Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Corpus Christi and the "Lady Lex"

Odometer 25557

Trip meter- gathering dust

Last Monday the weather broke and we got an opportunity to get out and visit the USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier tied up in Corpus Christi bay about 27 miles south of here.

This is a great piece of American history and is iconic of the battles of the Pacific Naval wars. It was the oldest working aircraft carrier in the Navy when it was decommissioned in 1991. Her keel was laid in the Bethlehem Steel shipyard in Quincy, MA in July of 1941 and she was commissioned in 1943, in time to be involved in just about every major operation in the Pacific theater. The Lex earned the name "The Blue Ghost", so named by Tokyo Rose after the Japanese reported the Lexington sunk no less than 4 times!
The Lex's flight deck is 910 feet long and 196 feet wide, she carried a crew of 1550 men and women, which swelled to 3,000 with the air detachment aboard. The carrier had 4 conventional steam engines which could develop 150,000 hp to drive four 16 foot propellers delivering 30 knots of speeds and had a range of 4,131 miles.
Here is a picture of one of the 5" gun turrets that was originally removed before the ship was donated to the museum and later replaced with a turret sourced from the decommissioned cruiser Des Moines.
Surprisingly the museum allows visitors to sit in the gunners seat on the anti-aircraft guns and use the hand wheels to spin and elevate them. It took two gunners for each gun- sitting on opposite sides of the gun- one would set the elevation and the other would sweep left or right.
The museum is home to a lot of restored aircraft, many of which are on display on the flight deck. The static displays range from this Cobra attack helicopter to the jets shown below
The "Lady Lex" as she was known to her crew, has been featured in several Hollywood movies, most notably the movies "Midway", "War and Remberance", and more recently "Pearl Harbor" in 2001. In some of the movies the Lex was made up to resemble another ship however.

After 3 hours of touring we felt we had seen enough, and as we were heading back we wanted to take a look at the working harbor, the entrance to which begins here at the high graceful arch of the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge.

This port is the 6th largest US port in gross tonnage, with a straight 45 foot deep channel following the Nueces river.
We were not surprised that there were refineries here but were surprised at how many! It does help keep the local fuel prices in the low range. We saw diesel selling for $3.46 here in Rockport. Of course not all these refineries are making fuel- we realize that.
Many of the larger and more expensive homes around this area are built up on pilings. Not too surprising when you know that the average height above sea level in Rockport is 13 feet!

We had a pretty good storm pass through yesterday evening and this morning, dropping around 3" of rain here in the park, and sparking some lightning and thunder. We've had partly cloudy skies this afternoon and it's 62 degrees- not too bad by comparison with the rest of the country!

We woke up this morning to find that our refrigerator had lost power sometime in the night. The breakers and fuses all checked out so I opened up the access panel on the outside and right away I noticed that the safety shut-off module that we had installed under the latest recall was displaying a red LED light I hadn't noticed before. A web search informed me that the red light has three modes- off= normal operation, flashing= over-temp (shuts off refer), and steady on= module failure (shuts off refer). In desperation I re-routed the power around the module and over to the circuit board- and Voila! the refrigerator started back up.
While I'm out talking to the manager about local repair shops, he mentions that my neighbor in the Safari motorhome just had a repair service out to fix the same problem on his motorhome. They did for him what I had done- and said wait for it to dry out- try plugging it in again.
Now Joan and I are out for a walk and see three acquaintances huddled around yet another motorhome refer access- this coach is a Holiday Rambler about 20 spaces away from ours. We share our experiences with them and show them how to bypass, and their refer starts working.

Hmmm- think Norcold has a problem with their fix?

This really is the Life!

Jeff and Joan

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