Going Places

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It’s here…it’s finally here! The boys have been going on about Halloween for a couple of weeks now and counting down the days. Soon their coffers will be filled with CANDY!

This year, Adam was a S.W.A.T. officer, and Alex was the Red Power Ranger. Long gone are the days they would dress in similar costumes, as each year they become more and more diverse in their interests. But hey, they’re both crime fighters this year, right?

SWAT and Power Ranger

This year Charlie even got into the act, as a Rocker with his jean jacket and guitar…

Charlie Rocker

Meanwhile, in Alabama, grandkids Oliver and Carter John look AWESOME as Woody and Buzz…

Woody and Buzz

and Kameran was Barb from Stranger Things. I think she did a great job!

Kam and Barb

As expected, the boys cleaned-up on Candy…enough to last them into December. And Charlie absolutely loved the walk (and the attention).

Happy Halloween

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The Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens have an annual “Spooktacular” event on the weekend nights leading up to Halloween…

Spooktacular Nights

This was our first time going and it was a lot of fun. There was live music and the staff were dressed-up in costumes. There were countless picture-taking opportunities (to the boys chagrin 😛 )…

Spooktacular Nights
Spooktacular Nights

But what we really came for and what made the pictures worthwhile for the boys was…

Spooktacular Nights

We did get to see some of the animals, but most of them seemed to be in for the night. I guess the animals really weren’t the point of the event.

Spooktacular Nights

And although the boys weren’t too happy with the picture-taking at first, by the end of the night, they were into it and actually asking to take pictures here and there…

Spooktacular Nights

It was a spooky-fun night!

Spooktacular Nights

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This afternoon, the boys donned their Pack 280 tee-shirts and joined some other scouts from the district for some b.b. gun and archery fun. They learned range safety, proper range commands, and the parts of the b.b. gun and bow and arrow.

The boys almost look like professionals in the prone position shooting at the target. Adam thought it was pretty cool because he could pretend he was a sniper…

This was the first time for both of them on the archery range and once they got comfortable with the proper way to hold the bow and notch the arrow, they did very good. As a lefty, Adam used a regular bow and as you can see, he scored a bullseye…

Alex got to use one of the compound bows and he got three arrows in the outside rings. I thought he had pretty darn good form…

The boys had a real good time and are looking forward to the Cub Scout “Cuboree” at Camp Shands in a couple of weeks where they’ll do more work with B.B. guns and bows and arrows!

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So, as you know, Cindy is in the U.K. visiting her dad. Looks like she’s having a good time, too! Sharing a Gunniess with the ol’ man…

Cindy sipping Gunniess

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Yesterday Cindy left for England to visit her dad. She had to fly out of Orlando, so the boys and I took a couple of extra days to cap-off our summer vacation and are staying at Hilton’s Parc Soleil Resort…

Hilton Parc Soleil

The rooms are AWESOME!

Hilton Parc Soleil

and the pool? Well, this just about says it all…

Thumb-up

Anyway, we started our day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They’ll be closing the TCM Great Movie Ride soon, so I wanted to take a ride on it one more time. It’s not the boys favorite ride by any means, but they tolerate it for me. 😉

So, we enjoyed the Indiana Jones show and snapped some pictures of the tank outside…

Tank

and the Frozen Sing-a-Long show is always fun (and extremely funny), but Adam says he’s not going to sing…

Frozen Show

We had Fast Passes for most of the rides we went on, so we were pretty much done by early afternoon. So, we headed back to the Parc for some fun-in-the-sun!

Alex on the Slide

Boys in the Pool

The bar stocked Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, so while the boys enjoyed the pool slide, Dad enjoyed a “dark” Mojito. Mmmmm.

Dark Mojito

Tomorrow, we’re heading home. School starts next week!

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One of the benefits to being retired military is you still have access to all the bases in the country. Many of these bases are located on some pretty darn good real estate, like Key West’s Truman Annex,

Truman Annex

which is home to some prime beachfront…

Truman Annex

and we had it all to ourselves…

Truman Annex

Truman Annex

And with the campsite set-up, we’re ready to hit the water!

Truman Annex

Adjacent to the base beach is a state park, which is separated by a not-so-foreboding fence…

Truman Annex

which we walked around to rent some snorkeling equipment…

Truman Annex Truman Annex

and do some snorkeling…

Truman Annex

While walking on one of the trails in the State Park, we happened across this signpost. Good to know where we are in relation to other cities around the world, and it makes a nice postcard picture!

Truman Annex

We had a great time at the beach today. It was nice and quiet, which is amazing considering it’s the middle of summer! Ah, the perks of military service. It’s days like this that make all the family separations worthwhile!

Truman Annex

So, we packed-up and headed back to our hotel, where we took a dip in the pool and enjoyed a cocktail (Shirley Temples for the boys) before getting ready for dinner in town. What a way to end a great vacation! Tomorrow, we’ll be heading home.

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Well this morning, we started the second leg of our vacation, traveling down A1 to Key West…and in Florida, this is where the road ends.

Where the road ends

of course, it’s also where the road begins…

Where the road begins

We’re staying at Hilton’s Grand Tree Resort; it’s in a good location and pretty close to everything!

Grand Tree Resort

It was a pretty night in town and we couldn’t come to the Conch Republic without visiting Jimmy Buffet’s original “Margaritaville”…

Margaritaville

and after we enjoyed our Cheeseburgers in Paradise (and Margarita’s for mom and I)…

Cheeseburger in Paradise

we ventured down the street for a bit of sightseeing. This is where we encountered the nice man with a parrot…

Parrot Parrot

Parrot Parrot

Parrot Parrot

And how can one visit the southernmost tip of the United States without getting a picture in front of the marker?

Southernmost Tip of Florida

Tomorrow we’re looking forward to some more fun in the sun!

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One of the great advantages to being a member of the Freedom Boat Club is you have access to boats all over the country. There just happens to be a boat club affiliate here! I arranged a boat to take the family off-shore prior to our arrival, so the folks had the boat rready and waiting when we arrived…

Boat Waiting

and in just a few minutes we were ready to cast-off!

The Sea EO

And we’re off…

The Sea EO

Heading across the bay…

Boat going out

Into the inlet and out to sea! As you can see, Adam like’s to sit next to the Captain 🙂

The inlet

Destination? Anywhere!

Out to sea

We spent the afternoon on the open water. I’d open the throttle and we’d jump the waves at about 50-mph The boys had a blast! Every now and then, I’d slow to idle and we’d just sit on the water rocking back and forth with the rhythm of the ocean. It was wonderful!

Alex would lounge…

Alex lounge

Adam would pace (LOL)…

Adam paces

Cindy would pose…

Cindy poses

Me and Cindy

Beautiful and sooo peaceful!

Pano of Palm Beach Shores

one the way back to the marina, we decided to stop and visit Peanut Island, which is situated in the middle of Palm Beach Shore Harbor…

The boys on Peanut Island

It’s a great place to swim and snorkel, but very rocky!

Cindy and the boys on Peanut Island

This is the life!

Me and the boys on Peanut Island

We had a good time swimming and exploring the island, but alas, the day was drawing to a close, so we reluctantly packed-up the boat…

Loading the boat

and motored-off toward the marina. This time Alex sat next to the Captain…

Me and Alex

What a great day! And did I mention, it was my birthday? 😉

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So, we slept-in a little this morning, then went downstairs for some breakfast. It was a bright and sunny day and we were all looking forward to spending the day in the water. It was probably about 10:00 a.m., when we walked out on the resort’s private beach. The concession folks already had our loungers and umbrellas up, so we set-up camp and got busy r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g…

Set-up

We had a magnificent view…

View

and the water felt great!

Cindy and the Boys

We lounged on the beach and swam until the late afternoon…

Alex Adam

when we packed-up and headed to the pool for drinks and a bite to eat…and more swimming! Of course, we have to pause for a family picture…

Family on the Boardwalk

The pool area is very nice…

Resort Pool

and I’m soon in need of another drink!

I need another drink

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Today we begin our 10-day summer vacation. We arrived this afternoon at our resort in Palm Beach Shores. After unpacking and grabbing a quick bite to eat at the Cabana, we strolled out to the beach. I arranged for some chairs and umbrellas that should be up and ready for us to spend the next few days soaking-up some sun!

Palm Beach Shores Resort

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