On the last day before leaving Pensacola, we’ve gone downtown to a Greek street festival. Obviously, it’s only curiosity, not an actual affection that drove us to that place. Unless you count baklava, which my wife is truly passionate about. Unfortunately, the one served was a bit too sweet for my wife’s taste and way to expensive for mine. On the flip side though, the Greek know how to party, and our kids felt very comfortable dancing with the natives. All we knew about traditional Greek dances, was limited to a distant memory of an old movie. Turns out Sirtaki, which is the proper name of a dance commonly associated with Zorba, the Greek is not even a traditional folk dance anyway. Did it stop our kids from making new friendships…? Not at all.
Today we’ve finished school early and took a field trip to the Naval Aviation Museum. The exhibition is just across the bay from Fort Pickins, on the premises of the military complex. The base is so close, that every morning we hear the soldiers’ reveille and yet it takes about 40 minutes to get there by car. At the entrance to the Naval Air Station Pensacola, or the cradle of naval aviation, we are greeted by a cop asking for my driver license and whether we have any weapons. The entrance to the museum, the lighthouse and few other places in the base is free, but they need to know who are they letting in.
Even though we had about four hours to see the exposition, it was not enough. Even though it is smaller than the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum we have visited last year, it seems more interesting. There are things to touch and play with, not just boring exhibits. The kids mostly appreciated the loony tunes played in a 1940’s theater. We walked down a WWII american street, saw a few typical stores, examined food stamps and food items from that era. There is a lot of interesting stories about pilots and sailors. Walking aboard replica aircraft carrier, we were able to imagine life on the ocean with 2796 other crew members. Well, to a point at least…
Just as the name suggest, we stayed in Florida’s outback for a couple of nights. We’ve left Jacksonville on Friday morning, just on the brink of an upcoming storm. As we learned later, it was a rather large one, therefore I’m glad to report that our timing was impeccable once again. We escaped west far enough to stay dry and we left Chattahoochee just before the storm caught up with us. We’ve packed the car last night and after folding the tent, we’ve left before breakfast. When we stopped at a nearby Micky Dees for a bowl of cereal at a curb, it started to rain.
Couple of hours later, we got out of the wet zone. The sky started to clear out as we approached Pensacola, but the wind picked up a bit. Right now it’s blowing so hard that our mesh tent is bending over half way down to the ground each time there is a harder blow from the bay. We are straying at the Santa Rosa island, at Fort Pickens State Park. We plan to stay here for the entire week, which according to weather.com is supposed to be sunny and warm.
I think there is really no need for us to complain about the weather at all. Yes, we got wet, real soaking in fact, but only once in Rocky Gap near Cumberland, MD. We also didn’t time properly our departure from Cheraw, SC and left the campground in rain and in a hurry. We’ve learned from these mistakes and now we’re packing the night before departure and keep observing the weather forecest changes to react appropriately. In fact, rain and sun dictate the direction and speed at which we’re moving. After all, our journey is a a true wander…
If I was to rank the places we’ve visited so far, I would have given Smith Mountain Lake State Park in Virginia most points for their interpretive programs, their facilities and very friendly, dedicated and knowledgable staff. Hunting Island ranks best for the weather and the overall vacation-like setting. Buckaloons in Pennsylvania still holds the 1st position for their bathroom standards. In fact, I have to say that in this category, the cleaningness and features are adequate to park’s latitude. North ranks much better than the South.
All the places we’ve visited so far had their own highlights and all of them had their problems. Too moist, too hot, too many raccoons, ants, skuns, armadillos, you name it. But all of them were really fascinating and I’m glad we had a chance to visit them all.
This morning, we’ve crossed a timezone line. We are leaving the East and will be travelling along the gulf coast. If there only was a ferry from Florida to Yucatan, it would have saved us a lot of time, and probably money. In fact, apparently there used to be one, back eight years ago. Unfortunatelly it failed to attract enough interest to stay in business for too long and left the owner with a USD $Million hole in his pocket. There might be another one launched as soon as early next year, but it’s not sure. We’ll take the long road and start learning Spanish along the way.