Heading to the end of the road

Tomorrow AM bright and early (as in OMG 6AM) we are leaving Sebring for Key West Florida to accomplish our goal of:

A. Getting as far as conceivably possible from Whidbey without hitting a foreign county and

B. Continuing to follow the sun

Early departure is mandated by two factors – one being it’s a long way there and we want to stop in the Everglades for an air boat ride and the other is that the people in Sebring drive like maniacs and we want to clear the city before the blue hairs get on the road armed with robust Buicks. Frankly, we have been in lots of places on this trip with a large population of older people, heck, we ARE older people,  but this is the first time we have felt that the majority of those folks are grouchy, angry and just plain mean. And it shows in their driving – boy does it show!  So early up and early out.

We have spent the last two days exploring Sebring and the surrounding area and finding it beautiful.  One highlight was Highlands Hammock State Park   http://www.floridastateparks.org/highlandshammock/  which was only about four miles from where we hitched up Mobi for the duration.  Opening in 1931, the park is one of the earliest examples of grass-roots public support for environmental preservation. Local citizens, with financial assistance of the Margaret Shippen Roebling family, acquired the property constructing trails and basic facilities in 1930. In 1934, a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp began working on a botanical garden project adjacent to Highlands Hammock Park. When Florida¿s state park system was established in 1935, Highlands Hammock became one of the first parks. In 1941, the park and gardens merged as the CCC camp closed due to impending war.  Although the gardens never became a reality, the park’s natural beauty endures. This was a fabulous place and we had the opportunity to take about a mile walk through the swamp/hammock area on a boardwalk and view the vegetation and few animals.  I am not sure if I should be happy or sad about not seeing alligators and snakes – I think happy  is it.  Shall we vote?S

Boardwalk - not for the unbalanced

Boardwalk – not for the unbalanced

Having promised not to molest the alligators (frankly, whoever would molest an alligator – really!) we proceeded out on the board walk  to practice our balancing act and try not to become a statistic in the Florida Parks system.


Reflection of turtle – or tortoise

This would be our wildlife below – cute little turtle – actually he was about 14″ long – and really pretty.

The swamp fascinated us – like being in a time long ago – and we learned that this particular area is called a hammock not because it swings from trees, but as defined by Webster from the work “hummock” first used in the 1500’s:

a fertile area in the southern United States and especially Florida that is usually higher than its surroundings and that is characterized by hardwood vegetation and deep humus-rich soil

Yup – that’s this area – deep, black water so still that you can see the reflection of everything in its surface.S


Vegetation so lush it is literally "eating" the boardwalk

Vegetation so lush it is literally “eating” the boardwalk

For those of us from the Pacific Northwest, who are used to running water, water falls, large evergreen trees and rocky mountain areas this is the opposite of what you would expect beautiful to be – but it is just that, beautiful, wild, and seemingly untouched. We even spoke quietly – it was like being in a cathedral and you had to be in some state of awe just viewing the wildness of it all. We both could appreciate the wonder of what this planet must have looked like in it’s infancy and marveled at the difference between the extreme Northwest and extreme Southeast – again, those two ends of the same telescope – just different views.

Looking skyward through the swamp vegetation

Looking skyward through the swamp vegetation


Some primordal growth

Some primordal growth

Of course, no trip anywhere for the O’Briens would be complete without the requisite viewing of someone elses trike – this time it was a custom Harley of a conversion package we had not heard of before nor, frankly, can we remember the name now.  But it was pretty and a nice ride although no matter how hard Bill tried they would not trade it for the jeep – dreamin’ for sure.

Wishin' and hopin'

Wishin’ and hopin’

Other news to report:  Bill could not get it to see the doctor today as he (the doc) had “emergency surgery” and was so backed up that he could have seen Bill about 10 PM so we passed.  Lucy is doing very well – she has her routine and milks the gifting of “dog toy treats” for all it is worth.  In fact, we hope she stays this mellow once we get home – which will be by February 4 – we have capitulated on Bill’s knee and are coming home to get him retreaded or whatever needs to be done – too hard to do this on the road – so we shall return to Whidbey wet, cold weather and all, to see our friends and heal whatever needs to be healed – but first KEY WEST – the other promised land.

Life is good.  We’ll have a fake Bahama Mama on the Beach for you all.

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Africa in Florida….and frogs

We arrived in Sebring Florida on Friday the 11th to visit my cousin David who I have seen exactly twice in the past 40 years – and his wife, Lynda whom I have never met along with their two kids.  Our plan had been to park Mobi in a vacant lot adjacent to their home until we learned about the perils of sugar sand which apparently is much like quicksand and figured the weight of Mobi might overwhelm the sand, us and any tow truck sent to remove us so we are parked in Wagon Wheels Park – An Over 55 Community (Way Over)

The park is small, older and a lot of the people here have been coming for years.  It is located close to everything you might need down here, Wal-Mart, CVS, Rite Aid, a  hospital, surgeons and rehabilitation facilities.  Yup – we found the Yuma of the East right here.  But the people are extremely friendly and we have met most of them in the past two days – so give pluses for hospitality.

Bill is having more problems with his knee and with my cousin being involved in the medical community down here was able to get Bill into see another knee specialist – that will happen Tuesday and we will evaluate from there.  It’s pretty certain that another shot in the knee is not going to help – so that somewhat limits our options.  But enough of falling apart – we are in right place if that is to happen.

The first day we were here was titled “Coping with the Humidity” and we pretty much sat and tried to convince ourselves that we would get used to this.  Apparently it is extraordinarily hot here for this time of the year – it is running 82 degrees almost daily  If the locals are complaining I’m sure I have reason to also. Saturday we met up with the relatives and had breakfast followed by their going to one of their kid’s soccer games (not gonna sit in the sun in this heat, nope, relative or no) while we hit the local Wal Mart for a few items we needed – including sugar ant repellant – they seem to see Mobi and start a small ant stampede to get  inside.  And a word about the Sebring Wal-Mart – don’t – that would be the word.  Blue hair’s and power carts with attitude and a New York accent – we took our lives in our hands to get discount water.  What were we thinking?

David, my cousin, called  later after re-hydrating the family from the soccer game heat – “Is your jeep four wheel drive?”  “Yup!”  “Do you take it off road?” “Sure!” “Would we like an adventure?”  “Yup – that’s why we are on the road.”  So we picked the family up that afternoon and they directed us out to where I’m pretty sure serial killers drop remains, along an eight foot fence, past where they told us “Saw a bigggg rattler there!” and “Sometimes you see gators here,” until we got to a locked gate where a very nice young man unlocked the gate, gave us the key, and told us to “lock up behind you”.  If  you have seen Jurassic Park – it was much like that…..this was a private game sanctuary that a friend of theirs owns – somewhere around 500 acres where he has housed various game animals from Africa – water buffalo, African elk, all types of four-footed deer type creatures.

Water Buffalo

Water Buffalo

Now, before those of you who are my tree hugger friends get all upset – yes, they do hunt in this facility – but only to cull when the herds become too large as they have no natural predators – most of the time these guys have it pretty good as noted by the large amount of babies and the health status of the animals viewed.  And although I don’t necessarily agree with hunting I think that this is a compromise of some sort.  Or not.  But it was fascinating to see these creatures and felt very much like I would imagine the savannah of Africa is.  We spent quite a bit of time being “Daktari” (if you don’t remember this you are too young to be my friend) with everything but the cross-eyed lion on the roof.  We even saw sand-hill cranes which are HUGE and majestic

Sandhill cranes

Sand-hill cranes

I did keep a close eye out for snakes and gators – the only gator we saw on the preserve was about 24 inches long and in the middle of a very large pond – so I’m feeling pretty good about that.

We made it out of the preserve about sunset with only a couple of minor overheats on the jeep and no major accidents or animal incidents so this was both a fortunate day and a very interesting one.  Finished off the night by going to a comedy show featuring a guy that does singing impressions of various artists – mostly country western – but he brought house down with a one person impressionist duet of “It’s a Wonderful World” featuring Louis Armstrong and Kermit the Frog – just need a visual here folks:

images 2images

Well, OK then….guess that’s enough for the brain to absorb for one night.  Have a good evening.  Life is Good.

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The end of a long road

Today our friend Al lost his best friend and wife Kathy.  He didn’t lose her suddenly but in a long and arduous process during which he stood by her side and held her hand every step of the way. Many people say the vows “In sickness and in health” but sadly very few can walk the walk.  Al did.  And Kathy faced the challenges of her illness with strength, determination and laughter and at times tears and anger – all of which are justified. These are two brave people going forward together. Now there is sadness, grief and emptiness for one of them but also relief.  The hardest thing to do is letting go – and knowing that it is the right thing to do. It was Kathy’s time – maybe not the right time by some people’s standards – but her time – her way – Vaya con Dios Kathy.

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Welcome to Fantasy Land

We spent most of yesterday just hangin’ around the campsite – and looking at nothing in particular.  It was an overcast day and intermittent rain kept us in and out of Mobi reading books, walking the dog – pretty mundane stuff.  Sometimes when you are on the road you just need a down day – and this was it.  Lucy appreciated the companionship – a lot actually.  She has become a real mom and dad’s dog – and if I was worried about her in the beginning that has passed.  We have established a routine with her that includes her very special “treat” ball at bedtime and whenever we leave – actually I think she might look forward to us leaving – what with her primary motivation in life being food.

So after a day of chillin’ we hit the Magic Kingdom again today – and became the kids we perhaps always wanted to be.  First stop, yup – there it was – A BAKERY!  Got to have lunch somewhere – this might as well be it – and here is our definition of lunch:

Lunch of champions!

Lunch of champions!

Fantasy land bakery selections

Fantasy land bakery selections

Can’t fault us for getting in the spirit
of the park – which appears to be calories, fat, carbohydrates and sugar topped off with caffeine and the occasional Alka Seltzer.  Burp….good start to the day. If there were any more calories to consume I am sure we would find them – but for now we are sated (big word, looked it up in the dictionary).  Off to the rides – decided to do Space Mountain first – after all, when you have a stomach full of cinnamon roll and iced mocha what better than a real exciting ride.

Took a slight left hand turn to explore some “construction” which turns out to be a complete mountain being built to house the “Seven Dwarfs Mine” – loved this sign – would like to see it on all construction sites:SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Ok, snooping over we are now heading for Space Mountain – when we are accosted by a moving garbage can – I have never seen this done anywhere – but this garbage can would walk up to you, talk to you and just generally follow you around – and we could see no one inside it – the children in the park loved it – the adult kids like us couldn’t help but be amused.  What a great idea…talking garbage cans.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Having experienced this Bill then took me on Space Mountain.  We (Bill, Courtney and I) had been to Disney World about 18 years ago — and one of the highlights of Courtney’s trip was riding on Space Mountain – I think Bill took her four or five times – which is no mean feat with a 45 minute line wait – now the secret of why we married is out – he is great on scary roller coaster rides – among other things.  Me, not being so much into this, decided that since only two people could fit in a ride I would “give up my opportunity” to ride.  No such luck this time and I am plopped in a cart which proceeds to rocket us through the dark, up, down, left, right, in, out….please God, let my cinnamon roll stay put…PLEASE!  My secret is out, I don’t do roller coasters.  Put this on my bucket list – check it off – not again, no never, uh uh, not going to happen.  Nuf said. A quiet ride on the People Mover, followed by a rollicking good time shooting up aliens in the Buzz Lightyear ride, and I’m doing better.

We see parades, dancing everything from spoons to Disney characters, floats, confetti, fireworks, lights, cars, trains, river boats, scooters, crying babies, laughing grandparents, waddling pregnant ladies (guess they are enjoying the last trip before the kid comes) and well, just a lot of magic everywhere. Saw this at the Haunted Castle – who thinks of these things anyway – a halter with an invisible horse…really!SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

We hit the Little Mermaid ride – don’t ask – seemed like a good idea – they even put seashells in the concrete leading up to the ride – detail is everything here.





We are getting hungry and figure it is time for dinner – so blessed by Mr. Disney (this is him giving us his benediction to do as we please),


we head for the restaurant area – oh wait, everywhere is a restaurant area – well, what to have, fish and chips, steak, burger, my oh my – so many decisions – what is a couple to do?  Of course, set the default mode and go for ……….sugar!

Yup – called “Mainstreet Sundaes – Life is good…and sweet!SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA



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Have a magical day

It has been said that the imagination of Walt Disney would see us far into the next century….and now we are here….and whoever said that was absolutely right. Although Mr. Disney passed away in 1966 it was his planning and vision that launched the concept of Disney World and Epcot (which I found out…..ta da.. stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (who knew) in 1963 and the people who followed in his footsteps after his death, have created the epitome of “The Greatest Show On Earth”.  From the moment you call to make your reservations and they tell you after relieving you of a bunch of money (yes, I’m thrifty and it was A LOT) “Have a magical day”, to the check in at what might have been just another RV park (‘cept for the fact that it is 750 acres and has it’s own private lake and each campsite seems to be the only one in the forest , all 700 campsites), to the private boat’s (yup, plural, there are over 20 of them) that whisks you from your exclusive RV site at Fort Wilderness to the main gate of The Magic Kingdom, you do feel like you are the only guest they have to think about. But keep in mind – this is a 40 SQUARE MILE city.  That’s big….twice the size of Manhattan Island. And although it is a Class A primo experience there is still the “Oh, WOW” factor to be found in the everyday.

Taste is very subjective

Taste is very subjective

Please note blow up helicopter on the roof of this coach

Please note blow up helicopter on the roof of this coach

So having experienced the “Christmas Spirit” on January 6, we….well, frankly, we were speechless.

Now more about Disney World.

They have a transit system that would shame King County Metro with three hundred (300) buses running between every park and hotel in the Disney empire on a continual basis with guaranteed waits of less than 20 minutes, a concierge service to fulfill your every whim that the Hilton Hotel chain could learn from and nowhere, not anywhere that we have seen so far anyway, is there anything but smiles – they can actually make you feel good about paying $4.50 for a coke.  I think that when you speak of Disney World or Disney Land as being the happiest place on earth it has just as much to do with the attitudes of the people around you as your own. And always it goes back to Walt:S

We are here at a very interesting time – checking in for five days with two days of park passes. The first two days will be in “Disney Christmas” – then, overnight, they will strip the park of holiday theme and return your set to a “normal” 2013.

You actually don’t need to go into any of the theme parks, there is so much to do outside and around.  But for today, we are in the Magic Kingdom. And as we arrive on our personal (at least it seems that way) ferry-boat we enter with an electronic gate pass and thumbprint scan– these guys could teach the TSA a thing or two I’m sure.  And we are off.  First, Main street for the morning parade.

Nice horse, bald head,

Nice horse, bald head,

Then over to Adventure Land for the Swiss Family Treehouse , Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean (seems to me that the last time I did this one was prior to the Captain Jack Sparrow franchise – it was better then). Hang a quick left (or maybe right) and head into Frontier Land for  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (yes, I went on a roller coaster – aren’t you proud of me?)


but no Splash Mountain – closed for something or another – have a Magical Day elsewhere please) – and finally out to Tom Sawyer’s Island which was pretty cool and gave us a chance to sit and be On the Road and On Our Rockers  for a moment.

Sittin' and rockin'

Sittin’ and rockin’

These folks actually have a full size river boat that goes around this island – FULL SIZE fer gawds sake!

Last stop for today was the Hall of Presidents which is a retrospective narrated by Morgan Freeman, whom I think has the sexiest voice in all of America, about the founding of our country and the contributions of various presidents – thought it was a live show at first – but it is Disney Animatrons – damn, they sure look real.  I remember these guys from my younger days when they were not very believable but they are incredibly life-like now – want to walk up and shake old Honest Abe’s hand.

We then hopped back on our personal ferry as I like to think of it and returned to the park once again admiring Disney’s attention to all details minute:

Mickey the multi-talented

Mickey the multi-talented

Climbing in the old Jeep jalopy we headed for Disney Town Center where, among other things, there is a multi-lane two story bowling alley, a multi-screen movie theatre where they serve you dinner while you eat (going there tomorrow – Jack Reacher watch out!) They also have Planet Hollywood, the House of Blues and more other ways to part with your money then the beach vendors in Mexican have come up with.  And all with a smile and “Have a Magical  Day”.

We will do the rest of the park on Wednesday after resting Bill and his knee – there is plenty to do in Fort Wilderness Resort.  We figure that we might rent a golf cart (yup, you can rent official Disney golf carts to maneuver around this place) and on one of the other non-park days we will rent a boat and tour the lake – I’m sure we will find lots to get our noses into.   Life is Good  – just “Have a Magical Day”

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The swamp and what not to do

We arrived yesterday at a little place about 70 miles south of Tallahassee called Steinhatchee (do NOT ask me how to pronounce it – I can barely spell it for this blog). It is a small town on a river of the same name.  The area is called “Florida’s Hidden Coast” – and we know why – it’s a bit like the mythical town of Brigadoon – appearing only occasionally, not with any directions, has no cell phone service, no TV service, and well, if you like to fish, hunt or generally kill anything – this is the place for you.

We are here - where are you?

We are here – where are you?

In all fairness, it is very small town and back woods – and the kind of place we were looking for to hunker down and rest Bill’s aching knee.  So, other than no communications it is actually wonderful. (Anecdotally, we do have internet – go figure) The town itself is mostly tourist, and has not taken too well to the down turn in the economy with lots of stuff abandoned and/or up for “short sale”.  Surprisingly, the main tourist season here is summer through about October – prime fishing and scallopping.  Always wondered where all those scallops come from – now I know.


Above is an overview of the river and area.  It’s remote and a little tumble down – just our kind of place.  There are a few condos and resorts – but they seem to be the worse for wear and built about 2005 just before the last fiscal cliff we fell off of.  You all remember that one, don’t you?

This RV parks rates a picture – it’s everything we could want – solitude, clean, comfortable, and the people running it are probably the nicest folks we have met – he is a “reformed contractor” – I can relate.  Says the best thing that ever happened to him was to get out before the body fell apart – sounds about right.  They bought this place basically as raw unfinished land and in five years put it together themselves into quite a jewel.

Natures Coast RV Resort

Natures Coast RV Resort

Today, as we are prone to do, we decided to explore heading north to an area called  “Tide Swamp Unit Big Bend Wildlife Management Area”.  Our destination was a place called Keaton Beach – a place where we thought we could hang out and see the Gulf of Mexico.  Best laid plans of mice and men, or Bill and Deb rather.  About four miles out of town we saw a sign that said “Wildlife Area” so we promptly hung a left and entered.  Made sense to us and the road was heading toward the Gulf.  About, oh say, 300 yards in the narrow two lane road turned into a one lane dirt road – OK , we can handle this, we got this fancy Jeep with big tires and a lift kit – no strangers to off roading are we.  About four miles further in it is now becoming apparent that “Wildlife Area” in Florida translates into “Hunting Area” – as in, Hey! They are, like, killing things.  Our first real heads up was a sign that said “Do not dump dead animal carcasses here”.  Question: Can you dump live animal carcasses there?  The road keeps getting smaller and twists and turns – there are actually several roads with catchy little names like Tide Swamp Grade and Turkey Track Trail – they do have names, just nothing else.  We are winding around and finally come to the beach!  Yes!  We made it!  Feeling a little like Ponce de Leon finding the fountain of youth our trip is validated – the Gulf is beautiful.  Now it’s time to return to the highway and head North to our original destination.  That, as they say, is where the train left the tracks.  We figured that there would be one road in and one road out – well, wrongo bongo bat breath.  We are pretty sure that we are headed the right direction, although we have no firm idea.  Everything looks familiar – oh, that’s right, we are in a swamp – everything looks the same.  Just for comedy sake I say to Bill “you seen any wildlife?”  His response “Two (*&#$&  birds – do you know where the (*&(#$ we are?”  Not wanting to appear as though I had no idea I promptly say “Turn left here, I’m sure this is the way to the road”. Turns out I was right – except we are on one side of a gate, the road is on the other side and – you guessed!  The gate is padlocked – not once but twice. And concrete barriers extend from each side. Fine, we can take a hint.  We turn around and head back down the road that I was “sure” was the way to the highway.  Guess half right doesn’t count. Don’t have the courage to ask Bill – don’t even have the courage at this point to look at him.  All he can mutter is “We are a little low on fuel – just a little.”  Finally I pull out my phone, no service, but WOW the GPS is working – according to Google Maps we are on 6th Street – got to hand it to Google – they are everywhere. Don’t worry about the government – it’s Google we need to keep our eyes on.  The little triangle indicates our car, we are headed down the road (path) and it is moving along the line on my screen.  Thirty excruciatingly quiet minutes later (Bill and I figured at one point someone would say “Whatever happened to them?” and the answer would be “They went lookin’ around the swamp – out of staters ya’ know.”) we come to the road – oh *&#%$(& another gate.  And it’s padlocked.  And this is getting pretty ridiculous.  Out of the car, over to the gate, there is a cable to the left of the gate blocking ingress and egress from this area – suffice to say it’s not there any more.  We are free, we still have some gas in the tank and lacking any further adventurous spirit we head back to Mobi and Lucy.  Sometimes a plan is just a detailed outline of the failure you are about to encounter.  Ah….life is good. We are home now and our destiny is not to be written in the Florida swamp.


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Bill gets a trip to fantasy land….and it does not involve Disney

Every person has a secret desire or dream, something they really, really want to do.  Something that would  put them “on top of the world”. Most of us do not get this opportunity, but sometimes, just occasionally, we can come close.  Today was Bill’s day.  He has always wanted to be a flyer.  Not gonna happen at this time in his life – but you can get close. We went to the National Naval Aviation Museum (I like to refer to it as testosterone central)  http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org/the-museum/museum-history  

OK, so maybe I’m not the most objective person to be writing about this, but I’m all you have so get used to it. To give credit where credit is due, I have been to the Smithsonian in D.C.,the Museum of Flight in Seattle, and the Kennedy Space Center (which I think has a different name now) and several other “air museums”. This beats them all hands down. The museum was the brain child of one man who thought “Hmmmm…maybe this would be a good idea – let’s put some military planes on display so people can see them.”  This was his thought in 1955, the museum opened in 1963 and today is the largest museum of it’s kind with thousands (no really, thousands, of volunteers) – most of whom are retired military aviators and associates. It is located on the Naval Base at Pensacola, thus we found another very user friendly base and once more validated the statement “The military ALWAYS have the best real estate!”  This base could take days to explore but we are here for the party with the planes.  So in we go.  First thing we see is this:????????????????????

Alrighty then, must be in the right place.  Entering the lobby of this massive 55,000 square foot building (one of three) we see this bronze sculpture

Statue at entry to National Naval Aviation Museum

Statue at entry to National Naval Aviation Museum

The museum has an IMAX theater (we did not participate), walking tours, trolley tours, flight line tours, and – WOW – it’s all free.  Everything, even the parking.  And the tours. And, like everything! So, first thing, we get in a simulator to fly with the Blue Angels.  Pretty fun, but kind of mild. Then Bill finds a “sit in the seat” display – he is in his happy place now!

Little Billie  happy at last!

Little Billie happy at last!

Visions of “Top Gun” dance through his head – pretty sure anyway.  He did comment that getting out of the plane was easier than getting in.  Hmmmm?

Next stop – let’s go look at a few more planes.  There are little ones, big ones, old ones and newer ones – up to and including spacecraft, something I was not expecting.  We (meaning me) also learned about a mission called “Strato Lab V” which raised two men via a balloon from the deck of a carrier, to an unheard of altitude of 113,739.9 feet – doesn’t seem like a big deal now – but this was in 1961 – and was a prelude to the opening of the space era.  So, yeah, it was a big deal. http://www.patriotspoint.org/news_events/world-record-balloon-flight-set-by-navy-at-113739-9-feet/

So, on ward to more planes.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA And then more planes.  And so on and so on.  We did get out to the flight line via the trolley (free!) and saw the Blue Angels practicing.  They will be leaving in the next two days to train in California until March – then return to this area.  They are really something to see – and they were pretty darn close at that.

For my Uncle Jim - because he did

For my Uncle Jim – because he did

The above picture is …..well, as they say, it is what it is.  Thank you for your service Jim.

Old planes

Old planes

The display of all the planes was incredible – when you think of all this weight – hanging from cables, from the ceiling, of a building, probably built on a swamp, in Florida, which is unstable, well – just keep thinking those good thoughts.

The display was endless, but alas, our time was not – so, onward.  We found this display of the Blue Angels hanging, from the ceiling, of course, and it was thoroughly amazing.


And there was even the very first EA6B ever produced on display – and I am quite sure that this little sucker made every bit as much noise as the ones currently flying over our home on Whidbey Island.  And speaking of Whidbey Island – you know how they say there is six degrees of separation in everyone – not sure if that applies to everything – but why not?  So around a corner I come and find this lovely little piece of non-aviation machinery – in all its glory – battle ship gray and decals included. (Please be sure to note the snorkel on the top – actually for air refueling)

Strangest looking plane I ever saw

Strangest looking plane I ever saw

Wondering exactly what this is I walk around it – and OMG (Oh My God) it has a Washington State plate!



So, got to be a story here…..looking around a little I find it:


Someone actually drove this beauty to Florida – wish I knew who

So,  I’m happy – got my “strange but true moment”.  Bill has his “Gotta fly” moment.  I think we both had a fabulous day.  Too bad it had to end, but old legs are old legs and it’s time to go – Last stop at the coffee shop for a little fuel and fluid (got those military terms down now).  And the last of my personal magical moments was this:

The bar we stopped in is actually a transplanted bar that came from the Philippines.  It is called the “CubiBar” (Cubi Cat Shot)  The link below will tell you the history of the bar in the Philippines (it is very colorful for sure) – after being  closed due to an eruption of the volcano the bar was eventually packed up bag and baggage, including all the plaques manufactured and installed by the various air groups who had traveled through and relocated to Pensacola.  It is incredible inside, full of humor and pathos (big word) and lots of thoughts from the various squadrons – several of which I have attached below.








All things considered – it was a real good day. Life is good – and lots of fun.



We are off towards lower Florida, warmer weather and maybe even……Disneyworld…..Gonna go to Micky’s House.  Gonna go to Micky’s house!

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