Sunday, January 11, 2009

Camping on the Lexington

KT and I spent the night camping out with the Cub Scouts on the aircraft carrier, USS Lexington, also known as "The Blue Ghost." A portion of this Naval vessel has been refurbished and is open for touring, but most of the ship is unchanged since WWII.

The camp out was fun. We watched a movie in the theater which, at one time, served as the original forward aircraft elevator space. We also watched a flag ceremony, a very inspirational and poignant tribute to our current US troops and veterans, and listened to (true) ghost stories. Well, in all honesty, my son refused the ghost stories because he didn't want to have nightmares.

The USS Lexington brings to mind a giant, metal ant hill with its narrow passageways, steep stairwells, dark nooks and crannies. Even non-claustrophobics sweated the stairwells.

Our sleeping compartments, or berthing rooms, were several floors below the hangar deck. Getting to them required the dexterity of an earthworm. Here's how we had to get to our room:

First, you had to climb down this hole.

KT making the plunge...

Then you had to go through this passageway.

And through this one, too.

And then down this hole.

And here's our room. I slept on the bottom bunk. Comfy?

There were about 50 Scouts and leaders stuffed like sardines into a compartment about the size of your typical family room, three bunks per unit. I slept on a bottom bunk below my son, which required me to get down on my hands and knees, and then lower myself further to climb in. War is hell, but the sleeping arrangements, I imagine, are worse.

Since there were more than 600 Scouts, leaders and parents total (scattered in several berthing units throughout), I got up at 5:30 a.m., before bugle call, to beat the crowd to the bathroom. It was an experience my son and I will never forget.

My son and I have made many memories with Scouting, and I've come to the conclusion that misery is a main ingredient for creating long lasting memories.


  1. Don, what a cool blog and blog post. I loved the photos to go along with the story.

  2. Yes, very cramped. And I imagine the air can get awfully stale at times. But man, I love those old ships! Glad you posted, dude. I always love reading your stuff...