Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Break 2012, Part 2

The light at the end of the tunnel...
So, in case you haven't already figured it out, we survived the tunnel and found our way to the most awesome place of our trip (we really can't decide if this or the beach was better, it was that close!)
This park was one of our splurges, but it was so worth it! The website says to plan two hours to see everything, but I think you need at least twice that long. We got there about three hours before they closed and we moved as fast as we could and we still didn't get to see everything. As soon as we got in the park we made a beeline for the USS Alabama.

The Alabama sailed into active duty in 1942 and worked hard to pull her weight in World War II in the Pacific. She was decommissioned in 1947 and "mothballed". Eventually it was decided that the expense of maintaining ships like the Alabama was too great and she was slated to be scrapped. The people of Alabama couldn't stand for that so fund raisers began and they managed to earn enough to buy her for the state of Alabama. Now she sits in Mobile Bay and is open for tours.
We took tons of pictures, but I won't force you to sit and look at them all. Just remember that when you're thinking I put a ton of pictures on here, this is just the tip of the iceberg!
This is standing at the top of the gangplank, looking at the main deck.
This narrow hallway is actually the bakery. Those shiny things? Walls and walls of ovens stacked on top of each other. It would've been SO hot in there!
Here's some of the sleeping quarters. The men had to keep all their equipment on their bed. Anything out of place would've been confiscated and as punishment they would draw extra duty. Also, you didn't just get your stuff back. If you wanted it, you had to bid against everyone else for it in an auction at the end of the month.
Standing at the bow of the main deck looking towards the stern. Notice the chains running down the deck? Those are the tiny little anchor chains.
To give you a size reference:
Here's the view from the top of the tower looking back towards downtown Mobile.
Once we'd seen enough of the USS Alabama that we could manage to peel ourselves away, we headed over to the USS Drum. First launched in 1941, the Drum is one of the top 10 subs from the WWII Pacific theater. She's eighth highest of all U.S. submarines in total Japanese tonnage sunk, and earned 12 battle stars. Here's Ethan and Erik getting ready to head down the stairs into the forward torpedo room.
We thought things on the battleship were crowded, but the sub was crazy! We weren't able to get good pictures of the inside because it was all so darn cramped. This is the galley (aka kitchen). Don't you wish you had a kitchen this huge! (By the way, in order to get the whole thing into the shot, I am standing in the captain's cabin across the hallway with my camera zoomed out as far as it would go. That's how tiny this is!) 
Ethan and Erik manning the Conn. Again, I'm standing way back in the corner behind some big piece of equipment I had to practically climb under in order to get far enough away to get this much into the shot. I don't have enough room to turn around, and getting back out of there was tricky!
After we finished on the Drum, we went to the Air Craft Pavilion, where I sat and fed Erik while Ethan wandered the HUGE warehouse full of aircraft. He was pretty impressed by it all.
This whole park was SO cool, I highly recommend it to anyone who's in the area and looking for something to do!
So it seems like a five hour car trip and a three hour tour of Battleship Memorial Park should be enough to fill up a person's day right? Nope! This was just the first of three stops that day, but the rest will have to wait for another blog post.

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