That was four nights on the road!
We got underway at about five minutes to Four and head into the setting sun. We were packed, the kitties were fed and all was good. Why, we were at least an hour earlier then planned, so the weekend would be the best.
About two hours later, we stopped in Tallahassee for fuel and food at a Burger King. Mistake #1 was trying to eat a stupid f%$&*@ Whopper while driving. I wore most of the toppings on my shirt and I was very angry at my bad choice of food and the muy estupido moron who thought he could actually eat while driving. I really hate smelling like a dumpster from Burger King for two hours. Next time I ask for the burger my way without all the rabbit food fodding the sammich.
We got to the base by 1930, local. I haven't been to Pensacola in many years so I missed the turn to the Navy Lodge. It seems that they leave the sign unlit to save electricity. All the clerk would do was shrug her shoulders as to why the lodge was difficult to locate.
The first view inside was a group of young Air Force folks watching sports on the tv and sharing a box of beer. I asked if there was a mini-mart on base or club where we could get a snack and some beer/wine.
Chiefs Club was closed, as was the Officer's Club. The Mini Mart was closed too. Lucky thing I had a bottle of champagne in the bag.
We lugged our gear to the second floor, walked through a tv lounge with more Air Force guys drinking beer. They looked at me kind of funny, and I almost asked where they had their beer hidden. At least they were very well behaved, because if they were Sailors or Marines, it would have been a loud and rowdy party. And I would have joined them...
Anyway, got into the room which was a cinder block affair reminiscent of the 1980's. It was adequate, but the scent in the air was one of frustration. Nobody wanted to be there at that moment. There was no laughter or jocularity, just doom and gloom of being trapped in a Navy Barracks.
The next morning was cool and clear and we were enjoying a power outage. I was definitely feeling the deja-vu of being in the service again. When I commented to the lady at the desk she just looked at me with glassy eyes and she said, "So?".
Indeed. So we checked out on the spot. We decided to just stay an extra night at the Hilton. At least there would be food and beverages without the oppressive gloom of the barracks.
"You're not supposed to check out until tomorrow...?" Said the nice clerk.
"Yeah, about that: I'm leaving now." I replied. "There is nothing going on here and we would like to enjoy our trip a bit more."
"Well, the CPO Club is open today until Nine O'Clock tonight..." She sniffed.
"That's nice, what happens after Nine? "Sorry, and thanks... "We'll just move along to the Beach and leave the room open for someone who may need it."
The Department of the Navy has been working hard for the past 20 years to de-glamorise alcohol and basically have shut down all the clubs. No fun at all.
We had breakfast at the local I-Hop vice the Golf Club on base. I figured if the Lodge sucked as bad as it did, the Golf Course Restaurant would definitely disappoint us, too.
|1979 is calling, They want their phone back!|
|Nice Balcony outside our "suite"|
|Playground for the kids|
|View of the Gulf from our room|
|The coffee was okay.|
|Lounge where Air Force guys drink beer.|
It was a very slow day, thankfully. No lines, maybe about fifty kids wandering around on the tour. We did a fast orbit around the main building and then took the trolly tour of the flight line. That tour would have been better by foot, but the flight line is a working one and they can't have thirty people wandering about getting into an unsafe situation. The Tour Driver was a retired S-2F Pilot who talked on about his service in the mid 50's to the mid 70's.
|Navy Helicopter Squadron Patches.|
|My first Squadron 1980-1985 We flew SH-3D's|
|My final Squadron 1990-1995 SH-60B|
|I flew in the SH-2F at this outfit for a couple years.|
|Our Tour Driver is a Retired Stoof Pilot.|
|All aircraft are the originals, no model planes on the ceilings!|
|A1-Spad (I mean Skyraider)|
|They even had a downtown display of wartime shops|
|Remember these old comb displays?|
|I remember these being sold in 1970|
|The Cubi Point Cafe. The staff were less than cordial.|
|One of my readers will recognize a certain LT's name.|
|These are the original cruise plaques on display There were a number of names I remembered from long ago.|
|I finally stopped taking photos because there was so much to admire...|
We got back to the hangar and began walking around in earnest. The highlight of the afternoon was using the full motion F-18 flight Simulator ($20 bucks for about eight minutes) The simulator was quite realistic and the Spousal Unit worried aloud that I was going to take it upside down which would cause her day to be ruined...
Not a chance! I was not going to fling the simulator around in any way that would cause discomfort. The seat harness was not up for upside down anything, as far as I was concerned. After we finished I asked for another spin while the Spouse exited to safety.
Next launch I had that sucker doing 750 knots at about 1200 ft above ground and I yanked it into a 90 degree turn while pulling all the stick back. A female voice started squawking about excess gee's.
A few moments later I was invited to leave, but the staff person (who had been watching my antics, closely) commented on how smooth my handling of the simulator was. I mentioned the situation with the harness, the lack thereof and all that. I was just having a bit of safe fun with no intention of wrecking the machine before the weekend.
The fun thing was that I got the second ride, gratis!
Seems that my girlfriend told them it was my birthday weekend. Hmmf. I'll take the good deals but I would prefer that no one knew about the significance of the date.
Anyway, we departed at 1600, dropped the top and drove by the Aircrew Candidate School. It was fun to see the same building (Still in use!) from my tenure there, thirty years ago. Many of the old hangars were gone along with the old seaplane ramps.
We made the drive to the Beach and we had to use Nancy the Navigator, since it had been over twenty years and some roads were changed. It was a cool ride, the temps dropped to the sixties.
Check in was smooth and we had the bellman carry our gear to the room and we let him park our car, too. We hung out for a bit waiting for evening so we could make the rounds. We decided to stop at the Elk's Lodge, which happens to be on the water.
After we enjoyed three beers, or so, we made our way to Flounders, across the street. I had been there in 1982, but remembered little. She Who Will Be Obeyed was a regular there in 1989 and 1990. She ordered a "Diesel Fuel". We had the good fortune to meet a couple of nice ladies who sat next to us at the bar. They were great fun and it was nice to be part of a group. One interesting coinky-dink was that they were friends with a person I used to work with ten years ago. You should have seen their faces when I casually mentioned Mike B's name.
"How do you know Michael B???"
"I know everything about you ladies..." I teased.
I explained that I had worked with Mike from 2001 to 2003 and he fondly remembered going to High School in Gulf Breeze with another famous football player. So when these nice ladies mentioned that one player, I dropped a name of my own. Small world, right?
|View of Dock from room|
|Really too bad it was so cold, great looking beach!|
|We stopped over at the Elks Lodge. They bought our first round!|
|We went over to "Flounders" and met some new friends.|
|Saturday Brekkies at Navarre Beach|
|It was getting windy and cold. Road trip!|
|Navarre Beach, Pensacola Bay side.|