When Ken's helper informed him that he'd be on vacation last Wednesday through Friday, we quickly thought that we should take the opportunity to get away ourselves ... until guilt set in. We're still working on our one vacant rental, and Nirvana has a ton of projects waiting. Responsibilities won, but not for very long. After working half a day on Wednesday in the miserable heat & humidity, we said "screw it". We headed home, got cleaned up, and packed a bag. We were heading to Pensacola! The Florida beaches were only 3 hours away, and we were in need of a quick road trip.
After crossing the Alabama state line into Florida, we stopped at the "Welcome Center" for a hotel coupon book. While there, we also enjoyed a cup of free orange juice ... they have the best! We played around with the photo booth, and had a great picture of us taken. Of course, since we liked it so much ... it never arrived in our email! We did get this picture of Ken ...
While Ken drove, I found a coupon for a Days Inn in Downtown Pensacola for only $58 bucks a night! We'd never stayed in Pensacola before and didn't know exactly what "Downtown" meant, but we were going to check it out. It turned out that "Downtown" was a pretty cool area with restaurants, bars and boutiques. Our hotel was at the end of the strip, and while it wasn't anything fancy it was clean. We couldn't ask for more than that for $58 bucks ... except maybe a free breakfast? Yep, that was included.
After settling in, we took a quick drive across the bridge to the beach. This area was nice, with the bay on one side of the road and the beach on the other side. The bay had a boardwalk and was like a big swimming pool. It was a great place to watch the sunset. We then headed to the beach side for dinner and a few beers ... we had escaped!
The next day started with a visit to the Naval Base to see the beaches, the lighthouse and the National Naval Aviation Museum.
The lighthouse wasn't open for another hour when we arrived, so we just walked around and enjoyed the views.
Just across from the lighthouse was the beach ... and a Stairway to Heaven! The base was really pretty ... beaches and lush greenery.
After exploring the area, we arrived at the National Aviation Museum. We didn't expect much since the museum was free, but we wound up spending a couple of hours there. The museum had a ton of planes and cool displays, and we'd recommend a visit.
I loved this old plane with all the wood ... like a piece of art!
This plane that resembled a shark was pretty cool ... bad ass!
Look at the size of this prop!
This was the actual raft that three men spent 34 days in after their Douglas Devastator bomber ran out of fuel and they had to ditch in the Pacific Ocean. They were on an anti-submarine mission in January, 1942 and were in an area patrolled by the Japanese navy. The men endured brutal sun, lack of food & water, high seas and sharks! Notice the photo of the three men .. so thin! You can read more of their story here. There are so many sad stories of those that fought for our freedom ...
We grabbed lunch at a waterfront restaurant and then headed to the beach. After soaking up the sun for a while, we ventured into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Ken & I love body-surfing and playing in the waves ... we could have done this all day!
I can't believe I don't have one photo of the beach! We left our phones in the car to avoid work, and our camera was back at home. Sometimes ya just have to enjoy the moment ... and we did!
The evening was spent at Margaritaville for live music and beer ...
After filling our bellies the next morning with free breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and took the scenic drive towards home. We drove through Gulf Shores, Alabama and took a ferry ride from Ft. Morgan to Dauphin Island, Alabama. We left the car behind and just rode the ferry to Dauphin Island and back. It turns out that we should have taken the car, as it was a short-cut home. Oh well, I have a feeling we'll be back to Pensacola again this Summer, and now we know.
The ferry ride was fun, and we even saw dolphin each way! While enjoying the 20-minute ride each way, we imagined sailing these waters on Nirvana. It was a windy day, and the Mississippi Sound wasn't as bad as our Lake Pontchartrain ... it wasn't intimidating! We were getting excited.
We got home Friday night, and had a busy Father's Day weekend planned. Saturday was spent with my Dad and step-mom, and Sunday was spent with our daughter and her husband's family. The kids took us to the local Abita Brewery for a tour. We remember when this tiny brewery opened years ago, and they've really grown. Damn, we should have invested! It was interesting to tour the area ... and even better to drink a few samples! If you've never tried Abita Beer, you should. It's a really good beer, and they're now throughout the country. We even found them in a Dominican Republic gas station!
It's now been a week since we left for our escape ... how time flies! We're back to work, and planning our next project on Nirvana. Hope we can handle the heat!
Hasta luego ... until then. Mid-Life Cruising!