Cave Dwellings

Pensacola Beach, FL

Pensacola Beach, FL
Dec. 8th, 2014

Cave Dwellings

Monday, December 15, 2014

Salt Springs Nat’l Recreation Area…beautiful!

  OK…I will keep this brief..and that may be a first for me. I have zero cell phone service here and am not sure if this blog will even publish until we leave Thursday..We traveled over 400 miles Sunday from Pensacola Beach to here…That is hopefully not going to happen again…Waaaay to long at our extended years, and, though he didn’t complain, MacGyver was pretty tired when we arrived.  It is my fault, as I am the one who plans the route (an old travel agent doesn’t die, they just wander off point!)..Never the less, this place was well worth it. We have a nice campsite , and today we walked down to the natural springs….

006 007

The waters of Salt Springs rise from vertical fissures (cracks) from deep within the earth. The spring gets its name from the presence of potassium, magnesium and sodium salts in the water.  Salt Springs consists of several spring vents in a large shallow spring pool, which forms the headwater of the 4-mile long Salt Springs Run. Sidewalks and concrete walls line most of the spring pool, allowing easy access to the 74° Fahrenheit water for swimming or snorkeling. Motorized boats can travel up the Salt Spring Run from Lake George, but are prohibited in the spring pool. Fishing is also prohibited in the spring pool, but is allowed along the spring run.” That will be my only Geology lesson of the day…You can go back to scribbling funny faces on your assignment.

012 017

This water is so clear and beautiful, you can see fish …and …some of them continually JUMP out of the water and fly through the air..I believe they are Mullet, and no, I couldn’t get a photo of one…they were just too fast.

009 019

Left…they have built beautiful steps into the spring, and you can swim there. I guess divers and snorkelers frequent this place, but this morning no one was around except Dennis and me…and some very noisy flying fish…You could see fish swimming beneath …Some of these are catfish, according to ace fisherman Dennis..Can you see the fish in this next photo?


They do warn the public of other visitors that frequent this area too…

023 021

Yes, Black Bear apparently just LOVE this place…Check out those “bear proof” garbage cans.  When we checked in, the office person told us NOT to leave our cooler outside and keep any food things in your camper…and they warn you not to run if you see one…SAY WHAAAT???..There is a huge primitive tent area here…I cannot imagine tent camping where there are bears… This campground is very nice.  We are in the full hook up primitive stuff for this diva…(not with Yogi and BooBoo watching for us to drop a potato chip!!)  Camping where we are is $29 a night, but when you are OLDER THAN DIRT, you get half price…Also, there is a little istsy, teeny weeny “mall” across Rt. 19 that has a laundry…and a Dollar General! Even though it seems we are in “Deliverance”, I guess we aren’t!

We will be here until Thursday.  Then we drive a short 200 miles to Ortona Army Corps campground near LaBelle, FL…In the mean time, this will be my only blog from “Cell Phone Hell” surprise, I’m sure…We shall see if I can even publish it…(OK>>>I HEARD THOSE SIGHS OF RELIEF!)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

More History…no slouching and NO gum chewing.

  I warned you kids that I was doing one more History lesson…The Pensacola Naval Air Museum…and it was simply amazing…and free. Don’t panic if you don’t like too much jabber, this will be mostly photos…I cannot remember too much about the planes, there were so many…

002 008 010

"The Spirit of Naval Aviation"..Pensacola Naval Air Museum

One of many statues and artworks..This is called “The Spirit of Naval Aviation” and it greets you when you walk in..Left to right,(all pilots), WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf War.  The premise of this work of art is that the WWII pilot, second from the left, is reliving his flying experiences with his former and future aviators..I really fell in love with this one.

Too many planes, too many pictures…Here is a collage to study…Lots of neat stuff here! Let’s hear it for our military heroes!!!!



Everything was so intriguing ..We could have taken a guided tour, but opted to take the brochure and wander along at our leisure to take it all in. We did sign up for the flight line tour.  You have to ride on the guided tour trolley and it takes you right by the active runway used by so many military jets and other aircraft.    Each display had plenty of information and explanations to go with the exhibits…Upstairs they had flight simulators you could ride in, (no thanks), and I was also fascinated by one section upstairs where they recreated life in the US during WWII..

073 074 075

Left, I was trying to get into the movies free with this sailor(he ignored me..story of my life!)…middle pic, a Marine waits for a shine outside the Barber Shop…and right, now THAT is a REAL LIVE lady!! She was sitting outside an old general store and told us what it was like to live back in “the day”…She must be there almost every day. She told Den and me that when any military personnel come by, she won’t take a handshake, only a hug, as she silently prays for their safety…Just as we were leaving her, a couple GI’s walked by….




I know..this photo isn’t very clear, but it’s hard to take a good photo when your own eyes are tearing up…Apparently this young man has been here before…He said “Great to see you, Grama…I need one of  your big ol’ hugs!”.  I immediately went into my “wet mess” mode…Actually there were quite a few times I got pretty emotional…patriotism just takes me over,  and I make no apologies for THAT!





There were a few old Navy posters used for recruitment in the 40’s that I found absolutely fabulous…What pieces of history these are:..

060  061 062

That last one kills me..The Navy needs binoculars and spy glasses..They will pay  $1 for each one they accept.  You tag each with name and address them using “express mail”, and mail them to Hon. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ass’t Sec’y of Navy in D.C.  The Navy will return them when the War has ended….if possible!!! Wonder how many got them back???

We went a little farther along and they had a mock up of the conditions the Navy found on some of the islands… It was like you were walking through the movie, “South Pacific”…

078 079

I especially loved the official rules of the shower…Kind of like the showers you take in an RV, right???


I happen to see this Veteran just sitting and looking over aircraft below him from the balcony.  I would love to know what he was pondering as he reminisced here alone.  Another” tear jerker” for me.

There was a regular art gallery to stroll through…so many works of art here, these are only a few..

069 067 068

By afternoon, we were not nearly done, but you cannot see this all in one day..We had heard from Sam Weibel that we needed to stop in at the Cubi Bar and Cafe before we left…The Cafe’s decor and layout duplicates the bar area of the famous Cubi Point Officers’ Club at Naval Station Cubi Point at Subic Bay in the Phillipines.. This club was a major source of enjoyment for Navy and Marine Corps squadrons, ships and units as they passed into the Western Pacific and was heavily used in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

The club was especially famous for its Plaque Bar, where transiting squadrons retired old plaques and commissioned new ones to commemorate each WestPac tour. The tradition of placing plaques in the O’ Club bar was started during the Vietnam Conflict and endured until the closing of the base in 1992.When the original officers’ club was closed in 1992, the thousands of plaques that adorned the walls of the club as tokens of thanks were packed up and sent to the Museum to be placed as they were when the Cubi Club was closed. The legacy of this Cubi Bar brings back many memories to aviators whose squadron plaques decorate the walls.”



They were only open from 11AM until 3:30PM…however, they did serve beer and wine…Did we have one? Do birds fly??? and we had a great plate of Nachos too!! I wouldn’t have cared what they had, I wouldn’t have missed this for anything…Thanks Sam!

20141209_125513 20141209_123912

Such a great time we are having here in Pensacola…but the weather isn’t exactly “Florida-like”..Low of mid 30’s tonight..Den has a campfire going and I made a brief guest appearance..THAT will cost him..Some of you are wondering where the photos are of my “ensembles”…Don’t worry, it’ll happen, but I have to wait until I can stay outside for longer than 10 minutes~~


Monday, December 8, 2014

Historic Ft. Pickens…I’m in “history Heaven”

Yesterday we arrived here at Ft. Pickens campground on the Gulf Islands National Seashore, across the bay from Pensacola, FL..and what a greeting!  Immediately I noticed the fighter jets high above us. We are directly across from Pensacola Naval Air Station too! Have I mentioned my infatuation with military aircraft?? Maybe it was loving the movie “Top Gun”, followed by our son’s duty onboard the USS JFK aircraft carrier..Den and I got to take a parent’s cruise on that floating city in August 1990, and they launched aircraft from the flight deck in international waters..Anyway, I digress…I am sooooo loving this place!


Above is our campsite…#3 in A loop.  This loop is pretty small and the spaces aren’t very spacious. Our firepit just might light up the scooter strapped onto the back of the big motorhome just behind us to the left..He is so long he is hanging almost into our campsite.  No worries, though..I’m already smitten with the white sand and the nice weather..NO WINTER COATS!  This morning Den and I decided to take our walk over to the Fort..We were told we are about 1 mile from it, so we got our map and wandered down the trails…

101_5922 101_5930

There is a nice network of walking nature trails here…MacGyver( A.K.A. Mac Audubon) says that nest is most likely an Osprey nest..Since I am no “Jane Hathaway”,,,I’ll take his word for it..

OK, hem hem..The class will come to order! No gum chewing or unnecessary chatter…and please keep your hands to yourselves. You are about to get a History lesson here…so TRY not to fall asleep!


This fort was built by skilled African-American slaves brought up from New Orleans.  It was begun in 1824, and completed in 1834…and used until 1947.  Ironically, the only real action the fort endured occurred when the country was at war with itself.  Fort Pickens was one of four seacoast forts in the South that remained in Union control during the Civil War.  In 1861, Union forces at Fort Pickens faced Confederates holding the mainland.  The two forces came to blows November 22nd and 23rd of 1861.  Confederate forces had taken 2 other forts and a navy yard across the bay that year, and the Union forces put up a fierce battle. With the assistance of cannon fire from two warships, the Union re-took those forts and the naval yard..”

And now, class, I will insert a collage to give you a little taste of the many aspects of Fort Pickens……(Quit complaining, class..I actually took about 50 photos, so count your blessings!)

Ft. Pickens, Pensacola Beach Florida..built 1829-34

Captives from Indian Wars in the West were transported to the East Coast to be held as prisoners. From October 1886 to May 1887, Geronimo, a noted Apache war chief, was imprisoned in Fort Pickens, along with several of his warriors. Their families were held at Fort Marion in St. Augustine.”


  We walked all around that wonderful fort.  You could see where the big cannons were placed , and there was still one cannon in particular that was quite amazing…

101_5949 The 15” Rodman cannon is the largest smooth bore cannon every used in the U.S.Army.  Obviously, I look ridiculous in my jeans and sneakers standing next to this piece of American history! (Do take note the I am touching it…That is what I do to “channel” history.)  Since I don’t have a clue how this actually worked, I will let the next photo explain with the real deal loading this puppy up.


In this photo of that Rodman cannon, the 10-man crew prepares to fire.  Four men carry the ball with a sabot attached.  (another attached sabot is atop the stack on the left). One man has sponged the barrel to extinguish any sparks from the previous shot, while 2 others handle the 50lb powder charge in a cartridge bag, and another man below the barrel holds the ramrod. The officer at the breech is checking the aim with a removable gun sight, and the 10th man waits to bring up the next powder charge, in the box on the left…”

This fort is very large and takes a good couple hours to do it justice.  They are still working at restoring some other parts of it.  Below is an aerial photo of Ft. Pickens to give you an idea of the size….

ft pickens aerial This old fort still stands as it did over 100 years ago. For over a century, Fort Pickens protected the coastline from foreign invasion.  This process continued until missiles, airplanes and bombs made harbor forts obsolete.

This fort is a great reason to visit …but the birding is also pretty darn good too!  MacGyver and I got a bonus walking on the trail back to our campground…

101_5973 101_5975

I thought I saw 2 Blue Herons in this tree..But, look closely in the first photo and see if you can find the third…These dudes were not the least bit upset with us standing by them and gawking..I took advantage to get a couple close ups…

101_5972 101_5977

The 2 on the lower branches were oblivious…but Mr. Crabby on the top branch gave me the “snake eye”..OK, I get got the picture!

Well, so far this trip has been GREAT!..and tomorrow it will get even better when we drive across the bay to tour the Pensacola Naval Air Museum…I just bet you can hardly WAIT for that history lesson…tehee…(hey, at least I’m posting a little more often…be careful what you wish for, kids!)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Here I am AGAIN!

So, I got a total reality check from Judy about my lack of mojo on my blogging. As she put it, “Oh come on now, you can post every three days, How about some more pictures of the campgrounds you're in? And where are those 'stylish' ensembles? Is MacGyver not grilling out for you? :) I gotta say that I have been lax in my creativity due to a general lethargy about almost everything.  Judy is correct.  I should be able to post more often now.  After all, I AM ON THE ROAD, for God’s sake!!  It seems that the down turn of events the last 6 months had finally caught up with me, and yes, my mojo had abandoned me. (Mr. Mojo probably didn’t want to hang around Nancy Negative either!)   Suffice to say, I found no zest in writing…and my “get up and go” just got up and went…Having said that,  I am trying to get back to that “ happy place”. I know I can find it…and only I can control that. Thanks, Judy, I needed that proverbial “kick in the ass!”. Gotta count those blessings, and… a good knock up along side the head is sometimes needed…Thanks, girlfriend.!

OK , enough boring psycho-self analyzing…(THAT was a mouthful!).  MacGyver and I are getting closer to Florida..I can almost see DisneyWorld from here. (with apologies to Sarah Palin) .We are currently camped in Twitley Branch Army Corps campground in Collinsville, MS.  Collinsville is just North of Meridian, for all you Atlas home gamers.  We are almost in the movie “Deliverance”.  NO!!, I was just KIDDING!   However, it is very quiet here most of the time. We even heard a Screech Owl the other night sitting by the fire..creepy but somehow calming. 

20141203_164927 20141203_165032

This loop is the only loop open here this time of year…loop LobLolly..Yeah, I know..perfect for me..I can be a little “lobLolly” on occasion.



On the left is the shower house, which we never use..BUT, in the middle door is a small laundry…1 washer and 1 dryer…This was the first place I visited when we got set up…One week,  and we both run out of underwear…Maybe that was TMI , huh?

Out of 30 sites in this loop, we are one of four RV’s here.  Normally I find this wonderful, but I got a little paranoid when I drove up to this laundry BY MYSELF (Dennis was hooking up the Direct TV).  I threw in a load, went up and signed us in, then drove back to the laundry to sit outside and do a crossword puzzle till time to rotate said laundry…As I was sitting  all alone on the little park bench you see outside the building, it came to mind that someone could whisk me away to places unknown and no one would be the wiser. (except me, I can be a wise ass if driven to it!)..I REALLY need to stop watching re-runs of Criminal Minds on the TV!..but it did unnerve me slightly.  Note to really should carry mace, a whistle…or borrow a “billy club” from Detective Heiser!!


101_5915 20141204_123908

The weather has been 70’s and I have coffee outside…LOVE IT!! Right is my view from my coffee spot yesterday AM..not too bad! Well, those garbage cans might be a stretch!

Last evening, MacGyver and I were sitting by the fire and it was just very quiet and hazy. The moon won’t be full until Dec. 6th (tomorrow), but as it was coming up just behind the pines I had to get a picture…

20141204_171536 20141204_171608

Left, it wasn’t quite dark…I took above photos with the camera on my phone…I do believe I caught that hazy moon peeking and winking at me from behind those pines.

101_5910What a difference the good 35mm digital camera makes, right??

We have had a campfire here every evening, and a nice brisk and warm walk in just jeans and a T-shirt in the mornings…

101_5904 101_5905 101_5907

Those Cypress knobs look like this tree has claws!..I saw something across the river and zoomed in with the good camera…Couldn’t have caught the “masked marauder” with my camera phone!

Well, that is about it for today…Oh, …to answer the question if Chef Dennis  still grills out for us…YES! Tonight is chicken quarters on the little Weber charcoal…I am marinating…Let me rephrase that, it’s  not ME marinating, but the chicken. (I’ll be marinating myself about 5PM).   Later this afternoon, the chickens get my rub, and soon they are ready for the Chef to work his grilling magic.  Chef Dennis has been my official “griller of choice” for 45 years now…He thinks he needs a raise….fat chance.


Above….on the left…I present my Chef..Chef Dennis, assisted by his sous-chef (his cousin, on the right)…

This was taken in our driveway about 1982..Hmmm ..I wonder why he doesn’t cook in that little outfit these days! I really must see about his chef apparel!. (wink wink)…

“If you don't do anything stupid when you're young, you won't remember something funny when you're old...”