IRVING, Texas – On the road again.
Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again
And I can't wait to get on the road again
And here we go, once again hitting the road to Dallas Cowboys training camp, shunning the most-convenient four-hour team charter flight into Oxnard, Calif., for the four-day bus ride through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California.
And Willie is right. We'll be goin' places I've never been, and chances are if our previous trips on the Cowboys bus to camp are any indication, will be seein' things I may never see again.
Yep, Road Trippin' 2015, takin' the Cowboys new luxury bus from The Ranch, heading out Thursday, July 23, all the way to Oxnard, Calif., where we are scheduled to arrive on Sunday, July 26, two days prior to the team's arrival scheduled for Tuesday, July 28, with the start of training camp practice set for July 30 once again at the River Ridge Sports Complex.
And once again Emory Tyler, the long-time driver of the Cowboys bus, will be our Wheelman, ah, but this time we'll have more company as we start snaking our way through West Texas, also coming along for the ride will be Rowdy, the Cowboys official team mascot, and our very own Jacob Walraven, hence forward to be known as Videoman.
As many of you might remember, Emory and I have made the bus trip to training camp together two previous times, first in 2008 out to Oxnard and then in 2009 we took the roundabout way to San Antonio, going far out of our way to turn what would have been a four-hour bus ride to the Alamo City into a three-day trip.
This time heading out to Oxnard we'll be taking the southern route, jumping on I-20 and heading west through Abilene and Midland/Odessa, then intersecting with I-10 about 6 miles from Kent, Texas, I'm told a desolate part of the state, and pulling into El Paso. From there it was going to be I-10, all the way to Santa Monica, Calif., passing through Las Cruces, N.M., Tucson, Ariz., and Phoenix.
But with any Road Trip, you must be flexible. We originally were going to then pass through Palm Springs, Calif., San Bernadino and Santa Monica. But just the other day, an I-10 bridge just east of Palm Springs, near Desert Center, Calif., washed out from all the rain and flooding hitting that area of California. So we might have to re-route through San Diego and then up I-5 to LA. Stay tuned.
The plan is to make definite stops in Abilene, the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shops in Midland and El Paso, and then stops planned for Tucson, Phoenix and Santa Monica, meeting up with Cowboys fans clubs in those cities. (See detailed itinerary below).
So we'll see parts of the country at least I've never before, since Emory, who has driven for a living oh these many years, has seen it all. Been to Abilene only once. Never previously been to Midland/Odessa or Tucson. Was looking forward to my first pass through Palm Springs. And believe me, never driven from here to El Paso, nor from El Paso through the southern part of New Mexico.
Last time we made this trip Emory took the northern route, from the Ranch through Wichita Falls, pulled over for supposedly "weaving" in Vernon, tried to eat the 72 ounce steak in Amarillo and spent the night in Vega. All that driving and still we weren't out of Texas. From there it was following the old Route 66 way through Albuquerque, N.M., Grants, N.M., then stood on the corner in *Winslow, Ariz., *spent a night in the bus outside Flagstaff, gawked at the Grand Canyon, just had to spend a night in Las Vegas, had a great lunch Barstow, Calif., before finishing on the beach in Ventura, Calif., at sunset.
And when we toured the backroads of Texas in 2009 on the roundabout way to San Antonio, we made stops in Mineral Wells, Fort Hood in Killeen, Fredricksburg, Kerrville, Bandera, Laredo (yes, Laredo, where the nice officer helped navigate us through the narrow, mostly one-way streets of downtown just this side of the border), McAllen, Brownsville, Kingsville and Corpus Christi before pulling into San Antonio.
Ran into Cowboys fans everywhere. Had folks follow us down the interstates until we made stops. We discovered first hand why the Cowboys for oh those many years had been better known as America's Team. As far as we could tell, they still were.
So here we go again. Follow along on DallasCowboys.com. We'll be on social media, too. Come see us. Shake hands with Emory. Take a picture with Rowdy. Get autographs, even though it's just us.
And for goodness sakes, give us a honk when you see the bus.
ROAD TRIPPIN' 2015 ITINERARY
Thursday, July 23: Noon (CDT) KTAB-TV Parking Lot, Abilene, TX
6 p.m. (CDT) Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop, Midland Park
Mall, 4511 N Midkiff Road, Midland, TX
Friday, July 24: Noon (MDT) Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop, The Outlet
Shoppes at El Paso, 7051 S. Desert Blvd, Suite D 413,
6 p.m. (MST) Famous Sam's, 7129 E. Golf Links Road,
Saturday, July 25: Noon (MST) Coach And Willie's, 1 E. Boston St.,
Sunday, July 26: Noon (PDT) Q's Billiard Club, 11835, Wilshire, Blvd., Los
At Some Point, Residence Inn/River Ridge Sports Complex, Oxnard, CA