Thursday, September 18, 2014

Random Road Trip - Day 6 (18 Sep 2014)

This is going to be a very quick update to the Random Road Trip Blog.  The dice are safely ensconced in their travel bag. We decided to take the day off from traveling today.  If you are going to take the day off, there are much worse places than Destin, Florida.  The weather is lovely, mostly sunny, 88 degrees.

Here is where we have been on this trip:

Today, we laid on the beach and swam in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mary and Jack and the Gulf of Mexico
We also met up with Mary's friend Mare Gilmore who lives in Destin. We are jealous.

Captain's Log Supplemental: For dinner tonight, Mary and I went to dinner with Mare Gilmore to Dewey's.

Dewey's is definitely not a place we would have stopped without a recommendation.  It is tucked way back in behind some houses.  You have to drive down someone's driveway to get there.  And once you get there, what you see is a food truck with no wheels.  We soldiered on though and we were glad that we did.  Good call Mare!

Clean Up Crew

Dock at Dewey's

Seating at Dewey's

Sunset at Dewey's

Mary, Jack and Mare at Dewey's

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Random Road Trip - Day 5 (17 Sep 2014)

Hello Everyone!  In case you missed the last couple of days here is where we have been so far:

Total - 1,410 miles (Six States)

At the beginning of day 5, we owed the dice two more hours to the east from our location in Jacksonville, FL. There is just one problem with that.  Jacksonville is almost on the Atlantic Coast.  So we decided to drive to the Atlantic Ocean and walk along the beach for an hour.  I'm sure that the dice will understand.  The beach was very pleasant and we were very surprised how warm the water was.  
Jack and Mary on Jacksonville, FL Beach

Random Bird with cool reflection

Script A - Roll Tide

Roll Tide Roll

Jacksonville Florida Beach Looking North

Jacksonville Florida Beach Looking South

Sand Dune
After we walked along the beach for an hour, it was time to roll the dice again.  

West 5 Hours
And verdict is West for five hours.  That takes us to approximately the Destin/Panama City area.

We drove straight through to Destin, Florida and checked into our room.  Then we went to a restaurant across the street called "The Back Porch".  

We had a very nice view of the Gulf of Mexico from our table.

View of the Gulf from our table.

After dinner we strolled down the beach.  We started the day at the Atlantic Ocean and ended the day on the Gulf of Mexico.  If we can just get to the Pacific Ocean by tomorrow we can achieve the trifecta.
Sunset Walk on the Beach
Today was the longest travel day by far.  We drove 385 miles and never left the state of Florida.

Day 5 - 385 Miles (Florida)

Tomorrow is going to be a non-travel day.  We need a little bit of a break.  Mary and I have decided to spend an extra day at the Destin, FL Beach. And you know what?  We can do that because we have no place to be and all week to get there.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Random Road Trip - Day 4 (16 Sep 2014)

Operation Random Road Trip continues.  In case you missed the last couple of days here is where we have been so far:

At the end of day 3 we were in Savannah, Georgia and we owed the dice 2.5 hours of driving to the Southwest.  We decided to explore a few museums in the Savannah area before we paid off the dice. 

Our first stop was the Georgia Railroad Museum.  

The Georgia State Railroad Museum (formerly called the Roundhouse Railroad Museum) is located at the Savannah Shops Complex of the Central of Georgia Railway (CG) in Savannah, Georgia. The complex is considered the most complete antebellum railroad complex in the United States. The museum, located at 655 Louisville Road, is part of a historic district included in the National Register of Historic Places.The historic railroad structures at the Georgia State Railroad Museum site include a partial Roundhouse with operating turntable, partial Machine Shop, Tender Frame Shop, Blacksmith Shop, Boiler House, Storehouse & Print Shop, Lumber and Planning Sheds, Coach and Paint Shops, and a partial Carpentry Shop which now houses Savannah Children's Museum. Many of these structures are open for visitors to explore.

Jack on a caboose

Jack and Mary at the Roundhouse

After the railroad museum, we walked across the street to the Savannah History Museum.  The museum is housed inside the old passenger terminal at the Central of Georgia Historic Landmark District. It contains artifacts and exhibits relating to the history of Savannah from its establishment to the current time.

Jack and Mary with the bench that Forrest Gump Sat on in the Movie.

Artillery Display


More hats
Next, we jumped back in the car and drove to Old Fort Jackson.  Old Fort Jackson (usually shortened to Fort Jackson or Fort James Jackson but unrelated to Andrew Jackson) is a restored 19th century fort located two miles east of Savannah on the Savannah River. It is a National Historic Landmark and the oldest standing brick fort in the U.S. state of Georgia.

Old Fort Jackson Aerial View
During the American Civil War, Fort Jackson, along with nearby Fort McAllister and Fort Pulaski, defended Savannah from Union attack. In 1862, Fort Jackson was shelled from a ship captained by an escaped slave named Robert Smalls.

The staff at Old Fort Jackson do an excellent job with interpretive history.  Our guide Private Bradford walked us through daily life at the fort and demonstrated the use of small arms and cannons.  

Private Bradford firing Enfield Rifle
Jack even got a chance to serve on the gun crew of the cannon.  It has been a long time since he did that.

Jack serving on Cannon Crew

Cannon Room at Old Fort Jackson
After we departed Savannah, we had to pay off the 2.5 hours Southwest that we owed to the dice. That 2.5 hour drive dropped us off in the middle of the Okefenokee Swamp.  The Okefenokee Swamp is a shallow, 438,000 acre (1,770 km²), peat-filled wetland straddling the Georgia–Florida border in the United States. A majority of the swamp is protected by the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and the Okefenokee Wilderness. The Okefenokee Swamp is considered to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia. The Okefenokee is the largest "blackwater" swamp in North America. The term Okefenokee in Native American is "land of trembling earth". The swamp was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974.

Mary at Old Homestead in Swamp
We decided to hike on the boardwalk that stretches 3/4 of a mile out into the swamp.  It was actually a pleasant walk.  The only disappointment was that we didn't see any alligators.  We did see a number of birds, frogs, and turtles. We are pretty sure that the alligators were lurking just out of eyesight waiting for us to take a misstep.

Aerial View of Boardwalk Route

Hiking in the Swap

Mary Looking for Alligators

Okefenokee Swamp

Boardwalk Through Swap
So East we started to drive.  That took us as far as Jacksonville, FL by the time we decided to stop.

3 Hours East
Day 4 - 183 Miles (Georgia and Florida)
On day 5 we will drive as far as the coast and no further.  We are once again thwarted by our lack of a boat.  Next time we do a trip like this, we will plan better.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Random Road Trip Day 3 (15 Sep 2014)

OK campers, day 3 was a hoot.  It was a little on the wet side, but we still had a lot of fun despite dodging some rain drops.

Here is the recap from the first two days.

Day 1 - 285 miles (Alabama, Tennessee)
Day 2 - 310 miles (Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina)

At the end of day 2, we still owed the dice 3 hours South. Before we departed Columbia, SC we decided to visit the Basic Combat Training Museum at Fort Jackson, SC.

Basic Combat Training Museum, Fort Jackson, SC
From the Basic Combat Training Museum Website: The U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum is an official Army museum located on Fort Jackson just outside of Columbia, SC. The museum’s 7,500+ square feet of exhibit space are dedicated to telling the story of how training in the U.S. Army has developed since 1917 when Fort Jackson, then known as Camp Jackson, first opened. Through the museum’s galleries visitors follow the schedule of basic combat training in 2011, learning along the way how the separate elements of training have evolved since WWI.

The museum is free and open to the public, Monday – Friday, 9AM – 4PM. On Family Day, the museum hours are extended from 9AM – 6PM to accommodate the friends and family members of basic combat training graduates at Fort Jackson.

The Basic Combat Training Museum is an element of the Center of Military History (CMH). The Center Of Military History, which reports to the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army, is responsible for the appropriate use of history throughout the United States Army.

Mary hanging out with a new recruit

Jack getting a basic training haircut

Basic training barracks through the ages

First Aid Training

One of Several holographic Drill Sergeants
One of the coolest things at the museum is the holographic drill sergeants that pop out of nowhere and start yelling at you.  Jack experienced some minor PTSD when the first drill sergeant popped up and started screaming, "Get off the bus recruit!"  That was 28 years ago for Jack, but it got his blood pumping.

Mary throwing a grenade


Tanks for the memories
After the Basic Combat Training Museum, we also visited the AG/Finance Museum. It was OK, but not nearly as interesting.

We then continued our drive South.  We ended up in Charleston, SC and decided to visit the USS Yorktown.

Mary and Jack at the USS Yorktown in Charleston, SC
Wow!  What a cool museum and history lesson.  Definitely not a handicap accessible museum, but a very cool museum none the less.

Flight Deck of USS Yorktown
This Essex-class carrier was named YORKTOWN in honor of YORKTOWN (CV-5), sunk at the epic Battle of Midway (June 1942). Built in an amazing 16-½ months at Newport News, Virginia, YORKTOWN was commissioned on April 15, 1943, and participated significantly in the Pacific Offensive that began in late 1943 and ended with the defeat of Japan in 1945. YORKTOWN received the Presidential Unit Citation, and earned 11 battle stars for service in World War II. Much of the Academy Award-winning (1944) documentary "The Fighting Lady" was filmed on board YORKTOWN.

In the 1950's, Yorktown was modified with the addition of an angled deck to better operate jet aircraft in her role as an attack carrier (CVA). In 1958, YORKTOWN was designated an anti-submarine aircraft carrier (CVS), and would later earn 5 battle stars for service off Vietnam (1965-1968). The ship also recovered the Apollo 8 astronauts and capsule (December 1968). YORKTOWN was decommissioned in 1970 and placed in reserve; and in 1975, was towed from Bayonne, NJ to Charleston to become the centerpiece of Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. 

Radio Room

Jack driving the Yorktown

Mary sounding General Quarters

So many stairs

Don't complain about dorm rooms
 The Yorktown had a complement of 2,600 officers and enlisted.

Mary in Engine Room

Jack in Engine Room

Dinner for 2,600

Hospital Ward
After spending 3 hours exploring the Yorktown (and barely scratching the surface) we had to roll the dice again to find out where we were heading next.  The verdict was 4 hours Southwest.  Actually, our draw was East but we decided to roll again because East would have placed us in the Atlantic Ocean and we forgot to pack our boat.  So, Southwest it is.


On Day 3, we made it as far as Savannah, GA.  We owe the dice 2 more hours Southwest tomorrow on Day 4.

Day 3 - 247 Miles, South Carolina and Georgia