Thanksgiving 2014

New Orleans - Pensacola Beach - Lanett - Pine Mountain
November 23-30, 2014

Had a nice Thanksgiving. We missed Bonnie terribly. We thought of her often and of the things she does at Thanksgiving and how she would've enjoyed the trip.

My travels begin on Sunday the 23rd when I flew from Tampa to New Orleans. The kids made me take the birthday pig hat and the people at Southwest Airlines were very accommodating and let me get a picture in the cockpit. I got in early to New Orleans and Rusty and Anne were there to meet me. We had a hearty breakfast at a quaint restaurant, Dot's Diner. Then a quick run to Target and then to their service at Metairie Church. After that we were on the road to Pensacola Beach, and we got there uneventfully in a little over three hours.

When we checked into our rooms I learned that I had reserved rooms they did not face the Gulf of Mexico. So after dropping Rusty and Anne's stuff off at their room I made a mental note to go back downstairs to the front desk to at least move their room to gulf front. But it turned out there was a mixup on my room and the staff at the Holiday Inn said they were so embarrassed that they gave us a complimentary upgrade for both rooms to gulf front, which was a generous gesture. That night we went to Peg Leg Pete's Oyster Bar for dinner, one of the top places in Pensacola Beach. There we were surprised by Robert who drove from Destin to join us for my birthday celebration. (A lady at the next table noted how surprised and happy I was and had to come over and ask what was the occasion.)

Over the next couple of days we ate at some other wonderful restaurants: Flounders, Crabs-on-the-Beach. We also swam in the heated lazy river pool and enjoyed the Jacuzzi at the hotel. We also explored the area by car, visited the boardwalk, saw a dead beak whale being hauled off the beach, and visited the National Naval Aviation Museum. The museum was excellent, with its guided tours and many hands-on displays. It may have been better than the National Air and Space Museum. On the way out of Pensacola we stopped at a local seafood place and bought some large shrimp that we brought with us.

On the way to Roberts, we stop off at Rusty's sister's house and had a nice time meeting with Jennifer, and her husband Paul and two of their children, Ty and Josh. We also met another of Paul's children: Kayla and her family. That evening they treated us to a very nice Mexican dinner which we enjoyed before departing for Robert's house. Thanksgiving at Roberts was very nice; Natalie had done a wonderful job preparing the food. Jill and Joe joined us from Newnen and we had a good day. On Black Friday there was some mandatory shopping, and then we headed for Wild Animal Safari Adventures near Pine Mountain. Another good time feeding the animals and trying to avoid the big tongue of the water buffalo. Then it was to Callaway Gardens for their Fantasy in Lights. We bundled up with blankets and enjoyed the five mile trip through the lighted forest.

On Saturday the girls were back shopping down in the Auburn area. I took Sydney and Benjamin to a local indoor bounce house place, and they had a good time for nearly two hours. That afternoon Sandra and Sydney left to return to Dothan, Alabama, to rejoin the rest of the family for the drive back to Tampa.

Saturday was also football and both Georgia Tech and FSU won, so that was good. Sunday we left in the morning to beat the post-Thanksgiving traffic and returned safely to New Orleans in the early afternoon. Anne and Rusty's new apartment is very nice; larger than the one they were in. It has two bedrooms, a living room, a dining area, and a kitchen.

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Below are a few pictures of me packing and my birthday celebration in Pensacola Beach.

(Click on any slide to enlarge it.)


Packing for the birthday trip
They're going to let me fly this!

Two-story Target has an escalator for your cart!

A nice church and a good service


Robert drove in from Destin.

Seafood at Peg Leg Pete's Oyster Bar . . .

. . . and our suprise visitor.

My favorite color

| Thanksgiving Week 2014 | Pensacola Beach, Florida |
| Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola | Calera, Alabama | Lanett, Alabama |
| Wild Animal Safari, Georgia |