Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Wanderlust Librarian | I'm on a Boat!!

It's been a pretty calm month for the bloggess... save for the adventure I had on the USS Hornet in Alameda. If you've read my blog regularly (or even if you haven't... WELCOME!), I like to visit places nearby and report back on some of the great things you can do within a 1-2 hour drive.

My friend Lizzie, found a deal on Groupon for an overnight on the USS Hornet (regularly $100/per person but reduced to $50 per person with the deal!). Like Costco, you have to snatch up the deal right away before it's sold out. I'll be honest, when she sent it to me, I only saw "overnight in Alameda" and agreed. When I found out it was on a military ship, I was a reluctant.  When I saw that I had a list of things to bring, I was hesitant.
The USS Hornet from the outside! 

Here's what I had to bring:
  • sleeping bag
  • pillow 
  • blanket (for cold nights)
  • small toiletry bag (no showers on board)
  • flashlight
  • a padlock for the locker

It was like camping but on a warcraft! My poor sleeping bag hadn't seen the light of day since an adventurous camping trip in May 2012. Luckily, I had all of the things needed AND was able to pack everything I needed in a small bag. I'm horrible at packing so this was a gigantic feat, indeed!

I had to remind myself that I had to be adventurous and try new things. So what, that I hadn't been on a naval ship before? The fun was in the new adventure and not in the fear of the unknown. 

(L) The bunks are 3 high
(R) My friend and I slept head to head on the bottom bunks
(so we could talk summer camp style!)

We were on the ship with about 120 additional overnight guests. There were Cub Scout groups, veterans, teens and adults. It was great to see such a mix of people together. 

We were sent to our berthing areas (sleeping quarters) where Lizzie and I discovered...COTS. We shared our area with about 50 other people! To respect the men who served on the ship and to keep our cots clean, we had to take off our shoes to get on them. There are covers on the cot mattresses called.... fart sacks. (I'll let you get your giggles out now, because I giggle just reading it!). 

Step over those doors! 
They fed us, military style (with no metal trays (much to Lizzie's dismay). After a dinner of chicken teriyaki skewers, rice and veggies, the groups were together again to meet their tour guides for a night walk around the Hornet. We were warned to keep with the group and to be mindful of the doors. Since the doors in a water-bound vessel were meant to keep water out, the steel doors were higher on the bottoms to help seal them when they closed. For me, they were a tripping hazard. I was careful because in a ship made of steel versus a person, the guides said "the ship wins every time". 
The tour took us to many places on the ship.
The war room was, by far, my favorite! 

*sidenote* I hit my arm on a door and it hurt like the dickens for about a week. No bruise, but dang... I was in pain!  *end of sidenote* 

The tour of the ship was a ton of walking along with going up and down stairs. It was amazing to see the different parts of the ship and how they fared without modern technology. In the war room, the shipmen had to learn to write backwards behind the boards so the officers could read the boards from their vantage points. It was cool when our guide was telling us about it... but jaw dropping when he turned the lights off and the entire room glowed (check out my pictures above!
Walk in an astronaut's footsteps! 

Did you know that the USS Hornet captured the Apollo 11 capsule when it landed in the ocean? Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their first steps out of the capsule IN the Hornet! There was an Airstream trailer that doubled as a  Mobile Quarantine Facility that the astronauts were to go in when they left the capsule. The Hornet has a replica of the capsule and the Quarantine Trailer on site. 

For the military buff in your life or for a trip back in time, go and visit the USS Hornet. If you have a library card, your admission to the USS Hornet museum is free. Just visit the Discover and Go website through our library page, choose a day to visit and print out your ticket! Keep in mind, the Live Aboard / overnight program on the Hornet is an additional cost and needs to be booked ahead of time. 

Military adventures are out there!

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