Look! Up in the Air! Navy Style

Earlier this spring, we took our RV to Montgomery, Alabama to see an air show at Maxwell Air Force Base which featured the USAF Thunderbirds.   Three weeks later we made a day trip to the  Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina for their air show featuring the United States Navy’s flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels.

This was my first time on a Marine Corps station and my first time seeing the Blue Angels perform. It was a thrilling day from beginning to end.

Before the performances began we wandered around the static displays featuring historic and modern aircraft from the Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.

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USMC Osprey
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Spirit of America used in Berlin Airlift
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Historic USAF Plane
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USMC Helicopter
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We were able to get up close to this USAF Thunderbird on display

We were able to snag front row seats beside the runway. That meant some of the planes went right in front of us as they taxied to their position for takeoff. The USMC AV-88 Harrier II and the F-16 Viper were just two of the military aircraft that performed impressive demonstrations.

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The pilot waves to the crowd as he taxis down the runway before take off
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The Wild Weasel
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Hovering in front of the crowd
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Refueling Demonstration
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US Marine Corps Helicopter Demonstration

The Geico Skytypers and other performers kept us entertained for several hours.

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Geico Skytypers at MACS Beaufort Air Show
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Geico Skytypers at MACS Beaufort Air Show
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Love when the planes fly upside down
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These historic military planes put on a great show

The US Navy Blue Angels put on a fantastic show that wowed the crowd with each new formation. They flew by so fast it wasn’t until I got home and looked closely at my photos that I realized how really close together they fly. Their precision is just amazing.

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U. S. Navy Blue Angels

 

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I am so grateful we had the opportunity to see both the US Air Force Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue Angels this year. Both teams will be performing at more air shows around the United States this year. If you have a chance to see a show near you, it will be a day you always remember.

Mother-Daughter Weekend in New York City

I recently returned from a fabulous mother-daughter weekend in New York City. My daughter leads a very busy life and lives 400 miles away from me so it isn’t often we have time for just the two of us to be together. We talked and laughed, walked and rode subways and taxis, did everything on our bucket list and more, and ate our way through several different parts of the city. The best part of the weekend for me was spending this special time with my wonderful daughter.

We arrived Friday evening after a several hour weather related flight delay. The first thing on our agenda was a walk to Kesté Pizzeria in the West Village for possibly the best pizza I’ve ever eaten.

On Saturday we started off with an early morning walk to Katz’s Delicatessen for breakfast. It was bagel with lox and cream cheese for me and blueberry blintzes for my daughter. I even ordered a salami to be sent home (it’s delicious).

We took our time admiring the amazing art at the Modern Museum of Art. My daughter knows a lot more about art than I do and pointed out some of the most famous artists and paintings.

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Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”
Girl before a Mirror by Pablo Picasso
Girl before a Mirror by Pablo Picasso
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Monet’s Water Lilies

We both loved the fabulous afternoon tea in the elegant Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel. It was our big splurge of the trip and my Mother’s Day gift from my daughter. We chose the New Yorker tea with so much delicious food that although we tried, we couldn’t eat all of the desserts.

We hopped on the subway to Central Park West to visit the John Lennon Memorial in Strawberry Fields. On our way to the memorial we stopped to admire the view of the city from The Lake.

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The Lake in Central Park West

After our full day we returned to the hotel for a short rest before wandering around SoHo and stopping for drinks and a snack at the SoHo Room. Before turning in for the night we browsed in a couple of book shops in Greenwich Village where my daughter found a book she hasn’t been able to find anywhere else.

Sunday morning started with an early morning ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Going early has it’s perks. We arrived at the Statue of Liberty early enough to beat the crowds.

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Statue of Liberty
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Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
Ellis Island Great Hall
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Lower Manhattan as seen from the ferry

Once we were back in Manhattan we walked to the 9/11 Memorial and spent a while in silence and reflection gazing at the two pools where the twin towers once stood. From the pools we looked up at the One World Trade Center building, also known as the Freedom Tower.

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9/11 Memorial
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One World Trade Center

It was cold and windy as we walked around lower Manhattan and it had been a long time since breakfast. We hopped on the subway to Little Italy for lunch, coffee and pastries. As we strolled along we browsed in a few shops and wound up in Chinatown (and had people trying to sell us watches and purses) before returning to the hotel for an afternoon nap.  Late in the afternoon we headed to Times Square and the Empire State Building.

Our weekend was filled with so much more than just sightseeing. One of my favorite things was just strolling through different parts of the city admiring the beautiful architecture of the buildings. I loved passing by community gardens and parks. It was fun stopping in a pastry shop on our way home one night and trying to decide which of the treats to take back for a late night dessert. Several times we had total strangers offer to help us find what we were looking for. A kind subway station attendant helped get us where we needed to go when we accidentally entered the wrong gate. One night we stopped to look at a FDNY Fire Station and had a nice conversation with one of the young Firefighters.

Monday morning we had time to walk to a coffee shop for breakfast before taking a wild taxi ride to La Guardia, We said goodbye to New York City with a fabulous aerial view of the city.

View of the city after take off from La Guardia

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Missouri

State 23:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is

Missouri

Missouri became the 24th state on August 10, 1821. The capital is Jefferson City.

From the Mississippi River to the Lake of the Ozarks and many places in between, we had great adventures while in Missouri.

High on our bucket list of things to see in Missouri was the Gateway Arch at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis. Henry rode the elevator up to the top of the arch while I strolled along outside. We hopped on the MetroLink to explore some of the other sights in the city.

What fun it was to explore Hannibal and see so many places where Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer had their adventures.

Harry Truman State Park was a great place for camping and taking a walk on a nature trail.

Our home base for visiting Branson was Table Rock State Park.

One fall we planned a trip to Missouri to attend a football game at the University of Missouri in Columbia. In addition to enjoying a football weekend we also camped beside the Mississippi River at Trail of Tears State Park, enjoyed the spectacular fall colors at Lake of the Ozarks and went shopping at the first Bass Pro Shop in Springfield.

Moon rising over the Mississippi River
Moon rising over the Mississippi River at Trail of Tears State Park
Barge going down the river at sunset
A barge went by right before sunset at Trail of Tears State Park
There are 24 different Mississippi River Tales Murals on the floodwall in Cape Giradeau
There are 24 different Mississippi River Tales Murals on the floodwall in Cape Giradeau
University of Missouri Logo in the grass at the Mizzou Stadium
Fall Colors at Lake of the Ozarks
Fall colors at Lake of the Ozarks
The original and largest Bass Pro Shops

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi

Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Mississippi

State 22:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is

Mississippi

Mississippi became the 20th state on December 10, 1817. The capital is Jackson.

Our travels have taken us through Mississippi on two interstates and numerous state roads. Driving along the state roads we passed by the Jim Henson museum in his birthplace of Leland, B.B. King’s birthplace in Itta Bena, Tennessee Williams birthplace in Columbus, and many historic places along the Blues Trail,

Our wandering has taken us to Vicksburg twice. Both times we camped at the Ameristar Casino RV Park across the street from the Mississippi River. We enjoyed touring Vicksburg National Military Park and seeing the views of the Mississippi River.

The mighty Mississippi River in Vicksburg, Mississippi
The mighty Mississippi River in Vicksburg, Mississippi
Barge on the Mississippi River in Vicksburg
Barge on the Mississippi River in Vicksburg

Another one of our trips took us along I-10 through Mississippi. Buccaneer State Park was a great overnight stop. You can read more about our stay at A night on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Walking along the beach in Waveland, Mississippi
Walking along the beach in Waveland, Mississippi
Majestic oaks in the campground
Majestic oaks in Buccaneer State Park

While staying in a  campground across the Mississippi River in Arkansas we made a day trip to Greenville, Mississippi for some Tamales at Doe’s Eat Place. They were so delicious we made a return trip a couple of years later. More about the tamales at BBQ, Pie and Tamales.

Doe's Eat Place in Greenville, Mississippi
Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville, Mississippi
Three dozen Mississippi Delta hot tamales
Three dozen Mississippi Delta hot tamales

We traveled to Oxford in the fall of 2016 for a football weekend at Ole Miss. Friday afternoon downtown and tailgating at the Grove were fun, the game not so much. I posted about our stay here.

Tailgating Tents as far as the eye could see
Tailgaters in The Grove before a football game
Sunset over Sardis Lake
Sunset over Sardis Lake

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota

Look! Up in the Air!

“Heritage to Horizons: A Century of Airpower since WWI.”  – Maxwell Air Force Base Air Show April 8-9, 2017

From the moment we decided to travel somewhere to see an air show I was like a little kid waiting for Christmas. We studied the schedules of the United States Air Force Thunderbirds and the United States Navy Blue Angels to determine when and where would be the best place to see them. Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama was an easy choice. We could get there easily from Georgia, there was a great campground close to the base, and it would be nostalgic for me to return to a base where I lived for a year when my father was stationed there.

We arrived at Gunter Hill Campground two days before the air show. Both days we heard the planes as they were practicing and I kept looking in the sky to see what kind of planes they were. Both days I was rewarded when I searched the skies and saw four of the Thunderbirds pass right by the campground.

On the day of the show we arrived early so we could find a good spot to set up our folding chairs to catch all the action. We parked ourselves right in front of where the Thunderbirds were lined up. We could also see the French planes of the Patrouille de France.

United States Air Force Thunderbird
United States Air Force Thunderbird
Patrouille de France at Maxwell A.F.B. Air Show
Patrouille de France at Maxwell A.F.B. Air Show

The air show was celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United States Air Force and commemorating the 100th anniversary of the United States involvement in World War I. There were also historic planes on display.

After the opening ceremonies the show began with the Wings of Blue Parachute Team. Once the performers began it was non stop action all afternoon. From bi-planes performing stunts to the fabulous French team Patrouille de France to a reenactment of the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Tora Tora Tora group there was never a dull moment.

Wings of Blue at Maxwell A.F.B. Air Show
Wings of Blue at Maxwell A.F.B. Air Show
Red Tails at Maxwell A.F.B. Air Show
Red Tails at Maxwell A.F.B. Air Show
Maxwell Air Show
Maxwell Air Show
Re-enactment of bombing of Pearl Harbor at Maxwell Air Show
Re-enactment of bombing of Pearl Harbor at Maxwell Air Show
Wing Walker at Maxwell Air Show
Wing Walker waving at the crowd at Maxwell Air Show

The French team Patrouille de France (The Patrol of France) were performing to honor the special relationship between the air forces of U. S. and France since World War I.

Patrouille de France at Maxwell Air Show
Patrouille de France at Maxwell Air Show
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Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France
Patrouille de France Pilots
Patrouille de France Pilots on their way to sign autographs and pose for pictures

The final act was the U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds. Before they began, a group of Air Force recruits were sworn in with their families watching them take their oath in front of the Thunderbird planes.

U.S. Air Force recruits being sworn in
U.S. Air Force recruits being sworn in

Before the pilots climbed into the cockpits their crews performed their pre-flight inspections as the pilots faced the crowd.

U.S.A.F. Thunderbird Pilots
U.S.A.F. Thunderbird Pilots
Thunderbird Pilot waves an American Flag as he taxies down the runway
Thunderbird Pilot waved an American Flag as he taxied down the runway
Takeoff!!
Takeoff!!
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Maxwell Air Show U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

Just in case you didn’t get enough of the Thunderbirds, here’s a video of one of their signature formations.

Spending the day enjoying this amazing air show was one of the coolest things we’ve done in a long, long time. If the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels are performing any where near you get out there and go to an air show!