Planning The Winter Trip


As the trees lose their leaves here in Vermont, we start thinking about heading out once again this winter to the Southwest. So it’s time to crank up Google and Mapquest and lay out some options.

This year, I want to head toward Pensacola first to revisit the place I started my flight training decades ago. The Naval Air Museum, which I visited briefly many years ago, is high on our list of must-see places. I was in the NAS Cubi Point Officers’ Club in the Philippines during several Vietnam deployments and the Cafe at the museum has a replica of the bar and many of the hundreds of squadron plaques.

The start of the trip, now planned for early January, is probably the toughest part of the journey. Not only will the Airstream be winterized with anti-freeze in the systems, the weather is often dicey. There are some high spots on I-88 between Albany and Binghamton and the stretches of I-81 until you drop into the Harrisburg area can get a lot of wind and snow. We’re planning to watch for a weather opening and drive to Harrisburg the first day — perhaps the longest drive.

Right now, I’ve got stops planned at state parks at Warrior’s Path State Park in Tennessee and Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama. We’re planning to stay for a while at Fort Pickens campground on the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Weather and conditions permitting, we’ll use that as a base for visiting Pensacola sites. With a wood fire going behind me, it’s kind of nice to think about — three months from now.

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