Tampa, FL to San Antonio, TX

Trip Start Jul 24, 2007
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Gulf Pines RV Park

Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, February 6, 2008

1/19  We left Tampa and said our good-buys to the RV show since they wouldn't give us a reasonable trade-in on that 2 million dollar motor home.  I thought our 5th wheel was worth at least a mil but the salesman thought I was just joking.  We took our $10 down payment and left. 
We took the scenic route along the Gulf coast to Carrabelle, Fl. and stayed at the Ho-Hum RV Park.  It wasn't really.  Our site was right on the beach and it was very pretty, especially with the full moon sitting over the water.  Why would anyone want to name their park Ho-Hum??
We took a ride out to St. George Island State Park which is four miles off shore.  It was pretty cool driving on a four mile long bridge.  We also started to see damages from the last hurricane that passed thru.  We were on a new bridge but you could see sections of the old bridge that had been distroyed.  (I think most, if not all the bridges we crossed along the Gulf coast were new)  Walking along the beach we would come upon large sections of blacktop that had been washed up from somewhere.  They are still in the process of re-building the park and campground.  I don't know why anyone would want to stay there anyway since they don't have WI-FI and cable TV. 

1/21  We left Carrabelle and stayed on Rt 98 to enjoy the coast line.  Its not like we have to "be" anywhere to require the use of an interstate.  It looked like every piece of property for the next 20 miles was for sale.  Occasionally, there would be a new "mansion" under construction.  Maybe they  think hurricanes don't strike the same place twice, like lightning. 
It was interesting going through heavy tourist areas like Panama City and Ft. Walton Beach.  There would be a four of five story hotel all boarded up with chunks of it missing right next to a new fancy resort.  I'm sure there are many sad stories as to why some properties haven't been restored.  Maybe some took the insurance money and ran and maybe some didn't have any insurance at all.  It just looked very odd.

1/22  Arrived at Gulf Pines RV Park in Milton, Florida, near Pensacola.  I spent a week in Pensacola this past spring attending a driver orientation  with May Trucking.  It took them a week, but decided that because I haven't worked for over three years due to my retirement from Verizon, that I didn't have an acceptable employment history.  I guess my 32 years at Verizon didn't mean a thing.  Does this make any sense to anyone??? Anyway, to make a long story short - never mind, its too late. 
Pensacola is home to the Blue Angels and they also have a wonderful naval museum .  As you can probably guess, I spent the entire day there. 
One of my favorite stories is how they trained carrier pilots in WWII.  They couldn't use real aircraft carriers because they require deep water and deep water hid German U-boats.  So, they "obtained" two luxury Lake Michigan cruse ships that only the rich and famous could afford to travel on and turned them into mini aircraft carriers.  They did this by removing the top two decks and building a "flat top".  It wasn't the best solution as they were much shorter, narrower, and closer to the water than the real thing, but they didn't have to worry about torpedoes.  The planes they used were old fighters that had seen action and were beyond repair but still flyable.  Some were just plain ready for the scrap heap.  The result was that there are still two hundred aircraft of various makes and models at the bottom of Lake Michigan.  This museum has been bringing them up as funds allow and restoring them to their previous glory.  Very cool!
The seaplane that Admiral Nimitz flew into Tokyo Harbor for the Japanese surrender is also being restored there.   After WWII it was sold to Howard Hughes so he could train his pilots for the Spruce Goose, but his pilots were only allowed in the cockpit.  When that project didn't work out the airplane sat in a temperature controlled warehouse for the next 40 years or so.  When it was given to the museum a few years ago, the back of the plane that was used as living quarters by Nimitz was still as it was when Nimitz stepped off the plane.  It was like a time capsule.
I don't know what I'll write about if I run out of war machines but I guess thats not likely. 

1/26  Left Pensacola and continued west to Mobile, Alabama, then picked up Rt 90 in Mississippi to stay on a scenic drive along the Gulf coast.  Y U C K !  It was really sad driving through Biloxi and Gulfport and seeing  so much devastation.  The only thing left in some neighborhoods are driveways going to where houses used to be.  Sometimes a porch is left standing or steps going to where a porch was at one time.  We got back on interstate 10 so we could get through New Orleans as painlessly as possible.  So many communities are still empty with houses covered in blue tarps and orange numbers on the siding.  These folks still have a lot of spirit as evidenced by the Mardi-Gra parades. 
A long drive of 336 miles today got us to Baton Rouge.    

1/27  Sometime during the night both Jean and I crashed.  Jean woke up, looked at me and said " Can we go home now??" We were both feeling rather blue but that shouldn't be surprising for this to happen at times.  First of all, we don't have a home to go home to. We have completely changed our lives and our life style.  We dicided that the best thing for us to do was to go buy something.  We left Wal-mart with 10 pounds of M&M's. 
We drove to Beaumont, Texas the next day and Jean seemed to be quite content with what was left of the M&M's.  As for myself, however, I still had a hankering.  I'm now the proud subscriber of Dish Network TV.  I have at my fingertips 100 channels of re-runs of Law and Order.  I feel much better now. 

1/30  We drove to San Antonio KOA and discovered the rodeo was in town.  Its like state fairs back east but bigger. Its not very user friendly but we found out later it was because we were the only ones that didn't know what was going on.  We bought tickets to see Alan Jackson at the 1pm Saturday show.  I wanted tickets to the rodeo also, but the ticket lady said the one ticket allows you to see both.  Cool! All this is being held at the AT&T center, which is H U G E.  On our way to our seats we stopped off at the oxygen bar for a few puffs and to pick up some tissues for our nose bleeds.  It was after the show started that we found out the rodeo starts first, then the entertainer (Alan  Jackson) comes out. 
It was quite a hoot.  Sat through the whole thing.  Bucking horses and bulls and all that stuff.  Haven't had this much fun since the hogs ate grandma. By the time Alan Jackson came on out butts were sore, our legs went numb, we were suffering from altitude sickness, the acoustics were pretty bad, and were O L D.  We left after about four songs.
The next day we were ready to move on.  We checked in with family members to let everyone know all is well.  The conversation (repeatedly) went as follows:
Hi, Where are you??
San Antonio. 
Ya see the Alamo??
Na.
W H A T ?? How 'bout the river walk??
Na.
W H A T ??
So, we decided to stay a couple more days and act like tourists.  We visited the Alamo, walked on the river walk, and took a boat ride on it.  We stopped by the visitors center and bought a couple of T-shirts that were on sale.  Next, to the top of the Tower of the Americas and took a picture of the Alamo from 750 ft up.  Could you just see the look on Davy Crockett's face if you could have told him what was going to be here in 150 years??  "Hey Dave,  you can see your house from here!"
The Alamo was pretty cool especially considering its age and history.  But there is something I don't quite understand.  Here is Travis saying to Crockett, "Hey Dave, lets stay here with, say, 150-200 men and let every Mexican in the world come running down on us"!  Why not "Hey Dave, lets back up, say, to where Houston is going to be someday and wait for re-inforcements. Then we can whip their butts!"
I guess I'm not the hero type. 
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