Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.
Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

400 Mile Drive, 10k Walk, and a Movie - Wed., May 31, 2017

The walking vacation has begun. Last night when I got to Susan and Darren's house, it was doubtful whether all our luggage would fit in the back of my Escape. I really wanted to take my car on the trip. 

Susan didn't think all the stuff would fit, but she humored me and we tried to squeeze it in. It quickly became obvious that three people's luggage (who had all packed for two seasons--summer and winter) was never going to fit in the back of the Escape. 

Sooooo, we ended up taking one of the seats out of their minivan and then we had plenty of room for everything. Everything! (Except the kitchen sink. LOL.) I think we are much more comfortable in the minivan than we would have been in my car.

We packed all we could last night and got to bed around 9 p.m. The alarms were set for 5:00 a.m. with a departure time of 5:45 a.m. We had showered before bed.

In the morning, Susan made smoothies for breakfast which were very good. They had chocolate protein powder, bananas, coconut-almond milk, ice, and peanut butter. As soon as we put the rest of our belongings in the car, we headed out in the rain. 

In looking at the radar map on the phone, we could see the storm coming up from the south, chasing us north. We outran the storm within 15-20 minutes and didn't have any more rain all day.

U.S. 281 was our highway of choice. It turned out to be a great way to go north to Lawton, OK. It was a pretty straight shot, too. We stopped for lunch at Taco Casa where U.S. 281 and I-20 intersected. We avoided all the traffic and construction on I-35, and had pretty scenery until we got to Oklahoma, where it started looking like west Texas -- scrub brush and flat.

Candlewood Suites in Lawton had a check-in time of 3:00 p.m., but we called ahead and they were ready for us to check in at 1:00 p.m. Perfect! We wanted to do our 10k walk. 

The motel is awesome. Our rooms have a kitchen in them with full-size refrigerator, two burner stove, dishwasher, microwave, coffeemaker, toaster, and all the silverwave, dishes, cups, etc.

Oh, in Mineral Wells, TX, one of the towns we passed through on the way north, we saw these banners. I thought they were unique. 

Our East Lake Scenic Trail 10k Volksmarch started at Prairie Park in Lawton. The temperature this afternoon was 89 degrees, but it was windy and not humid, so we sweltered a little, but didn't stop.

The trail went around a prairie in full bloom with what looked like black-eyed Susans. Thankfully, there was a little shade along this part. 

Susan and Darren - starting out fresh
Thistle with fritillary
A huge dandelion
Thistle starting to bloom - looks like art
Prairie with black-eye Susans blooming
Probaby East Lake...no signs
We lost the trail described in our walk instructions because a new development is being constructed. There were workmen who pointed us in the right direction.

What was really in the photo above!

Pretty waterway with new villas along the water

There's a sandpiper here, running away

Don't know the name of the hill, but it's a nice backdrop
Fountain and new homes
More mature neighborhood
I grew up on the West Coast, we didn't have tornado sirens there! We saw this in a neighborhood. This is a good reminder why I don't want to live in tornado alley. We were very lucky with our weather today. 

Neighborhood tornado siren
Awesome truck
We are dodging storms. This morning we escaped the storm heading for San
Antonio. Today, we dodged a storm in Wichita, KS, which is where we're headed to walk tomorrow. Wichita is expecting anonther storm on Friday. So far, so good with our weather!

After our walk and feeling completely hot and exhausted, we went back to our rooms and showered. Ahhhh!

Susan and I wanted to see the chick flick, "Everything, Everything." Darren opted to stay in their room and chill. At the movie theater, Susan and I had all-beef hot dogs for dinner which were freshly cooked and pretty tasty.

Both Susan and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and give it two thumbs up. The ending was a surprise. Character development was excellent and it made us care about the people in the film. The plot was well developed and didn't leave any holes. The story-line was easy to follow and made us root for the young couple. I can't say any more without spoiling the ending. We left the theater very happy with our choice of movie.

Next, we headed next door to WalMart where I purchased the ingredients for my breakfast smoothies that I'll make in my Magic Bullet. Now it's time for me get some shut-eye. Wake up call in six hours!

After our walk in Wichita, we'll overnight in Belleville, KS. Travel Bug out.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Blue Angels Kinda Day - Wed., May 10, 2017

Yesterday on our walk we saw the Blue Angels from a distance. Today, we are at Naval Air Station Pensacola, the home of the Blue Angels, to see them up close. Oh, and to visit the National Naval Aviation Museum. Everything is free except out lunch and gift shopping.

National Naval Aviation Museum
Tom, Bob, Rosemarie
At 10:00 a.m. we rolled into the parking lot of the National Naval Aviation Museum. It would be an hour until the Blue Angels practice session. The Naval Aviation Museum was open, so we spent 45 minutes "nosing" around the exhibits. 
I particularly liked the "nose" and body of this beauty.

"The Homecoming."
At 10:45 we walked to the airfield with (about 3,000 other people) to watch the Blue Angels perform. Impressive doesn't begin to describe the power of those aircraft. The jets are super speedy, maneuverable, and built to withstand high G forces. The pilots are the best of the best and fly with high precision. You know when you go to a Blue Angels show that you are in for a treat. The photos below tell the story.

Tight formations

Ups and...


Wingtip to wingtip

Notice that one jet is upside-down!

The jets are flying slowly in the tail-down position

Upside down

Very tight formation

Crossing from six different directions...at 600 mph

Peeling off from the formation to circle and land
After the air show, we had lunch in the museum's cafe, Cubi. The restaurant is fun to look at, had good service, good food and they were very fast putting the food on the table.

Cubi decor

Bob, Tom, Rosemarie at our table

Me with some of my "friends."

After lunch, we shopped in the gift shop, finished seeing the first building, and then made our way to the second building. There is so much to see; we stayed until closing.

Below is the Navy-Curtiss Flying Boat, the first plane to fly across the Atlantic ocean. This plane was used to search for German U-boats in World War I.

Navy-Curtiss Flying Boat

See photo of "squadron car" below
Squadron car


Me in a photo-op cockpit

Tom studying the interior of a display jet

Gotta love the bad dog! LOL.

Presidential helicopter

Look closely for George W. Bush's name on the cockpit
At the end of the day, we jetted out of there and went to dinner at Wayne's Family Diner, the place Bob anf I went yesterday for lunch. I was cured of the diner after tonight's experience. For the second day in a row, they didn't have oysters. Bob really wanted their oyster po'boy sandwich. I ordered a Reuben sandwich. About 15 minutes after I ordered, our waitress came back to say they were out of corned beef.I ended up with a generic burger and fries. Tom and Rosemarie were less than impressed with the menu choices (sorry about dragging you there).

Back at the ranch, so to speak, we watched the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie. Bob had never seen it and the verdict was that he won't be seeing "Guardians of theGalaxy, Vol. 2."

Stay tuned tomorrow for our day at Navarre Beach Pier and other exploration. Travel Bug out. (I'm trying to finish up the blogs from our last trip before I head out with friends Susan and Darren on our next trip -- leaving next Wednesday, May 31.)