Wertheim and Whataburger, Again . . .

Yesterday as the nurse was wheelchairing me out to the truck after my ‘procedure’, she told me to be sure and get something to eat on the way home. But when I mentioned Whataburger, she hesitated for a few seconds and then said that maybe a ‘greasy hamburger’ wasn’t a good idea, as delicious as they were.

So I took her advice and had one of the much-vaunted Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich after we got home, the Spicy one, of course. And it was as good as its reputation. Really good.

The only thing that disappointed me was the fact that they don’t offer it with lettuce and tomato. But still really good.

So of course today was Whataburger day. And as usual, we ordered ahead and picked it up before parking over in the WalMart parking lot to chow down.

Wednesday afternoon, the Blue Angels did a flyover around Houston, visible from most of the area. I was at work, so I went out about 5 minutes before the scheduled time, and got to watch them go by.

Blue Angels 3

Blue Angels 2

I think I mentioned a while back that in 1970 when I was working as a DOD contractor at the MCAS (Marine Corp Air Station) Beaufort, SC, which was the airbase part of Parris Island, I got a chance to work on one of the Blue Angel’s F-4J’s.

I was a little leery being sent out to the flight line to work on a ‘J’, especially a Blue Angels ‘J’ model, since I had only worked on ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ models previously. But luckily for me, the problem wasn’t with the upgraded engines, radar, and fire control systems, the main differences with the ‘J’.

It’s kind of fuzzy now, back in the mists of time, but I seem to remember that it was the power feed to a control panel to the pilot’s right, slightly behind the ejection handle. But I have no memory what it was for.

I do remember I had to call in the Egress guys to safe the ejection seat before I worked in that area. Getting ejected like that would ruin your whole day, through I could have probably survived since the ‘J’ model was the first one to have zero-zero ejection seats. This means that you can be sitting still on the runway and probably survive an ejection, but I would have had to be strapped in.  With previous models, you either had to have some airspeed or altitude to make it out safely.

But the trade-off for pilots was that the increased thrust on the seat necessary to get you high enough for the parachute to work, led to spinal and back problems due to the G-forces on the pilots. But later models used a two-stage version where a cannon shoots you out of the plane and then a rocket motor takes over to get you up to the required height, reducing the stress.

I really enjoyed getting a chance to work on a Blue Angels F-4J, but I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I had gotten the back seat check ride the pilot had promised me. I knew he planned to take the plane up to check out my repair so I asked him if I could ride along. But their schedule changed and I missed out because they left early.

Strange as it might seem, it was not unusual for this happen. In fact along the way, I got rides in an A-37 and an TA-4K Skyhawk. And ironically, the Blue Angels transitioned to the Skyhawk from the F-4J in 1974, which they stayed with until 1986 when they moved up to the F/A-18.

Well, once again I’ve wandered off my original topic and where I was going with it.

Though it was originally scheduled for this past Friday, the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Victory in Europe Day. But because of weather it got put off until tomorrow afternoon.

There will be about 30 WWII planes, ranging from a B-25, P-51 Mustangs, a Bell P-63 King Cobra to a Grumman Albatross Seaplane, and many more.

You can see more about the Lone Star Fly-Over times, route, and the planes here.

Wrapping up, I’ve talked about Shelley Luther several times over the last few days. She was the Dallas salon owner who defied a contempt of court order and reopened her salon because both she and her 19 stylists were getting to the point they were having a problem just feeding their kids, much less paying the bills.

Thrown in jail and fined $7000 because she refused to apologize to the judge for her ‘selfishness’, for as she said, “try to feed her children”, the country rallied to her cause, donating over $500,000 to a GoFundMe account.

Plus the Texas governor issued an Executive Order, and the Texas Supreme Court ordered her immediate release after two days in jail.

And now, giving back to the cause, after paying her lawyer bills and mortgage, she also helped her stylists catch up on their bills. Then she’s trying to help with the bills of two other stylists who were arrested in Laredo for performing hair services from their homes.

Good for her.

One Year Ago Today:  We were in Wertheim Am Main, Germany

Wertheim Am Main, Germany


Our Skirnir docked in Wertheim at 8:30am, and after an early breakfast we left on our Wertheim Walking Tour by taking the train about 9:15. Or a Mini-Train anyway.

Wertheim Mini-Train

And of course, as it’s been for the last few days, it was cold and rainy.

As we came down the gangplank there was a supply truck backed up starting to unload supplies, which strangely enough, seemed to be mostly made up of alcohol.

Wertheim Supplies Unloading

And for the first time I saw how the ship sometimes hooks up to shore power.

Wertheim Power Cables

They would rather run their shipboard generators, but sometimes they have to use shore power for environmental reasons, and rather than try to wrestle with one really big, really heavy cable, they use 10 smaller ones.

The train dropped us off in front of the Spitzer Turm, also known as the Leaning Tower of Wertheim.

Wertheim Tower

Tilting due to 800 years of Main River flooding, it was originally started in the 1100’s and added to in the early 1200’s. About 120 feet high, it once served as a prison for drunkards and “quarrelsome wenches”.

It really doesn’t tilt as much as the photo shows dur to lens distortion, but it is said to be a couple of degrees further along than Pisa.

Like its slightly younger counterpart in Italy, there are regular attempts to stabilize it, with some success, I guess, since it’s still standing.

Wertheim is first mentioned as a city in 779A.D, and some of the many buildings supposedly have been around about that long, especially the ones known as half-timber houses.

Wertheim Town 4

And apparently the blue ones are a sign of wealth.

Wertheim Town 3

We made our way through the rest of the town taking in the many colorful houses and shops.

Wertheim Town 1

Wertheim Town 2

We also noticed a few of these ‘corner blocks’ that was the signature of the builder and his workers.

Wertheim Corner Blocks

The date is kind of hard to make out, but it says 1595, kind of a youngster here, relatively speaking.

In the background of this city photo, you can make out the remains of Castle Wertheim at the top of the hill.

Wertheim Town 5

Dating from the early 800’s, the castle remains in ruins.

This colorful church has a strange history.

Wertheim Church 1

Originally it was a Catholic church, but with a change in local rulers, it was given over to the Protesants. Then another ruler, and it was back to the Catholics.

Rinse, Lather, Repeat.

Finally the citizens rebelled and divided the church between the two religions, and everyone was happy.

Getting back to the ship about 12:15, we saw the group getting ready for the 15 mile bike ride starting at 1pm.

Wertheim Bikes

Better them than Jan and I.

As our Skirnir headed out about 12:45 we got a better look at Castle Wertheim along the Main River.

Wertheim Hill Castle

Further along we passed another castle on a hill, but bigger and more modern, it seems,

Wertheim Hill Castle 2

And more of the vertical vineyards, these bigger and more commercial it looks like.

Wertheim Vertical Vineyards

About 5:00 we docked for a short time at Freudenberg to pick up the Bike tour riders, and then we were back on the way.

Later, a little before dinner, I looked out our room window and saw this.

Wertheim Lock Wall

This is the wall of the lock we were in, about 6 inches away. And it’s same on the other side, too.

At 443 feet long and 38 feet width, the Skirnir, and the other Viking river cruisers, are sized to fit in the smallest lock along the Danube/Main/Rhine rivers. And they cram in every inch they can.


Cruising the Scenic Middle Rhine ending up at Koblenz in the afternoon.

One Response to Wertheim and Whataburger, Again . . .

  1. Jim Hamm says:

    Greg, Zee and I have taken several river trips in Europe over the years, including this one in Germany. This is our favorite way to travel, and your post brought back many good memories. Thanks. Thankfully, you and Jan and Zee and I got to do this before the virus situation hit. Now, I wonder, when or if this will commence again? Feel so sorry for all — employees and travelers — so negatively affected by the virus

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