Archive for Family Fun

Battleship Wisconsin-Norfolk

 

Yesterday (February 2, 2019) we took our family to visit the Battleship Wisconsin (BB-64) who is berthed at Nauticus, in Norfolk, Virginia at the largest navel base in the world.  It was fun, educational and very interesting to visit this majestic battleship who, in her day, was queen of the ocean.

The Wisconsin, affectionately nicknamed “Big Whisky,” is 887 feet, 3 inches in length and 108 feet, 3 inches at the beam and could reach speeds of 33 knots. Her crew complement was 1,921 officers and enlisted men.  Despite its mammoth proportions, the Japanese had three battleships that dwarfed the Wisconsin.

This ship was actually the second ship so named. The first was called the BB-9 and was decommissioned in 1920 after over two decades of service. The second Wisconsin was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1941 and launched on December 7, 1943, the second anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  Battleships are no longer used by the navy and have been replaced with Air Carriers and Destroyers.

Big Wisky enjoyed a service that spanned six decades, surviving two typhoons and participated in three major wars:  World War II,  Korean War, and Operation Desert Storm where she fired the last shot of the war.  In 1991, least than a month after returning from Desert Storm, she was decommissioned and relieved of active duty. In 2006, the US Navy deleted the Wisconsin and Iowa battleships from the NVR and made arrangements for the battleships to be donated to a museum.  The United States Congress was very concerned about the loss of battleship firepower and stipulated that the Wisconsin had to be maintained “battle-ready” for deployment if needed.   In 2009 all rights to the battleship were relinquished as it became apparent that $500 million was needed to reactivate the aging vessel and $1.5 billion for full modernization.  The battleship was then stripped of usable parts be used on other ships. She fought with distinction in three wars and is now enjoying an honorable retirement as a tourist attraction. An interesting tidbit…. it cost $1 million a year to keep the Wissonsin in retirement. In her active days, it cost $1 million per day to maintain her duty.

For Christmas this year, we gave our kids and grandkids an experience gift-a tour of the Battleship Wisconsin.  You can take a self-guided tour or take advantage of two guided tours: Command and Control Rooms and Engine Room.

  • Command and Control Tour was a 90 minute tour that covered four “decks” and included the Captain’s cabin, Admiral’s cabin, Combat Engagement Center, Flag Bridge, navigation Bridge and Quartermaster’s space.

Here we are sitting around the table in the Captain’s cabin. This was a very important place where meetings and decisions were made with some big name military personnel.  Norman Schwarzkupf Jr. a United States Army General who was Commander of Central Command sat at this table. We just don’t know who sat in his chair!

Pictures of the tour……

Boarding the ship

The Captain’s Quarters.

The captain is in command of the ship.  No one can tell him what to do. He is the final word.

Our tour guide was well-versed as he had served on the ship. Those numbers are very important and these signs are posted everywhere.  It tells emergency personnel the exact location of that room on the ship with each number or letter giving specific important information. I remember that the second row (89-95) refers to the numbers on the metal i-beams in the ceiling of the room.

In the Captain Cabin is this photo of the Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri and New Jersey Battleships at sea.

The Control room where commands are given to “fire”. The brown chair is the captains chair.

A simulation of what it is like in that room during battle. The blue light was used to produce a calming effect during the flashing lights, voice commands and intense release of firepower.

 

Navigation Table where they mark and keep track of their location at all times.

This bubbles on this Clinometer tells us that the ship is floating level. If the bubble was at the top of the U-shaped curl on the far right,  we would be upside down-capsized and heading for the bottom of the sea! Incidentally, he said that divers always look for this meter as it tells them a lot about what happened.

These steep ladders were everywhere. For some of us it was easier to go down backwards.

And others preferred this way!

There were valves, levers, gauges, pipes, and equipment everywhere.

This door to the Control Room that is on top on the ship weighs 10,000 lbs. The solid steel and iron security was incredible. Attacking missiles can not penetrate it.

Sometimes it just feels good to “be captain”!!!

A view down a long walkway-over 300 feet.

  • Engine Room Tour was a 60 minute that took us seven “decks” down in the depths of the Battleship Wisconsin, where we learned what was required to power this massive city at Sea.

Pictures of this tour……

There were four engine rooms where huge broilers made steam to produce electricity and power the ship. We were in Engine Room #1.

The organized maze of electrical wires and pipes was beyond comprehension.  I can’t not fathom the engineer planning that went into producing such an incredible ship where everything fit, had it’s place and worked. And they knew what it all meant!

It was hard to get many pictures in the bowel of the ship. The spaces were so small and the equipment so huge. Some of these areas get so hot when in use because of the steam broilers.  The men worked in 130 degree temperatures with 100% humidity and no air conditioning. They can only work four-hour watches. There was one room that had crucial gauges in it that would get up to 150 degrees. That is the limit a human body can stand and they can only be in that room 30 seconds. Two go in and quickly read the gauges and come back out. No one is allowed to go in alone. Some of the pipes are 800 plus degrees. You do not accidently touch them or you deeply regret the moment.  We were down seven decks and saw the bilge-the floor of the ship.

We learned the ship has it’s own language: some examples.

  • Deck means floor
  • Hatch means door
  • Chow means food
  • Ladder means steps
  • Berth means bunk bed
  • Gallery mans kitchen
  • Scuttles means portholes
  • Speed is measured in knots
  • Bow is the front of the ship
  • Port is the left side of the bow
  • Starboard is the right side of the bow
  • Bilge-the very bottom of the ship

A destroyer always traveled with the battleship to help protect her from enemy attack and submarines. The battleship was incapable of detecting or destroying submarines. The destroyers were smaller, not as noisy, more agile and equipped with sonar equipment.

Our self-guided tour pictures….

 

Tomahawk Missile Launcher

They told the story from several years ago, when a man was visiting and touring the ship, and he asked why they didn’t raise the hatch on the launcher so people could see what it looked like. They had to admit, no one knew how. He said, “I did that job, I know how.” The next day the man returned and he took them to the right control, push the button, and the hatch raised.

The fire-power of this ship, the accuracy it could hit and the distance the missiles could go was fearsome and state of the art.

 

Berths were stuck in every available nook.

Dentist office.

Chapel.

 

Several times during the day we were referred to as “the large family”.  As we purchased our tickets, they became aware that this was our Christmas gift to the family. When we left the building, walked across the bridge to the ship where our tour guide was waiting for us, he said, “Are you the large family”?  The word was passed around!  When we were leaving in the late afternoon, one of the staff was standing by the door and wished us a “Merry Christmas”!

Sources of Information:

Most of the facts were spoken to us by the Wisconsin tour guides but I checked the following websites to fact-check as many as possible for accuracy:

 

For the Love of Dirt Bike Racing….Motocross

We had a very fun and different weekend….we went to see our son and grandson race their dirt bikes on a 1500 acre farm at the Motocross just south of Charlotte Courthouse.

I love this picture and the unspoken things it represents…a dad giving words of encouragement to his son before the race. A dad and son sharing a hobby. This was Noah’s second race. When Noah joined our family (almost 5 years ago) he was very insecure and would not leave his mom’s side. He wouldn’t play by himself and was afraid of everything including stairs.  He is now a totally different child.

My mind went back to this picture from March 2014 when we went to Powhatan State Park and he would NOT go, be helped or carried down this flight of steps. He stood at the top, whined, and watched us go.

And now, here he is…..a little nervous, but confident and ready to go.

There they are, ready to go.

Most of Noah’s trail was in the woods so we had to choose a spot and catch a few glimpses of him as he crisscrossed in and out of the woods.

Coming in the finish gate. He had to notice, read and understand the signs telling him where to and not to go.

He was came in 12th out of 17. That was up from 15th place in the last race. We were really proud of him. He has to get the logistics and strategy of all this figured out.

Proud parents!

I didn’t get a picture of the start of Keith’s race as it would have just have been a blur and the roar of a “million” hyped up bikers taking off!  We walked down the fire trail and sat in the edge of the woods at a perfect spot where we could “see” him for all of 5 seconds as he roared out of the woods, traversed a short distance down the fire trail,  crossed the creek and then immediately made a right turn back into the woods. His trail was 6 miles long and he came through 3 times.

There he is making the right hand turn. There is a steep grade coming up from the creek and it was muddy, slick and rutted. It was a tricky turn with numerous ones stalling out or sliding off their bikes. Some seized the moment to edge ahead of the guy or gal in front. It was a good spot to be and watch.

We figured out it was taking him about 20 minutes to make a lap around the trail.  I kept my camera on and watched through the lens for him as there was no time to get a picture otherwise.

We enjoyed our shady spot.

1500 bikers registered for this event plus their family and friends were there. It was huge!

You can’t begin to see all the vehicles.

Two short video clips:

Noah is the last one in this group of bikers coming through. They seemed to come in bunches and they all looked alike but Keith could spot Noah in a distance.

 

I could not get a video of Keith as he came down the trail to fast-you can see in this video the amount of time I had to get a picture. By the time I could ell it was him, there was no time to video. But this short clip of the race shows what it was like at that spot on the trail.

 

Keith and Noah love racing and spend hours and hours riding together on the trails and jumps at their home or with their buddies. It has been good for their family to have a “hobby” they love doing together. But for this mom and grandma, I call it living on the edge!

The Ark

 

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time and he walked with God….. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence……so make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.  This is how you are to build it….. Noah did everything just as the Lord commanded him.

Genesis 6: 10-14, 22 (NIV

 

This past weekend we went to see a replica of Noah’s ark in Williamstown, Kentucky.  Words almost can’t describe this amazing, spectacular,  awesome, massive structure and the impact it has on a person as you walk up and enter the ark. It is the largest free-standing timber-framed structure in the world and can hold up to 10,000 people at one time, although I would not want to be there on that day. It felt ironic that we were heading to the ark and it was very rainy, Houston is dealing with a massive flood, the largest recorded in US history except for the Genesis flood, and big, bad hurricane Irma is snorting, stomping, blowing and flexing her muscles into a major Category 5 storm in the Atlantic, heading for the eastern shores of the US.

I believe the Biblical stories are truth.  I believe the story of Noah building the boat, saving his family (wife, 3 sons and their wives), and two of every animal kind coming to Noah and entering the ark at God’s command. I believe the world-wide flood literally happened, creating the Grand Canyon and many other national wonders. I believe they lived on the ark for over a year before God gave the command to open the door and leave. I believe this catastrophic event was God’s judgment on a very sinful world. Seeing and experiencing the “Ark Encounter”  made the story come alive and the incredible miracle of God saving a righteous man and his family and ensuring that a world of humans and animals would thrive and multiple afterwards. Thanks to Noah and his faith in God and his obedience to God’s instruction, everyone of us is here today.

The Bible gives many details about the size, and details for building the structure and the ensuing flood. The story can be read in Genesis 6-9. There are many details not recorded about the daily care of the animals, cages, disposal of waste, and family life aboard the ark but we do know that God told Noah everything he needed to know to build and prepare. Noah believed God, and God counted him righteous.

In building this replica ark, much thought and prayer was given to present the interior in a way that was biblical and historical accurate. This story has now taken on new meaning for me.  The pictures below are an attempt to show the unique, magnificent structure and stir a desire in you to visit the site and spend a day with Noah and his family on the ark.

Viewing the ark from a distance. All you could say was “wow”!

 

Noah

Noah praying with his family.

“The door”. The Bible says God closed the door before the storm began.  Our grandson, Ryan, was so disappointed that we didn’t enter the ark through the door.

Grain storage.

Water storage.

Food storage.

More storage.

Cages.

More cages showing automatic feeders and waterers. They are not that much different from today! See the slanted floor under the cage? Most of the cages had slated floors and the manure sifted through to the slanted floor onto the slide so that it would fall to an area where it could be retrieved. The eight people on the ark had a maximum of 7,000 animals to care for. The Bible says he took animal “kinds” into the ark. There are 1,398 known animal “kinds”.

The task would have been enormous. It is almost impossible to totally visualize the daily logistics of care. But if God cared enough about preserving the life of the animals and Noah and his family, I know he gave him wisdom and insight and probably direct instructions on how to make life manageable.  After all, they had to have food and water for a year, plus waste management! If Noah had a water collection system on the roof of the ark, one inch a week would have supplied all his water needs for the year.  The ark shows how all that is possible and it is amazing!

Because the ark would have been dark (they had no electricity in those days) except for the use of lanterns, torches and the natural light from the windows on top, quite a few of the animals would have been in a semi-state of hibernation.

A probable automatic feeding system.

Managing the work.

A water system for two cages made from pottery.

A possible work area to do repairs and maintenance.

Storage area for scrolls and other artifacts they would have been taken on board. After all, God told Noah very specifically that EVERYTHING would be destroyed. Noah would have wanted to preserve his personal possessions, tools, etc.

The families would have had their living areas. God would have carefully  cared for Noah’s family. After all, they had to eat, sleep, and rest so that they could stay healthy and strong to do the work. This was a new thought to me.

 

Kitchen area.

With the living quarters on the top deck they could have taken advantage of window ventilation.

By using reflective light from the windows they could have grown fresh green vegetables.

 

The modern idea of raised beds could have been used thousands of years ago!  It is a thought!

Noah releasing a dove to check to see if the water had receded.

The Hostetters (our daughter and her family) bought a peg during the building of the ark process for $100. It was a neat fundraising idea. Each peg was numbered and they were told which area their peg was in but we weren’t able to tell which peg was theirs. Jill decided to claim that one as theirs!

It was a wonderful day and our time spent at the ark was probably the highlight of our trip. However, the visit to the Creation Museum (about 30 miles away) the day before was tremendous. We heard a speaker on evolution versus creation and even Karla was enthralled with the information.

 

We ate lunch in the restaurant on site. The all-you-could-eat buffet was delicious and the surroundings were spectacular.

 

The bow of the ark.

Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you–the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground-so that they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number upon it. So Noah came out….

The Noah built an altar to the Lord…. and the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said, “I will never again curse the ground because of man…never again will I destroy all living creatures….as long as the earth remains.”

Then God blessed Noah….and God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come. I have set my rainbow in the clouds as a sign of the covenant. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant…..”

Genesis 8: 15-22, 9:1-17

Some interesting facts:

  • Size of Ark: The building of the original ark was an engineering feat. It was built without modern equipment. The Ark had a ratio (length x width x height) of 30 x 5 x 3. According to ship-builders, this ratio represents an advanced knowledge of ship-building since it is the optimum design for stability in rough seas. The Ark, as designed by God, was virtually impossible to capsize! It would have to have been tilted over 90 degrees in order to capsize. The size in the Bible is given in cubits as being 300 cubits long (510′) by 50 cubits wide (85′) and 30 cubits high (51′). A cubit in the OT was generally about 17.5 inches. However, an Egyptian royal cubit measured about 20.5 inches. Since Moses was educated in Egypt we must allow for the possibility that the longer measurement was meant here. The Ark, therefore, could have measured from 437 feet to 512 feet in length! It was not until the late 19th century that a ship anywhere near this size was built.(taken from website: http://www.ldolphin.org/cisflood.html). The titanic was 883 ‘ long or 3 times this size.
  • Date of flood: Utilizing the genealogies in the Bible we know the flood was close to 4,400 years ago, roughly 1,650 years after the creation. Noah was 600 when the Flood came (Genesis 7:6). From Scripture we know the date of the start of the Flood (Genesis 7:11) and when they left the Ark (Genesis 8:14–15), so we know they were on the Ark for a little over a year. (taken from website: https://answersingenesis.org/noahs-ark/what-we-know-of-noah/).
  • Animals in the ark: a pair (male and female) of each “kind” of “unclean” animals, 7 pairs of every bird and 7 pairs of each “clean” animal.  “Clean” animals were used for eating and sacrifice. No fish were taken into the ark. (Genesis 7:2-3)
  • Noah’s family history: Methuselah, the oldest known man,  lived 969 years and was Noah’s grandfather. He died about 5 years before the flood. Lamech was his father and he also died shortly before the flood. (Genesis 5:26-32).
  • Noah had 3 sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Genesis 5:32) and was 500 years old when they were born.
  • Noah’s age: at the time of the flood: Noah was 600 years old, 2 months and 17 days when the flood came. (Genesis 7:11).
  • Death of Noah: Noah live 350 years after the flood and died when he was 950 years old.
  • Length of rain/storm: 40 days and 40 nights.
  • Depth of flood: the highest mountain peaks in the world were covered by 15 cubits.
  • Construction of ark: had 1 door (which God closed) and a row of windows on top for light and ventilation. There was no steering mechanism as the ark just floated on the water and God directed where it would go and that it was to stop on the Mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:4)
  • Amount of water and food needed for twelve months: 322,400 gallons of water and 400 tons of various grains, seeds, nuts, preserved fruits, vegetables and possibly insects. The water could have been stored in storage vessels and cisterns. (Taken from info posted in the ark).
  • Size of animals: 85% were 22 lbs or under. 7% 22.1 lbs to 220 lbs. and 8% over 220 lbs. They probably took young stock of the larger animals. (Taken from info posted in the ark).
  • Cages needed: 22 extra large, 186 large, 293 medium, 308 bird, 174 small and 415 amphibian. (Taken from info posted in the ark).
  • Daily work requirements: With an eight person crew it would have taken 3 to do the cleaning, 1 to water, 1 to feed, 1 to deal with human food and special animal diets, .5 to shovel waste from pit to pump and 1.5 to do laundry, human waste removal, maintenance, animal care and miscellaneous. No one was allow to be lazy! (Taken from info posted in the ark).

 

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