I like road trips and I like to visit my granddaughters. So deciding how to travel to a staff conference in Orlando was easy, I could drive and visit granddaughter Eden on the way.
Got an early start and made it through Chicago before rush hour. By the time the sun was coming up, I was driving through the windmill fields of northwestern Indiana.
I was making good time through Kentucky so I decided to visit one of the mythic places of my childhood, Boonesborough, the home of Daniel Boone.
Another mythic site in the books I read about the early history of our country was The Cumberland Gap, through which Daniel Boone carved the Wilderness Road.
At the end of the 100th anniversary year of the National Park system I got to visit the most-visited national park of them all.
Tucked inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a scenic little corner called Cade’s Cove.
The mountains were just waking up as I drove through.
Cabins of early residents have been preserved and restored.
As well as their churches.
The road continues on.
The wild life was frisky.
All too soon I had to leave Cade’s Cove and drive through the rest of the Smoky Mountains, to continue my journey.
The mountain vistas continued to be astounding.
On the descent.
Finally arrived at Eden’s house to discover she had been having regular visits from the Tooth Fairy.
Our next day of adventure began with a visit to the USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier anchored in Charleston harbor.
The hanger deck of the Yorktown, and some of the WWII planes that filled my imagination as a boy.
The Yorktown also served as the recovery vessel for the first moon flight: Apollo 8. The crew included Wisconsin native and fellow University of Wisconsin alumnus James Lovell.
In the pilot’s briefing room.
Choose your plane.
Ready for takeoff.
Prepared for takeoff.
Eden wants to steer the ship.
Whaddya mean more power?
The radio room.
Games in the crew quarters.
Up and down from one deck to another was not easy for a 5-year old.
Docked next to the Yorktown was the USS Clamagore, a submarine, and the USS Laffey, a destroyer.
USS Clamagore, forward torpedo room.
The Combat Information Center aboard the USS Laffey, complete with hologram. The Laffey is the most decorated WWII ship still afloat, and served from D-Day to Iwo Jima, as well as in later conflicts.
Final stop of the day, Fort Moultrie.
Fort Moultrie overlooks Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.
On the last day of 2016 we visited the Eighth Air Force Museum in Savanna, where a WWII B-17 bomber is being restored.
Not on the official tour, a visit to the waist gunner station inside the B-17.
Forsythe Park is one of the many beautiful attractions in historic Savannah.
A wedding on the last day of the year, at Forsythe Park.
A visit to the beach at Tybee Island and a shark sighting.
The sun sets on 2016.