Wednesday, February 15, 2017

USS Lexington, Corpus Christi, Texas

RVer Jimmy Smith walks the beach by USS Lexington  (Julianne G. Crane)
The USS Lexington aircraft carrier rests majestically next to the North Beach of Corpus Christi Bay on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Beginning in World War II, the LEX played a significant role in the nation’s defense for nearly 50 years. She is a memorial worth preserving and thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers, she continues to serve today as a museum and educational facility.

Shuttle up ramp.  (Julianne G. Crane)
There is a complimentary shuttle up the approach ramp to the 16-story "Blue Ghost" that displays military artifacts and more than a dozen aircraft.

The five self-guided tour routes cover 100,000 square feet and eleven decks. The flight deck alone is equal to more than two acres. You will need to be able to climb stairs and some spaces are a tight squeeze. (See details below about accessibility.)

This highly decorated ship has steamed more miles and served longer than any other Essex Class aircraft carrier in the world.

RV snowbirds Sherian and Lee Shriver (Julianne G. Crane)
From the very first day as a naval aviation museum in October 1992, the LEX has "remained totally self-sufficient, never having received funds from local, state or federal government agencies," according to museum officials. It is estimated that more than 5-1/2 million people have visited the USS Lexington since she opened as a museum.

A few facts about the Lexington:
 - During World War II, the carrier participated in nearly every major operation in the Pacific Theater and spent a total of 21 months in combat. Her planes destroyed 372 enemy aircraft in the air, and 475 more on the ground.

Veterans Jimmy Smith and Lee Shriver (Julianne G. Crane)
- She was the first foreign heavy fleet carrier to enter Tokyo Bay.

- The LEX was the first aircraft carrier in US Naval history to have women stationed aboard as crew members (18 Aug. 1980).

- During her heyday, the USS Lexington carried enough fuel to sail nonstop for 30,000 miles.

The Hangar Deck and Flight Deck are wheelchair accessible. The 3D MEGA Theater, Mess Deck, Ship’s Store and restrooms are on the Hangar Deck. The LEX lift elevator takes those unable to climb stairs, from the Hangar Deck to the Flight Deck.

Sherian & Lee Shriver buy tickets to the LEX. (Julianne G. Crane)
If you go:

USS Lexington Museum
2914 N. Shoreline Blvd.
Corpus Christi, Texas 78403
Phone: 1-800-LADY LEX, (361) 888-4873

Admission: General- $14.95; Seniors/Military $12.95; Children 4-12 $9.85 (check online for a $1 off coupon)
Admission includes a free movie in the 3D MEGA Theater. The giant-screen film features "the world’s largest and most comprehensive international maritime training exercise" from aboard "the USS Ronald Reagan alongside the 5,000 highly skilled sea and air personnel conducting flight operations in the midst of simulated war exercises."

Open: Year-round, seven days a week except Christmas and Thanksgiving. Convenient all-day parking is available across the street for $3.50

 -- Julianne G. Crane 
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Fulton Mansion on Aransas Bay in Rockport, Texas, perfect afternoon RV Short Stop

Fulton Mansion in Rockport, Texas (Julianne G. Crane)
Fulton Mansion is an imposing three-story Victorian villa in Rockport, Texas, about 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi. It is a perfect RV Short Stop destination for Winter Texan snowbirds or for Texas families on a weekend trip to the Gulf Coast.

It was named "Oakhurst" because "majestic live oak trees surrounded the property on three sides" and faces Aransas Bay. When it was completed, there was nothing like it on the Texas Coastal Plains.

It was built between 1874 and 1877 for George Ware Fulton (1810-1893) and his wife, Harriet Smith Fulton (1823-1910) who were married in 1840.

View from Fulton Mansion (Julianne G. Crane)
The 2.7-acre site is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The historical significance of this bayside residence lies in its noteworthy architectural style, a classic example of French Second Empire; its unique plank wall and shell aggregate concrete basement; characteristic mansard roof construction methods; and its advanced mechanical systems — which featured gas lighting, central heating and indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water.

Because of significant deterioration due to age and moisture, the mansion underwent an extensive restoration that took nearly three years spanning 2013-2015.

This state historical site is part of the Texas Tropical Trail Region that provides information on "the natural, cultural, and historical treasures in the unique and vibrant southern tip of Texas."

Start with the Education Center where there is an exhibit with background information on the Fulton family. Allow about an hour for the self-guided tour.

RVer Jimmy Smith in Education Center
If you go: 

Fulton Mansion
317 Fulton Beach Road
Rockport, TX 78382
Phone: 361-729-0386

Tickets: Adults, $6; students, $4.
Mansion hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday: 1-4 p.m.
Education Center hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sunday: 12:30-4:30 p.m.

From State Highway 35, turn east on Henderson Street and travel approximately 7 blocks.
GPS: N28° 3' 25" W97° 2' 7.4"

-- Julianne G. Crane 
For more information about the RV lifestyle, go to

Photos: (Top) Fulton Mansion; (middle) view from Fulton Mansion of Aransas Bay, Rockport, Texas. (Bottom) RVer Jimmy Smith reads about the history of the Fulton Mansion. (Julianne G. Crane)