Last night I had a chance to get to know some of the other tour members when went to dinner at Cafe Coyote for some authentic Mexican food (sorry, no food pics, wanted to make a good first impression and not freak everyone out – though I promise to rectify that situation this evening).
Today was a free day in San Diego, with the 3 main attractions being Sea World, San Diego Zoo and the USS Midway. Seeing that Melbourne Zoo is fairly adequate as far as zoo’s go I decided to check out the USS Midway (which I later found out was San Diego’s #2 rated attraction on TripAdvisor after some sandcastles).
Using a self-guided audio tour I got to see the inner workings of the massive carrier, which was commissioned in 1945, and only decommissioned in 1991. Below I have posted some pictures including the enlisted officers sleeping quarters (or lack thereof), massive +150lb chain links used to lower the anchor (Fun fact: it is actually the weight of the 100’s of feet of excess chain that they play out rather than the 20 tonne anchor which keeps the carrier from drifting away), Pharmacy, and some of the cabling which if laid out would reach all the way from New York to San Diego.
After checking out some vintage aircraft on the lower deck I climbed onto the flight deck where I got to talk to some ex-pilots who ran through taking-off and landing on an aircraft carrier (one of which had logged over 500 landings) and saw some F-14 Tomcats made famous in TopGun and FA-18 Hornets. I have been vary fortunate with the weather so far and it was another beautiful day to take in the San Diego skyline from the Midway.
Tonight we are having another group dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in the historic Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego (so I promise a giant Hard Rock Burger pic next time) before heading off early in the morning for cowboy country – Prescott AZ.