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I Know What I Want to Be When I Grow Up!

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Know What I Want to Be When I Grow Up!

I want to fly into hurricanes when I grow up!

Many who know me know that I've wanted to do that for many years. I may have even mentioned it in high school, but probably didn't talk about it anymore once I learned that most of the people who do that are in the Air Force...and in high school I never dreamed of joining the military.

It's probably one of those things that probably would only work out for me if the stars were lined up just right. Dave would have to be stationed back in the southeast again, etc. Not sure if the winds will blow us in that direction again...

This weekend, since I was relatively close, I took a drive from Fort Walton Beach over to Biloxi, MS, where my friend Brian lives now. It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive. He moved down in summer 2007 and is now a member of the Hurricane Hunters, the USAF Reserves 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. He really got busy this past 2008 hurricane season, flying through such headliners as Gustav and Ike.

I arrived last evening around 6pm...it was already dark by the time I arrived, but even the moonlight couldn't hide the changes to the Gulf Coast since I was last there in 1996. When we drove around during the day again on Saturday, I was pretty emotional about everything that got destroyed. Gorgeous Antebellum Homes, thousands of years of vegetative growth, and the very lives of hundreds of thousands of people. It's very unfortunate seeing the toll the current economy is going to take on the rebuilding efforts there...

Today Brian took me over to visit his squadron, and I got a brief tour of the aircraft, including the equipment they use. Very cool...I am particularly impressed by the SFMR (dyslexically nicknamed "Smurf"), which is a radar system that can determine surface wind speeds while airborne based on the agitation of the waves on the ocean surface.


From 2008 12 13 Patricia_Brian_Biloxi

From 2008 12 13 Patricia_Brian_Biloxi

From 2008 12 13 Patricia_Brian_Biloxi


After visiting the squadron, we ate lunch at Mary Mahoney's in old historic downtown Biloxi. It was neat seeing their documentation of Hurricanes Camille and Katrina, and I had some delicious crawfish etouffee with a bread pudding dessert.

From 2008 12 13 Patricia_Brian_Biloxi



From 2008 12 13 Patricia_Brian_Biloxi


The sign at the top of the above picture is shown in closeup below:
From 2008 12 13 Patricia_Brian_Biloxi


Then we spent the afternoon at two casinos: the Beau Rivage and the Hard Rock. We didn't really gamble (a few slot machines), but I really enjoyed seeing the gorgeous holiday decorations at the Beau Rivage and the rock music memorabalia at the Hard Rock.

From 2008 12 13 Patricia_Brian_Biloxi

From 2008 12 13 Patricia_Brian_Biloxi


We did a lot of walking Saturday afternoon and after dinner I hopped back over to Fort Walton Beach. I had a nice time and it's always fun to visit with old friends...thanks for your hospitality, Brian!

PS: Enjoy this artwork from Mississippi native Dayton Scoggins. He's been carving dead live oak stumps into these stunning works of art:

From 2008 12 13 Patricia_Brian_Biloxi

From 2008 12 13 Patricia_Brian_Biloxi

From 2008 12 13 Patricia_Brian_Biloxi

From 2008 12 13 Patricia_Brian_Biloxi

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1 Comments:

At Monday, December 15, 2008 at 8:29:00 AM CST , Blogger Susana la Banana said...

Two thoughts occur to me after reading this post:
1. Still can't stop giggling at the "smurf." Dyslexic, indeed!
2. Yeah, I have a feeling there might be a significant lack of hurricane-hunting opportunities where you are now. That's too bad!
Glad you've been enjoying yourself! ;)

 

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