Portland: Day 5 – Submarine, Science, and Parks

Started our day out with some Coffee (per the usual) and headed to a park overlooking downtown.

Then we checked out this all Vegan burger & Shake place.

Massive all Vegan burgers, loaded fries. The shakes were *amazing*.

Then we checked out the Science Museum for the rest of the day. We took a tour of a mothertruckin’ SUBMARINE. The USS Blueback (SS-581), which was briefly starred in the Hunt for Red October with Sean Connery.

At the helm of the USS Blueback (SS-581).

Moving around inside of a submarine is challenging, you have no idea. When fully stocked with food, two layers of big cans take up all walking surfaces, leaving you with about 4′ of headroom bow to stern.

It’s stinky too, you get one shower (with 30 seconds of water) every three weeks. They can have up to 91 people on board with a hot bunking sleeping system. Three people are assigned to a 6’2″ x 2′ wide bed. You sleep, and the next person scheduled to sleep is right after you. No snoozing in, they are standing there, waiting the moment you wake up to climb in.

The engine room gets up to a mild 130F when the engines are running, at 140 decibels enough to make you permanently deaf in 20 minutes without hearing protection. Thankfully those Diesel engines are only run periodically to charge the led acid batteries, the prime movers of the electric engines.

The Captain is the only one to have their own quarters, even if the President is on board. Submarine crews eat better than any other crew in the US military. The Ice Cream machine is the most important machine on the ship, the Captain won’t leave port unless it’s functioning. Fresh pastries are baked every night for the crew.

And it makes sense, it’s difficult to impossible to stay well nourished when out of the sun for months at a time.

It’s amazing how the crew lived all the while being under the sea, I couldn’t imagine the psychological pressure of knowing that if anything went wrong; you are pretty much fucked; as even if you escape from the Submarine out to sea, you’ll likely die from the bends once you reach the surface.


We played connect 4 with two robotic arms, charged ourselves to thousands of volts with a van graff machine, got some chemistry in, and learned about human reproduction and baby development. There is a display at this museum showing every stage of the development of a child in the womb, with actual specimens (50 or so). Amanda was rather interested and spent time learning; while it made me feel uncomfortable, mortal.

SCIENCE, bitches!

We ended the day with an all Vegan Chinese restaurant in which Amanda tried out General Tso chicken for the first time (I couldn’t tell the difference, at all. It was weird).

Amanda, upon realizing that it’s ALL Vegan.