Sunday, March 8, 2015

Coast to Coast; Border to Border and Moving Day Tomorrow

Location: The Californian RV Resort (el. 3,100 ft); Acton, California

(click pictures to enlarge)

This is the second post today.

I drove to Ventura, CA after visiting the Reagan Library. I wanted to see the Pacific Ocean again. As I was driving to the beach I was remembering the last time I saw the Pacific. The year was 1974 and it was the first of many cruises that Uncle Sam took me on around the world so I could see what I could see. I had just turned 18 and had been in the Navy for less than one year. I was assigned to the U.S.S. Manitowoc (LST 1180). The LST stands for Landing Ship, Tank. It is 522 feet long with a Navy compliment of about 200 sailors. We also could carry close to 500 marines and all of their equipment. The ship was designed to cruise on any ocean in the world and put the marines, with their equipment, directly on the beach. I was an Operations Specialist (Radarman) and worked in the Combat Information Center located directed behind the bridge. We were part of the Amphibious Squadron stationed in Little Creek, Virginia.
U.S.S. Manitowoc (LST 1180). I guess it is similar to my current life. Small home; Big back yard. The Navy sold gave her away to Taiwan and they renamed her the Chung Ho. 
The cruise was to the Carribean and the Pacific Ocean. The liberty ports were Cartagena, Colombia; Colon (Canal Zone), Panama; Guayaquil, Ecuador. The mission, besides the continual training, was to transport food supplies to Guayaquil which had recently suffered from some natural disasters. Our ship, with its shallow draft, was well suited for that duty because Guayaquil is located about 50 miles up a shallow river. Tang, the orange flavored dry mix, was the most popular among the people in Ecuador. We carried them tons and tons of the stuff. It was said to be the quickest and easiest way for the poor people to receive the vitamins/nutrients they needed. I guess if it was good enough for space, it was good enough for Columbia. :) 

We crossed the equator on our way to and from Ecuador and since there were a lot of Polywogs on board, there was a great need for a Shellback initiation. For those unfamiliar with the terms: Polywog; a person that has never crossed the equator. Shellback; a person who has crossed the equator. And since the Navy can't just have two such things associated with the equator, we have the Golden Shellback for those that cross the equator at the International Date Line as well as the Special Emerald Shellback for those that cross at the Greenwich Meridian (Prime Meridian). The initiation is a day long event and consists of several stages of gross things. I can't tell you anymore about the initiation for fear of retribution from Neptune,,,afterall I did take the oath when I received my Shellback Certificate. 

I also became of member of the Order of the Ditch which is presented to sailors who have traveled through the Panama Canal. I can't remember how many times we crossed because we went back and forth taking Boy Scouts from around the world through the canal. I think they were having some kind of International Jamboree in Panama during that time. I was guess we made at least a dozen trips back and forth. It got to be boring after the first few times. It was definitely an engineering marvel. Too bad President Carter gave it back to Panama, who in turn, has since leased it out to China.

Those were two honors that some sailors never receive after spending decades at sea and I got both of them in the first year. I won't go into the things that happened on liberty since I can only think of one person that would remember and he ain't talking. I do feel a little guilty about breaking the window in that Panamanian juke-joint, but after all, I was pushed through it. A story for another time, maybe.

Pacific Ocean at Ventura, CA (2015)

No lifeguard. Swim at your on risk. I got the Eye of God again in the sky. :)

It was little chilly, but there were a few brave people

Apartments and houses with a great view of the ocean.
Since I've been RV'ing, I've now been to both coasts and both borders. 

Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be moving north. I couldn't make my mind up between the beaches or the mountains so decided to camp in the middle. I'll be somewhere north of Bakersfield. I'm not sure, but I think I may be close enough for a day trip into the mountains. We will see. 
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.


  1. Boy, there is not much to see around Bakersfield. It would be much more scenic to head east a little and get up into the foothills. If you are adventurous, you could follow Hwy 49 north, but it could be a bit much with the trailer. Lots of twists and turns, and not much straight road. Very pretty country this time of year, though. Also, Yosemite is nice this time of year.

    1. Hello KCD. Thanks for the recommendation. You were right, nothing in Bakersfield as I passed through. I will be exploring Sequoia tomorrow so I expect to see the pretty country you're talking about.