Saturday, March 27, 2010

Big Mo

The USS Missouri is located on Ford Island and you aren't allowed to swim, so the way to get there is to catch the shuttle.
Along with the price of admission is a ride on a bus that leaves every fifteen minutes from the Bowfin Museum. The same shuttle also goes to the Pacific Air Museum which is located right around the corner from the Missouri.
The bus ride is less than ten minutes going over the new bridge to Ford Island:

The bridge is a military bridge; meaning the lowest section is on pontoons and if need be, is sunk and retracted to let large ships pass through.
There is a bike lane on the bridge, but I would think that it's only accessible to military personnel.
Big Mo:

Something really lame happens at the front gate. You are not supposed to pass until you get your picture taken by some company that preys on tourists.
No, you don't have to buy the picture, but they say that you are required to take one before boarding. They were adamant about that, but one couple got out of line without pictures.
Honestly, I'm no so sure it's some Homeland Security thing disguised as a tourist operation.
Anyways, once you get past that, you can roam around the pier:

The Arizona Memorial is right next door:

As you can see, the Missouri is a pretty large ship. There are several ways to experience your visit.
There are guided tours. I'm not sure how they are organized, I'm sure you can ask.
There is an audio tour also. I believe it's free or at minimal cost.
You can play FIT(free independent tourist) like I did and grab a map. There are signs with arrows on them you help you navigate.
Then there is the deluxe package called the Battle Stations Tour which costs $25.
Like I said, the battleship is big. The guided tour lasts 35 minutes, the audio tour is listed at 60-90 minutes and the Battle Stations Tour is listed at 90 minutes.
There is a sign on the bathrooms that say "last bathroom for 1.5 miles" as I believe that is how far you actually walk on the full tour. I was there for about two hours so that sounds about right.
If I do it again and I probably will, I'll take the guided tour so that I can learn more about the history of the ship as the guides sounded like they had cool stories to tell.
Here is the guide map:

The colored sections show the decks you can visit. As you can see, it is sort of limited, but remember, the Missouri is run by a non profit and it takes money to restore things. Also, the ship is so humongous, it would take a legion of people to staff it.
Overall, the ship is in great shape; it recently came out of dry dock. You climb these stairs to get on deck:

The first thing I noticed were the guns. They are fricken huge! I don't know if pictures can capture the ginormity of those things:

The shells they had on deck were about four or five feet tall and I think I heard them say that they weight in at around two thousand pounds. Range is 23 miles.
The guns had these painted on, from service in Persian Gulf I would say:

Amazingly, walking toward the bow of the ship is like walking uphill. You can sort of see the upward curve of the deck here:

I believe usually you have full run of this deck, but that day, there was some kind of military ceremony held on the stern. I didn't want to take any pictures of that lest I get arrested or something.
After walking the deck I decided to head on up.
And up.
And up.

More later.

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