We left our beautiful campsite in Ventura, California after ten wonderful days overlooking the ocean where we could hear the waves crashing against the rocks and watch surfers riding the waves. We drove south to Bolsa Chica State Beach Park in Huntington Beach. While we could see the ocean, this campground was not nearly as nice as the county park at Ventura. The camping sites were similar to a parking lot with sites very close together. The worst part of this campground was its very close proximity to Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway. Traffic noise was constant with only some relief in the early morning hours. We have found that while the beach campgrounds offer beautiful views of the ocean, they are also located close to the Pacific Coast Highway and therefore have traffic noise. The breathtaking views we enjoyed while driving along the coast earlier this year come at a cost to beach campers. We did enjoy a few beautiful sunsets while we were there.
Sunset from the shores of Huntington Beach
Sunset from the shores of Huntington Beach
While in the area we decided to drive to Long Beach to do some sightseeing. Our first stop was the USS Iowa battleship. It is known as the Battleship of Presidents and is the only battleship on the West Coast. She was the lead ship in her class of battleship and the fourth in the US Navy. She is the last lead ship of any class of the U.S. battleships and was the only ship of her class to have served in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. During World War II she carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt across the Atlantic to Algeria for an important meeting in 1943 in Tehran with Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin.
President Roosevelt used the USS Iowa in 1943
They installed a bathtub and elevator on the ship to accommodate Roosevelt. In 1944 she was sent to the Pacific Fleet where she shelled beachheads in advance of Allied amphibious landings. She also served during the Korean War and was reactivated in 1984 in response to an expanded Soviet Navy. The Iowa was decommissioned for the last time in 1990 and was moved to her current location in 2012.
This is a 2,000 pound 16 inch shell
The USS Iowa guns shot 16 inch shells and six bag of powder
Phalanx system protects the ship with firing 3,000 22 mm rounds per minute
The protected bridge area of the ship is a vault with 16 inch walls
The bridge is enclosed by 16 inch walls
Next we drove seven miles to the RMS Queen Mary where we took a guided tour of the transatlantic ocean liner.
She primarily sailed on the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967. She was officially retired in 1967 and has been moored in Long Beach since October 31, 1967. The ship now serves as a tourist attraction with a hotel, museum and restaurants. The ship is on the National Register of Historic Places and is also listed as a part of the Historic Hotels in America. In 2008 the ship was listed by Time Magazine as one of the 10 most haunted places in America. The Queen Mary’s original professionally manned wireless radio room was removed and later an amateur radio room was created and is manned today by volunteers from a local amateur radio club.
Established in 1979, W6RO was the first permanent amateur radio station to be installed aboard a museum ship and is manned most days by volunteers
Bill particularly enjoyed touring this room. We learned during the ship’s tour that legend has it originally the ship was to be named the Queen Victoria but when ship representatives asked King George V if they could name the ship after Britain’s greatest queen, he assumed they were talking about his wife, Queen Mary, and no one had the nerve to tell him otherwise.
The one and only Queen Victoria – SORRY – Queen Mary cruiseliner
It was interesting to hear how the ship had first class sections of the ship that were off limits to non-first class passengers. Each afternoon, while the first class passengers were enjoying high tea, the other passengers were allowed access to one of the ships two swimming pools. Of course each day the water had to be drained and refilled since the first class passengers could never swim in water where other passengers had been swimming!
We enjoyed our time in Long Beach touring these two historic and very different ships.