Some submarine fun / Visit to USS HOUSTON (SSN 713)

On 8 Dec 2000, I helped my friend Sonny move to California. He relocated to pursue employment, from Dallas, Texas. In fact, he was my best friend through High School and I was glad to help him. I had only (3) days - a weekend - to get him to Los Angeles and get myself back home.

I decided to show off a little, and drove him down to Sub Base San Diego. He had never seen a submarine, and it was a rare chance for me to introduce him to one. I also intended to visit Tijuana and, finally, QM2 (SS) Dave Fox, a former TUNNY crewmember who I met at the TUNNY Reunion.

1. We left Dallas on Friday morning, at 90 miles an hour with Sonny's wordly posessions in the back seat, and very little stopping along the way. Some coffee and sugary candy were used for stay-awake purposes. Roughly 20 hours drive time.

2. Saw one coyote and one wolf. No other wildlife or cops.

3. Arrived in San Diego (sub base) and had an excellent boat tour aboard the USS Sam Houston (SSN 713). They had recently returned from WestPac, including a visit to the PI. I took some pictures of myself and Sonny hanging around the boat.

In the Sail. You gotta love this.

Sonny didn't enjoy the EAB.

4. That afternoon, while Sonny slept, I took the bus and trolley down to San Yisidro (spelling is bad) and walked over to Tijuana. I bought little 4 turtles there - you can't buy them here, to bring back to Dallas. They were in miserable condition in the Tijuana Pet Store. One subsequently died, The other three are much improved now.

3 Mexican turtles and a nickel to show how tiny they are. Meet Leah, Rosey, and Squirtle.

5. Returned from Tijuana, woke Sonny up and headed over to the Horse and Cow. Visited the TUNNY brow banner and the TUNNY plaques on the wall. Had beers, pizza, and humiliated 2 surface sailors who were there.

I never went to the Horse and Cow during my Active duty days, but enjoy going there now.

6. Called QM2 (SS) Dave Fox and he drove down to meet me at LAX, while we drove up from San Diego. I was not sober enough to buy turtle food, so Dave brought some. And a proper turtle cage! Here is what he and Nicole (fiance?) did; Brought 3 packs of turtle food, a cage, put me and Sonny in a car, took us to a big hotel bar and he bought our beer and told sea stories. Remember, this was midnight already and we stayed up till 3 AM. They dropped me off at LAX for my 0640 flight. It was a perfect visit with Dave and Nicole. They couldn't have been any better, and I could hardly stand upright to thank them.

Midnight at LAX. Turtle food and laughs. My heroes!

7. Flight home was uneventful. I finally went to sleep on Sunday afternoon, for the first time since Friday morning. You can see the weekend was rewarding, but exhausting. I saw a boat, went to the Horse and Cow, visited a shipmate and helped a friend move. Outstanding, by any measure. Now I am back home, with a calibrated attitude and doing fine.