Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sightseeing in Norfolk

(Hi all. I want you all to know that I am back loaded on posts due to the lack of coverage on my TMobile smartphone. To be frank the coverage has pretty well stunk since somewhere in South Carolina. If you are planning on doing the loop and want to have good phone and internet connection...GET VERIZON. )

Well, we had a few days to kill in Norfolk waiting for a different technician to pay us a house call on Monday so we had some time for sightseeing in Norfolk. I will be the first to admit that though I love these travels I am a lousy tourist. Lisa is determined to show me how.

First stop was the Chrysler Art Museum. After consulting the varied resources of the Hampton Roads Transit system, all of whom had different levels of understanding of their own system, we made our way to this smallish but wonderful museum. Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., the son of the car magnate and owner of the Chrysler Building in New York, was a world class art collector of all different kinds of art but he particularly loved art glass of all kinds. And it was all very beautiful, especially the largest collection of Tiffany art glass.

The next day we went to Nauticus, a maritime museum just a stone’s throw from our marina. The flavor was very much like a modern slightly commercialized science museum with exhibits sponsored by different corporations and organizations. The emphasis was on the Hampton Roads harbor and its importance to the region. The centerpiece of the museum was the World War II era battleship Wisconsin. This is the real deal! It was big and bad and in its day packed a wallop. We took the guided tour that got us into the ship itself where we saw some of the compartments and other guts of the ship. We then wandered around on the deck for awhile. Very interesting.
The Battleship Wisconsin
Click on the photo album tab above for more pics from Nauticus.

Now by this time we had gotten our repairs done. We did get a big shot of good news about the generator. The first guy we had come on board a week earlier had pronounced that the problem was that the fuel pump had to be removed and be rebuilt which would take a couple of weeks because it would have to be sent to a company up in Maryland. Obviously we were unhappy with this so we started making some phone calls to other local companies and found one that was a dealer for our brand of generator, Onan. He came by on Monday afternoon and, low and behold, found out that the problem was not the pump but a linkage from a solenoid to the valve to let fuel into the pump was loose. That’s all. He buttoned that down, helped us to overcome the lack of electrical power to start the engine (Solved with the installation of a trickle charger) and it fired up without any issue. We figure we saved not only a bunch of money but a whole lot of time. We were ready to go then. But Lisa wanted to linger one more day to go to one other museum, the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News.

We had to take the buses to the museum which is located on the north end of Newport News which included several stops and bus changes, which in the end was a two hour trip each way. But we did get there and, I have to say, this was a great museum. There was an area dedicated to the Chesapeake Bay and its rich history and importance to the regional economy. It was very informative .
Lisa getting ready for battle inside the Virginia (mock up).

Darrell is now the captain of the Monitor...the life size replica at least.

Click on the above photo album tab for more pics.

The big attraction of the museum is the incredibly extensive and detailed exhibit having to do with the Civil War battle of the two ironclad warships the Monitor and the Virginia. (Though sometimes referred to as the Merrimack this was the name of the old wood hulled ship the ironclad was built on. The correct name of the ironclad itself is the Virginia.) And what an exhibit it is: lots of artifacts from the vessels and full scale recreations of the interiors and other points of interest, including a full scale “model” of the Monitor outside the building. But the biggest high point is some of the actual parts of the Monitor recovered during some recent exploration and salvage efforts. The Virginia is gone having been torn apart and burned by the confederacy during the war. The Monitor sunk in 230 feet of water off Hateras NC during the war and was discovered not too many years ago. Many parts of the ship have been recovered including it engine, cannons, anchor, propeller and its turret. Many of these parts have to be maintained in specially equipped tanks of water with special chemicals to keep them from decaying further but they were all on display. Fascinating.