Our 33 Day, 6731 Mile Road Trip–part 12

>> Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I mentioned at the end of part 11 that we drove to Hondo, TX on day 27 of our road trip.  For the only night of our trip we had reserved a room at a motel.  As far as I could determine there was no truck stop in or near Hondo and since the temperature was quite warm we desired to have a good nights sleep and a shower before we began our busy day, May 19th.

We arose early and ate a bit of breakfast, then drove the 3 or 4 miles out of town to the Ruben Torres Unit.  We arrived a little before 8:00 A.M. and found that there were 15 or 20 vehicles already there waiting.  And, we all waited until 8:00 A.M. when the guards manning the guard shack began their shift.  Each vehicle went through the security check and was allowed to proceed to the parking area.  From there we were processed through the security entrance and moved on to the visitor area.  Finally, a little before 9:00 A.M. our actual visit with Juan began.

We had called earlier in the week and requested a 4 hour visit, the normal visit being just 2 hours.  That request was granted and the guard on duty in the visitor room situated us to the far corner, away from much of the noise of the contact visits.  Ours was a non-contact visit since we were not family.  We were not prepared for the visit to be by telephone, only being able to see Juan through the glass.  We had experienced that at the McConnell Unit last October but it was a maximum security unit.  However, we managed fine, except for the time a couple with small children or babies were seated just down the way from us.  The little ones made quite a bit of noise and even Juan could hear some of it through the phone.

Due to  the timing of an inmate count and the guard just not being strict with the time our 4 hour visit became 4 hours and 25 minutes.  And yet, it seemed to fly by.  The visit was about a 20 on a scale of 1 to 10.  All three of us enjoyed it greatly.

The man we visited at the McConnell Unit last Fall has been paroled and is living in the Austin, TX area.  We had contacted him and told him we planned to stop for a few minutes and see him.  We called him from the parking lot at the Torres Unit and let him know we were on the way.  About 2 and 1/2 hours later we were visiting with Robert at his niece’s home.  Our visit was short, only an hour or less, as we still had several miles to drive.

By about 7:15 P.M. we arrived in Bryan, TX at the home of Thomas and Raquel, the founders or Broken Vessels Prison Ministry.  They set some food before us and we enjoyed some good conversation before it was time for bed.

The next day, May 20th, the 29th day of our road trip, we were up and away early, driving to Navasota, TX to the Pack Unit where we spent most of the day.  We first visited Troy, who we had visited last Fall, for a bit over 4 hours.  We exited the unit, ate a sandwich in the parking lot, and reentered to visit with Wesley B.  Due to the timing we knew we wouldn’t be able to get in a full 4 hours with him, but due to his leg bothering him and needing to get back to his dorm we cut the visit short after about 2 and 1/2 hours or so.  Both visits were very good.

After returning to Bryan we accompanied Thomas and Raquel to the home of Rebecca, whom we had met last October.  What we didn’t know until we arrived in Bryan was that Rebecca had married Wayne a bit earlier in a civil ceremony and they were planning a “religious” ceremony while we were there.  As it turned out I got to walk the bride down the “aisle.”  I put that in quotes as the ceremony took place at the picnic area at Lake Bryan.  But, I’m getting ahead of the story.

Wesley T., that we had met last Fall, lives in the trailer park that Rebecca manages so we were able to see him and visit a bit that evening.  Of course we got to meet Wayne and we all enjoyed a bit of food together.

The next day was a bit of a relaxing day.  Connie and I spent a couple of hours with Wesley T. in the morning before he had to go to work and then just rested most of the rest of the day.

May 22nd, our 31st day, was busier.  We all had to drive out to the lake and help get things prepare for the wedding service.  Everything went well and following the ceremony we all enjoyed a good meal that had been prepared by some of the wedding parties relatives.  A little later Thomas, Raquel, Connie and I had the privilege of baptizing Wesley T. in the lake.

May 23rd Connie and I headed on toward Kentucky.  We had a good day, driving about 560 miles.  We spent the night at the Flying J Travel Plaza in West Memphis, AR.  The following day, May 24th, our 33rd on the road we drove the rest of the way home.  We arrived home by about 2:00 P.M.  It was good to be greeted by 4 enthusiastic grandchildren and their parents.  We felt like maybe we had been missed a little bit while we were gone.

I’ll bring this whole story to an end in the next part as I try to recap and summarize a bit.

IMG_0883This picture was taken at the Flying J in West Memphis, AR


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