Saturday, September 1, 2012

Welcome Aboard Cruisin' with Allison!


Large canyons circle around the Chihuahuan Desert as the bright morning sun taunts all the visitors with the reminder there's no water out here. You turn your car to the right and wait behind the long row of cars waiting for the parking attendant to carefully guide your parking spot. You stare out the left passenger side window and glare at the largest cruise ship you have ever seen in your life. This couldn't be real. Who in the world ever buys a cruise ticket for a ship docked in the sand? You glance down at the ticket beside you. CRUISIN' WITH ALLISON - A TWO MONTH ADVENTURE WITH INTERESTING CHARACTERS AND UNHEARD OF PLACES. Unheard of places? Adventure? Interesting Characters? Yeah, right. You jump at the sound of someone tapping on your driver's side window.  A young Mexican American man smiles at you. You roll down the window.
"Welcome to Cruisin' With Allison. Ticket please."
"Of course," you reply handing him your yellow ticket.
He places it into a money pouch that sits on his waist then pulls out brochure from a large bag. "Does that cruise ship really move," you ask as he hands you the brochure.
"Yes. Its a very special ship with magical powers."
"Magical powers?"
The young man nods then points towards the row of cars parked neatly in the desert. "Drive forward and Tessa will find you a parking spot. You're car will be safe for the next two months as you travel. We'll take good care of it. You're belongings have already been placed in your cabin. Have a great trip," he says then moves to the car behind you.
You start your car's engine and proceed to slowly move forward. You swear the hot desert sun grows warmer by the minute. You sure hope there's air conditioning on the ship. A large pool would be nice too. You press the brake as a blonde middle aged woman stands before your car in cargo shorts and green T-shirt with the words Crazy Cruise Lines. Where did she come from? Huh? She waves for you to move your car forward as she walks in between two parked cars. You take your foot off the brake and comply. Twenty five rows of cars back to back sit before you. You wonder just how many other people were as crazy as you were for signing up on this tour. You turn your car off, grab your belongings and set out of the car. Tessa is nowhere in sight. Maybe she went to park another car. You press the lock button twice on your keychain. The beep beep sound echoes from your car. Swinging your bag over your shoulder you walk towards the ship and wait in the long line with the other cruise participants.
Wild Rose Pass outside Fort Davis, Texas by Adam Bartlett. http://www.flickr.com/photos/51103012@N00/6182648954



A half and hour later the last guest finally arrives. Suddenly the sound of Tejano music fills the desert. You listen carefully to the woman's angelic voice and translate the Spanish words.



The music slowly fades away. On the platform before the crowd stands a young Mexican American man with a young African American woman. The man stretches his hands out. The crowd suddenly grows silent. "Hola! Welcome to Wild Rose Pass and Cruisin' with Allison. My name is Dalton Hernandez and this is my girlfriend Army Cadet Tasha Johnson. We're Range Animal Science students at Sul Ross State University.  My family has owned a large cattle ranch about twenty miles to the right of you for over a hundred years. I grew up riding horses and herding cattle. I've been doing it since I can remember. When I'm not studying I'm on our college rodeo team. I'm a bull rider and hope to make the professional circuit after college. Tasha?" Dalton looks over to Tasha as he squeezes her hand.

"Hi everyone. I grew up an army brat from El Paso. My dad was stationed at Fort Bliss. He was a medic and was sent to Iraq but was killed in action. After I finish college I'll enter the army as Veterinarian Officer and be stationed at Fort Sam Houston where I'll continue my training."

"We are all very excited to see you here. Our cruise ship is the first of its kind. As you can see it doesn't travel by water. It flies. Not only does it fly it can time travel and cross into different dimensions. Tasha and I are going to be with you all every step of the way. Each day we will travel to a new place, sometimes in different times. Before we stop anywhere we will make a general announcement providing you with information as to the weather conditions and if there will be a contest at your destination. Contest prizes are given the following day and the winner will be announced. Should you have any questions please feel free to ask Tasha or I. There will also be a schedule posted so you know in advanced the destinations."

"You are probably wondering why we decided to start the tour out here? Well, this is Wild Rose Pass. Wild Rose Pass is where Dalton and I had the most interesting experience of our lives. You see, Wild Rose Pass is haunted by a ghost. If you travel through the pass, especially at night, you may have a visitor in the back of your car. If a woman dressed in all white appears in your back seat and ask you to help her out of the pass. Press the gas as hard as you can and get out of there! Bad things happen to those who help her." Tasha shivers. "Believe me. Very bad things happen."

"Tasha, you're scaring them," Dalton says. "We can't scare the guests away. They're here for a tour not to be scared."

"Oh, right."

Dalton approches the crowd, "If you will all follow me. We can get settled in and start our tour. Welcome aboard!"

Note: You will find all the Cruisin' with Allison stops labelled CWA  on the titles. 

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