Veteran’s Day – Camping, Airshow and a Half-Marathon

Blue Angles Delta Formation in Flight
Just a couple of weeks after Halloween and the CurbCrushers are headed to Mr. CurbCruhser’s hometown of Pensacola, Florida. This historic City of Five Flags was actually settled prior to St. Augustine, but the Spaniards that set up housekeeping on the barrier island got introduced to the Gulf of Mexico weather phenomenon known as a hurricane and found their boats sunk, and their huts washed away. Fortunately, the CurbCrusher family settled there quite some time later when people had learned to build houses inland.

Oak Grove LighthouseIn addition to Veteran’s Day being a nationally recognized day of remembrance, for a number of years the Navy’s Blue Angel Flight Demonstration Team has held a homecoming air show at Sherman Field in Pensacola. There also happens to be a campground right across the street from Sherman Field by the name of Oak Grove, run by the recreation and welfare folks at Pensacola Naval Air Station. Through good fortune and the service of Father CurbCrusher (Mr. CurbCrusher’s Dad), we were able to make a family trip out of this and stay at Oak Grove during Veteran’s Day Weekend.
We arrived on Thursday afternoon, after the drive up from Orlando and got ourselves situated in the park. The trip was uneventful, and that’s how we like our trips. We did have a new toy to play with on the trip, a Droid Bionic phone from Verizon. Using he mobile hotspot feature, we kept an Internet connection for pretty much the entire trip, and Little CurbCrusher was happy to sit in the back on her iPod and chat away with friends while we drove. Lady CurbCrusher was able to Google stuff anytime she wanted on the trip, and we even streamed some radio along the way when the local station’s programming was wanting.

C-130 CH-46 Sea Knight Steve and P-51 Mustang Coastie the Coast Guard mascot Blue Angel 1 on flight line

We started our Friday with breakfast, then packed our chairs into the cart and hiked over to the air show. We spent a good part of the morning wandering around the static displays. Lots of planes and stuff on display, and plenty to keep busy. The show portion started around 10am with a number of acts like Otto the Helicopter clown, Shockwave the Jet Truck, and a couple of heritage flights.

Otto the Helicopter Clown Bill Leff T-6 Texan John Mohr Stearman PT-17 Shockwave Jet Truck Heritage Flight - P-51 Mustang and A-10 Warthog

After a full morning of air show acts, and a good bit of the afternoon, around 2:30pm or so the main act got under way with the Blue Angels. Awesome show!

Fat Albert C-130 Blue Angles Delta Formation Take-off
Blue Angles Delta Formation in Flight Blue Angels Delta Breakout
All the pictures from the airshow are on my Flickr stream.

Well, that wasn’t enough for one day. We walked back to the RV for dinner, then headed back over to the flight line for the night show. The Blue Angels don’t fly in the night show, and I was sort of wondering what a night air show would be like, and what could you see. It was pretty cool actually. A couple of the acts flew and had pyrotechnics that launched from the wings. The Shockwave Jet Truck made another appearance and the night ended it the wall of fire. All of the night show photos can be found here.

GEICO Skytypers Shockwave Jet Truck Bill Leff T-6 Texan Fireworks Wall of Fire

View From Observation Tower After a full day, and part of a night, at the air show, we slept late on Saturday morning. Following a leisurely breakfast, we headed out to Big Lagoon State Park located just west of the Navy base (Pictures). We also made a trip over to Ft. Pickens and checked out the campground. We had not stopped by Ft. Pickens since 2004, when we camped there right after Hurricane Charley had hit us in Orlando, but before Hurricane Ivan struck Pensacola. Ivan had pretty much destroyed the road to Ft. Pickens, along with damaging other parts of the park. Ft. Pickens has been open and operating for a while and looks like it should be a great place to camp again.

Sunday started early. Mr. CurbCrusher came up with a crazy idea last January. He and his Uncle should enter the Disney Goofy Challenge in January 2012. The Goofy Challenge is where you pay way too much money to have the privilege of running a half-marathon on Saturday and a full Marathon on Sunday at Disney World. The second part of the idea was to challenge Father CurbCrusher to run the half-marathon. Well, its been almost a full year of preparation and all the participant were in Pensacola, and they were having a marathon and a half-marathon. So we all entered the half-marathon for a nice brisk run. We all had a nice run and everyone finished within the cut off time. The pictures are not on Flickr yet, but I’ll come back and edit the post when they are.

Pensacola LighthouseSo, what do you do after running a half-marathon. Go climb a lighthouse. Lady CurbCrusher had climbed the Pensacola light house before, but Mr. CurbCrusher and Little CurbCrusher had not. So we walked the half mile over to the lighthouse and climbed to the top. The view is wonderful, and the museum is pretty good also. Lighthouse pictures are here.

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