Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Travels... Killeen, Texas

     It really isn't that I want to remember this place that I'm in right now, but I suppose the best way to move forward is to think of it as a place that I've been (past tense) and a place that I'm leaving (future tense).  I still don't know where I am going, only where I wish to be.  But I'm open to opportunities and new adventures.

     We arrived in Killeen in September 2010 after a long drive from Florida during a hurricane/tropical storm.  That might have been the last time Texas got enough rain because 2011 was pretty dry.  There were challenges from the start, with finding our way around the city, finding a place to live, getting utilities set up, finding the best places to shop for groceries, and so on.

Aerial view of Killeen
     Killeen is almost four times larger than Panama City.  The 2010 census put Killeen at 127,921 residents, and Panama City at just 36,484.  Where I lived in Parker actually only had 4,317 residents. 

     The on-post population alone here is 77,068, with a local supported population of 312,737 which would include people living in Copperas Cove and Harker Heights as well as Killeen.

     We're talking a half million people here at least.

     Traffic has been a pet peeve since we got here, especially with such a large military community.  A lot of them learned to drive somewhere else, and they all drive like maniacs.... at least in my humble opinion during rush hour traffic at 4:30p trying to get home.  My five minute drive turned into thirty or forty, and that was taking a different route that took me farther from home, but was actually faster than the direct route.

     Killeen is also land locked.  There are lakes to fish (thankfully) but no beach shores, Gulf of Mexico breezes, or very much rain.

     I miss the water.

     The mainstay of Killeen's economy is the military presence here.  If Fort Hood were to shut down, Killeen would become a ghost town.  There wouldn't be any way for businesses to support themselves without the transient population swells.  Panama City had the summer tourists for the beaches, winter snow birds, spring breakers, military both Air Force and Navy... and a good commerical fishing industry.  Even with the BP oil spill, they managed to hold their own and survive.

     While we have met some good people, made some friends, done new things, seen new places... I think we both will be glad to shake the dust of Killeen off our feet when we leave and sink our toes into some soft white beach sand to let the warm Gulf waters wash them clean.

1 comment:

  1. I think it is lovely that you are looking forward in pleased anticipation. Much the best way to be.