Thursday, 25 December 2014

DAY 15 - It's Definitely Not A White Christmas Here In Pensacola

Firstly, given that the Earth has rotated a little bit more since yesterday, I can safely wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I also understand that my Australian friends have donned their elbow-pads and are going hard at the Boxing Day sales.

Conversely, here on the other side of the world, today was a rest day for us. There was no alarm clock set to wake us at some ungodly hour ready for a days travel. However, I think that the hotel noticed this anomaly and kindly decided to set fire to the Kitchen Pantry, thereby setting off the fire alarms at around 0730h. But that was okay, a quick phone call to confirm whether or not we were going to make ourselves respectable, then evacuate or evacuate in our Pyjamas, advised that there was no need to evacuate as everything was under control. Mind you, the two other alarms at 0740h and 0745h were certainly stretching the friendship.

Showers and then breakfast shortly after revealed another holiday anomaly; Waffles that look like standard Waffles...crazy, huh?

We each had separate plans for the day; for Maureen it was laundry duty and reading books; for Kyle and Joshua, it was watching the five Christmas Special NBA games on television and playing his Nintendo 3DS (Joshua); and for Schuyler and I we needed to back-track around 50 miles to Mobile, Alabama and check out the USS Alabama...oh, and some aircraft that were displayed alongside.

The drive there took around 50 minutes and I have to say that the weather was just awesome with not a single cloud to be seen, nor any snow.

Anyone need fireworks for New Year's Eve?

I love this sign; Sweet Home Alabama

Driving along the causeway towards Mobile, you can see the city on the far right

The causeway bridge

The USS Alabama is a 42 500 tonne South Dakota-class battleship, was the sixth ship of the United States Navy named after the state of Alabama. It was commissioned in 1942 and served in World War II in the Atlantic and Pacific theatres. It is situated in the appropriately named Battleship Memorial Park (just off Battleship Parkway) and has actually been open to the public since Jan 1965!

The USS Alabama

Alongside the ship were a bunch of aircraft; however, the park was closed, so Schuyler and I had to surreptitiously get ourselves as far into the park as we could without attracting any undue security attention. This meant that we only managed to see a few aircraft including; an F-4C Phantom, HU-16E Albatross,  B-52D and a UH-1H Iroquois.

McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom
McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom

Seriously, those birds weren't there when we were standing under it

Grumman HU-16E Albatross

Grumman HU-16E Albatross

Mobile City from Battleship Memorial Park

Boeing B-52D Stratofortress

Boeing B-52D Stratofortress

Bell UH-1H Iroquois

After this we headed into the city to capture some shots of the city-scape and suddenly found ourselves surrounded by hundreds of ferocious killer squirrel monsters (read: a few cute and cuddly widdle squirrels [no typos here]).

Entering the George Wallace Tunnel

The George Wallace Tunnel





Killer Squirrel

We then headed off to Mobile Regional Airport with the hope of getting some aircraft spotting pics. This is what we saw:

Yeah, we didn't see anything either...

We then headed back to Pensacola. On the way back, we stopped at the Alabama / Florida state border to check out a Blue Angels aircraft.

Welcome to Florida...again

The Blue Angels feature at the Florida Tourist Centre at the Alabama / Florida Border

This city seems to revolve around the Blue Angels

When we got back to our hotel in Pensacola we found Kyle and Josh had just finished watching game two and Maureen was at laundry load three. Lunch was at Waffle House which I must admit was pretty funky. Do you know that it is a fact that every American waitress we encountered wants to visit Australia? We should be sponsored by Tourism Australia. Schuyler and I then headed to Pensacola's Regional Airport, where we were amazed to see this:

Same again...

We then headed to Bay Bluffs Park to check out the vista overlooking Escambia Bay, and a fully sick Mazda MX5.

The fully sick, super low, wheels looking wrong Mazda MX5

Bay Bluffs Park

Escambia Bay

The bridge across Escambia Bay

The final part of our Christmas day was a real concern - where and what will we be eating for our special Christmas Dinner? Given that Pensacola is the hugest place in the world and that nearly everything is closed on Christmas day, the options were (a) find a place to have dinner, and (b) try out those funky Ranch Dipped Hot Wing flavoured Dorito Chips. We elected to try Chinese because apparently Jewish Americans overindulge in Chinese food on Christmas day, so they apparently all stay open. In fact, Chinese restaurant trade increases by around 152% on Christmas Day.

So, guess what? The Poh Golden Palace that we carefully chose was closed. Thankfully there was a Denny's Restaurant less than one block away and they were able to accommodate us, albeit with slightly slower service due to the crowdedness of the restaurant. For dinner, I decided I was overdue for a salad meal...Choose the salad that said; it's really healthy they said...

The hugest salad in the world actually included thin crisps (potato chips) and lots of bacon

Well that's all for today, tomorrow we have a long drive due North to Nashville Tennessee.