Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Road Trip

I went on my first significant road trip the other day. I know one of my previous posts talked about a trip I took "outside of the wire", but that one was only about twenty minutes from our current location, whereas this one kept us on the road for about six hours each way. We went through some areas where we are not real popular, which was a little nerve racking. Fortunately, however, the trip ended without any incidents.

Here are some photos I took along the way:

This one is a highway sign pointing the way to Baghdad. I hear there was a big bully that used to live there who would pick on people who weren't able to defend themselves, but then there were some good guys who came to town and kicked his butt so bad he ended up hiding in a hole he had dug in the ground.

This one is a little hard to make out, but all those little silhouettes along the side of the rode are children who come running up when they see American vehicles. I'd like to say its becasue they love us so much, but the truth is that they just want us to throw them some MRE's (meals ready to eat). Trust me, you have to be really hungry to want an MRE.

This one is interesting because during the entire ride all I saw was land that is as flat as West Texas, and then we suddenly ran into this huge escarpment. Other than that I just thought it was a cool photo.

This is the next morning when we were about to push out again. The soldier on the far right was giving the guys a briefing, which is standard procedure. I remember his briefing going something like this, "Alright guys, if you see someone with an AK-47 and they are pointing it at you...shoot 'em."

I enjoyed his brevity.

This is me with a good friend of mine, Captian Caanan Blake. He's the company commander of the unit we visited and stayed overnight with. I also wanted to include this one so Amy knows that I am wearing my body armor.

Relatively speaking the trip was not a big deal. My little sister, Megan, is in a transportation unit and she and her fellow soldiers are on the road, and putting themselves in harm's way for days at a time. As my mom pointed out in a previous post, they suffered their first loss last week. There is a 23 year old girl who will not be going home now. Please keep Megan and her unit in your prayers as well.

More to come.



Anonymous Shelly Upperman said...

Hi John! It's Shelly! I've decided if you can express yourself so freely going through all of this, then I can get over my fear of public writing! I just wanted you to know I check your posts daily to see how you're doing.
The pictures and information you've sent out is a constant and sobering reminder of how important your job is!
Please be safe!
Love, Shelly
PS My students enjoyed the pic of the Longhorn fans!

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Incredible photos! I like the alternate perspective you are giving us. I especially like your commentary -- keep it and the photos coming.

We are preparing our next little surpsise package for you - to be shipped next week. I'm adding some good ole Texas beef jerkey (figured it has a near infinite shelf life), a new book on Democracy - I hear its a favorite of Dubya and a electronic Texas Hold Em' Poker game. Please let me know what else to add.

Stay safe...

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey daddy! it's jenn. those pics r really cool, i enjoyed your comments about them, too. it is currently 10:30 @ night and i'm "suppose to" be in bed but i started reading this. i hope u r doin well, we're doin fine. well i better go 2 bed before mom gets the "rod" (lol). also be looking 4 some stuff in the mail from our school, i hope u enjoy it. love ya lots!

jenn :-)

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and you're looking damn good in that body armor!

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi son, just wanted to thank you for mentioning Megan and keeping her and her unit, and all our soldiers in everyone's prayers.Keep on wearing that body armor! Love you, Momma

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"At 8:13 AM, Anonymous said...
and you're looking damn good in that body armor!"

I second that!

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

only a wimp would wear that body armor stuff

just kidding big brother

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, our names are Kenny and Toni, and we, too, have a fear of public writing. Thanks Shelly, for giving us the courage to write, too. :-) We have been reading your blog all along, but never commented. Toni saw Amy the other day (for the first time in months), and she looked great! You are going to come home to one hot mama!

We really wanted to tell you how much we appreciate you and your family's sacrifice. Maybe because of what you are doing now, our sons and daughters won't have to pay the price you are paying.

We pray for you and your family every day. Those who are for you are more than those who are against you, and we have been praying that should you ever need reassurance of that fact, your eyes would be opened like Elisha's servants' were in 2 Kings 6:15-18.

Thanks for everything you are doing, and for taking the extra time to post your blogs and pics.

We love you,
K & T

p.s. Is that what rush hour traffic looks like? Can we send some of ours over there?

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok-Amy is right - are you eating? Maybe those MRE's aren't too tasty but I would imagine they keep skin on your bones right? Seriously, Amy and the kiddos look wonderful, we were all playing in the cul de sac the other night enjoying the good 'ole Texas weather (you know - freezing cold on day and then 79 degrees the next) and Clint and I were keeping Amy company. BTW - your boy Luke - he gave Zachary his first bloody lip - nice huh? They were "discussing" ownership of Luke's spiderman toy figure and apparently Luke won. :) That's ok though b/c Zachary is teaching Luke the messy way to go potty like a big boy!!! :) Take care John!

Kelly & Clint

7:54 AM  
Blogger rmiller said...

John, great pictures. I can only imagine the anxiety you must have felt riding/driving along the highway... I'm happy it was uneventful. Thanks for your sacrifice and tighten up that body armor.
Rick and Claire

8:07 AM  
Blogger Jeff n Marcy said...

Hey John,
It's good to see the pixs and know that your unit is doing fine. I have a really hard time hearing about the lives that are being lost over there. I pray that the hand of God continues to guide your footsteps. There is so much at stake with the outcome of all of this, I will be relieved to know that it is all worth it. The finality of war is layed out by the lives it changes forever.
Keep your wits about you and remember you are NOT alone, we are all praying for you.

Jeff 'n Marcy

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John we are praying for you and the men and women who are all around you that God would graciously protect and preserve all of you. The Riddicks

Acts 27:23-25 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, John! Just wanted you to know we have a box we're preparing to send to you. Would have gotten it out sooner but we all got sick. It's almost full...anything else you're wanting that will fit in a 12x9 size box no taller than 3"? By the way, I've got some rain I could send you. Looks a little dusty in those pictures. The rain keeps holding up the completion of our house plus I figure it could better be used there right? As John said before, we think about you often and the many others over there doing what we can not. Take care, Jeri Riddick

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi John!!! I am at work and I am supposed to be working, but wanted to show my co-workers your blog. We are keeping you guys in our prayers. Thanks for all your hard work. By the way, great pictures. Keep 'em coming.


10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Upperman!

I am glad that you are staying safe and thanks for the pictures. Ben Miner
P.S. Hook 'Em Horns

7:33 PM  

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