I decide to take a day off the bike today and do the tourist thing. Managing to crack the Internet problem at last, I now have access from anywhere in the USA, albeit at 26 kbps at the moment (it takes ages
to upload pics to SmugMug). I post the latest entries on my Journal and, ordering a taxi from the front desk, leave the computer up-loading 20 images (estimated time remaining – 2hrs 53mins :P).
The cab turns up, driven by Bonnie, from Texas. She talks incessantly, usually making eye contact either over her shoulder or in the mirror. Now and again she glances at the road ahead and narrowly avoids a variety of hazards. Whilst she’s doing this, she uses both hands to eat a baked potato, followed by a bowl of chilli…..
At one stage she comments on the fact that another driver is clearly not taking care over his driving, as he’s talking on a mobile phone. I’m amazed, and not a little grateful that the cab has seat belts in the rear.
Against all odds, we arrive safely at Patriots Point and the USS Yorktown. Named for the carrier sunk in the Battle of the Coral Sea, USS Yorktown was commissioned in WWII, de-commissioned just before the Korean War, then re-commissioned in time to be deployed during the Vietnam War. The entire Patriots Point area is a museum to Naval & Marine Corps aviation and warfare.
From the Vietnam era, there is a PBR (Patrol Boat, River), which you may find familiar if you’ve seen ‘Apocalypse Now’.
In the main hangar of the Yorktown is a collection of aircraft detailing the history of naval aviation, including the F6F Hellcat.
On the Flightdeck (made of wood – which was one reason the US carriers were so vulnerable to kamikaze attack) is a collection of altogether more modern aircraft including the F4 Phantom,
and F14 Tomcat.
Amazingly, below decks I find an escalator installed. At first I assume this has been installed to aid visitors getting about the ship after it became a museum - in fact it was installed in the 1950s while the ship was operational, and served to convey aircrews to the flight deck rapidly…..
Crossing the Cooper & Wando rivers in Charleston Harbour are a variety of spectacular bridges. These are about to be eclipsed by a gargantuan structure which is being built along side the others. I have no idea how tall the two main pillars are, but they dwarf the current (very high) road bridge. The picture does little to convey the scale of the project, although the size of the yellow tower cranes may give you some idea….
I call the cab company and, to my dismay, Bonnie turns up again. She’s finished lunch it seems, and keeps one hand at least close to the wheel all the way back to the hotel, while she explains in gruesome and explicit detail the exact gynaecological reasons why she hasn’t ever had children. I leave the cab, feeling stunned and a little nauseous - so far into the ‘Too Much Information’ zone that I fear I may never find my way out…..
...but when I got to my room, all the pics had uploaded to SmugMug in my absence - which was nice. :)