Thursday, April 16, 2009


So we have returned from our trip to Florida. We spent Thursday through Tuesday there sitting in the sun and visiting with Zach and Ricky at the Naval Air station. Pensacola is a very nice place and despite the mileage I found the vacation relaxing.

We drove all the way through leaving at 4:45am Thursday and arrived at 9:30 at night. It really was not a bad drive but the last 75 miles seemed long because it was all off the expressway. We took Kt's, Mazda Protege. It got 35 miles to the gallon and in a weird way has twice as much leg room in the back seat than the jetta does. The seats aren't as comfy but we all adjusted.

We stayed at a Day's Inn right on Pensacola Beach which is basically a sand bar break water right out in the gulf over very long bridges. We got a great deal there because I made a mistake in the initial reservation and a very southern, very slow speaking, friendly reservations clerk called me back to fix it. He told me I could get a cheaper rate by switching rooms and then added a 10% discount on top of it. I ended up saving $150 with that. The weekend was pretty full with a mini-spring break crowd but they mostly headed out by Sunday afternoon.

Friday we spent the day with Ricky. He had night classes PT and Post the night before but was wired on caffeine and wanted to see Kt so he showed us some parts of the base and told us about how the classes work. We ate lunch together and meadered around. We were illuminated by an aquaintance of Ricky's named Cox that Kt had to be careful walking around base in her blowing sundress. The base is full of 90% men who all will be looking at such a rarity as a cute female civilian looking well...female. Ricky verified that with an explanation for the use of sunglasses. You guessed it from that time forward I noticed nearly 90% of these fine fighting gentlemen checking out my daughter. Next time coverall's are definitely in order.

Ricky and Zach had to go to class at 3:00 so we went back to the Hotel. Zach was tired from doing a 36 hour no sleep shift in his transition from day classes to 2nd shift classes and then drawing a 5 mile run on Thursday morning for his last AM class and a 5 mile run for his new PM classes at 12:30 in the morning. Then he had post until 4:00am. So we let him sleep while we were out with Ricky. Rick only had a half day of classes so we picked him up at 6:00 and took him to dinner at Carrabbas. After dinner I went and got Zach who was done early at 9:00pm. We kept Zach with us at the hotel until Sunday night. I had to take Ricky home each night as he did not have overnight "liberty".

Saturday I retrieved Rick in the morning and we hung out at the beach mostly for the day. We ate a late lunch on the Boardwalk and later that evening went bowling. I bowled my career high of 179 so I was very happy. After a day of jumping in the pounding waves and then 3 games of bowling I was done for activities. I took Rick back to base and came back and went to bed.

Sunday we got up early and headed to Saving Grace Lutheran in Mobile, AL for Easter Church. It seemed to be the closest WELS church at the time based on a WELS church locator on the WELS website. Turns out talking to some folks at Saving Grace that there is a WELS church in Navarre, FL....15 miles from our Hotel called Risen Savior. My family does not know this yet. They were not as thrilled with the 85 mile drive each way to the church in Mobile. Makes me feel like a silly goose. I also found out on Monday after seeing some members of Victory of the Lamb at the Naval Air Museum that they would have been at the service in Navarre. They said it was small and held outdoors. I think it is interesting enough that 5% of the Victory membership was in FL and if I had selected a wider radius for my search criteria we would have been at the same church. I'll settle for it being cool to see Victory members in the Naval Air Museum. However as we left the museum we walked down a row of cars and noted the 3 Wisconsin license plates. When we got to our car we found that we were parked in a row of 6 Wisconsin license plates and then a gap of two and two more Wisconsin plates. It might have been a group but it was just a bit freaky. that there were 11 cars from WI all in a small part of the lot.

Sunday afternoon we just chilled. Ike and I hit the waves again. Later at night Kt and Rick had dinner and hung out. Karen, Zach, Ike and I went to dinner...It was great seafood right there on the beach. Both Zach and Rick had to be returned by 9:45 so I got them back to base.

Monday as I said we went to the Naval Air Museum. We did talk to Zach and Rick a little. They had a "field day" so they had to go early. Basically it means they need to clean their rooms. It was a bit hard to see them because it was downpouring and blowing like crazy. So we headed to the museum while it was raining ..along with everyone else. It is a very large museum filled with aircraft and air craft carrier displays. I could've spent all day there reading every plaque and watching the video's but I limited myself for the benefit of my family. We left there pretty tired. We ate at Taco Bell on the way home and I took a nap at the hotel. It was sort of threatening and stormy ish all day.

Tuesday morning we packed up to leave. Before we took off though we went to the base one last time. We wanted to see the Blue Angels do their practice. It was pretty impressive. We also ate an early lunch with Zach and said our goodbyes. He had to go get ready for a dress blues inspection and get his new "barracks cover" or as i officially call it "the fancy white hat" prepared for the inspection. We decided for the way home to not go straight through but to stay overnight halfway home in Bowling Green, KY.

So our trip was the most uneventful trip ever. Nothing happened that was weird, troublesome, or annoying. The car worked, the plans worked out. Pensacola is a nice place. Very diverse economy there. So it was definitely a good time and it will be nice to visit again some day.

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