March 09, 2004

Lady Lex, Part 1: The Journey Begins

As alluded to yesterday, I had a big weekend involving the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The Lexington hosts a "Live Aboard" program for youth groups (mostly Scouts and Y-guides), through which the kids and their parents get to spend one or two nights on this storied aircraft carrier. I picked up my two boys (a 9-year-old Webelos Scout and a 7-year-old Tiger Cub Scout) from school on Friday at 12:30; they got out early for Spring break. We hit the road about an hour later, leaving my lovely wife and 4-year-old daughter behind in Plano.

First thing to understand: Texas is big. No, scratch that. Texas is BIG. Our enrollment in the one night program meant that I had committed to about 16 hours of driving in exchange for 24 hours on an old warship.

Seems like a fair trade to me!

We arrived in Corpus at 9:30 PM and checked into our hotel, located in the midst of the tenderloin of Corpus Christi: strip clubs, hourly motels, shady characters. We ate a late dinner at the McDonald's in the 'hood. Interesting people-watching. Thugs, a likely hooker, a panhandler or two. Good "diversity" training for the Lanius spawn.

We made it safely to the hotel, where my kids were overjoyed to find "Spongebob" on the TV. They would have been happy just vegetating in front of the tube for the weekend. Forget spending the night on a historic aircraft carrier, let's watch bad animation on Nickelodeon! Just proves how right we are to be one of those archaic families that doesn't subscribe to cable or satellite TV.

Well, knowing we would be getting up about 7:00 AM to get breakfast and head for the ship, I decided to terminate Mr. Squarepants at around 11:15 PM. After a relaxing night's sleep and a decent hot breakfast (thanks, Drury Inn!) we set out for the ship. Installment two tomorrow.

Posted by JohnL at March 9, 2004 11:16 PM

I had the opportunity in the mid 70's to sail on the LADY LEX. As a young boy of 16 I joined the US NAVY SEA CADETS. This is a junior ROTC program. We traveled from New Orleans to Pensacola and spent the next two days on an overnight sail to New Orleans. I can't begin to tell you how memorible this trip was. I commend you for taking the 16 hours to set a page of history in the minds of your boys. What a memory they will have that most can't imagine. At the time of my trip the NAVY used the LEX as a training ship and we were privilaged to observe carrier takeoffs and landings first day out. I will not go into all the details though the memories are quite clear. I will say it is nice to know the LADY LEX is still keeping her memory alive after almost 30 years from my one time dance with history.

Posted by: Glenn Johnson at May 22, 2004 09:32 AM
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