Saturday, June 22, 2013

We Begin Again !

Heading to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Lots of bridges

and water.

On our trip this summer we decided to head up the East Coast of the United States.  To make the trip more fun, we brought along our 13 year old grandson, Lee, for the first five weeks.

Our RV park was a good distance down the Outer Banks and we had to drive across this less than trustworthy bridge with the rig.  It wasn't too high and was over a sand area so we figured we could make it.  

Along the way were road crews who were plowing the sides of the road to remove the sand.  It looked like the same equipment used for snow removal.

While at the beach, the Captain and Lee decided it would be fun to hang glide off a dune.  I was feeling poorly with a sinus infection so I stayed home.  The first day it was too windy and a major storm threatened the area we were in.  All the Rvers pulled in their slides and waited since they were predicting winds up to 60 mph.  A washroom made of cement blocks was the only place to go if it got bad.  Luckily, the weather warning was cancelled at 10 PM so we were able to get some sleep.  The next day, the men tried it again. 

A good crowd was there waiting to learn.

Lee getting instructions from one of the crew.

Getting ready to go...

Up, up, and away.....

I think he enjoyed it.

The crew stays with you the whole time so you don't sail out into the ocean.

The Captain waiting for his turn.   Orville and Wilbur eat your heart out! 

We have a beginning.....

Up and up.......

and kind of away..........

After the gliding lessons they decided to stop at this seafood restaurant so Lee could purchase a tee shirt.  

Lee plans on wearing it to school.  He sent a phone picture to his Mom and she said "NO".  We'll see how that works out this fall.

Next stop was the Wright Bros. Museum in Kitty Hawk.  

The statistics are amazing. 

The rail in the ground was used  as a guide for the Wright Brothers flying machine. The plane did not have wheels so it used the rail to keep the plane straight as it powered down the rail.

The Wright Bros took four trips in their plane; 120 feet, 175 feet, 200 feet, and 852 feet.  The longest time in the air was 59 seconds.

The Wright Bros. Monument at Kitty Hawk, NC.

A view of the Atlantic Ocean from Kitty Hawk.

Lee found a friend.

A bronze replica of the original flying machine.

Next stop was the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Built in 1870, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the world's tallest brick lighthouse at 198.5 feet.  Due to treacherous waters off the coast of the Outer Banks the area is called the Graveyard of the Atlantic.  With a bank of shifting sand ridges hidden beneath the sea, over 600 ships have wrecked here as victims of the shoals, storms, and war.

The Captain and Lee climbed to the top and got this magnificent view.

After the Outer Banks we moved on up to Virginia Beach, Virginia, to check out the action there.

We crossed the Chesapeake-Albermarle Canal which is part of the Intercoastal Waterway.  It is so named because part of it is in North Carolina and the other part in Virginia. 

On the state line we hit our first toll road.  They are becoming much more common on the East Coast. 
Sunrise at Virginia Beach.

While there we checked out the boardwalk and people enjoying the sun.

A large Art Festival was going on and there were tents set up all along the boardwalk.

They were also selling food and I thought this one looked more appetizing than most at the Black Jack Grill.

Of course, we had to stop for lunch.
Our main stop in the area was to take in Norfolk and tour the USS Wisconsin (nicknamed Wisky).  It is an Iowa-class battleship built in 1943.  During her career she served in the Pacific in World War II, the Korean War, Operation Desert Storm, and the 1991 Gulf War.   
This museum called the Nauticus is where the USS Wisconsin is berthed.

Part of the Captain's state room where we began the tour.  Everyone had to wear hard hats which came in really handy climbing up and down stairs and through low headroom areas. 

The operations control center.

Looking out over the bow of the ship from the bridge.

The 'Citadel' is a belt of heavy armor that protects all the vital components necessary for the battleship to survive including ammunition magazines, machinery, control and plotting rooms, and the crew.  It is the ship's main armored core built deep into the ship and encompasses one-third of it.  The steel is 18 inches thick. 

Inside the room where some of the crew members would stand while the ship was under attack. 

In 1956, the battleship collided with the destroyer Eaton, in a heavy fog, causing extensive damage to the bow.  In an effort to expedite the repairs, a 120 ton, 68 foot section of the bow was removed from the uncompleted Iowa-class battleship Kentucky and transported by barge, in one section, to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.  Working around the clock, the ship's forces and the shipyard personnel completed the operation of grafting the new bow onto the damaged battleship in 16 days.
Because the battleship, Kentucky, was never completed the new nickname of the USS Wisconsin became WisKy to represent both states.

The bow of the USS Wisconsin after it was damaged.

A view of downtown Norfolk from the ship.

The Captain's chair on the bridge.  No one, other than the Captain, is ever allowed to sit in it.

A view from the bow.

The deck of the USS Wisconsin is made of teak wood.  I think that is amazing!

Quarters for the crew.  Three people sleeping in such a small space.

We took a boat tour of the harbor and saw two Navy ships in dry dock for repairs.

This ship is being repainted so they enclosed it in tarp while sand blasting and painting to keep toxins out of the air.

A schooner tied up in port.

This is a lifeboat on the side of the USS Wisconsin.  That's the only one we saw on this side.  When the battleship was active it had a crew of 2,900.  I don't think it could have carried enough lifeboats for that many personnel.

With several rivers merging into the harbor they are continually using barges to dredge the bottom of silt and keep it the depth they need.

The USS Cole that was bombed in a suicide attack in October, 2000, while harbored in the port of Aden.  She's back and  functioning again.

The US Navy has a hospital ship stationed on each coast.  This is the USS Comfort.

Hard to see the submarine docked in the harbor.  Actually, there were three of them.

The Norfolk Naval Station.

In the center of the picture is a large white canister.  It is a Phalanx Gatling gun - a last ditch defensive system for incoming missiles.  Nicknamed 'R2D2', it can shoot 4,500 rounds a minute. 

A newer ship in the US Navy.  The different angles are to eliminate radar detection.

The aircraft carrier USS HW Bush.
Another aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, was in port but it is no longer in service and being dismantled.  That will take 4 years because they have to remove the atomic reactors.
The US Naval Hospital across the harbor in Portsmouth, VA.

That's it for our stay in the Virginia Beach area.  Next stop will be Williamsburg, VA, to see Jamestown, Yorktown, and historic Williamsburg.  Peace!

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