FLORIDA WEEK 3: AIR MUSEUM and USS ALABAMA
This week went by fast, even though it started off by turning the clocks back an hour. After all the hustle and bustle of the Presidential election ended we did three straight days of activities.
Today was our personal day. Living in a small space we have to give each other room. Most of the time I go outside to play video games or watch TV. This day the weather is cold (58-63 degree) but I went outside anyway. The wife took a picture of me.
We placed another check mark in our to do list and spent no money completing it. We went to the Naval Air Museum at Pensacola Naval Air Station. I talked about this in the past post, but today there was power to the building and the day went off with no problems. There is no parking or entrance fee to the museum, however there is a donation box if you want. The only things that you have to pay for if you want to use are the IMAX theater and flight simulators. There is just too much to talk about, so I will hit the highlights and post their website link. There are two buildings full of aircraft from the USA, Japan and German just to name a few. There is also exhibits for space and air blimps. We spent two hours walking around the two building and about a 45 minute trolley ride looking at aircraft outside that has not been completely refurbished. The trolley drive was very knowledgeable of all the aircraft and had good and most of the time funny stores. There is also a restaurant and gift shop. We planned ahead and brought our lunch with us. After our trolley ride we went back to the car and had our lunch before continuing on the tour. The down side was there was no tables to eat at outside, so we just ate in the car.
With another cooler than normal day and the ocean bring gusts of wind to the campsite, we spent the day at Cordova Mall in Pensacola, FL. We did a little shopping for stuff we need, but most of the day was spent walking and talking to each other. There was a Red Robin (Yummm) we have only ate there once while I was stationed in San Diego, CA so we treated ourselves to endless fries. The burger was so BIG the wife had to cut it with a knife first.
This trip was planned since the day we arrived in Florida, we just had to wait for the weather to get warm so we could enjoy our time by the ocean wall. We traveled to Alabama to see the USS Alabama. http://www.ussalabama.com/
There is a $2.00 fee for parking (car, there was RV's but the price was more), and entrance to the park to tour USS Alabama (Battleship), USS Drum (Submarine) and a hanger of aircraft is $12.00, but there are $2.00 off coupons in Alabama visitor books. I even tried to get discount with my retired military ID, but it is free only to active duty. I was disappointed by the Quarterdeck (ship's entrance point) of both the USS Alabama and USS Drum. There was no one present to welcome you aboard the ship. I had visited the Battleship USS Missouri and Submarine USS Bowfin in Hawaii and other Naval ships that are no longer commissioned and they all had someone on the Quarterdeck to welcome visitors. However, the Ships themselves were awesome. While on the tour and reflecting back on my time in the service I felt pride and honor. I also found myself missing the times I have spent at sea. Out of my 20 year Navy career I spent half of that time at sea. I did not really care for the stress of the job or missions, but missed the people I met that I called my brothers and sisters and the time we spent together is what I miss the most.
My job was a Radioman (RM) before it merged with another job to form the new job of Information System Technician (IT). Anytime I visit old ships I always look for the Radio Room. I want to see the equipment that was used to transmit and receive information on and off the ship.
If you know a Veteran or Active Duty Military give them thanks for all they did or do now. I called my father and thanked him, as he did the same to me.
For the last three years we have made our Veterans Day dinner at Applebee's. Veterans and active duty eat free. This time the waitting line was short. We were surprised, because Pensacola is a military town and the line to get a seat was only 10~15 minute wait.