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Old 29 Apr 21, 09:28 PM  
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#31
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Another one here waiting for the next instalment 🙂
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Old 29 Apr 21, 10:00 PM  
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DAY 2 ABOUT A BATTLESHIP. 3/31/2017

The day dawned beautifully and the horrific storm was gone. It was time to get our bearings (and breakfast) as we had seen absolutely nothing the night before.

The Hotel was as described, right on the Beach.

The Beach was as described, vast, white, inviting and beautiful.

We were in breakfast at 0730.. all of us, as I had emphasised the need to hit things hard and early in order to avoid jet lag. After Egg, Sausage, grits and orange juice it was time to form a 'convoy'. We were going to Alabama!, Sweet home Alabama!, as Lynyrd Skynyrd famously sang..

We were in our cars and moving at 0800, a one hour drive to Mobile.

Our rather nice Nissan something (I am not into cars, but it was white, clean and had cruise).

As we approached the USS Alabama state park, we realised just how big a real Battleship was, as opposed to the Diminutive HMS Belfast in the pool of London. The Alabama weighs 4 and a half times as much as the Belfast. We could see it from miles away!

Mandie, Dan, Matt & Myself on the foredeck.. as Gary reliably informed me.


Ann, Gary and George on the foredeck.. as I reminded Gary.


George lines up a 20mm Oerlikon on a pensive Matt.. A foretaste of things to come.

Not only was there a ship, there were aircraft! The cup of Mandie was overflowing...

An A12, forerunner to the legendary SR71 Blackbird


Gary, a retired Observer rueing what the Royal Navy could have purchased (but didn't).

There were tanks as well!

A Duster anti aircraft tank.


There was even a WW2 Submarine that I had forgotten to tell Mandie about. USS Drum.

Anyway, within a short few hours, everybody (except me) had had enough and it was time to return to Pensacola. A satisfactory, if late start to the vacation. I could see that Mandie and Ann were very deeply impressed!

The afternoon was spent alternating between beach and very nice pool, with the girls sampling the Cocktail menu.

Dan and Matt.

We quite literally had a mile of gorgeous beach to ourselves.




A doze, a shower and it was time for our evening meal, Floyd Flounders Chowder House, heavily recommended on trip advisor. We realised just how recommended it was when we got there. The queue extended out into the street and it took an hour to get seated.

We wait for our table. Between yawning, Gary is explaining that he normally 'has a man to do that'.

Eventually we were in and the food was amazing. Strangely, most of us had.. Flounder!


Mandie and Ann sample 'Diesel Fuel'.. as recommended by the passenger who's hand she had crushed the night before when inbound to Pensacola.


All in all, a pleasant first day of vacation proper and I was feeling somewhat smug!

Tomorrow is April 1.. April fools day aka Mandie’s birthday!

Edited at 07:29 PM.
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Old 30 Apr 21, 07:54 AM  
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What a great first day after the bumpy start. I have a feeling that it's not all going to be a smooth ride ahead 🤔
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Old 30 Apr 21, 09:42 AM  
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A great first day after a pretty horrendous travel day. Agree with you about the size of the Alabama they are massive when you're near them.
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Old 30 Apr 21, 10:51 AM  
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Originally Posted by disneypars View Post
A great first day after a pretty horrendous travel day. Agree with you about the size of the Alabama they are massive when you're near them.
Yes, it was a really good day. Plenty done, weather turned and things looking up... as previously stated, this one is a real rollercoaster ride!

USS Alabama is just one of 8 preserved Battleships in the US, along with 5 Aircraft carriers and numerous cruisers and smaller. We failed to save even one!

Edited at 04:44 PM.
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Old 30 Apr 21, 06:09 PM  
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DAY 3 I'M (NOT) LOVING ANGELS 04/01/17 .. OH, AND MANDIE'S BIRTHDAY.
DAY 4 OF CAMERAS AND THINGS 04/02/17.

Mandie's birthday dawned bright and clear. After spoiling Mandie up to and including breakfast, it was time to get down to the hard work of vacationing. Mandie had already had her birthday present from me before leaving the UK, but I cannot for the life of me remember what it was! Luckily Ann came up trumps with some Temple Spa Body Lotion? Good stuff, I am told. Mandie remains adamant to this day that I did not get her a thing! (She is mistaken).

Mandie, Ann, George and Matt opted for a lazy day by the pool, whilst Myself, Gary and Dan opted to spend the morning at the Pensacola Naval Aviation Museum, hoping to see some Blue Angel aerobatics during the day.

The Museum was well signposted and easy to get to, with everything but the largest Aircraft indoors. I apologise for the aviation porn that follows, but it may even interest a few!.. or perhaps not.


The very impressive entrance to the museum. if you have seen Top Gun, then you may well expect to see 'Maverick' in the cockpit of this F14.


The entrance Atrium and four former Blue Angel A4 Skyhawks.


A general view of the 'Smorgasbord' of airframes in just one of the halls.


A very sexy Chance Vought F7 Cutlass.. One of the most dangerous aircraft to ever operate at sea...dangerous to anybody sat in one!


Curtis NC4. In 1919, this actual aircraft flew from New York State to Portugal over 19 days, with picket ships for fuel stops, repairs etc etc. A magnificent achievement.. until 2 weeks later when Alcock and Brown flew the Atlantic non stop! Their Vickers Vimy is preserved at the Science Museum in London.


The aircraft that I had travelled to see! This was the third production Lockheed Neptune and in 1946, set out from Perth, Australia towards the States, four crew and a pet Kangaroo. It flew non stop and unrefuelled for 55 hours 18 minutes..18083 kilometres to land in Columbus, Ohio! It had extra fuel tanks, was stripped out and was carrying out a ‘flag waving’ exercise.And we consider long haul flights as stressful..


Dan tries out the cockpit of a Blue Angels, F11 Tiger.

All too soon it was over, time to return to Margaritaville, pick up the others and move on to Destin. What could go wrong? Traffic could go wrong and on a scale similar to the I4 in Orlando at tea time. The population of Pensacola was making its way over the bridge and on to Pensacola Beach. The 15 minute journey out became a 2 hour journey back.. much to the chagrin of those waiting for us... including the Birthday girl!

Blue Angels? They were away on tour!

Eventually, the pick up was made and we began our journey from Pensacola Beach, along the Sand Spit to Destin. The sky was blue, the aircon on and we were to be treated to some of the most spectacular scenery.


This map gives just a clue as to how spectacular this drive is. Along the 45 mile route are vast expanses of unspoilt beach interspersed with beachside car parks and houses such as the one below.


.. And then after passing Hurlburt AFB, we were entering the rather built up area of Destin. Destin is big, pretty(ish) and rather high-rise. Fortunately, I had anticipated this and we drove straight through and out the other side to the Fairfield Inn and Suites, a typical hotel of its type, but immediately behind the extremely lush, Henderson State Park. We checked in and Mandie, concerned about already being sunburned, opted to go for a doze in her room... as did Dan and Matt.. The rest of us were having non of this and were straight across the road and into the State Park to hit the beach for a very quick dip.

The extremely well positioned Fairfield Inn and Suites with Henderson State Park opposite.

Time for the evening meal.It was an evening in Bubba Gumps!, a favourite of Mandie's and just a short walk from the Hotel. My planning and research is holding up well!




For some reason, Dan wanted this image in the trip report.

The Birthday Girl!


A gentle stroll back to the Hotel and a passing look at an Alligator attraction, pokey, overcrowded and not too kind to Alligators.



And then it was bed time. Another fine day.

DAY 4 .. OF CAMERAS, BOOBIES AND THINGS!
Another day and another awesome, pristine, white beach beckoned! Needless to say, I took my rather impressive and newly purchased Olympus TG-4 Camera with me that morning, Waterproof to 15m, Drop proof onto Concrete from 3m, simply indestructible.

The pictures were good!




And then the camera flooded! what followed over the following days was a battle with Jessops, from whom I had made the purchase. They would not reimburse me until they could examine the Camera, suggesting that I may not have locked it correctly. In months that followed, they eventually acknowledged that a seal was in fact damaged, hence the flood, but that was no use when I was due in Discovery Cove before the end of the vacation! £325 was on the line!

Time to move on.. we decided on an afternoon of shopping.. at the Bass pro shop.. a favourite of Matts.

Matt practising fishing... as the bait.

Matt's enthusiasm is not actually about fishing. It is about firearms. I asked the Counter Assistant if Matt could handle an AR15. The Assistant replied that by law he could not pass it to him.. but if it was passed to me instead, then I could do as I liked!

The fabled AR15.

Matt in Crossbow heaven.

I have a funny feeling that George might be in his imaginary sights.

Clearly I had Camera snags and clearly they needed to be resolved! An inferior replacement Olympus Tough was purchased £345! Matt was delighted as he was certain that I would eventually get a replacement for my flooded Camera and thus have a spare. Within seconds, he was telling me how he had a lifetime ambition to be an underwater Photographer!

Back to the Hotel for a shower and change before we took the kids for an evening of cultural enlightenment..


Note the sky!

Matt 'in character', George crushing a can, redneck fashion.

Dan wishin'.



Gary and myself remained classily disdainful of the frivolity.

And so to our hotel.. where we had received an Email relating to the following days activities... More thrills (and spills) to follow.

Dan’s entry in his scrapbook for the day was rather enlightening.

Edited at 01:52 PM.
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Old 30 Apr 21, 08:34 PM  
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The sea looks so blue and inviting! I am glad the birthday girl got a nice cocktail and a relaxing day. I feared for the camera when you said it was indestructible... So nice to have a ´new´ trippie to read.
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Old 30 Apr 21, 08:41 PM  
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Count me in too! Your California trip report was really informative!
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Old 30 Apr 21, 09:36 PM  
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Originally Posted by ILoveDaveLamb View Post
The sea looks so blue and inviting! I am glad the birthday girl got a nice cocktail and a relaxing day. I feared for the camera when you said it was indestructible... So nice to have a ´new´ trippie to read.
Mandie still mentions that I deserted her on her birthday.. even now, in 2021.
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Old 30 Apr 21, 09:37 PM  
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Originally Posted by mickey68 View Post
Count me in too! Your California trip report was really informative!
I am glad that you liked it. It was my first ever trippie. I much prefer the Boston one as I had more fun compiling it.

Just you wait for my August one, off the back of the pre-trip report in my signature.. I am already doing background research!
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2005 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2015
2017 Panhandle purgatoryhttps://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho... php?t=1193744
2018 Californiahttps://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho... php?t=1072473
2019 Boston, NY, Dayton OH, Orlando, Naples.
https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho... php?t=1137302
future...Arizona/Cali/Nevada 2021
https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...4#post14647964
Toronto & Florida 2022. https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho... php?t=1197381

Edited at 09:25 AM.
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