Tuesday, October 25, 2011

'Bama Buildup

BikerBuck simply could NOT leave Pensacola without a visit to the legendary U.S. Naval Air Station there. It was 08:42 and they must have known I had just come on base, when overhead I heard........

....yeah, baby, the Blue Angels.

They continued with their practice routine as I drove through the base and arrived at my destination....

....where I found pilot wannabe heaven.



And more planes.

Many of BB's blog readers know that he was in the U.S.Navy after college for officer training plus 3 years of active duty in Supply Corps school and then aboard a Pearl Harbor based warship. One of my on board duties was standing watch in the main battery director, which usually entailed long hours of what we called "plane guarding". That means following 1,000 yards astern of aircraft carriers 24/7 for many days at a time.  The bottom line of this piece of BB background is that he witnessed well over 1,000 launches and arrested landings of aircraft on the decks of aircraft carriers at sea.

Fortunately, the mishaps were few.

Hence the museum experience was overwhelming for me. The recollections of course, but also continuing to grasp the immense body of world history that is literally being written in the skies by our planet's war birds. It was a morning of big moments.

Mere minutes from departing Pensacola the minivan crossed into Alabama.  The change of scenery on the 'Bama side of the line was remarkable - with AL physically and visually outshining the Sunshine State.

My destination was Orange Beach. It was easy to find.

But hard to absorb.  BB and a Navy buddy had driven this coastline from Panama City FL to New Orleans in 1965. So OK that was like Ancient Egypt time.  But my memory of this coast line, building-free for several hundred of miles, just didn't jive with what passed my windows this morning.

Mind you I'm not complaining.  The joint is first rate in drama and scale and apparently there has been a market for it over the past 20 years. It seems to work.

 The biking plan was to ride around and through the state park, which happened with incident. BB made a wrong turn early, and it took a while to "re-calculate" using a manage a trois --- Maps --- I had three different maps with me and they were all for the same place but all different. Like a manage. Of three. Trois. Oh for heaven sakes stop it.

 The bike paths were handsome and all kinds of fun.  There was about a 2 mile stretch in woods that was "closed" for logging ops, but the Buckster blasted through it, to the chagrin of some loggers.  Sorry, no photos.

I vant to be alone....
The Novara took a well deserved break after the ordeal.  

One final observation to share...the fishermen around these parts are like, serious angler dudes.  Plus they probably bet pretty heavily on fishing derbys.  All I know is that there are some mighty fine watercraft in the Orange Beach dma.

Finally, a big mahalo to Cody and his fellow spokesters at Infinity Bicycles who helped BikerBuck put Alabama in the 50-50 family.

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