Sunday, December 1, 2013

South Padre Island

By Uncle Hans

So we were forced to go to South Padre Island recently to fix this problem.  The upper bunk bed has no ladder and no safety rail.  A child could fall out, strike the tile floor, break his skull or neck,.... and sue us.
Can't have that.
(we did NOT go down there because it was 6 degrees here and 85 degrees down there!)


  .....we took along an 8-foot decking board, and measured it to the right length....


.....sand it.....


.....cut it.....


....paint it (two coats and sand in between).....


......and install it.   Problem solved......


  ....of course, in between those steps we had nothing to do but walk the beach with Charley to our local beach bar (200 yards) at 85 degrees.  The Miller Lights never tasted better!



On the way home we went a couple hours out of our way to Houston to see the USS Texas Museum.

The US has 8 battleship museums.  The Texas is the oldest.  100 years ago, it was under construction.  It served in WWI and WWII and was retired to Houston in l948 as a museum.  It has been rebuilt once in the early 90's in a dry dock because it was corroded that it was sinking.  Now it is getting there again and a plan is in place to put it permanently into dry dock in the next few years......




....the first picture is out an old-fashioned porthole cannon  (no more side port cannons after this ship was built).  If you look closely, you sill see that the Rialta is in the cross-hairs!). 


The second picture is of the galley (900 men, three meals a day)


and the third picture is of some 14 inch shells. 


These guns were the most advanced in 1914, about 1000lbs and a range of 12 miles.  Performance peaked in l943 with the 16inch/50calibre Mark 7 guns of the Iowa class.  2700 lbs and range 24 miles.  And accuracy?  If they were shooting at someone's house, the gunnery officer had to ask, "the living room or the kitchen?"


  These guns were last used in Iraq, Desert Storm, on, of course, the USS Wisconsin.

      If you think of how many people in the world live within 24 miles of the water, that puts nearly 80% of people in range of those guns. 

Almost all of North Vietnam was in range of the New Jersey until the Russians quietly demanded that she be withdrawn or there would be no peace talks.  They wanted our pilots to be put at risk and killed or captured, whereas the New Jersey could cause much more destruction while putting NO ONE at risk.  This Russian demand was carefully kept secret until recently.  We wanted peace talks, so the New Jersey went home to "be repaired".

     The US has 63 of these 16 inch guns, 9 each on the other 7 museum ships (USS Massachusetts, USS North Carolina, USS Alabama, USS Iowa, USS Missouri, USS New Jersey, and the USS Wisconsin.  Kathy recently toured the Wisconsin.  I did too in about 2005.  You don't get much more than a deck walk on the Wisconsin tour.

    I suspect that is because she is really secretly being kept in nearly combat ready condition for the use of those big guns, if ever needed 

     I have now seen 3 of the 8 and will report on the blog if I ever get to see the other 5......

By Uncle Hans