Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Hallelujah!

WHEN? Sunday · December 14

WHERE? First United Methodist Church, Arlington, Texas

WHAT? Gloria by Vivaldi ~ Christmas Music Program


This classic music was performed in Latin. The two videos below provide a taste of this splendid program:


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Fruitcakes

WHEN? Saturday · December 13

WHERE? Theatre Arlington

A very funny and entertaining show!

We had front row seats, right beside the pig that blew up. That's because we have a "pure heart".


From Artistic Director B. J. Cleveland:

Fruitcakes is a celebration of Jamie and Jack who, during a Christmas season of confusion, hurt, and loneliness, find in each other the strength to reach out to those they love the most. The story also touches on how chance encounters change our lives -- change them as much as a visit from a mystical angel might change them. As Miss Alice notes in Act Two, "Perhaps we're all angels."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dancing Dames Christmas Show at O.W.L.S.

WHEN? Tuesday · December 9

WHERE? First United Methodist Church in Arlington, Texas · find us on the map

WHAT? Taps 'n Tunes Dancing Dames Christmas Program

OWLS potluck

My sister Ella is a member of a church ministry called the OWLS (Older Wiser Laughing Souls), and invited me to join her at their December luncheon. This month's event included an outstanding performance by the Dancing Dames, an area group dedicated to providing entertainment to the community. The Dancing Dames are in high demand by Ft. Worth and Arlington audiences, and at least two of their annual performances are dedicated to area seniors and physically challenged.

OWLS member Ron White's photos of this event can be seen on flickr:
Dancing Dames Christmas Show at O.W.L.S.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Coastal Chorale

WHEN? Sunday · November 23

WHERE? Spirit Center at Foley United Methodist Church

WHAT? Coastal Chorale Christmas concert

Recent reviews:

"Fabulous ... unbelievably good."
- maedeans

"In a class with Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians and The Ray Conniff Singers. They sing with a masterful blend of their voices."
- The Perpetual Vacationers

"Wonderful entertainment - even a little comedy thrown in - all for only ten bucks apiece!"

Coastal Chorale Christmas show

This afternoon's Christmas performance featured many familiar Christmas songs along with several others we had never heard, and all were beautifully done. Although several numbers were performed without accompaniment, pianist Kayla Dowling and percussionist David White were like a fabulous two-person orchestra.

After the intermission, director Don Dowling made the most of Spirit Center's multi-stage design by leading the choir out on either side in almost total darkness, guided by a single light. He then told us to just close our eyes and listen as they sang Silent Night acapella before returning to the center stage. It was a unique and moving experience.

And you can bet I won't dare miss the Coastal Chorale's Snowbird Serenade next February.

Honorable mention:

Advance tickets for this popular event's Sunday afternoon performance sell out quickly, but chorale manager Lee Timberlake made special arrangements for us to purchase the last two available tickets at the door in honor of my birthday. What a treat!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Heritage Harbor Days

WHEN? Saturday & Sunday · November 8 & 9

WHERE? Foley, Alabama · find us on the map

WHAT? 8th Annual Heritage Harbor Days

8th Annual Heritage Harbor Days

The annual festivals in Lower Alabama continue to amaze us with the many features they include and the crowds of people who attend them. Although this festival began on Friday, it slipped up on us. We've promised ourselves to attend all of it next year.

What we saw:
  • Mexican Folkloric Dancers from Guyton, Oklahoma. Here’s a video of the troupe's performance at another recent festival: Mexican Folkloric Dancers
  • Foley's Little Rock Baptist Church choir
  • The U.S. Navy Show Band

What we missed:

  • One of my new favorites, Top Hat & Jackie
  • Eli’s Jolly Polka Band from Elberta, who also perform each Spring and Fall at the Sausage Festival.
  • In spite of being bluegrass music fans, we both overlooked the festival's Bluegrass Stage, which featured a Fiddlers Convention along with The Gary Waldrep Band.

The festival's final event, an evening fireworks display, was spectacular!

See our photos on flickr:
Heritage Harbor Days

Quilt displayPolka bandLA antiquesFireworks finale

Friday, October 31, 2008

Witches & Goblins

WHEN? Friday · October 31

WHERE? Magnolia Springs, Alabama · find us on the map

Halloween was another cloudless day on the Gulf Coast, and it didn't look like it was going to be very scary in the daylight of the afternoon.

We did get out some to enjoy the beauty of the day.

Clear Halloween afternoon sky on the Gulf Coast

We noticed a custom in Magnolia Springs at a convenience store. Children in their costumes were stopping by for a "trick or treat," when we stopped there. We had not seen this before.

Up the road a little further, we stopped by Magnolia River Bar & Grill because we knew they were having a costume contest. We didn't stay long, but just around dark we were able to see four people dressed in their costumes. They were all good, so we were glad we didn't have to judge who had the best costume.

As we drove on home, we noticed the slightest sliver of a crescent moon in the clear sky. Bet you did too if you were out Halloween night.

Check out our photos on flickr:
Halloween at Magnolia River Bar & Grill

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gulf Islands National Seashore

WHEN? Sunday · October 12

WHERE? Perdido Key, Florida · find us on the map

WHAT? Gulf Islands National Seashore

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Today's visit to Perdido Key was inspired by last Spring's scenic beach drive with our friend Steve. Johnson Beach's white sand and deep blue skies hadn't changed, and lots of healthy sea oats still waved in the breeze, but the beachfront looked noticeably different. We learned from park brochures that this wasn't our imagination, since tropical storms and hurricanes are always at work changing the shape of these beaches and barrier islands.

Image courtesy of flickr member christie210
Sea Oats at the beach in Florida · flickr member christie210
For current images, visit the Perdido Key BeachCam

Before leaving Johnson Beach, we picked up several park brochures and learned that this is one of many locations in Gulf Islands National Seashore. Instead of being a single block of land, it is a mosaic which includes 12 separate units that stretch from Cat Island in Mississippi, to the eastern tip of Santa Rosa Island, Florida, and includes some parcels on the mainlands of Mississippi and Florida.

The Mississippi District includes:
· Ship Island
· Fort Massachusetts
· Horn Island
· Petit Bois Island
· Davis Bayou
The Florida District includes:
· Perdido Key
· Fort Barrancas
· Fort Pickens
· Naval Live Oaks
· Okaloosa

click on map to enlarge


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Shrimp Festival

WHEN? Thursday · October 9

WHERE? Gulf Shores, Alabama · find us on the map

WHY? 37th Annual National Shrimp Festival

37th Annual National Shrimp Festival · Gulf Shores, Alabama

From the website:

"The Annual National Shrimp Festival is held each year during the second full weekend in October on the beautiful beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. The Festival is one of the nation’s premier outdoor festivals featuring over 300 vendors that offer fine art, arts and crafts, a retail marketplace and of course, SHRIMP!!"

We chose to attend this popular area event on Thursday to avoid weekend crowds. Attendance was reasonably heavy even before the weekend, so we rode the convenient Festival Shuttle, which put us out right at the front gate. How's that for good service?

The first booth that caught our attention featured Native American music and dancing, where we observed their art and dress with a large audience. Although it wasn't extremely hot, we certainly didn't envy them with so many clothes on dancing in the hot sun. We both recalled a similar performance at Devils Tower last summer.

It was lunchtime when we arrived, so we strolled down the booth-lined midway in search of food. We came across a friend who recommended a special seafood-on-French-bread sandwich that started with a P, and looked hard for it as we neared the Pink Pony, where it was supposed to be. Having not found it, we settled on a small basket of fried shrimp at Doc's booth. We went to the back side of the food booth where a boardwalk with benches allowed us to enjoy our shrimp while looking out at the beach and waves.


Since we hadn't visited the recently-opened Hangout right at the entrance to the festival, we stopped in to check it out. A huge ceiling fan like none we had ever seen caught our attention there, and we snapped this photo of it.

Wendell noticed this festivalgoer's t-shirt that shared her political message. For those who are unfamiliar with the whole Alabama scene, Sarah Palin's likeness is wearing a University of Alabama lapel pin and a Bear Bryant houndstooth fedora. Roll Tide!Palin Power t-shirt

Best of the fest:
Just as we were thinking about calling it a day, live music began playing from a nearby beverage tent. Like following our noses, only in this case our ears, we quickly found Top Hat & Jackie. We took advantage of the folding chairs and sat down to enjoy them.

See our photos on flickr:
2008 Shrimp Festival

A big hug from Gulf Coast shrimpNative shrimp dance?Shrimp festival midway

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Hanging Monastery

The above photo came from

WHEN? Probably never except by armchair, but that's okay

WHERE? Xuangong Si above Jinlong Canyon near Mount Heng in the province of Shanxi near Datong, China

Another email from BH had a Powerpoint Slide Show regarding a tourist attraction and historical site. This Buddhist Monastery was built more than 1500 years ago and includes Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian elements with sculptures of Sakyamuni, Laotzu and Confucius appearing together inside. A unique mechanical theory was applied to building the framework of hemlock wood with mortise and tenon joints. Twenty-seven cross beams are the key building elements.

The video stops abruptly. That’s because this video is 1 of 3.

It's a lot to take in, but shouldn't using the computer at the ripe old ages of 73 and 74 be educational. Wendell collects trivia in his brain cells somewhere (in the box marked TRIVIA) so he might as well selectively put this there for future reference.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Visit to Mystery Vessel Ruins

WHEN? Friday · September 19

WHERE? Gulf Shores, Alabama · find us on the map

WHY? History swept ashore

After several days of rumors that Hurricane Ike's storm surge had washed an old wrecked ship ashore near Fort Morgan, curiosity got the best of us and we drove over to Gulf Shores to check it out.

Once we were in the area where we thought the ship ruins were, we stopped at a small grocery store located at 5160 West Fort Morgan Road (State Highway 180) to ask directions. Tequila Bay Bar & Grill is what you see first from the road, and just west of there is a road named OUR ROAD, on which you can turn south (only way it runs) and get close enough to view the ruins.

Shipwreck at Fort Morgan in Gulf Shores
Several beachgoers are poking through the wreckage
Click on the photo for a closeup size comparison

There's a good bit of speculation about what ship it is. Although some suggest it's a Civil War schooner that ran aground in 1862, others have said it might be the schooner Rachel, built at Moss Point, Mississippi in 1919, and wrecked near Fort Morgan in 1933. I vote for the second possibility.

Newswires have been buzzing with stories about the area's newfound relic:

See our photos on flickr:
Ship Washed Ashore Near Fort Morgan

ShipwreckWindblown Mae DeanHistory buff WendellCorrosive closeup

Update from Hurricane Isaac
Associated Press/Press-Register, Brian Kelly - In Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012 photo, the ghostly remains of an old wooden ship rest along a private beach at Fort Morgan, Ala. The ship is the Rachel, a schooner built in Pascagoula, Miss., during World War I, according to Mike Bailey, historian with the Fort Morgan Historical Society. The ship was lost in a storm in 1923. The remains of the the Rachel have been uncovered by hurricanes in the past, but more of the wreck was revealed in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. (AP Photo/Press-Register, Brian Kelly)

Read the Yahoo story regarding this.
Shifting sands from Isaac reveal 1923 wreck

Thursday, September 11, 2008

waves Waves WAVES

WHEN? Thursday · September 11

WHERE? Gulf Shores, Alabama · find us on the map

WHY? Winds from the edge of Hurricane Ike

Gentle breezes are what we are used to in Lower Alabama. So when we started having noticeable winds, we knew something was up. And that something was the outer edge of Hurricane Ike.

Our sense of adventure and goofiness about photos led us to Gulf State Park where a big stretch of beach is accessible to the public from a long boardwalk leading from East Beach Boulevard.

We knew we were in for quite a show because the big waves on the Gulf horizon were clearly visible from the road. Then the sand being whipped up by the winds stung our legs as we walked across the road from the public parking.

One other couple was at the end of the boardwalk looking at the waves and taking photos like we were. This was one of those scenes when you just had to be there or, perhaps, have a video camera. I doubt even a video could have captured the few minutes we were there experiencing the powerful waves rushing to the beach. It is not difficult to see how such storms erode beaches.

There’s very little contrast in our photos because so much of the powerful waves were the same light color. Even the sky was almost blending in with the sand and waves.

See our photos on flickr:
Wind and Waves from Hurricane Ike

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Robert St. John’s Restaurants

WHEN? Wednesday · September 10

WHERE? Hattiesburg, Mississippi · find us on the map

WHY? Lunchtime ... and we were hongry

After agreeing ahead of time where to have lunch on our way back to Alabama, we discovered that Crescent City Grill was one of two restaurants in the building. A quick walk through Purple Parrot Cafe landed us at our destination. Both restaurants are owned by Mississippi food aficionado Robert St. John.Dual restaurant sign
We were quickly seated at a booth with a view to the outside patio, and our server Kelly arrived shortly thereafter. We couldn't have asked for a better server, who seemed to have one section of her brain completely devoted to what was available from their menu.

We chose the Mahi Mahi, with Wendell's being grilled and Mae Dean's being blackened. Everything, particularly the salads, were very delicious. We arrived with a good appetite, but couldn't finish the generous portions that were served, and there was certainly no room for dessert.

Robert St. John's Celebrity Chef-ness extends beyond the local region. Wendell already followed St. John's newspaper columns on food, and he has many published cookbooks, at least three of those in collaberation with other people we are fans of — Marshall Ramsey and Wyatt Waters.

We are looking forward to using some of St. John's recipes and possibly purchasing some of his cookbooks.

Our photos may help you recognize the restaurants located at 3810 Hardy Street:

Robert St. John's Restaurants
on flickr

By the way, St. John owns restaurants in Meridian, Mississippi as well.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Jesse's Whiskey Steak

WHEN? Thursday · September 4

WHERE? Magnolia Springs, Alabama · find us on the map

We returned to Jesse's Restaurant in Magnolia Springs for its famous Whiskey Steak, which we've discovered are outstanding. Their breaded fries that accompanied them were very good also.

Eat this steak before you die!

After lunch we browsed next door at Moore Brothers Village Market and discovered they had a part-time butcher who is from Meridian, Mississippi, where we lived for about three years during the late Seventies.

Even if it's a little out of your way, we encourage you to visit the historic town of Magnolia Springs and this first class restaurant.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why we keep an ice chest at the ready

WHEN? Wednesday · August 28

WHERE? Florence, Mississippi · find us on the map

While traveling through Mississippi last May, we went an hour out of our way to shop at Wilson's Meat Market in Crystal Springs.

Cooper's Country Meat Packers
3330 Highway 49 South, Florence, Mississippi

Fortunately, today's stop at Cooper’s Country Meat Packers was along our route from Jackson, Mississippi back to Lower Alabama, and was well worth it. We purchased a delicious pound of Country Pleasin' smoked sausage, the brand we used to purchase at Kroger when we lived in Jackson for many years. If you're unfamiliar with Cooper's and find yourself traveling close to Florence, we really recommend a visit. When headed south from Jackson on Highway 49, it's just past Jerry's Fish House (the big igloo) on the left (east) side of the highway. Their market offers our favorite smoked sausage and much more.

Look for the big pig

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Maiden Voyage of New Boat

WHEN? Thursday · August 14

WHERE? Fairhope, Alabama · find us on the map

estuary: A semi-enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries are often associated with high rates of biological productivity.

Our first visit to Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve was last February, while geocaching with Dave and Barb. Now Wendell volunteers at its Interpretive Center one morning a week.

Weeks Bay Reserve's new pontoon boat · AKA your tax dollars at work

All aboard!
Now settle into a comfee seat and enjoy the ride.

We've been looking forward to the fledgling voyage of the new Weeks Bay pontoon boat. After several days of rain, the weather on the day of the trip could not have been better. The group on the boat was comprised of Weeks Bay staff and volunteers, along with a few other lucky people who knew someone connected in some way with the Reserve [raising hand].

This voyage was in both Weeks Bay and along the Fish River. While on the ride, a collection net for plankton specimens was put out, and all the passengers got to look at them through microscopes and recognize some of the types. One type I recognized was animal plankton that looked somewhat like crabs with two big eyes. We also learned that so much of the earth’s surface is covered with water that the ocean’s phytoplankters (plant plankton) produce 70-85% of the planet’s oxygen – much more than that produced by rain forests.

Perhaps our collection of photos will help you feel like you were along for the ride:

Maiden Voyage of Weeks Bay Reserve's New Boat
on flickr

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sentimental Journey

WHEN? Thursday · July 31 through Sunday · August 3

WHERE? Alabama and Mississippi · find us on the map

WHY? To visit with family, particularly its newest member

We've taken sentimental journeys on a number of occasions. Once, when on one such journey, I learned that I had been born in the back of a service station. Mind you, I was an adult at the time. First I'd heard of it.

It seems my father worked at the service station and he and my mother lived in the back of the place. The gas station was torn down long ago, and the post office makes no deliveries to my birthplace address.

Our most recent sentimental journey took place when we took a trip to see our first great grandchild. Maggie was not very aware of who I was, but I was very aware of similarities that took place a little over 20 years ago. Back then, we were amazed at what good parents our first grandchild's parents were, and history has repeated itself with that grandchild and her husband being great parents for Maggie.

Our trip was pleasant and free of heavy traffic. We got on Highway 45 in Mobile, then switched to Highway 78 at Tupelo, Mississippi for the remainder of the drive into Olive Branch. We went through lots of rural countryside and many small towns.

  • Wendell's trivia: Vinegar Bend, Alabama is the home of Wilmer David Mizell, a major league pitcher who played for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburg Pirates, and the New York Mets. While playing in the major leagues, he became known as Vinegar Bend Mizell. He also went on to serve three terms as a U.S. congressman from North Carolina between 1969 and 1975.
  • Typical rural sights: Tree farms, chicken farms, fields of soybeans, corn, hay bales, pastures of grazing livestock, even friends stopped at an intersection visiting with each other from their cars. Some areas were covered with thick forests, and we saw kudzu sculptures several times along the way where the plant was taking over everything in sight.

    Photo credit: flickr member rkeithstewart

  • We drove across the Tallahachie Bridge (over the Tallahachie River). Remember? That's what Billy Joe MacAllister jumped from, according to the song.
  • Since Quitman is known for its peaches, we couldn't resist stopping at Mathis Peaches & Produce to purchase a bunch.

    Quitman peaches

  • Mississippi industries: Mossy Oak and Duke Pecan Company in West Point; a large large RV Center in Aberdeen; United Furniture Industries and Dykes Industries in Okolona. It seems like it was the Tupelo area where we saw Hunter Douglas and Cooper Tire & Rubber Company. By far, the biggest industry we drove by was the new Toyota plant near Tupelo in Union County.
  • Besides being the largest city we drove past, Tupelo has at least two sights they were advertising on billboards for tourists: The birthplace of Elvis Presley and an Antique Car Museum.
  • Two good restaurants served as lunch stops for us:
    Westside Bar-B-Que in New Albany going up, and
    Olive Garden Italian restaurant in Meridian coming back.

Another recent sentimental blog post:

A Special Sentimental Letter

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pizza, Oysters & Opera


WHEN? Saturday · July 26

WHERE? Gulf Shores, Alabama · find us on the map

WHY? After watching this morning's American Eats episode about the history of pizza, can you blame us?

Papa-Rocco's high-profile location on Highway 59 (Gulf Shores Parkway) at 6th Avenue is just a quarter mile from the Gulf of Mexico. Founder Bill “Papa” McGinnes settled down in Lower Alabama in the 1980s, after leaving his engineering job in a Detroit auto factory. By the time its unusual slogan was dreamed up several years later, Papa-Rocco's was popular with both locals and tourists for its live entertainment and full menu until midnight.

In spite of its small size, Papa-Rocco's devotes floorspace to local entertainment seven nights a week. Gulf Coast musician Brent Burns is a customer favorite and the restaurant's longest running act. Along with Papa, Brent is a local legend himself. Several of his songs are included with the 2008 Alabama Gulf Coast Vacation Guide. All three were obviously written with the Redneck Riviera in mind, and they're right up our alley:

· Down In Paradise
· Livin' The Life (that Jimmy Buffett only wrote about), and
· Perpetual Vacation, which includes a line that pretty much describes us: I'm growing old, but I refuse to grow up.

Another reason customers return to Papa-Rocco's: Reasonable prices, particularly for its lunch and dinner specials. Although take-out menus weren't available, everything's covered on their website:

Papa Rocco's - Home of Warm Beer and Lousy Pizza

We had the good fortune to be seated at a table next to a Mississippi couple and their charming 4-year-old daughter. They'd chosen Papa-Rocco's for their last supper before embarking on the 300-mile return trip to Maben. When both of our pizzas arrived around the same time, we all dug in.

Wondering where the opera comes in?
Papa is an active supporter of the Pensacola Opera and travels to New York City each year to indulge his passion at the Metropolitan.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cay · Key · Quay

Beach view out back of Bahama Bob's

WHEN? Friday · July 18

WHERE? Gulf Shores, Alabama · find us on the map

Along with good food, today's lunch at Bahama Bob's included a pleasant surprise and two unexpected lessons in Bahamian culture:

  • The back open-air porch we dined on looks out onto the Gulf, where many people were enjoying the sun and surf. The restaurant's casual dress code (which includes swimsuits) and a rinse-off shower along the boardwalk encourage beachgoers to come in for rest and refreshment.
  • Cay, Key and Quay all mean the same thing (a small, low-elevation, sandy island formed on the surface of coral reefs) and are pronounced the same way.
  • A number of dishes on the menu are named after places in the Bahamas:

    Bimini Style Steamed Shrimp
    Crab Cay Crab Claws
    Hurricane Hole Fried Shrimp
    Norman’s Cay Fried Cheese Sticks
    Stanial Cay Chicken Tenders
    Crab Cay Baked Pangus

    Bahama Bob's Beach Side Cafe
    The menu also included the Bahama Bob's Story:

    While on a treasure hunt off Rum Cay Bahama, a hurricane nearly sank Bob’s 45-foot sailboat, the “Kavu.” The main sail gone and losing power, he made it back to George Town Bahama. To celebrate his near miss with death, Bob partied for 3 straight days! That’s right, 3 days! When he awoke, blurry eyed and he did, Bob stumbled next door to the bar for a Bloody Mary.

    Feeling much better, Bob booked a ride on the Staniel Cay Express, the slowest boat in all the islands. Finally landing in Stanial Cay, Bob caught a ride on a sea plane to Bimini. There he met Captian Chuck Rohr and his all girl crew! They became immediate friends. They set sail for Key West, making land fall 3 days later. Bob headed straight for Margaritaville. Several rum drinks later he ran into Frank & Steve, old friends from Gulf Shores. They convinced him to come back with them to “The other side of Paradise,” on West Beach. They had an idea! We could build a little slice of Island living right here.

    So ... Welcome to Bahama Bob’s. The Real Thing! The very best of everything you come to the beach for. And remember...


    See more of today's photos:
    Bahama Bob's Beach Side Cafe on Flickr

    Shady ladyLess shady

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pensacola Air Show

WHEN? Friday · July 11

WHERE? Pensacola Beach, Florida · find us on the map

Organizers of the annual Pensacola Beach Air Show know how to plan for a crowd, and its performers sure know how to please one. Although the show is held on a Saturday afternoon each July, we attended its Friday dress rehearsal ... and congratulated ourselves for doing so! Saturday's 50% chance of rain forecast turned into a windy downpour that interrupted the show and prevented the Blue Angels from performing that afternoon. But the show must go on: The Angels quickly scheduled a same-time/same-place performance for the following day — and you betcha their fans returned to whoop and holler at it.

The planes left paths that resemble a rollercoaster in the sky
Colorful shuttle busBlue Angels in tight formationHey-Hey-Hey ... it's Faaaaaat Albert!Actually, this isn't the Coast Guard rescue copterPensacola water tower

Outstanding performances:

= Opening number: Fat Albert, a Transport C-130 hercules aircraft that's permanently assigned to support the Blue Angels

= Aerobatics::

= Helicopter rescue demonstration by the U.S. Coast Guard

= Grand finale: The Navy’s famous flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels

The planes' white con-trails resembled roller coasters in the clouds, and were oftentimes the only photo I ended up with. Since their lightning-speed* maneuvers were more challenging to my amateur photography skills than I'd bargained on, I recommend Pensacola News Journal's Blue Angels full dress rehearsal photo gallery.

*And speaking of lightning ... according to local reports, four of Saturday's spectators ended up in a local emergency room for lightening-related injuries.

See more of today's photos:
Pensacola Beach air show on flickr

And if this looks sorta familiar ...
The Blue Angels have ended up on our travelblog several other times since last summer:

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Pirates Cove

WHEN? Sunday · July 6

WHERE? Josephine, Alabama · find us on the map

Pirates Cove · No Wake
NO WAKE - Pirates Cove
Photo Credit: flickr member us1mm0

After learning about Pirates Cove from others, Wendell and I took a Sunday afternoon drive to this out-of-the-way beach near Elberta.

Josephine Alabama is an ideal place — not only a boater's paradise, but a boater's wife and children's paradise as well. Touching Perdido Bay to the south, it's just a few minutes boat ride from the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, yet is surrounded by beaches and a picturesque bay setting of small uninhabited islands.

from Josephine's realty website

Although paradise is accurate, Pirates Cove was certainly not uninhabited when we were there. Indeed it was inhabited by "laid back" adults in beach attire, barefooted children running into the water and playing with abandon — and lots of dogs. Everyone was enjoying the afternoon in their own way, including us. For many who live the daily rat race of making a living, a place like this would be an ideal vacation. Some lucky people even live here year round.

Since we didn't bring our camera, we don't have any photos of our own to post, but we discovered many others at Pirates Cove Yacht Club.

The Yacht Club designates an official
Pirates Cove Dog of the Month
downloadable application ►

Applicants are encouraged to give special attention to the EXPEDITED APPROVAL instructions included on the application.

Click for full-size application

SLOW DOWN and watch for pedestrians Update 7/12/2008

The following weekend, we returned to Pirates Cove on an overcast day and took some photos. After everyone scurried indoors to escape the afternoon thunderstorm, we found some new Flickr friends — or rather, they found us.

This place is so much fun, we expect to return frequently.

See more Pirates Cove photos on flickr