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Monday, January 26, 2015

First Four Days in Key West

Monday, January 12, 2015
It has been a trying week to say the least. The trip down here was a constant battle to beat the weather. To top that off, Helen’s mom wound up in the hospital on Wednesday, the 7th, and is now at the nursing home. That in itself was nerve racking for Helen. She seriously considered or still is considering flying back up to Berlin. On the bright side, her mom, so far has adjusted to the nursing home. Helen’s sister, Doris, has taken over the helm and taken care of all the paper work.
Now, for Key West! The campground at Trumbo Point is nearly full to capacity. We are setup in the 600 block area, not the same location as our site last year, but our lot size is nearly double in size. Our neighbors are friendly and Gene has offered to fill our fresh water tank. He has a 45 gal bladder tank with an electric pump which makes short order of refilling. We have met many of our last years friends and tomorrow, Friday the 16th, is the gathering for coffee and donuts at the swimming pool area.
Our site is shaping up every day. I setup the shelter, installed some bamboo screening for afternoon shading. The outdoor rug keeps the debris from being tracked into the camper. The gas grill is unpacked from the roof storage area and already in use. Truck has been power washed and every day I do a little more detailing. There is an unwritten competition here between Laurent, Tommy and myself to see who has the cleanest pickup truck. So far, Laurent and Tommy have me beat by far.
Friday, January 16, 2015
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday just seemed to fly by with no special activities. Our friend, Paul Foster, gave me a heads up for Friday. Another camper named John has a son in-law that is a F-16 fighter pilot.
Fighter Pilot Show and Tell
His Toledo, Ohio Squadron is down here on training. Another Squadron of F-15 from Louisiana is also here, along with the Navy “Conch” Air Force. (Special F-105 fighters painted in foreign adversarial colors.) To shortened the story, John arranged for a bunch of Trumbo Point campers to have a special tour on the flight line and watch the jet fighters take off. I’ve been to air shows before, but never been able to get up close and personal with some of this country’s best and finest aircraft.

First order of business was to meet the aircraft handlers. These are the guys that make them fly and load all of those smart bombs and missiles. Walking into the massive hanger, we saw many aircraft parts. One of the main concerns for security was, you guessed it “No Pictures” I certainly can understand that concern. The Major, John’s son-in-law, did allow us to take a few pictures of the pressure suits the pilots wear to keep blood into the upper part of their bodies while turning the aircraft at extreme “G” forces. We then walked to the flight-line and checked out the aircraft. The F-15’s were starting their engines. We had been given ear plugs and were told that we would know when to put them in. He was right! The F-15s’ with twin engines revving at 37,000 RPM produced a howl that was loud and the sound of power. He said they can fly for about 2-1/2 hours without refueling…that’s 1,400gals of jet fuel…$$$$$
We watched all three squadrons take off. The Major explained how computers fly the fighters and make all adjustments in flight. It was certainly an interesting morning. The F-15’s, 16’s and F-105’s aren't  our latest fighters (The F-22 “Raptors are”), but still a world class fighter that has proven itself in combat many times.
In talking to John, I discovered that he also was a Huey pilot. I worked on Hueys in Vietnam. He said he was a “Dust Off” pilot which indicates he flew medical evacuation missions. There are so many retired veterans from all branches of the Armed Forces here. They all have stories to recount and we are all so called “Band of Brothers”
Saturday, January 17, 2015

This is the first day of the 10th annual Seafood Festival in Key West. It is an impressive event with not only seafood, but local arts and craft vendors and live bands
Crafty Arts!
playing music all day. We had clams for lunch and spent several hours talking to the artist. Some are very cleaver make things from drift wood, coconut shells and even rocks! We sat and listened to a couple of bands. Some people were dancing and I must say, some looked like they were ready for “Dancing with the Stars”. The second band was “Rock and Roll”. They were good, but a little to loud for my taste and we walked back to the campground about a mile away. Yes, that’s what we are here for… exercising and enjoying the great outdoors!

That is what we did and saw!


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