Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NSB King’s Bay, GA

Don wanted to stop by this Naval Submarine Base (NSB) to pick up some new decals for the car, to show me the subase and to check out the FamCamp, although it’s called an RV Park here. He called ahead to make a reservation and we made the 120-mile trip from our park north of Savannah yesterday before the cold front and thunderstorms arrived last night. (Thankfully the tornadoes we were warned to watch for did NOT arrive!)


The sites are nicely laid out, with concrete pads, rail fences and nicely maintained lawns. But it has turned cold so we didn’t spend much time outside. Tonight’s prediction is for 27 degrees F, so we’ll unhook water and run off the tank.


The outing for the day was to visit the nearby Submarine Museum in St. Marys.


One of the first things I spotted was this life preserver and other memorabilia from the USS Barb, one of Don’s submarines. Actually, he was on the second boat named Barb, as the first one served 1942-54. The boat Don was on was commissioned in 1963, and he was assigned to it 1965-69 and again 1976-79.



There was only one item from his first boat, the USS Wahoo. The picture below is of the first boat named Wahoo – again, Don was on the Wahoo commissioned later (1952-80), and he was assigned to it during 1963-64.


His third sub was USS Hawkbill, and we found this plaque for it, placed so high on the wall I couldn’t get a good picture. Don was there when it was commissioned at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, CA in February 1971. It, too, was the second boat to carry its name. The first, commissioned in 1944, was named after the hawksbill, a large sea turtle. The “s” was inadvertently dropped at commissioning, so the second boat was also named without the “s.” This boat was sometimes called “The Devil Boat” because of her hull number (666).


We didn’t find any items for his 4th boat, USS Sculpin. There were also two boats to carry this name, the first one commissioned in 1939, and the later one in 1961. Don served on it 1974-77.

The museum was interesting, even for me, without any Navy or submarine experience. Here are a few more pictures.

The dive station where the helmsman and planesman sit and drive the boat.


A real periscope, through which I could see Florida across the river outside.


A torpedo room inner door.


View from the top of a sub with the missile tube hatches open.


A collection of submarine special warfare pins.


Bell from USS Tinosa 1943.


I’m so glad we got past this kind of thinking!


Statues of Neptune and The Lone Sailor.


I bought the pattern for this cross stitch design of the submarine warfare insignia (two dolphins surrounding a submarine sail) so I can make something similar for Don’s ‘love me’ wall in the shed/casita in Benson.


A Master Chief joke!


We had lunch next door at the Shark Bite. My fish tacos were very good, and Don enjoyed his gyro.


This picture on the wall caught my eye, and I knew my friend Jan Mains would like it!


Across the street is the ferry dock to give access to the NPS Cumberland Island National Seashore, with Florida on the other side of St. Marys River. If we had more time (and warmer weather) this would be a fun outing.



Returning to the subase, I got a picture of USS George Bancroft at the Benjamin Franklin gate.


The Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic display of a Cruise missile (far left), Trident missiles and Polaris missiles is beautiful with the flags flying in the sunny breeze.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Savannah, GA

Our stay in the Savannah area has given us a chance to meet up with friends, see some sights and just kick back for awhile. We were so busy getting to Red Bay, then moving almost every day to get service and upgrades, and driving for two more days to reach Savannah, we needed a break.

We spent the first night at the Savannah Elks Lodge. It was fine, and certainly the right price - just a donation to the lodge - but without water and sewer we couldn’t do laundry, and the parking lot near the RV power outlets isn’t level. Knowing that some friends were nearby in an RV park just over the border in Hardeeville, South Carolina, we decided to move. It’s a nice park and Passport America rates make it reasonably priced.


We shared happy hour the first afternoon with Larry and Gerry Clark, friends whose path we have crossed a few times over the past 3-4 years. You can read their blog Clark Rambling to follow their travels. Sorry, I didn’t get a picture. They departed for Charleston a couple of days later.

Also in the park, either already here or arriving later, were several Escapees Boomers friends. We enjoyed enough good weather for a couple of happy hours. L-R: Sam & Carolyn Kidd, Don, Jane & Russell Darrow (staying at the Elks), Madeline & Jerry Stephens, Ann & Roy Brody, and me.


The Darrows and the Stephenses departed before Becky Hazen and Lonnie Hodge arrived on Friday, so we never had everyone together at one time. But our paths will cross again, no doubt. Becky and Lonnie have been leap-frogging us for a couple of months, mostly through New England. So we stayed another few days to give them a chance to catch us before we go different directions for Thanksgiving. The site next to us was recently vacated, so they pulled in alongside.


Becky and her kitties, Oreo (on leash) and Shi-Shi (sp?) enjoyed some sunshine and fresh air.


This is one of the most special things about being full-time RVers. Not only are we “at home” every night, but we often have long-time friends as our neighbors!

We enjoyed some time touring the beautiful city of Savannah, and I highly recommend it for others to visit. Jane found a trolley tour that offered 2 days for the price of one, and it was less expensive than some of the others as well. We felt we received good value from Oglethorpe Trolley Tours, with a knowledgeable tour guide, hop-on/hop-off privileges and free shuttle rides between trolley stops whenever we called them.


Below are some highlights from the tour. This mural is on the wall of the visitor center in the old railroad passenger terminal, where the tour began.


One of many museums is the Telfair Museum, actually a collection of three museums. The original building is below.


Savannah’s rich history dating back to the early 1700’s, including its role in the Revolutionary War, can be explored on the Internet. Many people know the city as the setting for the best-selling book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt. It was subsequently made into a movie starring Kevin Spacey and directed by Clint Eastwood. Although most people think of the book as a novel, it’s based on actual events from the 1980’s. The Bird Girl  statue made famous by the book was originally in Bonaventure Cemetery. It was relocated to the museum above to protect it from damage by visitors.

bird girl

We appreciated the various styles of architecture throughout the historic areas.





We toured the Owens-Thomas House but no photography was allowed inside. The house was designed by architect William Jay and completed in 1819 for Richard Richardson, a Savannah merchant. It is said to be the first house with indoor plumbing, incorporating a cistern, pumps and flushing mechanisms to provide “powder rooms” (half-baths) on the second floor, and tubs and showers in the basement.


The house was expanded in the rear to add 2 bedrooms and a walkway above the rear porch.


View of the courtyard from the rear porch, with 2-story slave quarters beyond.


Believe it or not, the trolley driver took us down this steep ramp made of ships’ ballast stones to River St.


Pedestrians use the steps, signed with “Historic Steps – Use At Own Risk.”


Shops and restaurants line one side of the street. These buildings were once cotton warehouses.IMG_3037

On the other side there are parks and docks, with this beautiful tall sailing ship Peacemaker, built in Brazil.



The “Waving Girl” statue has a touching story behind it. Follow the link to read it.


There’s an interesting World War II memorial honoring the veterans of Chatham County who gave their lives to retain our freedom.


We saw several huge cargo ships being loaded/unloaded in the Savannah River. In the background you can see the tall bridge we drove over to get to/from our RV park.


We rode this free ferry to the other side of the river just to see the sights and enjoy the fresh air.


Another ferry is named after the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low. Her birthplace is available for tours.


I enjoyed this display of knitted/crocheted art on the wall of the trade center landing.


I wonder what it would be like to be rich enough to own a yacht like the Triple 8…


Finally, here are Jane and Russ Darrow in front of the Cotton Exchange Bell. It’s been fun spending time you two! Happy trails.