Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Newport News Adventure

December 3, 2014
Each day continues to bring new adventures......some interesting, some humorous, some educational and some that are just lots of work!

Last Saturday we spent most of the afternoon in Newport News doing a little exploring.

We drove across a 5 mile long bridge over the bay to get from Chesapeake to Newport News.   We noticed this red buoy out in the bay, along with some ships in the background.

There were also a number of fishing boats - some quite brightly colored.
We visited the Maritime Museum that has some very interesting exhibits.   It is a huge place and we only made it through about 1/3 of it before we were both ready to call it a day...took us almost 3 hours to see that much of it.   Here we are standing in front of some maritime guns mounted outside the museum.


This area is really rich in history and I am finding that I have not retained much historical detail about some of the things I learned about in school.   One of the main reasons we visited this museum was to see some artifacts/history about the ironclad ship "The Monitor",   You may recall hearing about the battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac during the civil war.   I went back and read about it after we got home and it made me appreciate the things I had seen even more!

This is the engine room clock that was recovered from the remains of the Monitor.   Based on the position of the hands, historians have surmised that the Monitor went down sometime around 
1 o'clock

They also recovered this charred/encrusted lantern and have restored it.

This is a drawer that was recovered from the wreckage and restored.

There were also two skulls and forensic models of what historians think the men looked like when they went down with the ship.   I got teary eyed when I read the placard that stated they have been restored in the hopes that the skulls might someday be reunited with some members of the men's families.  Elder Ashton saw the exhibits in one room where they had modeled the turret from the Monitor and it showed where they found the men's skeletons.....he said it was VERY interesting!

The museum had a rather large display of ancient sea dinosaurs.....really interesting!  Many of the fossils/parts of skeletons were discovered around South Dakota and Kansas.   The displays indicated that an inland sea covered that part of the US eons ago and was heavily populated with the types of sea creatures we saw.

This anchor is mounted outside the museum.   The placard indicated this is the most common type of anchor that was used in the mid to late 1900's - up to the 1980's I think it said.

This fresnel lens is from one of the lighthouses that operated in the area.   At first the lens was illuminated by and oil lamp, then changed to an electric light, and finally the whole thing was replaced by a beacon more like what is seen in an airport air traffic control tower.  This lens was HUGE and was rotating.   The prisms of light that reflected off the walls was beautiful.   The placards indicated that there had been 3 lighthouses in this area to light the way to the chesapeake bay.....they had to keep moving the lighthouse further inland as they got flooded by rising waters.
This was another huge eagle masthead that was on one of the ships the plied the waters in this area.   The eagle was probably 10 feet in length with a wing span of over 15 feet.   Pretty impressive.

When we left the museum, we drove along the waterfront and tried to get as close to the shipyard as we could.   They have it fenced off and don't allow unauthorized personnel to get very close but we did get this one picture of one of the ships that we think is being decommissioned and taken apart right there at Newport News.   It would be interesting to find out how many people work in that shipyard.....cause there were lots of ships there in various stages of repair, construction, dismantling,  etc.

As we drove back across the 5 mile long bridge, I thought the sun reflecting off the water made a pretty sight........I don't see something like this very often in Arizona! (Please disregard my finger in the bottom of the picture---all I can say is I am a terrible photographer and I wish you were all here with me so you could see the actual thing instead of my poor pictures)

Elder Ashton and I had an assignment to speak in church on Sunday.....a little nerve-wracking to speak in front of a group of people I am not very familiar with!   When we got home from church we spent a quiet afternoon reading, napping, eating dinner and generally just being lazy and resting up for another busy week.

I think Elder Ashton and I are settling into our responsibilities and I am beginning to feel more comfortable with my "job".  We are both finding that things are a little hectic with our responsibilities at the first of the month.....lots of bills to pay and data to enter into the software program that tracks the finances, cars, and houses.  Since Elder Ashton and I share a cube, I get to hear some of his conversations with the young missionaries related to vehicles.   There are a couple of young sister missionaries who were in a wreck about 10 days ago when an older lady pulled out into the street in front of them.   The missionaries car is totaled and Elder Ashton is trying to get them in a different car.   One of the things I have learned over the years of living with a car guy is that they have their own special language (it's almost like a foreign language) and they thing everyone understands that language.   Yesterday Elder Ashton was talking to one of the young sisters about options for a replacement vehicle.  He told them they had a choice of two different Toyotas, a Chevy Cruz, or a Subaru.   The sister on the phone said, "Well, I don't know.   Do you have a red one?"   I couldn't help it and just started laughing, especially when Elder Ashton paused before answering that he was sorry he didn't have a red car for them :)

Today we had a mission leadership conference in the building with 40 young missionaries there for training.   One of the other senior Sister Missionaries and I were responsible for getting lunch heated up and on the table for them and then cleaning up afterward.   As soon as their training meeting ended they all descended on the office, all talking and laughing at once......a little better controlled chaos this time :)

When we walked out of the apartment this morning it was very foggy and misting.   We have certainly experienced some wetter weather than we are used to in Arizona but did have one 70+ degree day this week and Elder Ashton left the office a little early to ride his bike out to a small cemetery and take pictures of headstones for his Billion Graves project.


Some of you who are familiar with Elder Ashton may know that he has just a bit of a compulsive side to him and likes things to be VERY organized.   He has spent a number of hours this week organizing the "key barn" with all the spare keys for the fleet of 78 vehicles.   I couldn't resist taking a picture of his perfectly organized "key barn"......please note that the keys are all facing the same way and are color coded by make :)   Now those of you who worked with me know that my desk was always exactly the opposite of that.....must be that old saying is true that opposites attract :)

I must say that our service is more demanding than I expected it to be and that I am tired each night when I come home but am enjoying this experience.   The walls in our apartment are still bare but I have plans to cover them with pictures of my family and then I will feel more at home.   I put a picture of Sean and Keisel (two of my great grandsons) as my wallpaper on my computer and every time I go back to the desktop I get a huge smile on my face!

I'm liking this adventure!


  1. I love this post and love hearing about your adventures! Sounds like you both are settling in very well. I laughed out loud at the picture of Elder Ashton's "key barn!" Hilarious...and no surprises there! Loved your previous post as well and hearing about your Thanksgiving dinner with the other office couple. You made pies and loaves of bread...your kitchen must be better equipped than when you first arrived! And I was delighted to see that the weather was sunny and warm enough for shirt sleeves last Saturday. Hope that continues for you! Thanks for posting and keeping us up to date! Love you!

  2. I love hearing about how your different personalities are coming into play. Makes we wonder how Ken and I would fare. Especially since we spent 3 hours last night trying to put up a fresh 7' tall Christmas tree. At the end we were both ready to throw it out into the street and let the scavengers have it! (Its a long story). No angry words were exchanged, but maybe a cuss word or two came out of my mouth. I love your red shirt and matching bag, Carol. You look great. Really. I'm thankful for these posts. I get excited to read them. Thank you so much for doing it.