Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Running errands: A surprise trip to Wilmington and the U.S.S. North Carolina

Awhile ago Big Brant and I decided that we'd try and get down to Wilmington for an overnight during Christmas break.  It all came together and Sunday afternoon, after we had secretly packed the van, we loaded up to run some last minute Christmas errands, or so we told Brant.  He caught on to something when we drove past Target and Alamance Crossing.  Getting on the Interstate, he questioned us.  It wasn't til we were past Mebane that he knew something was up.  So we told him!  Needless to say, he was quite excited!

Arriving later in the evening, we checked into our hotel on the river, with a great view!

The Battleship, lit up for Christmas
 The next morning, after breakfast, we cleared out of the hotel and headed across the drawbridge.

Two very excited boys in tow, we boarded the ship.  I used to go to the Battleship several times a year, growing up near there.  Dad loved all things military, so that wasn't an issue with him! It was like a double trip back in time, to my childhood and World War II.  I loved seeing Brant explore every inch, and having the inside scoop on what 

One of the best things is that you can still go in and try things out, like all the guns

Atta boy!

By far the most different and fun thing for Brant this time was that he could go inside the 16 inch guns.  The Yorktown held a whole different experience, so we are very glad we took the boys to both.

One of my favorite memories from the ship is the galley, and all the giant sized appliances for feeding the men.  It proved to be a fascination to us all, once again.  Daddy could identify all the proofing ovens, mixers and steam kettles.  Daddy had been there before, but it's different when you take your kids. Your eyes are opened to a whole different set of things.

Brant found an enormous switch in the engine room

Let's just talk a minute about the grates in the engine room.  I don't walk over sewer grates.  But in the engine room there's only one way to get out!   I also didn't want the boys to get that random weird fear from me!

Now to the main galley

Henry was interested in it ALL

I think we will institute this at home!

Dropping pennies down the wishing well, into a bucket 4 decks below.  Daddy got it after a few tries

Brant's bounced off the side of the bucket

Moving a 90 lb. power thing down the conveyor belt. 

There's a monkey on board!

Henry had a few tight squeezes, but Daddy was careful, no knocked noggins

Rain chased us off, but we'd seen enough.  We'll be back another day!

Seeing as we were so close to where I had grown up, I really wanted to show Brantley where I used to live.  Big Brant had been down a few times for the weddings of my best friends, but it had been a while for all of us.
Beautiful Lake Waccamaw

When Mom and Dad got married in Fair Bluff, they spent a few nights here for their honeymoon.  We used to love to eat here.  It was a big deal to go out to eat.  Cheryl and I would get peppermint patties at the register, put them on a toothpick, lollypop style, and nibble them while we walked out on the dock.  Grandma and Grandpa Unger even ate here when they visited us.  Good memories!

The best part was the my best friends were at their mom and dad's house, which was a second home to me, and a second set of parents.  We got to visit for a bit and rekindle a friendship that will never die, despite the fact that we don't see each other often.  More sisters than friends, it was a blessing.  I didn't take any photos, we were too busy trying to cram in as much talk as we could!

Soon it was time to hit the road.  Along the way we stopped by Hallsboro and our old house and church.  It's so funny how small things really seem, and how short roads are, when they seemed huge and long as a child.   This was the place that I learned to scan the yard for snakes, and play with the neighborhood boys.

It was a trip down memory lane and a great little trip for our little family.  But there was Christmas to prepare for and it was time to head home. 

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