"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same."
– Carlos Castaneda
Let me begin with a note that will make some of you smile - - IT IS FREEZING DOWN HERE! We are currently in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and it got to a high of 55 yesterday. Steve and I had to wear coats. UGH!
We had a nice time in Summerdale, Alabama. There is just so much to do in that area with the Gulf of Mexico so close by. We spent a good amount of time close to the water because both Steve and I are fans of the surf. One day, we visited this huge fishing pier that juts out into the gulf about 500 feet. We watched people fishing as quite a few brown pelicans watched us. Someone hooked an 8 pound sail cat which looks like a cross between a catfish and a sail fish but they couldn't land it because they didn't have a net. Then we noticed a guy fighting a decent sized fish farther down the pier so we went over to see what he had on the line. It turned out to be a 35-pound red fish. Man that thing was huge and the guy was completely exhausted. I wish we had the right fishing equipment to do fishing off this pier but our poles are meant for smaller fish and not those that would be found in the ocean. Oh well.
We also did some geocaching in and around Gulf Shores and the Gulf State Park. What a nice park that is right on the water. We continued our geocaching over to Fort Morgan and ran into Josh, the bicyclist, on the way. He is riding his bike across country to do a fundraiser for returning vets. He started his trek in Jacksonville and will ride all the way to San Diego. Good Luck Josh! Anyway, while we were at Fort Morgan, Steve and I planted our first geocache. It's a pretty good hide in the wall of a battery by the name of Dearborn. We chose that spot because I grew up in Dearborn Heights, so it had some personal meaning. Out in the gulf around this fort were several natural gas drilling platforms. They were really cool to see, especially at night, as they looked like Christmas trees out in the water.
Since we were near Mobile, we ventured into town and visited the USS Alabama, a World War II Battleship. WOW, that was so cool. These ships are so huge and so intimidating. They have all manner of guns and cannons aboard them and I can only imagine what it would be like to see one of those coming at you full speed. The larger of the guns can shoot ammunition as far away as 22 miles. In its heydey, this ship had 2,500 sailors on board. It is hard to picture that because while the boat is huge, 2,500 people is a lot of people! It was interesting to see the working conditions of these sailors while in the heat of battle. In the big gun turrets, there would be 5 people working in a space about the size of one standard office cube. They would climb into the turret and the doors would be shut behind them and there they would remain with all the noise and smoke of the cannons, until the "all clear" was signaled. There were other guns on the ship and we saw a video about how one guy shot a hole in the side of his gun station because he did not lift the end of the barrel high enough before he shot it. We found the hole and took a picture of it so you could see how thick the metal is and how big the hole was. YIKES! That gets a big "oops". There were other cool displays at Battleship Park including a air museum and the submarine USS Drum. My intense claustrophobia did not allow me to visit the inside of that submarine so I cannot write about it, but Steve got some pics for you.
Since we were in the area, we revisited the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola. If you will recall, we toured this facility back in January and just loved it. We came back a second time because it was just that good of a museum, but also because they now have a virtual flight deck that you can experience. That was pretty cool and I recommend that if you have children with you. We also saw the IMAX movie called "Rescue" which was about 4 people, from different walks of life, who went to help with the earthquake in Haiti. While the premise of the movie was a sad one, we did enjoy seeing Haiti again and that experience brought memories of our trip and our heart for that country.
Lastly, since it is Christmas time and all, Steve and I visited the Bellingrath House and Garden in Theodore, Alabama. The advertisements stated that the house had Christmas displays made up of 3 million lights and man, they weren't kidding. I think they should rephrase that and say 3 million strands of lights because the place was amazing. We walked the grounds of this house for 90 minutes before we came to the end. What an awesome job they did with these lights - - I cannot think of the right words to describe the visual overload we experienced. The displays were so well done and it really put Steve and I in a festive mood. I only wish that we had visited the house during the day so that we could see these gardens in their full light, but nonetheless, it was spectacular and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Lastly, Steve and I got to play Bingo this past week. We have developed quite the fondness for the game. Steve won twice - - well 1 and 1/2 times since he shared a victory with another person. I won the coverall and in total, the two of us raked in $34.50 that night. Awesome!
We are here in Baton Rouge for just a couple of days and then on to Livington, Texas where we will be until the end of the year. Christmas this year will be strange as we will not be venturing home to be with family. Thankfully, the campground that we are staying at is part of the RV club that we belong to so the people there will be like our surrogate family for the time of our stay.
The weather will be warming up soon and be back in the mid-70's. Whew! I don't have a lot of winter wear so I need it to get warmer! If I could ask you to please pray for me this semester. I have 3 classes and a ton of work to do. I counted 18 books that I have to read this term and 2 huge projects, not to mention the 12, 5-6 page papers that I have to write. I am somewhat overwhelmed, so your prayers would be appreciated.
Take care everyone! Talk to you soon