Home Is Where We Park It:  Rainbow Plantation, Summerdale Alabama

Date:  May 14, 2019

Battleship Memorial Park, Mobile Alabama

Oh yes another beautiful morning with the promise of another spectacular day.  No time to lay around this morning we had miles to go and places to see.  So we threw on some clothes, walked the dog then put him in his cage, grabbed the camera and we were out the door.  Everything was coming up roses so to speak.  Until. . . .

Until we got to I 10 which we had to take west.  The highway was at a dead stop.  Like, no one was going anywhere.  We needed an alternate plan.  That plan was McDonald’s for breakfast.  Our thinking was give things 30 minutes or so to settle down and perhaps the highway would be clear.  That was the plan and it seemed to work.

We left the restaurant and traffic it appeared was moving at a good clip.  We took the on ramp and got about half a mile and we came to a halt.  Well, more like a really slow crawl.  We were stuck so nothing to do but crank up the tunes and take it light.  We only had seven miles to go.  We can do this.  Then just like that in about two miles no more traffic and we started moving at the speed limit.  Why?  What caused the back up?  Never were able to figure it out.

A few more miles and we were at our exit and in a few more minutes we were at our intended destination.


We were here to tour The Battleship Alabama.


We were also going to tour the submarine USS Drum.


Have your walking shoes on?  It’s going to be a great tour.  Tonight we’ll start with the submarine USS Drum.


The Drum is 311 feet long with a beam of 27 feet with a displacement of 1,562 tons.  She was named after a fish that made a defensive drumming noise.  She patrolled the Pacific and also planted mines in high Japanese ship traffic lanes.   During her 13 patrols she is credited with sinking 15 ships.  She also survived several depth charge attacks.

Her crew consisted of 7 officers and 65 enlisted men.  Try to keep this in mind when we take the tour and you see first hand the confined quarters in which they all lived while on patrol.  IMG_3178

Some more pictures before we go below decks.  Looking from mid deck forward.


Looking back from the bow.


Let’s start our tour.  Watch your step the ladder is steep and remember to keep your head down.


As we move through the boat keep the following in mind.


Our first stop is the forward torpedo room.


I don’t know about you but this would not be my first choice as to where to bed down.  Count them, six tubes total the one on the left ready for a fish.


A standard torpedo or fish waiting to be loaded. Drum carried a total of 24 when on patrol.


Looking aft from the forward torpedo room.  Be careful going through each door as we move aft, they’re small and it’s a tight squeeze.  Oh, and there is a 12 inch plate on the bottom you also have to step over.  When I was moving through the sub on a couple of occasions several of us would end up in the same area.  Trying to get around one another was interesting.


Officers mess hall.


2 man officers stateroom.  I may not like the current bed in Graybeard, but it sure beats this!  And my bedroom is much bigger.


Captain’s cabin.


The control room.


The dive board, it needed to be all green before the sub could submerge.


Opening these valves flooded the ballast tanks so the submarine could dive.


To come to the surface high pressure air was used to blow the ballast tanks and empty them of water.


Now for the fun climb, we’re going up in the conning tower.  Only one way to get there and that is straight up the ladder.  Are you up to it?  I will admit it was a challenge up and down, especially squeezing through the hatch.


We made it!  Good going.  The conning tower is used when submerged and when on the surface and using the periscope for a torpedo attack.


The chart table.


Torpedo firing panel.


Sonar and radio communication.


Time to go back down.  Watch going through the hatch, its really tight.  Back down we come now to the ship’s galley.  The cooks turned out meals that earned them the reputation of serving the best food in the Navy.  And they did it all in such tight quarters.IMG_3232

Enlisted men’s mess hall.


Bunks for enlisted men. But this doesn’t seem like enough bunks for 65 men so what gives?  Well, in some cases when one got up for their watch, another coming off watch would have that bunk.  This was called hot bunking.  No sleeping in late that’s for sure.



Depth charge sandals issued to crew members going on patrol.


We’re to the stern and the engine rooms.  There were a total of two, one behind the other.



When submerged the sub was powered solely by electric motors powered by batteries encased in containers like this.  The batteries were located in several locations, one bank was under the enlisted men’s sleeping quarters.  I know one thing it  sure won’t fit under the steps in Graybeard.


One of two distilling plants used to turn sea water into fresh water.


We’re finally at the aft torpedo room.


Up and out and looking over the stern.


Now I can cross another item off my bucket list, I’ve finally been on a submarine.  Hope you enjoyed the tour as much as I did.  Moving through the Drum I know one thing, I could never, ever go to sea on a submarine.  Those that did were a rare breed.

That was our day on The Road of Retirement.  We still have the tour of the Alabama to do, hopefully tomorrow.  Now, though, I have to go rub a generous amount of BioFreeze on my knees and back.  They got a real workout today.  Same for Barbara.  Tomorrow we’ve already promised ourselves we’re going to sleep in and just take it easy.

Thanks again for coming along with us.  We always enjoy your company.  Till tomorrow.

These are the voyages of  Graybeard and it’s occupants, four paws and two humans.  Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before

See you on down the road







  1. I saw and learned more from your blog than when I started a tour of a sub in Hawaii. Notice I said “started”? I couldn’t continue and had to exit while Hoag went on. Thanks for the tour.


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