A few weeks ago, the Emerald Coast celebrated their Blue Angels' Homecoming!
Let me tell you, we had quite the adventure! And several lessons were learned that day.
1) Get there early.
The Blue Angels are a huge attraction and the fact that it was the Homecoming show made the crowds bigger than ever. Since we arrived early, we were able to get a really good parking spot.
2) Bring your lawn chairs.
The biggest mistake that we made was forgetting our lawn chairs. I suggested that we just camp out on the ground, but Dan said, "Are you kidding me?!" I didn't want to lose our parking. Dan didn't want to sit on the ground for five hours. After arguing about how it "wouldn't be that bad," Dan convinced me that it would be better that we just go to Wal*Mart (which was literally 5 miuntes away) to buy lawn chairs.
3) When in a crunch, always choose Wal*Mart.
I'm a Target girl. Therefore, I convinced Dan to go to the Target across the street form Wal*Mart. Well, apparently, everyone had that same idea because Target had no lawn chairs left. We headed to Wal*Mart and bought our ten dollar lawn chairs.
4) Take detailed notes of where you parked your car.
We ended up parking farther than we did the first time. We took a look around and notice a hill with nice houses around it. We followed the road which led us straight to the air show. Perfect!
5) Find a good spot to camp out!
We picked a spot somewhere in the middle. Close enough to have a good view of the action, but far enough that we wouldn't get stuck in the crowd.
6) Take pictures!
If you have a dSLR camera, make sure to remember your zoom lens! I was able to get some really cool shots.
7) Leave early. (Optional)
We decided to leave towards the end. Once I snapped the six Blues flying together, we left. We wanted to beat the crowd and the traffic leaving the base.
8) Take a shortcut.
As we were walking, I noticed a sandy path that led to the street on which our car was parked. I mentioned it to Dan and he said, "Are you sure this is a shortcut?"
"Yeah, look, theres the road." I pointed down the way.
"I don't think that's a shortcut."
"No, I'm pretty sure it is." We started to trek through what felt like the Sahara Desert.
We finally reached the end of the sandy path and found the road. We took a left since that was where our car was. We started to walk and walk and walk. I think we walked about three miles when Dan said, "I don't think we're going the right way. I don't remember that fort. And there are no cars around us." We looked around (along with the ten people that were behind us.) A man asked Dan if he knew where such-and-such was and Dan said, "No idea. We're lost too." Oops. NOTE: Shortcuts aren't always shortcuts. Use shortcuts with caution.
9) Wave down a shuttle bus.
I noticed a parking lot across the street. "Dan! Let's go"
"That's not where we parked!"
"It might be. At least we can see if we can find someone and ask for help."
We ran across the four lanes of traffic. Dan was muttering to himself. I felt like I was on an adventure. We looked around again and nothing looked familiar. Dan was getting really frustrated with me. The whole point in us leaving the show early was to get out before the traffic. And we had wasted thirty minutes at this point.
"There's a shuttle. Let's see if he can tell us where to go." I started to walk towards the shuttle.
"No! I'm not asking." Dan said.
"Do you want to be roaming this base all night?"
"Fine. You got us lost. You ask."
I walked up to the driver and said in probably the most awkward way possible, "Hi! Um, so, we're lost. I don't know where we parked. Um. But, it was near this hill. With, um, really nice houses on it?"
Although Dan was behind me, I could tell he was smacking his head. And he probably wanted to throw me into the gulf. The driver, bless his heart, gave us a pitied smile. "Get on. I'll take you back." After he dropped off another couple who had also gotten lost, he said, "Where'd you park? Near a hill with nice houses?"
"Yeah, like, you get on base and drive straight." I said. I probably sounded like an utter fool. I heard Dan sigh and say, "It's on the same road as the lighthouse."
"Oh!" The driver said. "You parked in "Orange."
Wait, what? They had names for the parking areas like in Disney? Yeah, definitely did not notice that. As the shuttle driver pulled up to the parking area, I saw the big sign that said, "Orange."(See Lesson #4) At this point, we were already stuck in the air show traffic. Awesome.
9) Listen to your husband. Dan was right. The shortcut was NOT a shortcut at all. Somehow, that shortcut took us to the opposite side of the base. I have no idea how that happened. Honey, if you read this, YOU WERE RIGHT.
10) Men, when your wives can get you out of a pickle, let them. Yes, let them wave down a shuttle and ask for directions. That may be your ticket to freedom!
We had a great time that day. Getting lost was frustrating, but we were able to find a way out quickly. Thank goodness! On the shuttle, I said to Dan, "I feel like we're on Amazing Race." To which he responded, "We would be eliminated on the first leg considering how today went!"
Have you been to a Blue Angels Airshow? Where? Tell me about your experience in the comments.