Day 26 – Virginia Beach & Day 27 – Little Creek Naval Amphib Base

Days 26 & 27 are a hodgepodge in my head so I’m just going to lay it out as I remember stuff. Just understand that what you read probably isn’t in the order it occurred. I suspect that’s probably not an issue so I have no idea why I felt it was necessary to clarify. Just ignore this part.

We got up late again this morning, around 0830, just in time to watch the USS George H. Bush sail away to sea – it was a very majestic site.

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Then, while standing at the rail of our porch “Pink People” started running by, going north, on the boardwalk. Their numbers grew quickly to thousands, really, as we watched. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until Diane explained that it was The Race For The Cure. It was quite a stupendous sight. I think pretty much every woman and little girl who went by was wearing a pink tutu. I’m sure there were some guys wearing pink tutu’s, too, can’t say so with confidence. There were too many pretty girls for me to consider looking at the guys.

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After the runners and walkers dwindled to none, Diane and I took a trip all the way to the north end of Virginia Beach, then followed the road around to the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek. I visited the area a little when I was here in 1966, but don’t remember anything about it. Just know I was there. While roving around the base we came across a Navy Lodge and decided to see if they had a room we could rent. The logic for that was that we are leaving very early Tuesday morning and NAB Little Creek is essentially at the north border of the Norfolk airport so it’s a quick trip instead of the 45 minutes it took us from Virginia Beach. My concern was about getting the car back to the rental place for turn in on time to avoid additional charges. It was horrendously expensive in the first place so I don’t want to give them any opportunity to tack on more, ya know?

The Navy Lodge had a room for us but the gal at the counter said all they had available was a suite. That was OK with me, so I booked it. A suite to me is a bedroom with a living and kitchen area. Turns out the suite we got, cheaper than our tiny VB room, is really a 2 bedroom condo that sleeps 6. Too bad the family isn’t here.

We returned to Virginia Beach via the I-264 freeway, instead of back streets, to see if it was any quicker getting to Little Creek. It actually didn’t matter because we would only make the trip one time, but it was an exercise “just to see…” What we saw on our east-bound trip was that the west-bound lanes were a parking lot on this Saturday afternoon. That immediately made the case for going north up the beach and around the corner.

At 1600 yesterday we Cleveland crew members held our annual meeting to hear how much money was in the kitty, how much was spent, and to decide where we’re going next year. During the course of the meeting someone asked why mailings cost $1,000 when pretty much everyone has email. It was a good question and the answer because evident when it was revealed that there are at least three lists of people being used by three different people for three different reasons. That’s a sure-fire way to get data screwed up. So, one our members raised his hand and suggested that we form a committee to combine all this data into one useable source of information. What an inspiration! It should have been done years and years ago. Then, since I’m a real sucker for committee’s and data bases, I raised my hand and offered to help. What an incredibly stupid thing to do. Volunteer. It’s going to be a momentous task and being retired takes up most of my time. I’ll give it my best effort but can’t make any promises.

Another aspect of the meeting was to decide where we will hold our reunion next year. The rule, decided long ago, was that we go East Coast, West Coast, Middle. Since we’re on the East Coast, West Coast is next. The first suggestion for the West Coast was Santa Fe, New Mexico.

OK. I couldn’t let that slide, so I raised my hand and pointed out to Jack that New Mexico does not have a coast. It’s two states removed from the coast. Jack, however, was convinced that Santa Fe qualified for West Coast because it was West of the Rockies. I couldn’t sway his thought process at all and I think he quit listening to me when I asked if the USS New Mexico was moored in Santa Fe. Some others, who perceived the concept of “coast”, suggested, Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Portland.

“But wait,” you might say. “Portland isn’t on the coast, either.” Well, that’s true, but it’s close enough because it was the runaway favorite choice. So, we’re going all the way to Portland next year. Go figure. The problem with that, of course, is that I’ll probably get sucked in to helping organize it.

After the meeting we all hung out until it was time for the banquet. A few of us wanted to hang out in the banquet room while they set up but we were summarily kicked out after I knocked a glass over and it broke. I didn’t see the problem. It was just one glass.

The dinner was good but not exceptional and I’ll just leave it at that.

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Then we had our raffle which generates a lot of money for the reunion organization. Raffle items are donated by those who attend. Diane and I bought 7 tickets for $20 and won three times. First time ever. We got me a new hat, and two window stickers.

Then we went to bed because it was late and I was scheduled to get up early, like 0430, to take Gary & Cindy to their Amtrak pick up point on Virginia Beach. Since Amtrak doesn’t run trains on the peninsula, the pick up point was actually a bus stop. We got there in plenty of time, like 0450, then Gary checked his ticket and learned the pickup time was 0610. So, we went back to the hotel where he figured it would be good to print out the ticket. That because a frustrating evolution that was eventually resolved by the hotel clerk getting involved. Then, at 0550 I took them back to the bus stop and bid them farewell.

Cindy was mortified but she didn’t need to be. I was glad to help them get to their appointed destination. Even if it was only, like 6 blocks away from the hotel. We had a good time waiting for the time to pass so it was all good. Diane was a little concerned when I didn’t return right away, but that was resolved, too.

After returning from my marathon delivery, I went back to bed and read my book for a bit before falling asleep again. Diane woke me up about nine so we could gather our belongings, check out, and head for the Navy Lodge. Which we did. At 1100.

We stopped by 24th street in VB on the way out so we could visit a set of monuments we noticed during our travels. It was all a tribute to Naval Aviation. Very interesting.

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This photo is an excellent example of diplomatic tools available to us.

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It had such an impact on us that Diane bought me the t-shirt. I love it.

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While visiting it, we took some extra steps to the boardwalk and dipped our feet in the sand, just to say we did it.

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Since it was still early, we skipped the Navy Lodge on the way by the base because check in time isn’t until 1500. No guarantee the room would be ready. Instead, we drove to the airport so we’d know where the rental car return was located. Thankfully, it’s just before the departure gates so getting the car returned and to the gate at the proper time isn’t going to be a problem.

On the way back we stopped at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, because we like botanical gardens, and to kill a little more time to allow Navy Lodge to ensure our room was ready. It was a nice, pleasant stop for us. Very enjoyable. We got to ride a tram around the 600+ acres of flowers and trees while a nice young lady explained everything to us. No walking involved. Doesn’t get much better than that.

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This is the only flower I took a photo of because we didn’t know what it is and there was no little sign sticking out of the ground near it to tell us. So, what is it?

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This is a photo of one of many, many water-color paintings in the main facility at the garden. I was totally amazed at the realize this artist obtained with water colors. Totally changed my perception of what can be done with this medium.

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So, now we will be lounging around in our condo for the remainder of the evening the begin the process of devouring all of the food we’ve accumulated over the past three weeks. That’s going to be a daunting task because we have a lot of it. We’re not going to be hungry for the trip home.

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