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Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Air Force…Tyndall and Eglin…Home of the F-35 Raptor


March 12th and 13th 2014

The last few days, we have been moving and covering a lot of miles. Two reasons for this rapid travel: the first, is our voluntary commitment, to be in New Mexico for the Bataan Death Marathon (BDM) to cheer on our friend and fellow retired soldier Jerry D. the end of next week. It is roughly 2,400 hundred miles from Key West to White Sands Missile Base. Riding along 109 miles of beachesThe second reason is the weather. On the eleventh, we dodged showers driving from Collier/Seminole State Park. No problem there, but after the front moved by, it was very clear, but cold. I recorded a low of 40 degrees during the night. It warmed up to 67 degrees by mid afternoon. We must be getting soft for thinking it was cold!

On the 11th, we slept at our old stomping grounds (AKA Cracker BTyndall AFBarrel Restaurant). By morning we had the company of four other RV’ers in the parking lot. That day we logged 344 miles. On the 10th, 246 miles , 286 miles on the 12th and a misally 109 today. That leaves about 1,400 miles to go.

Enough of the stats! Forty nine years ago, I had just returned from Vietnam and was stationed at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. I got in the routine of coming down the 100 miles to Panama City for the weekends. I would load four to five guys in my pickup truck, charge them $25 a piece and shuttle them F35 Raptor just seconds after takeoffdown to the beaches and bars. I wouldn’t baby sit them either. I would drop them off Friday night and say I’ll leave here at 5pm Sunday night with or without you. The city has changed so much, I didn’t recognize anything but the Gulf of Mexico.

As the title of the blog says, Tyndall Air Force Base, just south of Panama City, Florida is a very active base. The F 35 Raptor (our newest and most sophisticated fighter is based here). The FamCamp campground is located to the west end of the runway. The Raptors were practicing nearly vertical takeoffs. The power and noise of their aOur site at Tyndall AFB Panama Cityscent was astounding! I would run outside of the camper to get a picture, but they were nearly out of sight every time. I pity any enemy facing this jet fighter.

Today, we drove along all of the beaches from Tyndall to Fort Walton Beach some 109 miles. The day was sunny, but it never got above 66 degrees. It was a day to drive and enjoy the scenery. Oh, yes… spring breakers don’t seem to mind the cooler weather. Many kids were walking the shore line. FamCamp at Eglin AFB, Ft. Walton Beach, FLThe water is normally a beautiful turquoise color, but with the wind churning the water in the Gulf seemed to be more of a muddy brown.

We arrived at Eglin and checked into the campground office. They had plenty of room. They also have two campgrounds on base. We selected the one down towards the marina. It is a nice place with all the utilities including cable TV. This evening we walked along the bay. It was gettiFull Moon after sunset...Eglin AFBng cooler, but the nearly a full moon was worth our walking exercise for the day.

That is what we saw and did! 

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