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Vacation!


Mon, May 1st, 2000
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Vacation!
WOW! Spring is here and summer is on its way! The sun rises earlier, the birds chirp louder, the cars run smoother, and the people are crazier! Easter and spring break have passed, but not before many memories were made. Several people I know took advantage of the time off from school and traveled to different parts of the world: Florida, San Francisco, Quebec, Spain, Africa...it goes on and on! My family and I headed out East, to the lovely little state of Virginia.

It all began on the Friday morning, our family having high hopes of pulling out of the driveway just after the crack of dawn, for we were driving 1300 miles and we wanted to get an early start. As it turns out, we didn’t leave until much later. Well, I guess if 1:30 p.m. is considered just after the crack of dawn, we were right on schedule!

We drove to Champagne, IL on the first day, found a nice little hotel and stayed there until 7:00 the next morning. Once on the road, we had driven about twenty miles when my mom realized that we forgot her phone in the hotel room. So, let's just say that we were really headed east again at about 8:00.

The ride was great and the scenery in Kentucky and West Virginia was very beautiful. The Appalachians don’t compare with the Rocky Mountains in size or majesty, but they are nonetheless lush and very green. We arrived in Norfolk, Virginia at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. We were all so excited, however, we hardly slept during the drive, so by the time we checked into our hotel room, we were simply exhausted. We hit the sack and didn’t wake up until 11:00 the next morning.

Norfolk? Why Norfolk? Well, I have a twenty-one year old brother, Marty, who is in the Navy, stationed in Norfolk. I have a brother four years older than him, Andy, who lives near Washington, D.C. with his wife. Since we haven’t seen Marty since October and Andy since Christmas, we figured this was the perfect opportunity to once again head east and meet up with everyone. So, here we are, 1389 miles later.

Our time during the week was spent touring Norfolk and the surrounding cities. We took a boat tour of the Chesapeake Bay area and learned a great deal about all the ships that find their home in the Bay. We spent one day on Cape Henry, admiring the lighthouses and the splendor of the ocean. Driving along Virginia Beach, we got a taste of the young, up-beat part of the Norfolk area.

We also spent an afternoon at the Jamestown settlement, where the first British settlement was made in the early 1600s. This was very interesting and informative, as they had little villages set up just as they once were, and replica ships to tour. Another day was spent at Kitty Hawk, where the Wright brothers made the first successful flight of an airplane. Once again, we learned about a piece of our country’s history.

Perhaps the most exciting and thrilling day was spent on the Norfolk Navy Base. We had to get a visitor’s pass to even get on the base, as a security measure to protect the 300,000 people that are on the base on a given day. The first thing that we did was go on a bus tour of the base. Here we learned a lot of fun facts about the equipment, buildings, and the Navy men and women. After this, we met up with Marty. He was able to take us on the base the show us around.

Marty then took us on our own little tour of the submarine that he works on, the U.S.S. Hampton. He and his “crew” had just come back from six weeks out at sea, so much of the workers’ time was spent cleaning the fixing up the sub. It was SO interesting and fun! To our surprise, it is a lot smaller than the movies make it appear! People have to stand sideways in the hallways when another person is walking by. Beds are stacked three high and Marty even slept right next to “Bessy,” one of the many torpedoes on board. There were certain parts of the sub that we were unable to see or take pictures of, because of the classified equipment and information. It was an absolutely amazing experience to be right in the submarine and to learn about all the people who are protecting us here at home from our enemies.

When we all got back to school on Monday, some people were much tanner, some had a sunburn, some had presents to hand out; but all had stories to tell from their time off during spring break. Going on vacation not only provides a time to relax and spend time with one’s family, but it can be a time to open one’s eyes to all the things that are out there! I would strongly encourage families to take a vacation, for they’re usually relaxing, and always FUN!!!

Ann Malone is a student at Kingsland High School.

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