#201  
Old 09-13-2019, 01:51 PM
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I've stood behind the podium in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives where the President gives his State of the Union Address, and from where such luminaries as Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa and Yitzhak Rabin have spoken over the years.

That reminds me. I stood at the podium at the White House press room. Got a great photo of my daughter up there too.

We had a friend who worked in the West Wing (broadly defined) and she gave us a private tour. The press room was empty and we could do as we pleased.
  #202  
Old 09-13-2019, 01:59 PM
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That reminds me, I've bowled at the White House.

Not that uncommon, around here at least (if you're looking for a White House staffer around DC, just toss a rock), but still a unique experience.

Last edited by DCnDC; 09-13-2019 at 02:00 PM.
  #203  
Old 09-13-2019, 02:13 PM
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That reminds me, I've bowled at the White House.

Not that uncommon, around here at least (if you're looking for a White House staffer around DC, just toss a rock), but still a unique experience.
My SO bowled there a few years ago. She wore the bowling shoes home. I told her to keep them but she took them back a couple of days later.
  #204  
Old 09-13-2019, 11:21 PM
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I first lived in Japan in 1981 and have lived in Asia for over 32 years total. I traveled and backpacked extensively around in 1986 so there should be zillions of places where no one else on these boards have been.

I worked in an industry selling professionals products often used in command and control centers and such. I suspect I’m the only Doper to have been in the Tokyo Stock Exchange. If I haven’t, then I’d like to hear why.

I also worked in pro audio so I’ve been in the control rooms of most of the major studios in Japan, and lots of smaller ones, but that’s not going to be interesting to most people here.

There was (still is?) a cheesy sex museum near Atami, Japan. Having been roped into going to it on a bizarre road trip with a group of drunk customers, I doubt any of the other posters from Japan were foolish enough to go.

Here in Taiwan, I’ve been on trails in Hualien which are restricted and require applying for permission. Most tourists wouldn’t be able to do that.
  #205  
Old 09-13-2019, 11:57 PM
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I've stood at the conn of the frigate USS Constitution, the brig USS Niagara, and the slave ship replica Amistad.
  #206  
Old 09-14-2019, 08:50 AM
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I’ve camped out and slept overnight out on the dunes of White Sands National Monument. I realize many have been to White Sands, but how many have slept overnight on those white sands? (Not in a parked trailer or RV but in a tent after hiking back out onto the dunes. You need a special permit to do it. Legally anyway.)

Also, it was a full moon that night and with a couple of flashlights/lanterns we went night sledding and surfing down the larger dunes. Fun! The “white sand” is gypsum — slippery stuff.

Last edited by Bullitt; 09-14-2019 at 08:51 AM.
  #207  
Old 09-14-2019, 09:52 AM
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Here’s my little list.

The gold vault in the NY Federal Reserve building. I had a friend that worked there so I got to go all the way inside, and I got to pick up some gold. I had to put it back and leave it though.

The attic of St Patrick’s cathedral in New York, behind that rosette window.

The NBC commissary at 30 Rock

The basement of Studio 54

David Bowie’s bedroom ( and, yes, he was there)

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 09-14-2019 at 09:52 AM.
  #208  
Old 09-14-2019, 10:02 AM
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I’ve camped out and slept overnight out on the dunes of White Sands National Monument. I realize many have been to White Sands, but how many have slept overnight on those white sands? (Not in a parked trailer or RV but in a tent after hiking back out onto the dunes. You need a special permit to do it. Legally anyway.)

Also, it was a full moon that night and with a couple of flashlights/lanterns we went night sledding and surfing down the larger dunes. Fun! The “white sand” is gypsum — slippery stuff.
My wife hiked the Chilkoot Trail back in her backpacking days in the 70s. That was the Klondike gold rush trail from Skagway, AK to Lake Bennett, BC/YT. She says she thought she was going to have to be rescued because of exhaustion at one point.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:17 PM
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David Bowie’s bedroom ( and, yes, he was there)
Is there any more to that story, Ann?

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My wife hiked the Chilkoot Trail back in her backpacking days in the 70s. That was the Klondike gold rush trail from Skagway, AK to Lake Bennett, BC/YT. She says she thought she was going to have to be rescued because of exhaustion at one point.
The Chilkoot Trail is an assKicker! Not that I know, I only know of it, because I can read. I’d think your wife is proud she did it.

Info, Hiking the Chilkoot Trail on pc.gc.ca: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/yt/c...iking-randonee

I rode the White Pass RR line up and down it, only up to Summit Lake and back to Skagway. Absolutely beautiful, vistas so stunning that I vowed to return. And I will return. By car

gMap, Klondike Hwy, 8hrs / 440 miles from Dawson City Ferry to Skagway: https://goo.gl/maps/DduPmqq2BCSAn4Hz8


Me? I’ve hiked to the top of Half Dome. It’s a great hike, from Happy Isles to the summit of Half Dome it’s 14 miles round trip and 4,000 feet elevation gain (4,800’ to 8,842’ at the top). I did it in a day. I’m pretty sure several Dopers have done this hike, though not too many.

But that’s nothing compared to Chilkoot, almost 5x longer than Half Dome.
  #210  
Old 09-14-2019, 04:06 PM
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Got drunk at Stephen King's house. Of course, he did not own it at the time.

I was in high school, the house belonged to a (well-to-do) classmate's family, and King, IIRC from his On Writing memoir, was selling short stories to nudie magazines for rent money.

Now the house is all wrought iron fences, imposing gates and bat tracery. I can barely see the lawn by the carriage house where I may or may not have thrown up.
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Old 09-14-2019, 04:47 PM
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I read the title, and the poster, and thought, "LOl, Chefguy's got this on lock. Dude's been everywhere."

I have crawled around the hills in Big Sur, north and south of Nacimiento-Ferguson Road, chasing Bambi, and you should drive that road if you're in the area. It's really pretty, and there are a lot of different biomes you drive through in not too long a distance.

The place I'd choose though, you really can't see anymore. I was accidentally trespassing, trying to find my way from the canyon rim, back to the road that runs along the riverbank of the Mosel River, in western Germany. I ended up driving down the very steep service roads of the Urziger Wurzgarten vineyard to the surprise of the few vineyard workers nearby. I didn't see the red soil that it's famous for, but from there, you can see an uninterrupted sea of vines for a few miles on the hills spilling down to the river. Zeltingen Himmelreich, Sonnenuhr, going to Wehlener Sonnenuhr, to Graacher Domprobst and Josephhofer, finally ending up at Bernkastel and the Doktor (This is breaking my spellcheck over its knee.) A blanket of green grapevines, and the Riesling from each of them tastes as different from each other as can be. With Urziger Wurtzgarten being the spiciest, most tropical, and exotic of them all.

There's a giant ass road bridge that shades the Wurtzgarten now, and probably screws up the view too. But for awhile, it was an amazing view, and made amazing wine.
  #212  
Old 09-14-2019, 05:00 PM
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I read the title, and the poster, and thought, "LOl, Chefguy's got this on lock. Dude's been everywhere."
Not even close, I'm afraid, although I've traveled more than most everyone I know personally. I have a friend who made it his retirement goal to visit every county in Texas, and he's done it. Another friend is a fellow State Department veteran and also a Peace Corps veteran. She's been to some really remote places that I have not only not been to, but really can't figure out why anyone would want to go there. But then she's a Nurse Practitioner and does some actual good in those places.

It's clear that folks on this board have been to some pretty exotic spots, many of which I'm envious. Travel shapes and changes one's outlook on the world. I believe that if I had never left Alaska, I'd probably have been a solid Republican like my sibs and even (choke) voted for Palin.
  #213  
Old 09-14-2019, 05:49 PM
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I read the title, and the poster, and thought, "LOl, Chefguy's got this on lock. Dude's been everywhere."

I have crawled around the hills in Big Sur, north and south of Nacimiento-Ferguson Road, chasing Bambi, and you should drive that road if you're in the area. It's really pretty, and there are a lot of different biomes you drive through in not too long a distance.
I’ve been at the east end of Nacimiento-Ferguson Rd, on the bridge at Mission Road (see gMap), but haven’t taken it all the way to the coast. Thanks for the tip, I’ll keep it in mind for a future drive south.

gMap — https://goo.gl/maps/87BLxr2hisTjft2SA
  #214  
Old 09-14-2019, 06:21 PM
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I’ve been at the east end of Nacimiento-Ferguson Rd, on the bridge at Mission Road (see gMap), but haven’t taken it all the way to the coast. Thanks for the tip, I’ll keep it in mind for a future drive south.

gMap — https://goo.gl/maps/87BLxr2hisTjft2SA
The west side is Much prettier. Even considering what all of the fires probably did to the area. Maybe I just saw too much of it growing up, but you've seen one tan, oak-covered dusty hillside, you've seen them all. The roads N and S of the road's summit, so just to the west of the ranger station, are great jump offs for hiking the seaward side of the main ridge line. Gorgeous views, with ocean, sunset, fog trying to crawl it's way up the mountain.

Not many deer, but the whole experience was character building in July and August.
  #215  
Old 09-14-2019, 06:59 PM
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I loved in Paradise, California before the fire destroyed it.
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:17 PM
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I loved in Paradise, California before the fire destroyed it.
What was her name?
  #217  
Old 09-15-2019, 01:02 AM
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What was her name?
Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there
She would merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star
Tony always tended bar
Across the crowded floor, they worked from eight til four
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?

At the copa (co) Copacabana (Copacabana)


  #218  
Old 09-15-2019, 07:57 AM
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Saipan: Banzai Cliff, Suicide Cliff, the Last Outpost
The pits that Fat Man and Little Boy were stores on Tinian before being dropped on Japan, and the runway the Enola Gay took off from.
Many places in the 4 Corners, Arizona, New Mexico, and Southern Colorado, and in Europe. The Oklahoma Panhandle and nearby sites in TX and KS

It's not the place, but the event: Mr. Celtic Knot and I performed as Celtic Knot on the stage at the Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City, KS.
  #219  
Old 09-15-2019, 09:52 AM
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This one's not so unique: Deadwood, SD. Visited the cemetery where Wild Bill, Calamity Jane and Sheriff Bullock are buried, and bought the boxed DVD Deadwood set at a local store.
  #220  
Old 09-15-2019, 10:45 AM
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I’m an NFL football fan and in the cemetery at Rotan, TX three years ago I visited the grave of NFL Hall of Fame QB Sammy Baugh. Rotan is a small town in central Texas, about 60 miles NW of Abilene TX.

Back in 1994 when “Slingin’ Sammy” was still alive (he passed away in 2008) I was reading a book that described his NFL accomplishments and was very impressed. Sammy Baugh was one of the first prolific passers back when the NFL offenses were built around the running game. Back then, in the 1940s, the forward pass was seen as a desperation play. Sammy Baugh helped to change that.

Two of his records as quarterback still stand: most seasons leading the league in passing (six; tied with Steve Young) and most seasons leading the league with the lowest interception percentage (five). And in a time when players often played both offense and defense, as a defensive back he was the first player in league history to intercept four passes in a game. He is the only player to lead the league in passing, punting, and interceptions in the same season.

That is a record likely never to be broken. I was in total awe of this Sammy Baugh.

I was in San Francisco at the time, and on a whim I called the old directory assistance number for Rotan TX, 325-555-1212, and asked for his number. To my surprise they gave me a number, and when I dialed it and a gentleman answered the phone and I asked for Sammy Baugh, to my even greater surprise he said, “That’s me.”

I was talking to the legend himself! I was 33 at the time and I felt like a 13-year old kid. I told him I was a fan and very impressed by his accomplishments. He described the game back then, 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust, and almost no passing. As a 49ers fan I mentioned Joe Montana and Steve Young and he said he’d LOVE to be playing in today’s game. He was very gracious and we had a nice conversation for about 10-15 minutes. I asked if he would autograph my book, Seventy-Five Seasons: The Complete Story of the National Football League, 1920-1995, and he said sure!

I asked him how should I address the package.

His answer, “Sam Baugh, Rotan, Texas. It’ll get to me.”

That is one of my most cherished autographs!
  #221  
Old 09-15-2019, 12:03 PM
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I’m an NFL football fan and in the cemetery at Rotan, TX three years ago I visited the grave of NFL Hall of Fame QB Sammy Baugh. Rotan is a small town in central Texas, about 60 miles NW of Abilene TX.

Back in 1994 when “Slingin’ Sammy” was still alive (he passed away in 2008) I was reading a book that described his NFL accomplishments and was very impressed. Sammy Baugh was one of the first prolific passers back when the NFL offenses were built around the running game. Back then, in the 1940s, the forward pass was seen as a desperation play. Sammy Baugh helped to change that.

Two of his records as quarterback still stand: most seasons leading the league in passing (six; tied with Steve Young) and most seasons leading the league with the lowest interception percentage (five). And in a time when players often played both offense and defense, as a defensive back he was the first player in league history to intercept four passes in a game. He is the only player to lead the league in passing, punting, and interceptions in the same season.

That is a record likely never to be broken. I was in total awe of this Sammy Baugh.

I was in San Francisco at the time, and on a whim I called the old directory assistance number for Rotan TX, 325-555-1212, and asked for his number. To my surprise they gave me a number, and when I dialed it and a gentleman answered the phone and I asked for Sammy Baugh, to my even greater surprise he said, “That’s me.”

I was talking to the legend himself! I was 33 at the time and I felt like a 13-year old kid. I told him I was a fan and very impressed by his accomplishments. He described the game back then, 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust, and almost no passing. As a 49ers fan I mentioned Joe Montana and Steve Young and he said he’d LOVE to be playing in today’s game. He was very gracious and we had a nice conversation for about 10-15 minutes. I asked if he would autograph my book, Seventy-Five Seasons: The Complete Story of the National Football League, 1920-1995, and he said sure!

I asked him how should I address the package.

His answer, “Sam Baugh, Rotan, Texas. It’ll get to me.”

That is one of my most cherished autographs!
Nice story! I've mentioned before that I met Dave Brubeck in Moscow, USSR, when I was working security for the Reagan Summit in '88. Had a nice conversation with the man, who was gracious and chatty with a 41 year old fanboy.
  #222  
Old 09-15-2019, 01:05 PM
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On the same trip as the 'Checkpoint Charlie' visit, I went the Berlin Olympic Stadium where Hitler hoped to gloat in 1936.

The place was virtually empty and completely still. Even so, when I stood in Hitler's box I could swear I heard the crowds roaring. An eerie experience for a teenager of Untermenschen roots.
  #223  
Old 09-15-2019, 01:05 PM
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Dang! Due to confidentiality, I can't use the actual person's name. Think...a major financial company named for the real-life person who founded it.

Anyway, I've been in his basement. As a matter of fact, I've been in the basement of two of his (many) houses.
  #224  
Old 09-15-2019, 04:41 PM
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Doing fall cleaning today and emptied out the coffee mug cabinet, which reminded me of a couple of stops that most here haven't been to:

Buckshot Betty's, a cafe just across the border in YT, Canada.

Chicken, AK, on the Taylor Highway heading up to the Poker Creek border crossing, which I've also been to. Now there's a rough road; possibly the worst in Alaska.

Dawson City, home to the Klondike gold rush, perched on the Yukon River, which we crossed by ferry. Also went to a vintage gold dredge on the Kondike River.
  #225  
Old 09-15-2019, 05:57 PM
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Staniel Cay, in the Bahamas. An island so small that the placemat in the only restaurant had a map with everyone's homes on the island marked.
We flew into the small airstrip and stayed on a houseboat.
Scratch this one. Someone on my wife's Facebook feed just posted a picture from here.
  #226  
Old 09-18-2019, 07:33 AM
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Sorry I'm a little late to the game.

I've been in:
  • The palatial home of a conservative U. S. billionaire (no, not that one).
  • The projection booths of at least a dozen IMAX theaters, including the one at the National Air and Space Museum, where I used to work.
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory, including the X-10 reactor, the first nuclear reactor after Fermi's original "pile" in Chicago; the immense K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Plant; and the Y-12 Isotope Separation Plant. The first of these is occasionally open to the public, but the last two are not, AFAIK.
  • The B Reactor, the world's first plutonium production reactor at the Hanford Nuclear Site in Washington state.
    (I visited Oak Ridge and Hanford while assisting with a Smithsonian research program on the Manhattan Project.)
  • The cockpit of the B-29 Enola Gay, and sat in the bombardier's seat.
  • The cockpit of an Air New Zealand 767 during a landing.
  • Michael Andretti's Champ Car (sitting still).
  • The two-seat IndyCar racecar, running two laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (This one anyone can do if you pony up the bucks, so not as exclusive as the other items on this list.)
  #227  
Old 09-18-2019, 07:58 AM
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Was Mario driving you around Indy?
  #228  
Old 09-18-2019, 08:01 AM
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I have been to the very top of the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower in Baltimore.
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Ad hominem is a logical fallacy when it's used to argue against a concept. But it's perfectly appropriate when your point is that someone is an asshole. TonySinclair
  #229  
Old 09-18-2019, 08:12 AM
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Was Mario driving you around Indy?
No, Davey Hamilton.

But I have met Mario, got a picture with him, and got his autographs on the photo of us, his book, and the poster of the IMAX film he starred in, Super Speedway.

Last edited by commasense; 09-18-2019 at 08:12 AM.
  #230  
Old 09-18-2019, 08:19 AM
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No, Davey Hamilton.

But I have met Mario, got a picture with him, and got his autographs on the photo of us, his book, and the poster of the IMAX film he starred in, Super Speedway.
Nice, all around. Davey Hamilton isn’t quite a Mario, but doing two laps around the brickyard has to be an experience.
  #231  
Old 09-18-2019, 10:17 AM
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I have been to the very top of the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower in Baltimore.
I would love to have seen the big, blue rotating Bromo bottle that was up there until 1936.
  #232  
Old 09-18-2019, 11:48 AM
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I first lived in Japan in 1981 and have lived in Asia for over 32 years total. I traveled and backpacked extensively around in 1986 so there should be zillions of places where no one else on these boards have been.

I worked in an industry selling professionals products often used in command and control centers and such. I suspect I’m the only Doper to have been in the Tokyo Stock Exchange. If I haven’t, then I’d like to hear why.

Here in Taiwan, I’ve been on trails in Hualien which are restricted and require applying for permission. Most tourists wouldn’t be able to do that.
Am envious about your backpacking Asia. I've done a little. There's a mountainous region near lake Biwa that was beautiful...piney forest, reached by an old, slow train. Really romantic, IMO.

I've not been to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, but I have been to the Tsukiji Fish Market...

Last edited by Limmin; 09-18-2019 at 11:48 AM.
  #233  
Old 09-18-2019, 02:10 PM
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Nice, all around. Davey Hamilton isn’t quite a Mario, but doing two laps around the brickyard has to be an experience.
Davey was very nice and the ride was incredible. Here's what I wrote in a previous thread:

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I've done the Mario Andretti Driving Experience at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and two Indy Racing Experiences at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: one where you drive an Indy car with a detuned engine that can go about 120 mph tops, and the other in a full-powered two-seater where a pro driver takes you at around 180+. Driving (or riding in) a real race car is great fun and gives you a hint of what pro race drivers have to be able to do. Although driving the detuned car was fun, and being able to say you actually drove a race car around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is pretty cool, I've gone faster in my own car (on track, of course).

But riding in the two-seater was AMAZING! My driver was Davey Hamilton, who ran the 500 eleven times, finishing 4th in 1998. Even though the pros go 40+ mph faster in races, at "only" 180 mph the G-forces in the turns are incredible! The aero downforce gives the car a grip in the corners you just can't believe. It was light years beyond anything I've experienced in any of my other track driving! Unfortunately, it was only two laps, less than two minutes! But probably one of the most memorable things I've done in a car.
  #234  
Old 09-18-2019, 05:26 PM
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Awesome!! Thanks for that description, I'm sporting a broad smile as I read that.

ETA: when next I visit Indy I'll have to check that out!

Last edited by Bullitt; 09-18-2019 at 05:27 PM.
  #235  
Old Yesterday, 10:01 AM
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I climbed up the inside tunnel to the burial chamber at the top of Cheops. I don't recommend it if you're claustrophobic. It's also a big letdown, as there is nothing there to tell you about the site. I also visited King Tut's tomb in the Valley of the Kings, which is another letdown, as it's just a hole in the ground, again with no informational plaques or the like.
  #236  
Old Yesterday, 06:44 PM
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I once crawled down to the end of a 21-inch diameter torpedo tube of a submerged nuclear submarine.

Backstory: after a practice test-fire of a torpedo tube (called a "water slug" because you shoot off a slug of seawater instead of a torpedo), someone has to crawl down the tube and wipe off all of the seawater from the interior. You wipe off the seawater going down, and apply machine oil to all exposed metal on the way out. This is to prevent corrosion of the tube interior.

The tube is about 20 feet long, though, and it gets pretty lonely, cold, and claustrophobic at the far end of the steel tube. I was reassured that nobody would haze me by closing the hatch behind me, though (which I'm sure used to to happen), because doing so was now an offense that would be punished by a court-martial. (I'm sure someone had freaked out in the past when it was done to them, not to mention what would happen if someone latched the breech door and then cycled the firing mechanism. )

So anyway, I climbed in and crawled down the tube with a bunch of industrial Kimwipes in one hand, and an oil can in the other, along with a MAGLITE flashlight clamped in my teeth. It was very tight quarters -- my elbows kept banging into the sides of the tube. I finally got to the far end of the tube, with nothing between me and the ocean deep but a single remotely operated muzzle door that opened out into the ocean...and found water leaking in. It was a fairly steady stream into a drain at the end of the tube. I dutifully reported this, saying, "Hey, there's water leaking in down here at the end. Is that supposed to be happening?" Everyone back in the torpedo room started hollering that we were all going to die. It turns out that the leak was perfectly normal for the depth we were at.

I've also been in the battery well of a submerged submarine for battery charge line-up inspections (more times than I can count). I've laid on the reel of an antenna in a tight space behind the main ship's control panel, then rolled forward until I was upside-down supporting my weight with my hands (again with the MAGLITE flashlight clamped in my teeth) to check seawater valve positions behind the panel. (These verifications are all required to be double-checked by an officer before a submarine submerges.) I've also inspected a submarine's ballast tanks in drydock -- I always imagined they'd be big and empty. Instead, they're tight and cramped like everything else on a submarine.

All in all...a submarine is no place for someone who's claustrophobic.
  #237  
Old Today, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by robby View Post
I once crawled down to the end of a 21-inch diameter torpedo tube of a submerged nuclear submarine.
Who hasn't? This thread is supposed to be about places most other people haven't been. We've ALL done that! Sheesh!
  #238  
Old Today, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by commasense View Post
Who hasn't? This thread is supposed to be about places most other people haven't been. We've ALL done that! Sheesh!
What, only once?
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