Gulf Shores Plantation

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Family vacations have always been a big part of our family. I will remember these vacations for the rest of my life, the time that I got to spend with them and the memories we made. We go on one big vacation every year. It changes from year to year, place to place; some of them are fun, but some aren’t the best. One of the best was this years, going to Gulf Shores.

As we step off the plane, we go pick up our five black suitcases off the luggage cart and go to the rental car stand; a feeling comes over me as I see the sign “Welcome to Pensacola”. I can’t wait to finally get to our hotel, and go to my favorite place; the beach. Three little boys fighting over who gets to drag the suitcase bump into my heels. Turning over my shoulder to look at them, the oldest says,
“I’m sorry!”
“It’s all good, don’t worry about it,” I reply a little annoyed.
As we wait in line to get our car, they tell us we have ordered a midsize car. A Toyota Camry they give us; I didn’t know that was considered midsize. How are we supposed to fit five people and our five black suitcases, along with all our carry-ons into a Toyota Camry? The lady at the desk offers us to upgrade to a SUV. My parents accept and decide to pay the additional fees, in return for more space and comfort, and less arguments between “the kids”. As we cram all our stuff in to the rental car and get in, we type the address of the hotel into the GPS, and we’re off to Gulf Shores.

Two and a half hour drive waiting anxiously to get there seems more like five hours. Needing to occupy ourselves after getting uninterested of looking out the window, we decide to occupy ourselves by playing the ABC game. We begin by looking at numerous signs, looking for words that start with the letters, starting with A and going all the way to Z. This keeps us occupied for a good thirty minutes.
One plus to this SUV was it had XM radio. No matter where you were, you had radio, stations didn’t cut out as you drove from city to city. The two stations we listened to the most were XM 16, The Highway, and XM 20, 20 on 20. Singing at the top of our lungs, we are imagining being the actual singers. It’s as if we’re a family band, but we wouldn’t make it very far, because we don’t sound the greatest. The Climb, by Miley Cyrus, and You Belong with Me, by Taylor Swift, were the two main ones we’d scream to. Going through windy roads, the GPS tells us that it’s ahead on the left. A sudden happiness comes over me as I start to see the beach and all the palm trees. We pull into the drive, palm trees all around us, Gulf Shores Plantation is written on a sign above us.
My brother knocks me over, he desires to be the first one to the door, sprinting, he beats us all there, and unlocks the door to the room. As the rest of the family is approaching the room, we all walk in and look around, we are amazed. Like puppies in a new home, we run around, exploring, finding what is all here. My mom begins by unpacking; this is what she always does. She unpacks and makes it as much like our home as possible. Waves’ splashing up on shore, as a breeze comes by; there is an aroma of salty water. Some don’t like this smell, but it reminds me of the ocean, which is after all my favorite place to be. As we stroll down the beach, we observe a sign for the Gulf Shores Plantation Golf Course; supposedly this is supposed to be one of the finest in the Gulf Shores area. Stefani, Bobby and I decide to go check it out and see if it’s all that. Light green, freshly cut grass, a total contradiction to the beach just steps away. So quiet, you can hear the breeze coming off the ocean, and the smack of the ball when the clubs hit them.
Back at the hotel room, we change into our suits and head for the beach. Sand in our toes, we stroll along the beach to the spot where we rented a beach bed. Soaking up the rays, lying on the bed is what I preferred to do. Bobby would rather be running through the ocean, on his boogie board. The consideration of sharks swimming a few hundred yards away from me doesn’t make me comfortable. Day after day, we’d do the same thing. First we’d start of hitting the beach, and then trailing sand we’d head back to the room to shower and hit the town; shopping, dinner, whatever we wanted.
One day we decided to skip the beach and find something more interesting to do. Pensacola Naval Base was just an hour away. The Blue Angel Flight Jets have practices every morning that are open to the public to watch. As we wake up at the crack of dawn, I am quite crabby; mornings aren’t my time to shine. Rolling out of bed, I decide it’s time to take a shower and get geared up for the long day ahead. When we finally arrived we have to wait; we waited, and waited for them to start their demonstration. Blue Jets with a little white and yellow fly over head, diving down, spinning like a corkscrew, it was a sight that can’t even be described. Young kids are covering their ears due to the piercing noises and babies crying all around me. I’ve never experienced anything like this. Six different jets, flying in from all different directions, we don't know where to look. There is just so much going on around us. After the demonstration, we decide to go look at the naval museum. Normally museums are quite a bore, all factual, they’re not my first pick. This one was actually pretty interesting though. Being able to look at old jets rusting and starting to decay away that was pulled out of lakes or oceans, and how much they have changed over the years.
Just like the planes have changed over the years, so has our family. But our time together will never become any less important. Family time is one of the essential things in my life. Though I complain about it from time to time I know that it is making me a better person and building character. Being able to go on family vacations every year is a good way of building this bond. I hope to one day carry on this tradition with my own family.





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