Trip Start Jun 02, 2002
Trip End Apr 01, 2003

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Flag of United States  , Alabama
Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Greetings from Alabama,

The trip to Mobile, AL was short and without much to look at; evidence that we have left the mountains, the plains, and the deserts. We have come full circle around the US and we were back with swamps and pine trees. We did not know what to expect in Mobile because they also celebrate Mardi Gras, but on a much smaller scale than New Orleans. We arrived after the festivals ended, so it was not much more than a quiet little city. Despite this tone, we did find exciting things to do during our short stay. So, with little hesitation I present to you our Alabama adventures.

Thursday - We drove to the water's edge where a giant battleship, USS Alabama, proudly sat at attention. Everywhere I looked on this ship I saw gun barrels ranging from machine guns to anti aircraft guns to the massive three-barreled turrets that could accurately fire a thousand pound shell 21 miles away. I would not ever want to be in the crosshairs of this battleship. We spent several hours touring every level as we tried to imagine what life must have been like for the sailors and the officers who lived on this boat for months on end. They claimed that this is the only boat tour of its kind where we were able to view the rooms where the shells and the powder loads were raised from the belly of the ship up to the main guns. The entire tour was very fascinating and there was more military equipment to see.

We walked into a large airplane hangar where retired military planes were on display. The biggest highlight was the SR-71 Blackbird which is an old spy plane capable of ultra high speeds and very high altitudes. Many of the planes were restored by the local airplane clubs.

After the battleship and planes, we took a tour of an old submarine. The cool part about it was we got to climb a ladder and look out of its periscope. It was very tight inside the sub and it did not feel as exciting as the battleship did. The torpedoes were large, but they did not look as intimidating as the big guns did on the battleship. All in all, we both agreed that we would have enjoyed living on the battleship more than inside the submarine.

Friday - Jenn went by herself to the Bellingrath Gardens & Home. It was right on the bay and it encompasses 905 acres of landscaped scenery. Although spring did not officially begin, she strolled past a multitude of tulips, daffodils, and Azalea blossoms. And of course, there is a 15-room mansion on the property that was built for the first Coca-Cola bottlers in Mobile in 1935. It was very delightful to see all of the colors the flowers produced and the Japanese gardens at the end of the self-guided tour was the icing on the cake.

Saturday - I heard on the radio that the Thunder Nationals Monster Truck and Motor Cross Freestyle show in Pensacola, FL still had tickets available for tonight's show; so, I bought us tickets. It was our first monster truck show and we were as excited as a kid in a candy store. The indoor arena was packed to capacity which gave us the feeling that we were in for a great show.

The special guest among the five other monster trucks was the world famous Grave Digger. Our favorite out of the group was Reptoid who had a snake-like paint design and hissed smoke out from between the headlights. These giant trucks would catch so much air the second their tires hit the row of cars in front of them. It then got so exciting when the tire spinning donut competition took place that we had to slam our beeeers and catch our breath. Reptoid outperformed Grave Digger on a couple of the competitions, but it was fixed and Grave Digger was awarded the winner in every event.

In between the competitions were the motor cross freestyle events. Two ramps were set up so the motorcyclists could race up on one, quickly do a death defying trick, and land on the other opposing ramp. They had to move fast because they only had about three seconds worth of hang time. The most impressive move was when they landed their bike with both hands up in the air. The entire show was totally cool.

Monday - On our last day we went to the Historic Blakeley State Park where during the Civil War it was the scene of the last major battle. We walked among some of the best preserved remains of earthen forts, rifle pits, redoubt and battery sites, and trenches over a mile long. It was a little eerie to walk around this battlefield. To touch the original sandbags that saved many soldiers' lives and to stand where sergeants may have once stood shouting out the orders "Forward!"

We enjoyed Mobile. We even tried fried pickles for the first time at the local Sonic. Our next stop is, oh my gosh, Florida. We had reservations for three nights at a campsite right on the Gulf of Mexico near Tallahassee. Afterwards, we'll visit Debary and see family, friends, and Mickey Mouse. Our last stop in Florida, and for this trip, will be Key West baby.

Traveling "Forward!"
Love Dave & Jenn
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