This was Eliza’s first driving lesson and she did GREAT! We’ve been meaning to practice, but just hadn’t found a good empty parking lot until this one at Big Lagoon State Park. There were a few cars driving around, but she went around them and drove for about 90 minutes. On a stick! Way to go, Eliza, that’s a memory will have for years… and I didn’t cry, amazing. I was too busy trying to find the words to describe the clutch. I am so proud of this young lady!
On another day we went to the Pensacola Navy Base, which is just 5 miles from the campground. We rode the trolley and listened to the tour guide tell us about all the airplanes that were outside, still waiting to be restored so they can be moved inside. Every other sentence he said, “oh, but that’s in the building that’s closed” and we just laughed because we run into that all over, “closed for repairs today” “open again tomorrow”, etc,, and we think it’s so funny. This picture is a screen shot of the IMAX movie we watched about WWII. Narrated by Tom Brokaw, of course, it was done in 2014 and is incredible! This book actually opened onscreen and the popups happened in front of our eyes. As Nate keeps telling me, “yes, Mom, it’s computer generated”. To an excellent degree. Fascinating movie. The Air Museum itself is huge and like a Smithsonian, you could take days to read and learn everything. We had lunch at the recreated Gobi cafe, walked around for another couple hours, and headed home to play with the dogs.
Just by chance, one of the tour guides mentioned that the Blue Angels would be practicing their show Monday and Tuesday, so to come back for the 11:30 a.m. show then. We happened to watch the news the first morning and heard that they were still in California, so practice wasn’t until Tuesday. We went to the base at about 10 a.m. and the parking lot was almost full. People were streaming onto the airfield, but I took the time to question a Marine at the door about how he got interested in them, because Nate is thinking about a military career. So fun to hear what real guys have to say, not just read about it all online. Of course, the young man told Nate he’d love it…
The airshow itself lasted about an hour, and we were lucky enough to have front row seats! I love it when life on the road allows the fun stuff to consume our days. One of the 6 planes dropped out early on, and the guide said if they have any radio difficulties, they land, and he might be able to take another plane up. I say “he” because it’s still an exclusive all boys club, ages 30-mid 40’s, who get the honor of flying for the two years on the Blue Angels team. They are based here, but spend most of their time doing shows around the country. As we drove onto the base again, I was grousing about how much the Blue Angels cost me as a taxpayer, and Dan reminded me that it’s probably less than the government wastes on other things every minute. Yes, probably true. By the end of the airshow, the 6th plane hadn’t come back, but I was firmly in my patriotic-American-mode again and happy that we had taken the time to come see them practice. With 2,000 of our closet friends.
I went out to see my last Perdido Key Gulf beach sunset last night and I just wanted to sit down and throw a tantrum like a 3 year old so I wouldn’t have to leave… we’ve been in Florida 132 days, and I’ve spent most of them on one beach or another. I prefer the Gulf side now, with the Keys being the ultimate, and St. Joseph Peninsula Park being a close second. This is a beautiful area here, just too many people for my liking. And now it’s spring break so every silly college student is here and many of them are camped around us. Last night, however, I had the beach mostly to myself again because it was dinner time. The lady ranger told me to get off the beach before dark because of the drinking, and I did. But for 90 minutes I watched the beautiful purple and pinks turn into to yellow and oranges. I counted my blessing and listened to Zac Brown sing about being “knee deep in the water somewhere… not a worry in the world, except is the tide gonna reach my chair” – just a great beach song. I’ve enjoyed every minute of Florida, even though we’ve had to get out coats and jeans and endure persistent bugs without names. I liked island life and the way food and friends are more important than what you wear or what you do for a job. I will miss the beaches and I will be back!