The Iowa Hawkeye pep rally at the U.S.S. Iowa wasn't supposed to start until noon, but at 9 a.m. we rolled in. We figured we would check it out quick and if there wasn't anything to do we could just drive around for a while until it was time for the event.
Apparently we weren't the only early birds though, because the workers looked shocked that there were so many people already at the venue. A line started forming at 9:30 a.m. for the 10 a.m. opening of the battleship tours.
When we finally walked up the gangplank, the first tour guide rushed through his schpeel about the size of ammunition and hurried us along. It was obvious they weren't sure what to do with this large crowd and someone asked how many visitors the ship usually had.
What was the most they had ever had?
We continued walking, weaving our way through the ship's interior and different decks. And it was comical that as we walked higher and higher, we could see the line of black-and-gold-wearing people grow and grow, stretching farther and farther from the gangway.
It was a neat experience to see the underbelly of a battleship, to see where sailors spent so much time. I have to say my favorite part was seeing the kitchens. Not only was it interesting to see the difference between a regular kitchen, the bakery and even the "meat and vegetable prep kitchen," but it made me think about my grandfather who worked in a ship's kitchen on the way to Korea during the Korean War.
"He got in trouble," I told Nate, "because he was always late."
Nate was surprised that the strict schedule on a ship would allow him to be late, and I told him I'm sure my rebellious grandfather would have done it on purpose just to spite his superiors. He didn't change much as he got older.
When we finished up our tour and ate a quick lunch of a pastrami melt and a pastrami breakfast burrito, we decided to head out for the rest of our day.
It was noon, just when the pep rally was supposed to start.
By noon, Hawkeye fans had already broken the attendance record for the U.S.S. Iowa. We found out later that the ship's employees and volunteers had expected 1,000 Iowa fans and ended up playing host to 20,000.