. Yuill, a Vietnam prisoner of war, gave
a riveting presentation to the boys about his harrowing but inspirational
Day 8: Fort Worth
The day began with a tour of Lockheed Martin, an aircraft
manufacturing facility. After going through the plant’s tight security, the
boys saw the assembly line where 17 of the $85 million F-35 fighter are in
production. The plant produces an average of one the jets per month. A few
weeks after Troop 229’s visit to the plant, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates
took the same tour.
In the afternoon, the Scouts and Scouters scooted over to
Cracker Barrel’s neck of the woods: Irving, Tex. There, they toured the
National Scouting Museum (pictured above) and learned about BSA history—perfect
timing with the 100th anniversary just months away.
Day 9: Dallas, Tex., to Little Rock, Ark., about 315 miles.
The final day in Texas began with a somber stop at the site
of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It’s hard for boys who weren’t alive in
1963 to fully feel the impact of that traumatic day. But visiting in person
helped them better understand the day’s events.
After that stop, it was back to the vans to head north. On
the way, there was time for a quick stop at Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State
Park. Visitors are allowed to keep any gemstones they find there—regardless of
value—but none of the boys found any sparkling souvenirs.
The Scouts then met up with Troop 55 of Little Rock, Ark.,
for a pizza party and ice cream social. They also took part in a chat with Air
Force Lieutenant Stephan Shurn (pictured above) about his role as a navigator of the C-130, a
turboprop military transport aircraft. After this, they spent some free time
playing games until bedtime.
Days 10 and 11: Little Rock, Ark., to Winamac, Ind., about
After nine action-packed days, the Scouts and Scouters
prepared to head home. The group had planned to stop at the Gateway Arch in St.
Louis on the way back, but long lines forced them to cancel. And on the evening
of the 11th day, the travelers arrived in Winamac to waiting family
members. All agreed that the trip was an unforgettable journey. But everyone
was happy to be back. Eleven days was the longest some of the younger Scouts
had ever been away from home.
Many thanks to Richard Conn and Troop 229 for sharing their
journey with us. For more details on their trip and some additional photos,
check out the troop’s Web site.
Interested in learning about how this trip was planned so
that your troop can take a similar adventure? Come back next Wednesday for the conclusion
of this three-part series when we’ll bring you insider info on how it all came