Subie, Ships & Zags

It’s been another great day in Virginia just relaxing with family. First things first: While Lisa and Aster got their nails done, Jim and Bill took Subie in for a little look under the hood. Evidently, when we drove her in the sand on the Outer Banks, some air intake vent was blocked. “They” say it was the reason some interesting lights appeared on the dashboard. She got fixed up and is ready to hit the road again tomorrow.

The Subie bill is how much? It’s still under warranty? Yes!

We had Indian buffet for lunch (a first for both Jim and Lisa) and then headed out to Atlantic Ave on Virginia Beach. Lisa remembered being here in 2004 when the kids were much smaller. The beach was much chillier today, but we still said ‘hi’ to King Neptune.

Our connections here (aka Bill and Aster) got us some “insider touring” on four of the MANY military bases around the Suffolk area (Oceana NAS, Fort Story, Little Creek NAB, Norfolk Naval Base). We checked out jets and ships and even lighthouses! With our ID’s in hand, we were able to hang a bit with Aster’s niece, Jing, who is an F-18 Hornet mechanic at Oceana, the Navy’s master jet base. It takes a lot of talented people to keep these machines flying.

Next, it was on to Fort Story which is strategically placed on a point at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. It also has not one, but TWO, lighthouses — right next to each other — and they both have the same name! (As Lyz wrote to Lisa when she saw the pics, “You’re having a lighthouse blast, aren’t ya?”).

Next it was on to Little Creek, which is a naval amphibious base and also holds the great distinction of being the last base Bill was stationed before he retired. It should be noted that Bill is partial to certain ships. “Destroyers and Cruisers are the backbone of the Navy,” he says. (Of course he was stationed on a cruiser – hmmm). Finally, we went to Norfolk Naval Station, which supports naval forces in the U.S. Fleet Command and is where Aster retired from several years ago in her civilian job as a high-end contract negotiator for, among other things, the SEAL teams. We saw some great ships at this base, but it sounded like Aster was more than ready to leave when we were done!

A funny story about getting on the bases: We had to show our ID at each gate. Bill was driving and Jim was sitting behind him. When they would role down their windows for the guards, the guards would take a double look. “Are you twins?” said one. Another said, “You gotta be related.” We couldn’t figure out why, as we don’t think they really look alike. Our best guess is the identical mustaches!

We had to end the day with another big meal event (even spicier than the Indian food at lunch!) This time it was Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 over a plate of wings and a beer. Lisa actually wore her Zag shirt this time and they still won. Whew! She won’t have to keep it stuffed in the suitcase for the whole trip.

Cheering the Zags in Suffolk!

Tomorrow we hit the road again, heading off to NYC to see Ray and Gwen. We’ll be traveling through Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey on the way. Subie’s ready to go, but we’ll certainly miss hanging with this great couple.

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