September 20 and 21st, 2011
My alarm went off Tuesday morning at 730. It was the first time I had used it since I left, three months earlier. I don’t think I even set it them. But I needed to be at the motorcycle shop by 9am, and didn’t know how bad the traffic would be, or even exactly where I was going. Yes, I have a GPS, but I don’t use it for routing. I need to be able to find stuff without relying on it, and practicing in the USA would be useful for when I wasn’t in the USA anymore.
I think everyone has heard about the horrors of southern California traffic, and in theory at least I was heading for the freeway during rush hour (it was about 815). But it was fine, traffic the other way was heavier but even that seemed to be moving well. The 6 lanes each way probably helped.
If you happen to be in the San Diego area and need some bike work, I can recommend North County. He got me in fast, and (so far, anyway) did good work. The whole place had a feel like my local shop (The Shop Milwaukee) back home, and given the people who seemed to wander in just to chat with the employees I think it occupied the same niche in the local bike scene.
I agreed to have both sets of seals replaced. It seemed like a good idea. The oil was apparently pretty bad, and I could tell the difference right away.
The rest of the day I spend writing blogs and a travel article for Associated Content on Crater Lake. I meant to be doing that more often, but haven’t been giving myself the time. I am still new at the whole travel thing, I mean it’s only been three months, right?
The next day I decided to go to the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum. The navy has a base in San Diego, but the Midway isn’t on it (anymore, anyway), instead resting in the Marina. Again, it was a short walk to get there, and I got a donut on the way. Mmm, donuts.
The walk wasn’t bad, and I saw some trolleys. I spent some time looking at the trolley route, seeing if there was somewhere I could take it too, but nothing appeared tempting so I passed.
When I got to the Marina I saw was
which was pretty cool. There was also
the HMS surprise, which I was interested in touring. But I decided to pass, since it was actually more (according to the sign) more than the Midway was going to be. I kept walking towards the massive aircraft carrier.
Really big boat. Ship. Whichever.
I had somehow managed to get there 15 minutes before the museum opened, not really sure how, so I found a shady spot to wait for the initial line (and there was a line ) to disappear. Then I could walk right up to the window without having to stand in the sun.
The Midway opened as a museum in 2004, and since then has become the most visited military museum in the USA. The hanger and flight decks are completely open, and there are well marked tour paths into other areas of the ship. Well marked is good, since it doesn’t take much to get confused.
Looking aft down the hanger deck. No, the ship wasn’t rocking, I just couldn’t seem to get a straight picture.
Included with the admission was a free audio tour headset. I am generally not a fan, but picked it up. This was actually a good thing, since the information displays were usually very brief. The headset was still annoying.
Blue, playing with the anchors.
There was a pattern you were supposed to follow with the tour, but since I had gotten there just after the place opened, following the standard route meant I was stuck in a crowd of people. Nothing against people, but with the narrow corridors it was hard to stop and look at anything without causing backups.
As with the zoo, I took a lot of pictures, and am not going to add them all. So some highlights-
Normal sailor type.
Admirals get really nice beds. The captains and admirals also had a conference room, an office, and private kitchen (for their cook, of course).
Even with the size, the Midway didn’t take as long as the Zoo, most of the ship is roped off. There were several former navy types around giving talks on the various aspects of working on a aircraft carrier, and the bridge and primary flight control areas actually had guides, since the areas were so cramped they didn’t want people to congregate. Some of the hatchways were tight enough I had trouble with Blue’s pack.
When I was done with the tour I wandered back to my hotel through the Gaslight district again, getting dinner there. Then I went over my map and reviewed the directions for the border crossing. I would be heading into Mexico tomorrow, and I was going to screw it up.