Visiting the USS Albacore

My earlier plan to hide under the bed not-withstanding, we decided to head out into the weather to do something fun today. What to do?

We could have gone to the Science Museum, or the Aquarium. We could have gone to see the Constitution and the Bunker Hill Memorial (on Breed’s Hill, but who’s keeping track). Nope. We have several submariners in the family, and there is a submarine open to the public in New Hampshire. Here we come, USS Albacore! wpid-DSC_0206.jpg

The guys running the museum are fantastic. They clearly like well-behaved kids. The girls were told they could touch everything, get into the bunks, and drive the boat (who, apparently will veer towards dives).

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And touch and drive and try out the bunks they did!wpid-DSC_0202.jpgwpid-DSC_0194.jpg

According to both Dad and the girls, this is a much better submarine to visit than the USS Nautilus. The guys working the museum agreed. “We don’t talk about that other boat down in Groton. We clearly have the better boat.” We happily spent well over half an hour poking around, trying out bunks, and getting into mischief in the galley. It was just a fantastic day over all.

And we accidentally visited Kittery, Maine. Not many places you can say you accidentally visited a state just by taking the wrong bridge…

AGSS Albacore

When the weather outside is rotten, the logical thing to do is find some indoor activities.  Today was such a day so we went to visit AGSS Albacore, an experimental research submarine, in Portsmouth, NH.

Alpha child in a bunk
This is one of the more spacious bunks. Some were in dark corners with equipment dangling over the bunk – close enough that if you rolled over you would knock it with your shoulder or hip.

The main museum is the submarine, with a nearly-full-access self-guided audio tour.  By full-access I mean lying in the bunks, playing with the dive-plane controls, flipping switches, and turning dials.  The engine room is completely open (visually, if not physically, since some of the more dangerous bits have barriers).

Crew's mess; Alpha child fixing her shoe
The crew’s mess doubles as a recreation area. Backgammon and checkers; I don’t think anyone had time to play chess (not a reflection on submariners – I’ve known a few that could beat me handily at chess)

It was cool because it gave an idea of how the crew lived.  Tight quarters everywhere and no wasted space.  Fifty guys shared a couple of toilets; I can’t imagine the smell.

Itty-bitty toilet
Why did they tile the floor?

The submarine itself was an experiment and was refit several times over its lifetime with enhancements like new propulsion, including an uncommon twin screw design.

Twin screws
I read up on submarine design before the trip. Twin counter-rotating screws like this are unusual, but several Soviet-Russian submarines sported them as well. This is one of the only examples in the American fleet.

The experience is much better than touring the USS Nautilus.  The Nautilus is ok if you’ve never seen the inside of a submarine, but everything is off-limits so the tour takes five minutes (or less if you have small children).  The guys in the museum office “don’t talk about the Nautilus” and felt quite a bit of pride in the openness of the Albacore vs. the Nautilus.  We were in there for nearly three-quarters of an hour, and another half hour in the museum shop (including a video of how the got the submarine to it’s present location).

I’m gonna hide under the covers

I made bacon and eggs for breakfast on our awesome cast iron griddle. It works wonderfully well, and the eggs are delicious.

I had an egg flow right over the side of the griddle. My stove is now covered in raw egg. I can’t clean it until the griddle cools enough for me to move it. sigh.

Not an auspicious start to the day.

My Dream App

So, you may know that I’m a knitter. And I’m addicted to my phone, tablet, etc. These things are largely compatible.

As a knitter, I print many patterns. Patterns from Ravelry. Patterns from Knitty (did you see that the new issue is up? YAY!). I think my pattern printing is responsible for at least one tree. And the only thing I really need the printouts for are the charts. Those lovely, complex lace charts. Set up, transitioning, number of repeats, all that can be found online, anytime. The charts must be printed so I can track what row I’m on. I usually use a highlighter, but any writing instrument will do in a pinch. And if I forget my chart? Forget any knitting until I get home. ARG!

There are many fine apps out there as row counters. That’s not what I want. I want an app that will display my chart, with the rows I’ve already done, highlighted. Just like my lovely paper chart, but less likely to be left at home.

So, I have the Android SDK, Java 7, and no real idea what I’m doing. This is going to be great. 🙂

More pictures from the Harold Parker State Forest

I know that Dad just posted pictures from our walk, but I had a couple he didn’t. There was a beautiful, fast-flowing stream that Alpha and Butter had to check out. Poor Butter almost fell in when the ice shelf collapsed under her, but she only got a little wet. Dad went down there with them.

A free running stream in the Harold Parker State Forest

It was a gorgeous day. Perfect blue skies, warm weather, and lovely scenery.


I am really looking forward to checking out this park again. Just not when the trails are frozen solid.

Hiking @ HP

Meghan, Alpha, and I have started hiking the Harold Parker State Forest today.  It’s pretty big, it should tide us over for the spring.

Our first leg was beautiful.


Apparently there are beaver in that pond:


This tree has seen a little more beaver-love:


The trails in the HP connect with a ring of trails around metro Boston, the Bay Circuit.  It’s 200 miles from end to end, so we’ll be hiking it for a few years to come.

Its a nice replacement for our old hiking project, along the Hop River Trail.  The four of us hiked from Willimantic to Manchester over the course of a year, the Bay Circuit should take a bit longer.