We have just returned from our first weekend sojourn to the land of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (or Mc-Dix-Hurst)—final resting place of the Hidenburg. While this is clearly a place of history in the chronicles of aviation, it does not change the fact that the base is in the middle of nowhere. There are empty fields on all sides. It claims to be in the town of Wrightstown, NJ. Let me tell you, Wrightstown could probably fit inside the confines of the base with room to spare, so it might be more accurate to say that the town is next to the base.
I have heard pretty much nothing but bad things about this base for the almost eight years we’ve been in the Air Force. Mostly these bad things have directly related to location, i.e., New Jersey and the sprawling non-tropolis of Wrightstown. Having now seen it with my own eyes, the rumors appear to be greatly exaggerated.
Within 30 to 45 minutes of the base is every type of shop you could want, in addition to restaurants galore. Truth be told, the immediate area surrounding the base puts Dover (capitol of the fair state of Delaware) to shame. While some (my husband) will forever hold jug handles and the inability to pump your own gas against New Jersey, it really isn’t so bad. Far better a location then perhaps a base in Oklahoma that shall remain nameless.
What shocked me most, however, was my TLF (temporary lodging facility to those not in the know). They’re designed for families who are moving out of/in to the area, and are meant to be a cross between a furnished apartment and a hotel. I had visited a newly renovated TLF in OK and was hoping that this might be as nice. So much better!
This is when I started kicking myself for not trying to push Josh to get a TLF as if we were spending the whole time with him. We had a one bedroom model (there are two bedroom units as well). Full living room with pull out couch, full kitchen with dishwasher, kitchen table with six chairs, full size washer and dryer, flat panel TVs with DVD players, and a pack-and-play and high chair! None of which, however, would change the 60+ hours a week Josh will be working.
This was universes removed from the conditions they expect of the students in OK. After our horror this fall I was extremely skittish to commit to spending the whole time up there. Now I know; you must check out the accommodations first. Even Josh was a little regretful—more so while I was doing his laundry as though I were his mom and he were in college. I even brought him up leftovers to stow in his microfridge. It was great to spend a few very ordinary days together as a family. It’s good for everyone, and I’m very thankful that we are close enough to be able to do it.
Just when I was thinking that things were going right, however, the Air Force stepped in and set my world right. My reservation was apparently a fluke. All of lodging is booked solid for the next month. Sigh.