Planes, no Trains, and Automobiles

December 21, 2016

It's the middle of December, and we are now in Florida.  While we're here primarily to get away from snow and cold, we are also here to change our residency to Florida.  One common misconception that people often have regarding full-time travelers is that they don't have a home state.  Well, actually everyone has to have a state they call home, and a legal address.  You need it for your tax returns, if nothing else.

So we have decided to make ours Florida.  There are 3 main states that full-timers use:  Texas, South Dakota, and Florida.  Coincidentally, none of these 3 states have an income tax.  These states are also home to mailing services that full-timers use to get their mail.  As we don't own property in any state, we can pick our state of residence.  We also don't rent any property, not even a storage unit, except that we do rent a mailslot in Florida.  So, it makes sense to use Florida for residency purposes.  Here's our mailslot:
This is the mail forwarding service that we use.  Our mail comes here, they then let us know what was received, and we tell them where to send it.  Works really well, but it can take an extra week to get stuff.  In any event, this little mailslot constitutes our legal residence now.  In Crestview Florida.

We went to the Florida equivalent of the DMV.  In Crestview, this is the Tax Collectors office.  The nice thing is that they handle everything all at once.  We got new drivers licenses, vehicle registration, vehicle titles, and voters registration.   And since a lot of full-timers use the mailing service in Crestview, the folks at the Tax Collectors office are very familiar with those of us that only have a little mailslot for a residence.  In any event, we got everything taken care of in one visit.  It did take a couple hours. but the office and people were so pleasant that we didn't really mind the time.

We had allowed ourselves 3 business days in the Crestview area to take care of our license, registration, and residency changes.  That way if there were any glitches, or missing documentation needed, we had a couple extra days to sort things out.  As it turns out, everything went swimmingly, so that left us a couple days to kill.

We decided to go to Pensacola.  We've never been in this area before so we checked TripAdvisor to see what there is to see.  The number one attraction in Pensacola is the National Naval Aviation Museum, which is on a Navy base.  The base where the Blue Angels train.  Well, it turns out that this is a terrific museum, with an absolutely amazing collection of aircraft and really well-done displays and videos.  And it's free. They have everything from World War I era biplanes
to F/A-18 fighter jets 

and everything in between.  Including many historically significant aircraft, such as the plane that landed George W Bush on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in 2003 to announce "Mission Accomplished".  And planes flown by John Glenn, as well as a Russian MIG.  There are so many planes inside the museum that it's really hard to keep track of them all, or fully take it all in.  After a few hours, I started to feel overload, just from the sheer volume of all that there is to see.  And then in addition, they have a back lot where there's a whole bunch more planes and helicopters parked.  You see that via a trolley ride with a guide who narrates and tells stories about some of the aircraft.  All free.

Here's an old Ford Trimotor, from the late 1920s to early 1930s.
 I tend to be most interested in the World War II era planes.  
When I look at these WWII planes, it's amazing to me how little protection there was for the pilot.  These were basically a huge engine, a few machine guns, and a bunch of sheet metal.  And a ton of guts on the part of the guys who flew these things.
 This is a radar/communications plane from the propeller era.  Now this function is done by a jet aircraft.  I'd never seen a 8 blade propeller before, as far as I can remember.
Jane likes the boat planes.  Those designed to land on water.  Like this US Coast Guard plane from the late 1920s.  This model was developed to be sold to wealthy customers as an "air yacht".  With really bad timing, they introduced it in 1929, just as the stock market crashed and the great depression reduced their base of potential customers.  But the Coast Guard found use for it.  
So Chicago friends, next time you see the Blue Angels at the Chicago Air and Water show, consider making a trip to see this amazing museum at their home base.
It's one of the top attractions in this part of my new home state.

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