Our blog is to keep family and friends informed of our motorhome journeys.
We have dreamed of this for many years and finally our dream has come true.
We are looking forward to many happy miles ahead.
One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. Henry Miller.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Leaving NAS Pensacola

15 January 2018

Our last night at NAS Pensacola and a sunny day with a high of 50 and low of 35. John spent last few days doing repairs on the Bounder replacing headlights and refrigerator vent on top. Headlight repair was more tedious than he thought and it took several days. Hardest part was getting old ones out even with help from our neighbor.But at last they are in and so much nicer..no cloudiness and water inside. Thank you honey for all the good work you do.

One down One to Go

Finished


On our way out tomorrow we will stop at World Ford for an oil change. We have used them before for service. Then a 150 mile trip up to Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, AL for two weeks. This will be our second visit.

Today I went over to the Barrancas National Cemetery to locate the grave of Geronimo's 2nd wife who died from pneumonia while at Fort Pickens. She was the only Apache death at the fort while they were imprisoned. The cemetery is on the NAS.

Ga-Ah Geronimo-1887



There is extensive history of the NAS on wikipedia..far too detailed to include in my blog, but makes for interesting reading if so interested.

Well, seems Hope and family got a new addition to the family since Casey passed over the Rainbow Bridge. She  is an Australian Cattle dog also known as Blue Heeler. Shawn raised them when he was younger. After many suggestions, the family decided on the name Harley. Grandsons are helping with the care and potty training. They say it is easier than taking care of their pigs.

Harley



Received photos today of Granddaughter Parker's Johnson HS Cheer competition. Congratulations for taking 1st in State competition.You all have worked hard and with dedication. Great job.

Proud Parker

Proud Mom and Parker

The Team


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Another Visit to Fort Pickens

5 January 2018

Today we drove over to Santa Rosa Island across the Bay from Pensacola to visit Fort Pickens, our 4th visit since 2009.

My previous blog posts were in Dec of 2009 and 2011. Did not write about it in 2013. If in the area this is definitely a fort worth visiting.

For over a century Fort Pickens guarded the Pensacola Bay entrance and the largest built on the harbor. As a result of the vulnerabilities of the War of 1812, 40 coastal forts were constructed. Fort Pickens was designed for over 200 cannons. Built with over 21 million bricks and completed in 1834 after 5 years of construction using slave labor who were exposed to intense heat, disease and poor working conditions. The fort is in the shape of a pentagon designed to withstand attack on 5 sides.



Sign Showing Damage after Hurricane Ivan in 2006


Housing




The only combat that took place at the Fort was during the Civil War when an assault by 1,000 Confederates was waged against the Union encamped at Camp Brown outside the fort. Following the battle, the Union bombarded forts McRee and Barrancus. Confederates abandoned Pensacola in 1862 and Fort Pickens saw no further combat. As I mentioned in previous blogs, John's Great Grandfather fought in this battle on the Union Side and was a member of the 6th NY Infantry and stationed at Camp Brown which is now located in campgrounds B,C and D in the park. No signage or remains.




In the Museum is a display of the debris that washes up on shores and the timeline of deterioration that takes eons. Also, a sign depicting the debris found in stomachs of marine animals.




The white sand beaches are a result of millions of years ago granite from the Appalachian Mountains washing down and the quartz crystals that survived the long journey. Looks like a dusting of white sugar.




After the Civil War, new batteries. cannons and minefields in the harbor were added.

Batttery #234 and twin #233 facing Perdido Key were designed to house 6" guns which were never received. The gun display today were placed in 1976 by the Smithsonian and are from Fort Custis. They are identical to the guns that would have been emplaced. Couldn't resist photo of us by the big guns.






Battery Worth was completed in 1899 and housed 8 12 inch mortars in two gun pits. 4 of the mortars were active until 1942. They had a range of 9 miles and weighed up to 900 pounds each.




Battery Langdon was completed in 1923 and had two 12" guns. During 1942-43, concrete casements with walls 10 ft thick were added to protect the guns and crew. Overhead masonry was 17 ft thick. As noted on sign, first time an Artilleryman fired it his hat blew off, pants split and ripples in the sand could be seen. Many bled from the ears and mouth due to the concussion of the blast. It has a range of 17 miles.





There are other batteries you can tour by car or foot. Nine are listed in the park guide.

Also on site are three WWII Radar sites that we visited on foot so John could document for his website with photos and measurements of remaining concrete slabs. An armadillo crossed my path, but I was not quick enough with camera. Never expected to see this in the park, but guess they are rather common. Think they are the ugliest animals.


Fort Pickens in 1886 also served as a prison for 16 Apache men in 1888. They were separated from their families when the wives and children were taken to Fort Marion in St Augustine. Among the imprisoned at Pickens were Geronimo and Naiche  the youngest son of Cochise. In 1887 due to public outcry, the families were reunited at the Fort. Geronimo's wife She-gha is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery. In 1888 due to fear of yellow fever the Apaches were removed to Mount Vernon Barracks in Mobile. In 1894, they were moved a final time to 50,000 acres in Fort Sill, OK where Geronimo died in 1909. We visited his grave site.There is so much more to the history that you can research.

Museum Signage
Visited Here in Dec 2017

Geronimo's Grave Fort Sill,Ok-Visited Oct 2011


Fort  Pickens was part of the coastal defense system until 1947 after which coastal forts were declared surplus. It is now part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.



Friday, January 5, 2018

Arrival Pensacola NAS Campground

3 January 2018

Our drive yesterday from Gulfport to Pensacola was a short 135 mile drive east on IH10. This is our 4th stay at the Pensacola NAS, home to the Blue Angels. The RV Camp is located on Pensacola Bay and Gulf of Mexico. Our site #50 is just a few steps to the beach.


Site 50



Across the Bay is Fort Pickens


 In spite of the cold weather, did do a walk on the beach and to the Lighthouse.  The Lighthouse was built in 1859  and the oldest and tallest on the Gulf Coast. It's beacon is visible 27 miles out to sea with a light signature of one white flash every 20 seconds. On a previous visit we walked to the top.

View of Lighthouse from Beach


Lighthouse


 While here, we hope to revisit several forts.





Sunday, December 31, 2017

Fort St John & Chalmette Battlefield

29 December 2017

Today will probably be our last outing before departing to Pensacola on the 2nd as rain, freezing temps and wind predicted over the weekend. So we decided to drive over to New Orleans on the eastside to visit Fort St John and Chalmette Battleground.

Fort St John was first established by the French in 1701 later the Spanish in 1763 and finally garrisoned by  the Americans in 1804 during the war of 1812. It was sold in 1823 and the ruins are in a what is now a park area by a canal and across from some very majestic homes in the Arabi district of New Orleans. Only a marker and some stone remains are visible.








We then went to Chalmette Battlefield on the fringe of the French Quarter in the Chalmetter area of New Orleans.




This is the site of the last battle of the War of 1812 marking General Andrew Jackson's victory over the British in 1815 making it the greatest land victory of the War of 1812. Even though the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 ended the war, it was not signed by the US until February 1815. This battle is known as "the Battle of New Orleans". The battle lasted less than 2 hours with more than 2,000 British troops wounded, killed or taken prisioner including Maj Gen Sir Edward Pakenham who commanded the British troops who was killed during the battle. Within days of the battle, the British withdrew. American casualties numbered less than 20.

Signage

American Position

Battlefield

Under a Huge Live Oak


The Chalmette Monument was completed in 1908 honoring the American Victory. The cornerstone was laid in 1840 after Andrew Jackson visited the site.

Monument


The Malus-Beauregard House was built 20 years after the battle named for its first and last owners.





The Chalmette National Cemetery was established in 1864 as a final resting place for Union Soldiers who died in Louisiana during the Civil War. The Cemetery also contains remains of veterans of Spanish American, WWI,WWII and Vietnam.




Adjacent to the Cemetery is the Freedman's Cemetery; however no markers or remains exist.



After the battle a thriving free African Community was developed. Unfortunately, they were forced off the land and all the buildings were destroyed when the land was given to the park service. The community was known as Fazendeville and established in 1867. It was located on land that is now part of the Battlefield. Jean Pierre Fazende, a free man of color had inherited the land in 1857. It eventually grew to more than 200 former slaves from surrounding plantations. It was still a thriving community in the 1960's when they were forced out and relocated to the 9th ward of New Orleans. All buildings were destroyed. What a shame.