The Last Couple of Weeks

Our stay at Fort Sam Houston was enjoyable and very relaxing.  Fort Sam Houston was established in 1845 and is the home to Army Medicine.  The campground was on base and was just beautiful.  We had a nice site with full hookups, concrete pads, tables, grill, bathhouse, laundry, propane, playground and a beautiful covered patio at the office building.  The only bad thing was it rained for most of our stay – the base gets flooded so we had to use a back exit and drive all around the whole base to get to the commisiary and exchange.  The drainage in all of San Antonio is horrid – everything is flooded.

We did get to go to the Alamo which was very interesting.  The alamo was really built as a mission in 1718 and taken over by the Spanish Military in the early 1800’s.   As we all know Davie Crockett, Jim Bowie and 187 other soliders were able to hold the army back until March 6, 1836.  All the men died that day.  They have a museum which has loads of information about the attacks etc.  This was well worth the trip.  After touring we headed back to the River Walk and had lunch at Republic of Texas Resturant.  Very good food and such a beautiful day sitting outside enjoying the mild temps. 

Most of the time in Texas we had lots of rain – we just stayed still and enjoyed reading.  The streets were all flooded as San Antonio has alful drainage problems.  Even on base we were cut off from the rest of the base – had to go out a back gate and in another gate to go anywhere.  We did enjoy our stay – the campground was great and the people super nice.

We left Texas on March 15th (the Ides of March also the day my grandmother died in 1959) and headed east.  We stopped at the rest area in Lousiana for lunch and then made our stop at the Koa in Scott, La.  We got site number 129 with full fookups but the KOA is much to expensive for us.  We stayed one night – would not mind the price when the weather was warmer and you could swim but it was still alittle nippy.  We left early the next morning and stopped at the Hancock County Welcome Center in Mississippi.  This was the nicest rest area I have ever seen.  They had nice couches and chairs to relax.  They also had the NASA complex Josh C Stennis Space Center where they offered tours.  We wanted to take a tour but were going to stop in Biloxi at the Keesler AFB so we decided we would drive back and do it then.  Well the base campground was full and Biloxi is still devasted from the huricane Katrinia.  In Mississippi alone 30,000 people are still living in FEMA trailers.  Being from the northeast it is so hard to believe this as I have never seen so much of an area wiped clean.  You could see where gas stations, hotels, homes once stood and now their is nothing.  The bigger hotels and casinos are back up and running but those poor regular folks still living like that.  Very sad to us.  Seeing these conditions we had no other choice but continue east.  We pulled into the welcome center in Alabama and the nice lady Connie called the campground and made reservations for us.  What a nice person. 

We stopped at a small campgound called Stop-N-Rest RV Park located in Theodore Alabama.  We got a real nice site and had full hookups, table, free internet and a laundry. The best part was the price $14 a night.  We pulled in on Friday and left Monday morning.  While there we took a ride to Dauphin Island and saw more devasation from the hurricane.  Half the houses on the beach were gone.  That night we sat outside talking to two guys at the campground.  One of the guys had been in the Coast Guard so we talked about Governors Island and the guard. 

Saturday Morning we took a ride into Mobile – they were having the parade so we went over to the Battleship Alabama.  What a huge boat and so interesting – it was used during World War II – commissioned in 1942 and carried 127 officers and 2205 enlisted men.  Her lenght was 680 feet, 108ft wide and weighed over 70 million pounds.  She earned 9 Battle Stars and shot down 22 enemy airplanes.  You could tour almost the whole boat at your own speed – it was great – we were on board for a good 3 hours. 

We then toured the submarine USS Drum SS-228.  She was commissioned in 1941 and earned 12 Battle Stars during War World II.  She is 311 ft 8 inches long, 27ft 4 inches wide and weighed 1526 tons.  She carried a crew of 7 officers and 65 enlisted men.  One of the guys that served on subs was the tour guide so Tim and him were in seventh heaven talking about subs.  They did a really good job with the boat and continue to update and fix it. 

We then took a ride to the other side of Mobile Bay.  To make the trip shorter coming back home we took the ferry from Fort Morgan to Fort Gaines.  Real nice boat ride for $18 and cut alot of driving off our trip.  What a nice day.

Sunday we went to Bellingrath Gardens.  This was started as a fishing camp on Fowl River and now has 900 acres of beautiful gardens.  They have something in bloom everyday of the year. They have 50 varieties of roses and 2500 different plants.  They even have a conservatory with orchids and all kinds of tropical plans.  One building had Boehm porcelain objects.  We walked thru the rose garden, the butterfly garden, riverfront walk, american garden, mirror lake and the formal gardens to name a few.  We also took a boat cruise on the Southern Belle and got to see ospery, pelicans, blue herons, egrets, seagulls and all kinds of birds and beautiful homes.  These gardens and home belonged to the Bellingraths whom built the home in 1935.  It was opened to the public in 1956 and still gets loads of people.  We talked to an older couple from Alamaba and he told us they make changes each year to keep it interesting to all peoples each year.  We really enjoyed that.

Monday morning bright and early we hit the road and pulled into Florida.  We stopped for lunch and pulled into Tyndall Air Force Base Fam Camp around 1pm.  They had no sites but put us in overflow.  In overflow you have water and electric so who could complain.  The next morning we got a site with water, electric and cable for $98 a week.  We have decided to stay for 2 weeks.  The campground is just beautiful – like a state park with loads of shade and we have so much privacy between the sites.  They have a laundry, rec hall where they have exercise classes, potlucks, bingo and crafts.  Quite active with snowbirds (they are people that come south from the  north just for the winter). 

We have toured the base – has a really nice commissary, exchange, class 6 store, beautiful beach and clubs.  This base is home to the F-22A Raptor which is the Air Force’s newest fighter  aircraft.  What a plane – they fly over us each day which is kind of noisy but at 5PM they stop for the day.  Noise during the day does not bother us as long as we can sleep.  The campground has nice walking paths which we have really enjoyed walking each day.

On Saturday they had a air show which was just super.  The highlight of the day was the US Navy Blue Angels.  This is a group of 6 F/A-18 Hornets and what a show they put on.  They also had the black daggers, Patty Wagstaff and aircraft from other bases on display.  Please look at Tim’s pictures as he loads them to the site.  He got alot of good shots.  We were able to tour an Air Force plane that carries supplies or people in it.  It can land without anyone knowing that it is coming in.  That amazed me.  We also toured a E3 Senty Air battle and control plane.  Wow was that interesting.  The day was just beautiful and very enjoyable but were we ever tired at night. 

On Friday
Night we went over to Jim and Annie’s house in Panama City.  This is Tim’s cousin and we have not seen him in 30 years.  What a nice visit we had, wonderful food, campfire  and company.  They live right on the water in the nicest house I have ever been in.  As I told Tim it was a home out of Better Homes and Gardens – Jim and Annie you have every right to be proud – it is beautiful.

Today we took a ride south to a neat little town called Apalachicola.  First we went to St Vincent National Wildlife Refuge and saw exhibits about wildlife in the area.  We then stopped at The Seafood Grill on Market Street and had lunch.  Really good food and time to relax for alittle while.  We then walked around town and found an old Amory from 1900 – we went inside and toured that.  We also wandered in the shops – I did buy a new top in The Grady Market to go under my black blouse.  On the way home we rode out to St Joseph Peninsula State Park –  we asked if we could look at the campsites and the nice girl said sure.  We wandered thru the campgrounds and were very impressed with the nice sites.  They have water and electric plus you are just a few feet away from the beach.  What a place for a vacation.  Wow.

Tommorow Jeff (Tim’s brother) is supposed to arrive here and camp with us until Sunday.  We are looking forward to seeing him again and should have a nice time.

We will he here another week – need to go sit on the beach one day.  When we leave we will go across the state and stay somewhere near the Florida/Georgia state lines.  We will then start north planning to be in Ct the beginning of May.  I miss my girls so much – can hardly wait to see them.

Until later enjoy our pictures.