And so we arrive at Sampson State Park. It's located on the east coast of Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes. It was a Navy training base in World War II and was repurposed as an Air Force training base during the Korean War.
Here is the humble campsite we set up. As you can see, it is very humble. The RV is older than I am. The straw(thanks to you farm-nerds, I now know the different between straw and hay) was laid down because during most of this camping excursion, it was raining and it got pretty muddy. In this picture from left to right is my Dad Rich, my mother's cousin-in-law and cousin Ken and Norma, my stepmom Cindy, and my Aunt Wanda. Somewhere during this photo my Uncle Jim was hiding. If not at the fire then inside the RV.
And here was my not-so-humble tent. It served me well during this trip and the tarp was there for added protection from the rain. I don't know if it helped much but I wouldn't have liked to find out.
Of course we had this to deal with the whole week. This is one of the more impressive storms that came over the lake during the week. I can't say I appreciated the storms for its beauty all that much, when I had a muddy campsite to sludge through on a dail basis.
I managed to snap this photo just before the moth flew away. How nice of it to pose for me though.
My Uncle Jim decided to take a short nap with his puppies. I snapped this photo of Sampson and Abu just as Sampson turned his head.
So I had to get another picture of Sampson looking at me this time around. Of course this photo also features my uncle's belly quite well too.
here's the left side of the campsite, featuring my Uncle Jim and the campfire, with my uncle preparing raw toast to be flame cooked.
Sampson State Park has a rich history, and that is no more evident than their Navy and Air Force museum. Just outside is this huge gun, which I imagine was one a WWII gunboat.
I think I'll just take this home with me... just pluck it out of the air and put it in my pocket.
Yet another jet parked outside the museum.
There is a memorial outside of the museum that details all the sailors and airmen from Sampson who served and died in combat.
This eagle proudly sits outside the museum, giving all a stern glare who drive into the park and do not stop by the museum first.
The Navy museum was the first side we visited. This plating shows the contract between “boots” and “brass.” I'm told that a recruit got well acquainted with the meals of the armed forces, including 'shit on a shingle.'
Even WWII had quiche.
Some of the cooler things used at the base and in the Navy in general, circa WWII. Though even the tour guide pondered the oversized typewriter.
Standard issue training rifle for all Sampson recruits.
A nice piece of artillery sits in the corner of one of the sections of the museum. When it points at you it is somewhat intimidating.
A whole group of various weapons and utility knives from Sampson and WWII. Team Fortress 2 fans will recognize the gun in the lower-left hand side as a flare gun.
I felt it necessary to grab this photo of the Thompson “Tommy” submachine gun.
USMC knife. Semper fi.
Here are some more objects of the era. Some money kept by sailors who were in Europe. Notice also the boots in the upper left hand. From what I understand, the names appearing on the boots were of recruits as they came in possession of the boots at the beginning of their training, and had returned them as they were shipped off.
The sailor's prayer from 1943. Here's a more easily read version
The flag from the Sampson Naval base chapel.
There's an old myth about the Finger Lakes being deep enough that the Navy had submarines constructed and used in them. However, this is still a myth and above is the only submarine that got close enough to one of the Finger Lakes. It is a captured Japanese mini-sub, one of the first captured. The sub was cut open and studied before put on a road show around the US as a war trophy. As the disection left it incapable of floating again, it was never launched again, not even in any of the Finger Lakes.
Below is a captured Japanese rifle. Above is a captured flag from a Japanese soldier. The text are common 'good luck' phrases with the soldier's name in the upper right hand side. Apparently the tour guides didn't know this until a Japanese tour group came through. One of the tour guides asked if the translator could read what they were saying and she explained. The tour guides also wanted to know the soldier's name so it could be returned. The Japanese translator apologized and said that the name was so common it would be impossible to find out who it was.
This is another flag captured from a Japanese sailor. Its similar to the mone before, but note the blood in the lower left hand corner.
There is a periscope in the building that works just like a real submarine periscope. I was surprised I was able to snap this picture as good as it was.
Ah, the Air Force side of the museum was not as impressive as the Navy side, but it did have some features to note- like this painting.
Another painting above some of the manuals an Air Force recruit had to read.
This is a memorial table that has to do with the Prisoners-of-War, Missing-In-Action group.
Here is an actual cockpit from a USAF jet. They were letting kids climb inside it, and I was told my brother climbed into it last year. I wasn't about to embarrass myself.
If there is one thing the Air Force museum had, it was uniforms.
Lots and lots of uniforms.
Did I mention uniforms?
Because there are a lot of uniforms at this museum.
A rifle from the time around with Sampson was an Air Force base.
Here is a footlocker containing pretty much all the personal effects an Air Force recruit could ever need. Including Brisk after shave.
On our way out, I snapped this picture of that jet I was trying to pluck from the sky. “Spirit of Sampson” indeed.