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JBLM Newcomer's Bus has gone fancy

Tour JBLM in style

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You know how when you move to a new place and want to check out the neighborhood, but don't really feel like driving around aimlessly and getting lost?

Fear not, Joint Base Lewis-McChord newcomers, because the JBLM Newcomer's Bus will do the driving for you. On the fourth Tuesday of every month (except in December), buses take to the roads of JBLM to show its newest residents where the important buildings and services are located. With more than 86,000 acres making up the joint base, remembering where everything is, though, is up to you.

Though there has been a Newcomer's Bus on JBLM for some time, beginning with the Jan. 28 tour, riders will now travel in style in comfortable, heated leisure tour buses. Gone are the bumpy, cold, unpredictable Blue Bird motor pool buses of old. Tour goers in 2014 will sit in plush seats and take in the sights of JBLM in style. There is no cost.

There are two designated tours - one for single servicemembers and one for married servicemembers and their spouses. Both tours last three hours and travel extensively around JBLM, including Lewis North, Lewis Main and McChord Field.

However, the singles bus is geared more toward what single servicemembers might be interested in, so it makes a stop at the Warrior Zone, highlights the base gyms and more. The family bus travels through housing areas and makes a stop at the Bistro on American Lake.  Both make stops at the commissary and USO.

The tour is for military ID cardholders only and is first come, first served. No reservations are required - just show up at 9 a.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the designated pick up point. The singles bus tour pick up location is the Carey Theatre, and the family bus tour pick up location is the Jensen Fitness Center Parking Lot. Buses depart promptly at 9:30 a.m. and return at 12:30 p.m.

Though no children are allowed on the tour, the Clarkmoor Child Development Center has hourly care slots available for children of bus riders on a first-come, first-served basis. Army Community Service will even pay for it - but only if you mention that you are taking the tour when you make the hourly reservation. To reserve a spot, call Clarkmoor at 253.967.2977, then make sure to call the Relocation Program office at 253.967.3633 to confirm that you will be on the tour. When you arrive for the tour and your information is confirmed, you will receive a voucher for free childcare.

So what have you got to lose? Even if you've been at JBLM for awhile, odds are you don't know where everything is or how to get there. Let's face it - this place is huge.

Upcoming tour dates are Jan. 28, Feb. 25 and March 25. For more information, call the relocation program at 253.967.3628.

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