Days in Paradise
May 18, 2014
|Days 8, 9 and 10
Topsail Hill State Park
It rained almost all day on Wednesday but we were curled up safely in our little site at Gulf SP.
On Thursday morning we awoke to find that it had turned cold and it was very windy.
We broke camp and headed east towards Pensacola.
We stopped at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. This is really an impressive site. Located on the Naval base, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, the museum consist of two huge buildings, filled with naval aircraft and memorabilia. It would take all day to really do the museum justice but we managed to get an overall view. There were all types of aircraft from the very beginning of aviation to the present including a huge aircraft, the NC-4 flying boat. Built as a submarine chaser, it actually made the first successful trans-Atlantic flight in 1919 in only 19 days!
I was most impressed with the exhibit about POWs during the Viet Nam war which included personal effects of some of the prisoners such as clothing, personal writings and drawings as well as a video interview with some of the prisoners including Senator John McCain describing his experiences. It was hard to keep from crying.
I was equally impressed with the hall of honor which displayed pictures and accounts of winners of the Medal of Honor. I think all American kids should tour this museum to learn what it means to truly by a hero and sacrifice for others.
After the museum, we visited the Pensacola light house and then Fort Barrancas which is a fort built before the Civil War. This fort along with Fort Pickens and Fort McRee, located across the bay, were built to protect the naval armory. These are part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore Park and so I was able to have my National Parks Passport stamped.
After our visit to the navy base, we headed east again, over the Pensacola Bay bridge and down 98 to Destin and Topsail SP.
We were lucky to get into this park, we got the only available site. This is still the nicest park I have stayed at. On arrival, we were told that there would be a concert in the park and so after dinner we went down to the little amphitheater for a performance by local artists. They were really good.
Next morning, we went down to the beach. I was amazed to see that the water here is still that beautiful clear green. But even this beach has been effected by the recent rains. Just adjacent to the boardwalk, there is now a flowing creek which has cut right through the dunes carrying tannin colored water to the gulf. As it enters the gulf the green water is stained yellow and then fades to a pale gold as it mixes with the sea water.
In spite of the changes, this still has to be the most beautiful beach anywhere. The water is pristine, clear and green. The colors of green change with the depth from pale to deep emerald and then turn a deep blue against the pale blue sky. I wish I was an artist because words and photos don’t seem to do it justice.
Friday PM, I was able to hook up with my old friend, Patti Robar. We met for dinner on Saturday along with her friend, Bob Stanley. They told us about damage to the beach from the recent rains. Several of the bridges along 30A have been damaged and so the road is closed in places. We drove down to Seaside for dinner but it was too crowded. We ended up at a very nice Creole restaurant for a great meal and fun evening.
We will get together again tomorrow PM.