9/11 Pentagon Memorial

One of the most-remembered memorials in Washington D.C., for us, was the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial.  From a distance, we could tell where the American Airlines Flight 77 had made impact simply because of the new masonry.  All other evidence was nonexistent except for the Memorial benches below.  Once we arrived at the memorial, the feeling was like none other.

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A Time to Rumble….Rolling Thunder

     In our trip planning for 2015, a few of the most important things we wanted to do was visit a Fallen friend in Arlington National Cemetery, ride in Rolling Thunder and visit the Pentagon Memorial. Proudly, we’ve completed our personal mission; even added a few along the way.


     We arrived at U.S. Army’s Fort Belvoir Campground RV Park the Thursday prior, got our rig set up, decorated for the special holiday and prepared to carry out our wishes starting Friday. 



Saturday, we rode over to American Legion Post 177 in Fairfax, VA to meet up with Veteran friends who we’ve met years prior and to see a former shipmate of Dan’s.  Sunday morning, we woke before the rise of the sun to ride back to the American Legion ‘Run to the Thunder 2015’ to ride with the American Legion Riders to the Pentagon parking lot to wait for Rolling Thunder procession to begin.




For those who aren’t familiar with what Rolling Thunder is:
Rolling Thunder and its mission began as a demonstration following the era of the Vietnam War, which was a difficult time in our history. Many of America’s military were killed or missing in action (MIA) and their remains were not being returned home or respectfully buried. There were also reports of live prisoners of war (POW) who were left behind when the war ended. In 1987, Vietnam veteran Ray Manzo, bothered by these accounts, came to DC with his idea and enlisted the help of fellow veterans Holland, Sides, and Sampley, to organize a motorcycle demonstration to bring attention to the POW/MIA situation. Choosing Memorial Day weekend for the event, they envisioned the arrival of the motorcycles coming across the Memorial Bridge, and thought it would sound like “Rolling Thunder”. The first Run in 1988, had roughly 2500 motorcycles and riders demanding that the U.S. government account for all POW/MIA’s; it continues to grow every year, becoming the world’s largest single-day motorcycle event. Now with over a million riders and spectators combined, Rolling Thunder has evolved into an emotional display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country.         (borrowed for accuracy from http://www.rollingthunderrun.com/)
This year estimated over 200,000 motorcycles.  We arrived at the Pentagon parking lot approximately 8:00 am and waited about 6 hours until we fired up our motorcycles to ride through Washington D.C.
Awaiting along the streets were grateful Americans cheering for our mission and presence.  


Some photos we took along the way.  
Note: we were two-upping on Lisa’s Harley; she took photos as a passenger. 

     Once we finished the run, we parked in a field in the city and walked over to the Vietnam Wall and Lincoln Memorial.  This was our fourth Rolling Thunder Run.  It will no doubt, be a few years until we ride again.  We will never forget the mission and reason for the run and hope we were heard by those who have forgotten that we still have POW’s and MIA’s in other countries.

Special THANK YOU to American Legion Post 177 for your hospitality and organizing the Run to Thunder 2015.

A Nation’s Shame: National P.O.W. Memorial Museum and Andersonville

 

We weren’t prepared for the history lesson we learned; one that wasn’t talked about in our studies in our high school history lessons.  We’ve visited several Civil War Battlefields in the past, however, nothing ever prepared us for the experience we felt from visiting this site; Camp Sumter Confederate Prison Site at Andersonville, GA

Fort Benning Uchee Creek Army Campground – ALABAMA/GEORGIA (Military)

CAMPGROUND REVIEW – Military


Campground/RV Park: Fort Benning Uchee Creek Army Campground

Location: 7 Uchee Creek Rd, Fort Mitchell, AL 36856  (706) 545-4053 or (706) 545-7238
Date(s) Stayed: 3/18/15 – 4/19/15
Length of Stay: 1 month
Site #: 52 and 411
Cost per night (with taxes): $648/month
Discount Used: none
Connections: FHU’s
Stars: –1


Fort Benning Uchee Creek Army Campground is an Army managed (more like “mismanaged”) campground located ‘off’ post.  Being totally transparent and honest, we would NOT stay here again nor would we recommend this campground to any military RV’ers, friends or family..  Beginning with the staff, except for a sweet young lady “Nadidia”, they seriously need to hone their customer service skills.  Most of the office staff have foreign accents that may be difficult to understand.  Watch your credit card!  They overcharged us even before we left.  We spent 30 minutes there telling them how much we owed because they couldn’t understand fluent English or mathematics.


We made a reservation over 2 months in advance, explaining to the woman who was taking our reservation that we needed a big rig site for our 43′ 5th wheel toyhauler.  When we arrived to our assigned site, it was awful.  We literally had to shoehorn our rig between trees that were inches from our slides when they were out on muddy packed dirt site.  We were unable to put our awning out because the trees and branches were too close and low hanging.  The sites were dirty, unkempt, overgrown and firepits that needed cleaned with sterile gloves.  We literally had to clean our site just to be able to enjoy looking at it.  The picnic table was falling apart.  Not 30 minutes later after hooking up our electric, we experienced a power surge that could have fried our whole rig’s electric/electronics had we not had our power surge protector.  Still, it damaged our refrigerator which cost us $120 service call.  After experiencing two more days of power surges, we went to the camp office to ask to move to the BIG RIG sites over in the 400 section (why they didn’t put us there to begin with is beyond us!).  We would have asked to move earlier however, the MWR office sponsored a “civilian” archery competition in which they had already rented out all of their other sites to “civilians”.  That weekend was total mayhem!  No MP’s or security at all.  Participants in their cars, trucks, and golf carts were speeding through the campsite (the speed limit ranged from 10-20mph). Made a very unpleasant weekend on top of the already power issues and filth we were experiencing.


After the weekend was over, we packed up and moved over to our new site which was much improved and cleaner with asphalt pull-throughs.  However, the electric power still had serious issues throughout our stay.  Every night precisely at 6:00 pm, power would go out for approximately 15 minutes (dinner time?) and with frequent power outings/surges. We were told by one of the staff that came to look at it that they have had nothing but problems with the underground cable/wiring.  Their provided ‘free WiFi’ worked sparsely.  We tried to use our AT&T hotspot and Verizon WiFi’s which  worked only 10% of the time.  We couldn’t even get a signal for our phone calls.  We assumed that because of the location of the campground to the air strips, that the air traffic control may have been jamming disallowing our use.   If you are an RV’er that relies on internet, buyer beware.  Several times we had to take our laptop to the PX food court to do research and make reservations.


The laundry was expensive for being a military facility.  There were no tables to fold your clothes on.  The bathrooms were dirty.  The Camp Host’s idea of cleaning the bathrooms was just refilling the toilet paper.  Again, I mention there is NO SECURITY even though its a military owned campground.  In fact, the gate on one side is in the stuck position of up.  ‘Anyone’ could drive in and access the campground; not a safe place for military families to enjoy security while their loved ones may be deployed.  Also, it is quite a drive just to get to the campground; 10 mile drive just to get to the gate to get on post and about 17 miles to the commissary/px.


This military campground was quite expensive for what it was and offered; at least in the spring month that we were there.  The pool and pool area was disgusting.  The whole grounds severely needed landscaping help.  What we’ve heard from several ‘upper level’ military members is the MWR there mismanaged their books and now are trying to recoup the funds on the backs of those who use the RV campground.  Also, this was the first military campground that charges military retirees based on rank, but either way, it was the most expensive ‘military’ campground we’ve ever stayed at.  Average is $450-500/month.  Uchee Creek was $648!!!  We’ve stayed at gorgeous RV RESORTS that were less money. 


Unfortunately, it hurts our hearts to write such a negative review of a campground, let alone a military campground.  But we are honest and want folks who may consider staying here to be aware of the mismanagement of this Army MWR.  

Live Oak Landing – FLORIDA (Freeport)

RV PARK REVIEW


Campground/RV Park:  Live Oak Landing 

Location:  229 Pitts Ave, Freeport, FL 32439    (877) 436-5063
Date(s) Stayed: 2/18/15 – 3/18/15
Length of Stay: 1 month
Site #: 52
Cost per night (with taxes): $650 month
Discount Used: none
Connections: FHU’s
Stars: 4.5


Live Oak Landing was a nice surprise after about a 30 minute drive from I-10; nestled in live oak trees draped in Spanish Moss with views of inlets to the Choctawatchee Bay.  Big Rig friendly with paved concrete pads for back in or pull-throughs.  Each has a fire ring and picnic table. Small playground for children.  Nice pool for warmer months.  Nice walking path for evening walks to watch the sunset over the inlet.  Small boat ramp for cottage residents and RV’ers.  Peddle boat, canoes and motorized small fishing boat for rent available.  Nice picnic pavilion located in the corner on the inlet.  Gorgeous views.  Fenced in Dog Area to let them run and do their business.  Laundry area is outside under awning however it’s clean and roomy.  Bathrooms are clean and ample.  Staff is friendly and accommodating.  Cute, clean cottages for rent as well.  Located approximately 30-40 minutes to Panama City; about 20 minutes to Eglin AFB.   We would consider returning to Live Oak Landing