USS Enterprise Northern Arabian Sea, Oct. 21, 2003 by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Douglas M. Pearlman [031021-N-6259P-001]

Big E, DC, & the Cardinal


Other Cruises

Day 1
To the Ship

Day 2
Casting Off

Day 3
A Day at Sea

Day 4

Day 5
An Easy Day

Day 6
Going to D.C.

Day 7
Touring the Sites

Day 8
A Couple of Museums

Day 9
Heading Home

March 5, 2004
A chance to look around a wonderful train station and the area around it. Then a mostly nighttime ride home.

March 4, 2004
The only problem with having a day to spend at the Smithsonian is having to choose where to go. So many museums and so little time.

March 3, 2004
Spent the day touring Arlington, the capitol building, and several memorials.

March 2, 2004
This was a traveling day. Boarded an Amtrak train in Newport News and headed for Washington's Union Station.

March 1, 2004
Everyone took it rather easy today. We had good weather which made visits to the zoo and the Norfolk waterfront extra enjoyable.

February 29, 2004
Today the Big E returned to Norfolk and nothing could take the smile from every crew member's face.

February 28, 2004
Wow!! A full day. Planes landing & launching, an air power show, and a tour of the ship.

February 27, 2004
The rest of the Tigers arrive and the Enterprise sets sail for Norfolk.

February 26, 2004
The normal airplane snafus but I did get to the ship and did meet up with my son.

This is definitely not your normal road-trip. In fact, unless you are kind enough to count the railroad sections, it isn't a road trip at all. But is it a trip. And it promises to be such a neat trip, that I just have to include it. The real question is whether or not I can do it justice in terms of photos and timely postings.

The focal point of the trip is the USS Enterprise, the world's first and fastest nuclear powered aircraft carrier. My son is currently serving as a journalist aboard the Big E and I'll be joining him for a few days on a Tiger Cruise. Tiger Cruises, where crew members are allowed to invite a family member or friend aboard, typically occur at the end of a long deployment. This one will take place when the Enterprise comes home to Norfolk after several months in the Persian Gulf.

More from necessity than desire, I'll be flying to the start of the cruise in Florida but timing isn't as constrained for my own homecoming and I naturally looked for other choices. One of the few places that shares a passenger train route with Cincinnati is Washington, DC, and I've long wanted to ride Amtrak's Cardinal eastward through the West Virginia hills. This seems a good time to try out the route but, since much of the trackside scenery will be hidden by darkness on the westbound trip, an eastbound version will probably remain on the to-do list. A readily available Norfolk to DC rail connection rounds out the travel connections.

It is possible to schedule both rail segments to minimize layover time in Washington but where's the fun in that? I've set things up to allow some site seeing in the capitol (Smithsonian's America on the Move here I come!) before heading home. So I'll get to see my son for the first time in over a year, travel aboard what is possibly the world's best known military craft, visit my daughter-in-law and grandson, check out some stuff in the nation's capitol, and ride the rails through some very pretty country. Should be a happening nine days.

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