Friday, September 30, 2011

San Francisco Extravaganza - Alameda - Part One

When we confirmed our trip to San Francisco I signed up for Groupon San Francisco to see if I could get any deals for our trip. The only one I purchased was entry to the USS Hornet in Alameda for two, for $15.

For those of you that don't know, the USS Hornet is a World War II Aircraft Carrier. I've always been amazed at the sheer size of aircraft carriers and it has been on my bucket list to tour one. Needless to say I jumped at the chance.

We chose Sunday for our adventure. We researched BART schedules and Troubadour poured over the Oakland transit schedule. We had breakfast at the hotel, which consisted yet again of oatmeal, fruit, and home baked goods, then walked down to the Powell Street station.

We took the BART to the 12th Street/City Center Station in Oakland and from there tried to follow directions to our bus stop. We then realized we'd left all our small bills and change for housekeeping back at the Inn and had missed our bus. We had a half hour wait for the next and managed to find a Peet's Coffee.

We each ordered an iced vanilla latte, which gave us change for the bus, and made our way back to the bus stop. It was at the edge of a park and contained more than a couple of sleeping transients and a sign that someone had modified....

Troubadour is pretty sure it used to say "No dumping of food and clothing." I guess Alameda treats their homeless like they are wild animals. Do not feed the seagulls. Sad really.

When boarding the bus we were told that it was no charge because the money taking machine was broken. Of course, if we didn't have exact change, you know that wouldn't have been the case.

We made it to Alameda and left the bus at the correct stop. It looked like we were on the edge of nowhere. We started walking and following our printed directions through the Alameda Naval Air Station (closed in 1997, now known as Alameda Point). We walked a block this way and that and down deserted streets by abandoned warehouses. It was eerie.

And then we spotted the ships.

(USS Hornet)

(The MV Cape Henry was also berthed beside the USS Hornet)

When Troubadour spotted the motorcycle training class I thought I'd have to abandon him for the day. As I slowly walked towards the Hornet I tried luring him. Eventually I did manage to tear him away. He could have stood there and watched the training all day.

There was also a plaque at the entrance.

(click picture to make large enough to read)

USS Hornet CVS-12 was originally named the USS Kearsarge, but was renamed in honor of the previous Hornet CV-8 (famous for the Doolittle Raid), which was lost in October 1942.

We entered the Hornet on the hanger deck.

We were approached and asked if we wanted to join a tour into the lower decks to see areas where the public cannot access on their own. ummmm....yeah.

Down we went. The following pictures were all taken from below the hangar deck.

(one of the bunking areas)

We were taken into one of several engine and boiler rooms. I believe, if I remember correctly, the docent said the engines put forth a collective 160,000 to 170,000 hp.

For some reason I thought the hallways would be narrower. They didn't seem too bad. Maybe because there weren't thousands of crew members aboard.

(Guard post near one of the bomb storage areas and the brig)

(Inside the guards cage)

(The brig)

Our docent Gerry mentioned that two Japanese pilot's were fished out of the water and brought aboard as prisoners. Before they could be interrogated they committed suicide in the brig. The USS Hornet is said to be haunted. Their night tours would certainly be interesting.

And then we toured the launch catapult area:

(pulley system)

(serious grease)

Then one of the annex kitchens:

There were many displays set up on the lower decks.

The Marine Head:

Laundry anyone?

And then sick bay:

(Nice touch leaving the bone saw out on display)



(exam room)


And a few random shots taken below.

The tour was concluded and we were left to wander the public area of that level. We then climbed back to the hangar deck. I will save pictures from the flight deck and the Island for the next and final San Francisco post. Here is a teaser picture.

- Au Revoir

" The proper means of increasing the love we bear our native country is to reside some time in a foreign one." ~ William Shenstone