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Washington DC: National Air and Space Museum: Lunar Module

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I love this image. The exhibit is one that many people walk past, as it is on it’s way to McDonald’s. I didn’t see that many people stop, though I could have stood there studying it from all angles, if left to myself.

Washington DC: Smithsonian: National Air and Space Museum

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I’ve never been in a more crowded museum with fewer people in it. Even though there were only a handful of people in here (due to it being a weekday morning in the winter), it was impossible to give every exhibit in this building the attention it deserved. There is just so much. This is only one of the halls that are filled with aircraft. There are others filled with spacecraft, satellites, interactive exhibits.

I would have spent all day there if my wife hadn’t reminded me I wanted to see other things too.

Wilmington, NC: USS North Carolina: Forward Guns and Tower

Overall Battleship North Carolina was a pretty interesting bit of history. She participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific during World War II, becoming the most highly decorated American battleship in WWII, yet was only in service for just over 6 years. It’s a facinating tour and if you find yourself in southeast North Carolina you owe it to yourself to visit her.

Wilmington, NC: USS North Carolina: Guns

Near the end of the tour, you, of course, go back on deck. In this case to see the huge forward guns. These 16”/45 caliber guns were capable of firing a maximum range of 21 miles. 

Wilmington, NC: USS North Carolina: Meat hooks

I can honestly say, I’d never seen a meathook in person before. For some reason, I pictured them less…rusty. Hopefully that’s from 65 years of disuse and wasn’t there when the meat was.

Wilmington, NC: USS North Carolina: Valves

On this trip, I spent a lot of time looking to take interesting photos of ordinary things. I think I’ve succeeded here. I’t just a valve and a light. But, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a damn fine photo anyway.

Wilmington, NC: USS North Carolina: A Light and Some Cable

It is dark below deck. Even with all the lights on, the shadows are deep. In places, the emptiness is almost palpable. It’s easy to imagine the ship full of life though. It’s actually hard to imagine that it hasn’t been that way for over 65 years.

Wilmington, NC: USS North Carolina

While on my way to the beach, I visited spent some time at Battleship North Carolina. This WWII era battleship was comissioned in 1941 and decomissioned in 1947. After a plan to scrap the ship was announced in 1958, the citizens of North Carolina led a successful statewide campaign to bring her home to her namesake state and she has rested there in honor since 1962 as a state memorial to World War II veterans. 

New Orleans: City Park: Train Tracks

While wandering around City Park, I found this train track. I remembered hearing that there were train rides…I saw no evidence of that beyond the track in the middle fo the park. But it was February and it was getting late in the day. 

I could get used to green grass and looking like autumn in February, I think.

USS KIDD: Doorway

Wathc yourself if you are in a hurry, each door way is a tripping hazzard. I have a hard time walking on a flat floor. I shudder to think what my shins would have gone through on this.

USS KIDD: Bunks

This was taken with the camera on the bunk. So you are seeing more room than the sailor got to. I really hope you he liked his bunk mates. I can only try to avoid imagining having some guy’s backside that close to me. 

USS KIDD: Bunk Room

I almost didn’t use this shot. It’s dark, poorly lit and not very attractive. But that’s how the ship was too. And since they said it was restored to WWII condition, I can only assume that the sailors on the ship lived in it in all it’s unattractiveness.

It’s interesting though. If I were claustrophobic, I would have had troubles in these rooms without others around. I wonder what it would have been like with 14 other guys in this room.

USS KIDD: Stairways

I’m heading below deck now. There were two or three levels you could go down. And to get to all of them you wnet down this ladder trying to masquerade as a stairway. Talk about steep. Use both hands at all times please. Especially if wet. 

I’m not sure I’d be able to manage this if the ship were actually moving.

USS KIDD: Gun Sight

I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine trying to use this gun sight. I had a hard enough time trying to get everything lined up to take the photo, I can’t even beging to think what it might of been like to use it to aim the guns. 

For what it’s worth, I probably took about 20 of thee before I could stay steady enough to hit the button and keep it centered. I think it was worth it though. 

 

USS KIDD: Guns

One of the cool things about touring this ship is that the guns were still there. I doubt they could fire anymore at this point. That paint seems awful thick. But if one wanted to fire at Port Allen, LA, this might be a good representation of what it’d look like.

Kids. Don’t fire upon Port Allen. That wouldn’t be nice.

USS KIDD: Rope Spool

This isn’t a photo of an odd, mysterious thing. It’s not a piece of history with an amazing story. It’s a spool of very big rope. 

I just liked how it turned out.

USS KIDD: Chain Link

This (very large) link of a chain has been painted a few times over the years. They say that this ship was restored back to WWII shape. I wonder if this had been painted then? It looks like there could easily be 80 years worth paint on there.

USS KIDD: Front Gun

I took this while standing just about as far to the front as you could get. From there you get a good view of the mast, the anchor chains and a big ol’ gun.