Saturday, July 09, 2005

Hurricane Dennis Ending of Vacation But Zero Infringement

Well after a wonderful week on the beach in Panama City Beach, we packed up and left this morning around 9AM. It was our scheduled departure date so Dennis did not impact our vacation. Unfortunately the folks in my home state of Florida are going to be impacted on Sunday evening.

Looks like Dennis is going to be a Category Four like Ivan who hit Pensacola just about a year ago. It did a lot of damage to that resort town and they don't need another storm. We stayed in Pensacola for two days on our trip and you can see a lot of visible rebuilding still going on. Lots of hotels are still closed, and the one we stayed at had only be reopened for about two months. Another hit would not be good.

Last night when we walked on the beach at six PM, we saw only about ten people total for our three mile walk. It was already a ghost town. The ride was not bad until we hit Birmingham and then we saw several cars that appeared to have run out of gas. They were newer cars and we had heard that gas stations on I65 were running out of gas, so one can only deduct that the petro shortage on I65 got them. We came up a couple state roads(I prefer shortest line from A to B on and occasion like this - verses interstate), and had no issue with gas. From Mobile AL to Montgomery, I65 was closed to south bound traffic and all lanes were running north bound.

We made it to Cullman AL (just south of the Tenn line), and a very nice Hampton Inn. Its brand new and clean as a bell. I went swimming with the kids after dinner since we have been in water for about eight hours per day since 6/29, and they are out cold. The other thing I like about Hampton Inn, is they always have a very fast "free" DSL.

Back to Dennis and the Florida Panhandle. The beach is the economy of that area and a bad storm will cause a great deal of economic damage if not other more serious damage. The Red Neck Riviera, as some call it, could do without Dennis. That said if you have an interest in "investment property" I'd suggest looking at Panama City Beach. I did and I'm considering a condo for rental and vacation purposes. It in the warm stage of what "could" become very hot, even considering hurricanes.

The Panhandle does attract a southern group as opposed to other areas of Florida and I found it enjoyable. Not a lot of brash New Yorkers around and the few that were and found it necessary to express their New Yorkerness, were quickly put in their place by a large collective group of southern gentleman and ladies. They really had no idea what to do about that except shut up and leave. I witnessed it on a couple of occasions and it was hilarious. Stay in South Florida if your from the North East, you won't have a good time in the Panhandle.

One of the things we did on this vacation was attend my brother-in-laws OTC graduation from the Air Force. I'm very proud of him and got to go on the base in Montgomery AL for all the activities, and saw and met a lot of young men and woman who are proudly serving this great country during a very active military period. Just as America is a great melting pot of diverse people, what I saw in Montgomery shows that our military is also highly diverse with wonderful Americans gladly accepting the challenge and call of service. It made me very proud of our country to meet these people and see what their life is all about. I plan to blog on that in detail.

Back to STL tomorrow and the closing of a wonderful family vacation that has left a permanent scrapbook of beautiful pictures in my mind. I'm an American Express kind of consumer when it comes to credit (pay it off every month), but the trip has been Priceless.......................