Sunday, January 28, 2018

Favorite Photos From Our Travels

Our Endless Adventure

A gathering of photos from some of the places we visited during our travels during 2017 and early 2018

Cana Island Lighthouse, Door County Wisconsin

View from the top  (click on any image for a better view)

View from a porthole in the lighthouse stairway

Cana Island Lighthouse

Circus World - Baraboo Wisconsin
Original restored Circus Wagon

Cuban Heritage Tent - Jazz Fest - New Orleans 2017

Crystal Cave - Carter Caves State Park - Olive Hill, Ketucky

The Wright Brothers National Memorial - Kill Devil, North Carolina

The State of Illinois Monument - Vicksburg National Military Park - Vicksburg, Mississippi

Union Grove Corp of Engineers Campground and Lake - Salada, Texas

Magnolia Beach - Port Lavaca, Texas - Free Beach Camping

Fisherman's Memorial - Aransas Pass, Texas

Marshes Light House - Roanoke, North Carolina

Cape Cod (Near the Cape Cod Lifesaving Station - The Marsh at Sunset

Beaver Tail State Park - Rhode Island

Near Blacksburg, Virginia

Southern Oaks RV Park - Aransas Pass, Texas

Friday, January 26, 2018

Lamar, Port Lavaca and Magnolia Beach Texas

Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE beaches.  I got googling the other day for the most affordable beach towns in the USA, and according to Coastal Living, the #7 most affordable beach town in the US is less than an hour from here, in Port Lavaca.  ROAD TRIP TIME!  We took an afternoon and drove up there, stopping along the way to see Goose Island State Park in Lamar.

Driving into Lamar, we were slowed at a site where they were loading Hurricane Harvey debris into dump trucks.  Yes, that Hurricane Harvey that happened 5 months ago.  So many of the towns in this area were hit really hard, and will take a long time to recover.

Goose Island State Park has only partially opened.  It was open for fishing and for day use, but the campgrounds were still closed.  It would be a beautiful place to camp.  The sites are right on the bay and I can imagine the sunsets would be amazing.  They all have cute little shelters for picnic tables.

The pelicans and other birds were hanging around the fish cleaning station, looking for some scraps.

The park is interesting, because it encompasses a few roads within the town itself.  When you drive from the camping/boating/picnic area through the town, you can find The Big Tree.  The tree is a coastal live oak that is over 1,000 years old, 11 feet in diameter, 35 feet in circumference, 44 feet tall, and 89 feet across the crown.  There were wires and braces helping the tree stay up, and it was surrounded by a fence so that people wouldn't trample on the ground around it and damage its roots.

From Lamar, we drove to Port Lavaca.  Our first stop was Lighthouse Beach Park, which is a city park and campground.  They also had waterfront campsites that were still out of commission from the hurricane, although their sites "on the hill" (maybe 4 feet higher than the water level) were in use.  Their fishing dock was still unusable, and their beach was a mere speck of sand.  Camping there was $30 for a site on the hill, or $35 for a waterfront site.  Seniors get $1 off discount.  Hill sites were $360 a month and waterfront sites were $360 for winter or $580 for summer.  Waterfront sites only have 30 amp service, while the hill has 30 or 50 amps.

Lighthouse beach fishing pier

We drove through their historic downtown area, which was only a block or two long and mostly closed.   Some looked like hurricane damage, others were just closed.  For people who like junk shops and antiques, there were a couple of places open.  Driving along the waterfront, we found that Port Lavaca has several waterfront parks, and a marina.  At the marina, we saw some boats still washed aground from the hurricane.

We also saw this guy, who gave me the side eye for interrupting his afternoon nap.

The park has a memorial from a Civil War battle that occurred here.

We drove further down the coastline to Magnolia Beach.  It was the first beach-like beach we found, although it was not soft and powdery sand.  Instead there were tons of shells along the waterline and mixed in the sandy surface.  Magnolia Beach boasts miles of FREE camping.  There are no hook ups, and only one restroom, but the hard-packed sand along the waterfront was perfect for spending some quality down time.  We spoke with some campers who said it was a wonderful place to stay.  Online reviews were mixed, with some people noting that it is a busy shipping channel and can be noisy.  We were impressed enough to consider trying a night or two here in March before heading further north. 

At least in mid-January, it was sparsely populated and very quiet.  We ended the day by driving back across the peninsula to go through Long Mott, which I thought would be a small town, but appears to be just a dot in the road where a chemical plant operates.  We finished the day riding west into an eerie looking sunset.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Corpus Christi And The USS Lexington (photo rich)

"The Blue Ghost"

USS Lexington - Essex Class - Aircraft Carrier

Martha and I have been in Southern Texas since the 15th of December. I appologize to our readers for not being more active with our blog but we needed some time off to just sit in once place for a while and get to know it. Toward that goal we ventured into Corpus Christi and the "North Beach" area to see the USS Lexington.

A History Lesson

Commissioned in 1943, she set more records than any other Essex Class carrier in the history of naval aviation.The ship was the oldest working carrier in the United States Navy when decommissioned in 1991. An Essex-class carrier, LEXINGTON was originally named the USS CABOT. During World War II, final construction was being completed at Massachusetts’ Fall River Shipyard when word was received that the original carrier named USS LEXINGTON, CV-2, had been sunk in the Coral Sea. The new carrier’s name was changed to LEXINGTON.

During World War II, the carrier participated in nearly every major operation in the Pacific Theater and spent a total of 21 months in active combat. Her planes destroyed 372 enemy aircraft in the air and more on the ground. She sank or destroyed 300,000 tons of enemy cargo and damaged an additional 600,000 tons. The ships guns shot down 15 planes and assisted in downing five more.

The Japanese reported LEXINGTON sunk no less than four times! Yet, each time she returned to fight again. Leading the propaganda as to her demise was the Pacific Theater and Japanese propagandist "Tokyo Rose" She nicknamed her “The Blue Ghost.” The name is a tribute to the ship and the crew and air groups that served aboard her.

Though not big by today's standards, she is still immense. During WWII she crewed between 1500 and 3300 men and women depending on the operations she was assigned to.  Source: Wikipedia
Hanger Deck - Lexington

(Click on any Photo to enlarge them)

The Lexington vs The Ford - Statistics in Comparison

                                                                                           Source: Wikipedia

                              Essex Class - Lexington                                  

                              Flight Deck Length - 910 feet                                
                           Length at water line - 880 feet                             
                                              Beam - 196 feet                                                    
Speed - 30+ Knots     
Range - 4,131 Nautical Miles
Aircraft - 78

Hanger Deck - Ford

 Ford Class (newest) - USS Gerald Ford

Flight Deck Length - 1,106 feet
Length at Water Line - 990 feet
Beam - 256 feet
Speed - 35+ Knots or more (classified)
Range - Unlimited (20-25 years)
Range - Unlimited (20-25 years)
Aircraft - In excess of 75 (classified)

Why Should You Tour the USS Lexington?

First, it is part of American History and the "Greatest Generation."  It truly is something to behold. It is an old ship but it is an excellent example of the kind of technology that helped America and it's allies win WWII.  It is at once, fearsome and awe inspiring.

If you have never been aboard a large war ship then you should visit "Lady Lex" (her nickname) if you are in the area. 

As we toured the ship we took many photos. As we moved through the ship we negotiated many steep stairs. If you have trouble with stairs you may want to not go.

As always, we like to hear from our readers, please feel free to make a comment in the comment box at the bottom of this blog entry.

There were many displays aboard the ship. Some came complete with manikins to make it feel more realistic and in the moment. So, follow our tour as we went through the ship.

The Pier to the Ship

Hanger Deck

(Click on any Photo to enlarge them)

As you know Aircraft Carriers are a City Unto Them Selves

(Click on any Photo to enlarge them)

Dentist Office

Post Office

Machine Shop

Flight Deck

Navigation Bridge


Use these signs to see which piece is used for what in the photo below

Offensive Fire Power

Affectionately Known as Pom-Pom Guns

When Airplanes Land They Need to Stop - The Arresting Gear

Training and Boredom

As I said above this is something that is worth seeing. Even if you don't like the Military or hate war, it's worth going to visit just to understand how much those that are in the military are responsible for and what they have personally given up to serve on behalf of our nation.

The Process Of Purchasing Your Ideal RV

Favorite Photos From Our Travels

Our Endless Adventure A gathering of photos from some of the places we visited during our travels during 2017 and early 2018 ...