Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Vacation / Nationals - part 1

6/21 - 6/22
So I'm finally getting around to posting about our trip to Florida!

Our flight left at the butt-crack of dawn, quite literally!  The sun was just peeking over the horizon as we sat on the tarmac, waiting to take off. 
We landed in Atlanta at 8am and had to stop at Chic-Fil-A before we even got our bag.  *Someone* really likes their chicken nuggets (I still don't see what the big deal is, other than their frosted coffee, which IS amazing.)
We had our choice of rental cars, and I'm pretty sure Angel saw this Fusion (her dream car)  halfway across the parking garage.  It was interesting to drive.  I'm never driven a hybrid or push-button start before. We had a moment of panic about an hour outside of Atlanta, wondering where the keys were, since there wasn't an ignition for them to be hanging out of..... luckily we found them in the cupholder.
Our first stop was in Tifton, GA.  My dad grew up near here, so we just stopped for a bit.
I didn't put an actual address in my GPS, so it took us to City Hall.
There were auditions for the Miss Tift County Forestry Pageant happening.  We saw 2 of the reigning "queens" go into the theater.  Seeing a 7 year old toddle past wearing full makeup, 3 inch heels, a sash & tiara just seemed so... not surprising!
I was surprised at the size of their police force.  
It didn't seem like that big of a town for as many patrol cars we saw!
I wish I'd been faster with my phone!  We'd been at an intersection turning right & this car was facing us, ready to turn left the same way we were going.  He crossed our path a couple blocks later.  This is identical to Angel's car.....except it's got steer horns on the hood! 
The Veteran's Memorial was really nice.   
They also had memorials for police & fire, too. 
Angel was finally happy that she got to talk to someone with a Southern accent.  The cashier in Walgreens not only had a strong accent, he was very 'fabulous' and was hilarious, too!

Our next stop after Tifton was St. Mary's.  Back 1992 / 1994 I lived in St Mary's while stationed on the USS Canopus AS-34 at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.  I thought it would be fun to see my old stomping grounds from when I was the exact same age that Angel is now. 
Our hotel & the screened-in pool.
Stop #1 was the old sugar mill.
Not much to see here, but I do have a scar on my knee from it. 
Love the Spanish moss!
Stop #2.  OMG
My old apartment. I lived on the second floor, 2nd from the right. 
I had my 21st birthday party here.  Kinda miffed that they have screen doors now!
Stop #3
This actual sail of a submarine was installed outside SubBase Kings Bay in 2000, to commemorate 100 years of the submarine service.  We couldn't get on the base since they understandably don't allow casual tourists on the home of the Atlantic Sub Fleet & accompanying nuclear submarines.  
Us northern girls don't see palm trees often!

Stop #4
Oak Grove Cemetery
I remember exploring this cemetery back before I really got into graving.   There was one particular grave that stood out in my mind that I had to hunt down. 
Not sure why the Patterson family (5 of them perished from yellow fever in 1801) stayed with me for so long, but I found them again & paid my respects. 
Stop #5 
the St. Mary's waterfront - looking over at Florida.
As we left St. Mary's on Friday,  we doubled back to get pic of all these turkey buzzards. 
Broward Bridge going into Jacksonville - we always called it the Budweiser Bridge because of the bowties. 
Our next stop was Daytona Beach!  
Angel wanted to stop there so she could say she's been there (just like she did with Myrtle Beach)  
Personally I thought it was too damn hot to even function.   I was baking & got fried out there on the pier.   
Angel opted to go swimming for a bit, but I couldn't stand the thought of getting all salty & getting in the car & driving the last hour to Orlando, being all sticky & itchy.  So I held our shoes & backpack while she played a bit.  At least it was somewhat tolerable near the water. 
We had lunch at Bubba Gump's.  Nice that it's right off the beach, so Angel walked in wearing just her bathing suit & nobody batted an eye.
Token food pic.  She had the coconut shrimp & I had stuffed shrimp. 
I wanted to make one more stop along the way before we got to the hotel in Orlando. 
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Blue Jacket Park
For over 30 years, this site served at the
Orlando Naval Training Center, and was
home to the thousands of service personnel
known as "Blue Jackets".  In 2000, The City of
Orlando designated 55 acres of this historic site
as a public park to serve its citizens with a
special place for reflection and physical renewal. 
It looks a lot different than when I was there in 1992 for bootcamp!
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The oath of enlistment surrounds the flagpole. 
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This is where we learned about the daily afternoon storms that roll in thru the area.  That's why the sky is black!
As a joke, I told Angel we were going to stop at the Holy Land Experience.  Once we stopped there for a photo op, we were kind of intrigued.  But still didn't go in. 
Home sweet home for the next 9 days!

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