June 18, 2023

Naval Gazing Meetup - Planning 2023

Last weekend was the 2023 LA Naval Gazing meetup, distinguished from previous meetups by being the first time that people (besides me) came in from far away to attend.1 And it was great. The tour went well, the Friedman family's cooking was excellent and the company was superb.

Which raises the obvious question of doing it again, and if so, where. The first and biggest question is if we want to go back to Iowa or go somewhere else. The case for Iowa is that she is at the heart of this blog, there were only 9 people on the tour this time, and I am sure there are lots of you who would like a chance to go. The logistics also worked pretty well, and we even liked the AirBnB well enough that I'd be likely to rent it again.

The case against is that everyone who went this time enjoyed it a lot, but most don't have John Schilling's astonishing tolerance for following me around Iowa and would rather do it all again, but somewhere else. Which then leads to the question of where we could go that would be impressive enough to be worth the trip and where I could find an appropriate catering team.2

One option is Midway. She's very nice, she's big enough to take pretty much a whole day just on the public parts, there's other stuff to do in San Diego (the Maritime Museum and the Air Museum spring to mind) and she's close enough to the Freidmans that they could drive down like they did this time.

The other is Massachusetts. Battleship Cove is also cool and big enough to take a whole day, and she's basically in a suburb of Providence, which has a decent airport. An hour outside of Providence is the Submarine Force Museum, which is even better, and Mystic Seaport is also in the area. The logistics seem feasible thanks to Sam Chevre, who lives not too far away and helped with cooking at last year's DSL meetup. This also has the (dubious) advantage of being on the East Coast, making it more accessible to those who live there.

So at this point, I will open the floor to comments on this. What is the general thought on Iowa vs Midway vs Massachusetts for next year? I'm vaguely leaning towards doing one of the other two next year, and then Iowa again in 2025.

(2024 edit: We did the East Coast, and it was equally great).

And to show you all how much fun you missed out on, I offer a view of the meetup through the eyes of a Bulbasaur that Lord Nelson sent with me:

Bulbasaur missed the first day of adventures, but was excited to meet everyone.

He got to see the only A-12 trainer...

and something even faster.

Bulbasaur became interested in rocket science...

and John Schilling was kind enough to teach him.

Bulbasaur defeated a shark!

He enjoyed the California weather....

and met many strange creatures.

Bulbasaur did some reading about the Iowa...

then got to see the real thing.

He got a chance to control the turbines...

and target Harpoon missiles.

That evening, Bulbasaur and some friends went for ice cream...

which was added to the delicious food the Friedmans made everyone.

Bulbasaur also overheard a conversation on that trip:

Bean: You need to see who this school is named after.
Cass: Is it Woodrow Wilson Elementary?
Bean: ...No.
Cass: Good. Then we won't have to commit arson.

Drives past school, which is revealed to be Woodrow Wilson High.

Cass: Now we also need to pick up a can of gas.

The next day, it was time to say goodbye to new friends, like the Espeon and Vaporeon that Lord Nelson sent for Rebecca.

Bulbasaur went to church...

then took a walk down to the beach.

Bulbasaur thought the ocean looked very wet.

Bulbasaur liked talking with Albert just before he got on the plane.

But he didn't like this Phoenix place so much, as it seemed like somewhere fire-types might live.

Bulbasaur got his own seat for the last leg of the flight, which was so empty they had to spread passengers out.

After his return, he gave a talk on his trip.

1 Well, almost. CatCube flew in to the 2021 Iowa meetup, but it was still a straightforward ship tour.

2 I'm fairly insistent on this. Yes, there are other ways to feed the group, but those are more expensive, less good, and require more work for me.


  1. June 18, 2023Emilio said...

    "What has Woodrow Wilson done for us?"

  2. June 18, 2023Lord Nelson said...

    Excuse me, there is a typo in this post. It's BulbaSAUR, not BulbaSUAR.

    (Poor Bulbasaur, such disrespect.)

  3. June 18, 2023ike said...

    I loved the doll's-eye report of the trip. Thank you.

  4. June 18, 2023bean said...

    I will make appropriate apologies to Bulbasaur. And I have now fixed the typos.

  5. June 18, 2023Evan Þ said...

    I'm sorry I wasn't able to go this time! I'll vote for either West Coast place, and I hope I'll be able to make it next time.

  6. June 20, 2023Telnar said...

    I wasn’t able to make it this year. As an East Coaster, Boston would be easier logistically for me, but I’m interested in all options.

  7. June 21, 2023Tony Zbaraschuk said...

    I live in Texas, so either coast is about equally far away... I'd tentatively vote for Battleship Cove, since I've never been there, but since it's also unlikely that I'd be able to make it, perhaps I should abstain instead.

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