Friday, April 2, 2010


Tuesday, March 30 – Beginning with this blog when you click on a link, it will open into a new window. This will keep the blog always open in a separate. We hope this will make looking at the links easier.

We have to pick up our neighbor today at the truck shop. He's having a new bed liner sprayed in his new truck. They are in the process of switching from their motor home to a new 5th wheel toy hauler.

We then went to Houston to tour the Battleship Texas.


It is docked in the Houston Ship Channel.




They were dredging the channel when we were there.



This area is right in the heart of the Energy Corridor. This is the location of all the oil refineries.




Upon entering the ship,


we stopped to talk to one of the Texas Park Rangers, Jim Moon, who was welcoming people aboard the ship. I had read previously that many of these volunteers are work campers. These work campers, volunteer in exchange for a free campsite with paid utilities. Well, sure enough he was a work camper and was originally from Ohio.


Well, after talking for quite awhile, he asks us if we would like a personal and more extensive tour of the ship. Heck yeah! Our tour lasted about three and a half hours. He took us to every nook and cranny on the ship.
The TEXAS is the last of the battleships, patterned after HMS Dreadnought, that participated in World War (WW) I and II. She was launched on May 18, 1912 from Newport News, Virginia. When the USS TEXAS was commissioned on March 12,1914, she was the most powerful weapon in the world, the most complex product of an industrial nation just beginning to become a force in global events.



In 1916, TEXAS became the first U.S. battleship to mount antiaircraft guns and the first to control gunfire with directors and range-keepers, analog forerunners of today's computers. In 1919, TEXAS became the first U.S. battleship to launch an aircraft.




In 1925, the TEXAS underwent major modifications. She was converted to oil-fired boilers, tripod masts and a single stack were added to the main deck, and the 5" guns that bristled from her sides were reduced in number and moved to the main deck to minimize problems with heavy weather and high seas. Blisters were also added as protection against torpedo attack. 

The TEXAS received the first commercial radar in the US Navy in 1939.


New antiaircraft batteries, fire control and communication equipment allowed the ship to remain an aging but powerful unit in the US naval fleet. In 1940, Texas was designated flagship of US Atlantic Fleet. The First Marine Division was founded aboard the TEXAS early in 1941.  After service in the War in the European theater, the TEXAS was switched to the War in the Pacific.  It’s color was also changed from light brown (the color of Atlantic ships because of being tracked by subs) to dark blue (Pacific ships are blue because they were being tracked from the air by planes and the blue blends in with the ocean).  After the war, on April 21, 1948 the Texas was decommissioned.

Communication room



Typewriter used for coded information


Our tour included…

The Bridge,





The Brig



The Captain Quarters…Walter Cronkite had his first assignment on the Texas. President FDR and Eisenhower met in this room.




The rooms where the cannon powder and shells were stored


The Furnace room




and even down to the very bottom of the ship where the engine shaft exits to be joined with the propeller.


While being active in World War I and World War II, the Texas was only hit once. Here is a picture of the actual shell that did not explode when it hit the Texas.


They are in the process of refurbishing the ship’s floor. It was Teak but it is to costly to replace it with that so they are using treated lumber.


In addition to all the info you can read about the Battleship Texas, it was the first battleship to have a plane take off from its deck, first movie theater aboard a battleship, and first battleship to have radar.

We went everywhere. Places the general public are normally not permitted to enter. It was absolutely amazing. We also met Jim’s wife, Jan. What a great couple. We can’t thank them enough for their hospitality, time and friendship.

After the tour, Jim even took us to the campsites and introduced us to the boss in charge of hiring work campers. Of course we picked up an application. We'll consider this opportunity in the heart of Houston for future camping opportunities.

After that we drove across the street to San Jacinto Battlegrounds.



This is location of the final battle for Texas Independence. Sam Houston led his troops against Santa Anna of Mexico. With the cry of “Remember the Alamo” the Texas soldiers slaughtered the Mexican troops killing over 5000 soldiers. This led to Texas independence and eventual statehood.

We ended our day in Houston by eating at the famous seafood restaurant on the Houston Ship Channel called the Monument Inn. We dined at a window table watching the ships move up the channel to the many refineries.




The Exxon Baytown Refinery, the largest refinery in the USA and where our youngest daughter Carrie is employed as a chemical engineer, is located on this channel and was in view out the window of the restaurant. Look real close and you can see the refinery.


A very amazing day!

To see more pictures of the Texas Battleship, click here.

To see more pictures of the Ship’s Captains, Quarters click here.

To see more pictures of the ship’s guns, click here.

To see more pictures of the Houston Ship Channel, click here.

To see more pictures of Paul and I, click here.

Thanks for visiting. Have a Blessed Easter.