Craig's big road trip

Day 25 - Pensacola to Gainesville
The starting point
Day 1 - Seattle to Yakima
Day 2 - Yakima to Bend
Day 3 - Bend to Mt. Shasta
Day 4 - Mt. Shasta to Oakdale
Day 5 - Oakdale to Tehachapi
Yosemite National Park
Day 6 - Tehachapi to Las Vegas
Day 7-10 in Las Vegas
Day 11 - Las Vegas to Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon N.P.
Day 12 - Grand Canyon to Kayenta
Day 13 - Monument Valley
Day 14 - Kayenta to Telluride
Day 15 - Telluride
Day 16 - Telluride to Glenwood Springs
Day 17 - Glenwood Springs to Idaho Springs
Day 18 - Idaho Springs to Golden
Day 19 - Golden to Amarillo
Day 20 - Amarillo to Tyler
Day 21 - Tyler to Lake Charles
Day 22 - Lake Charles to Waveland
Day 24 - Waveland to Pensacola
Day 25 - Pensacola to Gainesville
Day 26 - Gainesville to Titusville
Day 27 - Kennedy Space Center
Day 28 - Titusville to Clearwater
The finishing point

Friday April 25, 2003.
Thunder and the sound of rain pelting my window woke me up earlier than the time I had set on my alarm clock.  A peek through the gap in the curtains confirmed hurricane-like rain and wind outside.  The radio weather report said the rain would stop by mid morning, and luckily for me, it did.
The drive east parallel to Pensacola Beach is a tour of weird architecture in beach houses.  One house was in the shape of a flying saucer and even appeared to have aliens inside.
To avoid the stop-start traffic through the beachfront suburbs, I turned inland towards the Eglin Air Force Base and then east on highway 20 in the direction of Tallahassee.
Just after Niceville ( I can't believe they called it that ) and near the Air Force Base is an Air Force museum.  Hoping to sit in some more fighter jet cockpits, I went inside, only to discover that it's really an Air Force armaments museum, which means it's mostly about weapons, and not so much about exotic aircraft.  It was a bit depressing to see how proud they are of their weapons technology.  Eglin Air Force Base is largely there for the purpose of weapons development and testing.  The telling statement that turned me off and made me want to leave was in a video about a new type of bomb that can "sense" multiple targets such as tanks and trucks and destroy several of them in a single pass within about a half acre area.  The phrase used in the video narration to describe the benefit of this new bomb was "productivity improvements".
Ironically, a mockup copy of the most "productive" bomb ever used is also on display.  That bomb was "The Fat Man" which was dropped on Nagasaki.  It was chilling to see what it actually looked like (see picture below).  And the descriptive sign with the mockup states that approximately 45,000 people were "immediately killed" by that bomb.  Those people were largely civilian women and children.  That is not a "productivity" that I would be proud of.
Soon after the start of highway 20 east I stopped at Choctaw Beach on the north side of Choctawhatchee Bay.  I needed to clean the car's windows inside and out because they had fogged up in today's high humidity.  I needed to use the car's airconditioning several times during the day.
From Choctaw Beach, the road was very easy to drive.  For the next ten hours I encountered very little traffic.  The road passes through forests and farms and only the smallest of towns. To bypass Tallahassee I turned southeast onto state road 267 which allowed me to then rejoin highway 98 east which was now clear of all beachside suburbs and gave me a free and pleasant run to Perry where I turned onto highway 27 east.  I was hoping to stay the night somewhere east of Perry so I could explore the thermal springs in the area the next day.  But all the towns on that route were so small they had no motel.   I ended up reaching Gainesville at 11:00pm before I found a motel for the night.  It was a much longer drive today than I had set out to do.

All images on this page copyright Craig Norris.  All rights reserved.