O/T Battleship Texas
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  1. #1
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    Default O/T Battleship Texas

    A little while back I was having a chat with Cal. He asked me if I'd ever visited the Battleship Texas. And unfortunately I have not yet. And to my yet greater shame , as a marine engine guy, discovered Cal smack dab in the middle of the Arizona dessert knows not only a great deal about the ship, but the steam powered reciprocating engines inside of it.

    Cal in fact has the plans to make a model copy of one of the engines. When time permits .

    While I have not visited it directly, I told him I often get boat rides past it, on my way to other vessels. What happened to slip my mind is what I know as De Zavalla Fleet. The fleet is basically a parking area for barges waiting for particular jobs, or to be called to dock. The barges are the un-manned variety, and parked in an ever changing grid, as barges are constantly moved around. Well this fleet is directly across the water way from the battleship.

    Me pulling up to where I can access the fleet, I can make out the battleship with eyeballs a little better than camera with no zoom (tug and barge passing in front of it in this pic):

    6.jpg

    From the same location, but zooming in now:

    7.jpg

    My access to the barge grid:

    8.jpg

    The grid is a bit of a nightmare for me. The barges are not man-ed. So no beakons, or way to track them. I only know the barge I need is here "somewhere" . Depending if the barges are loaded or empty, the height is different. Now walk and climb your way across it:

    9.jpg

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  3. #2
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    It’s been on my list to see as well has many other museum ships. Been to the Lexington with my kids in 2018.

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  5. #3
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    As I mentioned the grid constantly changes. In fact while I was there, the barge I was on, along with 3 others were shifted. There are a handful of tugs that pretty much stay at the fleet at all times. These two pics might give another view of that:

    10.jpg 11.jpg

    Getting father out on the grid, pretty much directly across from the battleship. I did not intend to catch the monument behind the battleship. But as it is, I caught it did center behind the ship:

    12.jpg 13.jpg

    For anyone interested, the ship is closed to visitors for major repairs currently. An update page is here:
    Battleship Updates - The Battleship Texas Foundation

    Pretty good vid on the engine room:
    Talkin' Ship - Engine Room! - YouTube

    No doubt Cal could tell you a bunch more. I wouldn't mind hearing about the model of that engine too.

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  7. #4
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    Was in the bowels about 40 years back - when that was allowed - the LP cylinder is something to see - with its 96" piston - and there are a pair of those engines

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    Quote Originally Posted by texasgunsmith View Post
    For anyone interested, the ship is closed to visitors for major repairs ...
    When they still had the mothball fleet in Suisun Bay they were also off-limits. However, a couple of guys snuck out and took a bunch of photos of the insides of a whole lot of them.

    Just sayin' ...

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    In 1979 I took a tour on the Missouri. What I remember thinking that it seemed smaller than I had pictured.
    The tour was short with only a short walk inside. It was or appeared to be in need of paint and repair.
    I didn't really appreciate the significance of it at the time.

    I remember the ex-wife was mad about wasting time on an old ship. Wasn't much fun with a pouting wife. Vacation from hell !

    I don't Know the history of the Texas but will take the time to google and learn
    Cool looking ship.

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  12. #7
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    It's still on my list of places to visit. I am perhaps a little apprehensive about what I might find though. I've been to the Lexington a few times and always enjoyed it... but also was always sad to see the sides of systems permanently cut-away for display, corridors permanently blocked off due to leaks and corrosion, and heavily damaged parts that are perpetually slathered in paint. The whole ship was sunk into a hole (it's worse than just beached) and had concrete poured all around to more it. It still looks like an aircraft carrier.... but it's never going to float again. I guess I'm the odd visitor though that I would rather hear a curator explain how something works, having to talk over the noise of it working, than see it cut open and silent with a little donation box beside it.

    It's just the reality of it all that it's being maintained by a very thinly equipped team and budget without a shipyard or the demands of ocean cruzing. I'm a bigger fan of exhibits that are still functional and "active" in that regard, then the ones that are one step away from being turned into a massive piece of static metal art that you can only see from a distance.

    I seem to remember reading about the Texas awhile back and that the foundation/organization in charge of it was working out a plan for it. The reality is though that unless they're racking in a few million dollars a season, it won't be preserved, it's demise to the elements will just be delayed. Ships like the Missouri are historical enough and have enough visitors to fund a better preservation plan, but the Texas is just another navy boat to visit. The most popularity it gets from the public is that it has the same name as the state it's found in.

    Now compare all this to the Commemorative Air Force, restoring, maintaining and frequently flying WW2 era aircraft all over the place, and doing it from their own business plan! That's the gold standard in my book, but it would be really cool to see something similar happen with these old ships. Start a cruse company where you get to stay aboard using the original crew amenities, learning about history while you float around the gulf! That would be fantastic and likely expensive... but worth it IMO! Much better than eating an endless buffet while listening to faux-Elvis do his thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M.B. Naegle View Post
    I'm a bigger fan of exhibits that are still functional and "active" in that regard, then the ones that are one step away from being turned into a massive piece of static metal art that you can only see from a distance.
    If you ever get to San Francisco, then you should drop by the Jeremiah O'Brien. She's only a Liberty Ship, but still totally functional and they even do cruises once in a while. They used to fire up the boilers once a month at the least, not sure about now.

    (Good way to get rid of your used-up cuttin erl, they took donations

    There's also the Eureka, which they don't operate but it's in good condition, only has a busted crankpin (8" diameter), three story tall walking beam.

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    I've been on a tour through the battleship New Jersey. Very impressive, but no engine room tours when I went. Me and my eldest daughter saw the end of its last journey from the banks of the Delaware River when it was being brought up, quite a sight.

    One of my favorites was a WW2 sub at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia. The sub Becuna. Not large, but you got the full tour, engine room and all when I went. Real nice to see.

    I've been to the aircraft carrier USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, TX. Very nice tour, and such a large vessel. The machine shop portion was walled off with windows to peak through, that was a little disappointing, but the overall tour is quite good.

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  18. #10
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    I've been to the Becuna and the Lexington, both were awesome in their different ways. The Becuna was crazy small and cramped, and the lathe (can't remember make) up against the outer hull must have been a real challenge to use. The Lexington was really cool, went with my two daughters and could have easily spent more than the 2h we spent on board. Tour was really cool, from the engine rooms, through the hanger, flight decks, state rooms and so on. Machine shop was neat to see. I think the people that keep these ships open to the public are fabulous, I wish I lived near enough to one to volunteer.

    Never been to the Texas, tried once but the ferry to get to it from where we were coming from was shut.

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    I remember seeing it when I was a kid in the early 60's. As memory serves(not great), nothing was off limits, you could go anywhere on the ship and even climb up to the upper, upper bridge. I vaguely remember a small machine shop down near the engine room with tools slathered in grey paint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daryl bane View Post
    ... when I was a kid in the early 60's. As memory serves(not great), nothing was off limits, you could go anywhere on the ship and even climb up to the upper, upper bridge.
    Dad used to talk about walking out on the statue of liberty's thumb ... if'n there was a time machine, I'd risk being the first user

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    Growing up in the early 60's my uncle owned a chunk of land along side the Suisun Bay mothball fleet and was on a first name basis with the site managers. Up close and personal was difficult but not impossible. The stand out event was much later historically, the Glomar Explorer all wrapped up in plastic with signs along the road reading. "Loitering viewing not permitted"

    Same for the Benicia Arsenel propery just across the road. As kids we'd jump the fence at the old WWII POW camp.

    Clearly a much different time!


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