Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cutter Tour

Baltimore June 2008
We found out recently through the SNAME email newsletter that the new National Security Cutter, USCGC Bertholf, would be visiting Baltimore this weekend and open for tours. Jane got the word out, and I joined her, Jen, and Zina to have a look. Jane and I got there before Jen and Zina, so we went for a walk around Fells Point. I had never been there before - it seems nice, but kind of geared towards tourists and nightlife (lots of bars). However, walking around was a good call, because we came across a green 1972 Buick Riviera, a "Boat-Tail." I've wanted this exact car since I was a teenager. I think it is absolutely beautiful. This one in particular even had a little Creature from the Black Lagoon hood ornament - very apropos, since this car is a beast. It probably drinks gas like it is water, and is thoroughly impractical in this day and age. But it is absolutely gorgeous. Jane was good enough to humor me as I gushed and took many photos. Once Zina and Jen arrived, we had a very nice tour. Obviously, we couldn't go everywhere we would have liked. The EM2 leading our tour asked the OOD if he could get us down into the engine room or even Main Control, but we were not allowed. A shame. But we did see the new 57mm gun, the bridge, the CO's cabin, the messdeck, and finished up with the stern-launched boats and the flight deck. The stern launch system still looks like it would be very tricky in a seaway, and I don't see how traversing the boats on a gantry crane can be safe if the cutter is rolling much. On the flight deck, they had parked on of the new re-engined and armed MH-65 helicopters. Apparently a bunch of the brass, including the Thadmiral and Secretary Chertoff were aboard the other day, so they were clearly bringing out all the new toys to show them off. But they were impressive - the armament on the helo even includes one of the big anti-material .50 caliber sniper rifles the Army uses from time to time. So it was a very successful trip up to the Charm City. On the way back Jane and I even stopped at the College Park Ikea, so I could get a more comfortable chair for guests in my tv room. As one of Ryan's friends once said after driving his tractor into an abandoned car (for a movie): "Not bad for a Sunday."

No comments: