Was at a long-time friend's beach house outside of Wilmington, NC for the weekend. Beyond refreshing some age-attenuated ties, the best part was a visit to BB-55 USS North Carolina. I've been on a bunch of old Navy museum ship self-guided tours but this one was the best of all. Most of the tours are the main deck, the mess deck, and the pre-fab museum they've put somewhere else on the ship. USS NC's self-guided tour is 4 decks down from the main deck and three decks above, making 8 decks in total. Given my age and girth I was certainly feeling the effects once we were done.
USS NC's base tour gets you everywhere other than the propulsion plant. The kicker for me is that they'd taken however long it took to cut through the 12" barbette armor (barbette being the under-deck armor protecting/surrounding the under-deck turret structure) so that you could walk through both shell decks and the powder loading stations. I've seen them on blueprints, but when you stand next to a 16" 2700lb projectile and see the 6" little snubber capstan they used to lever that projectile into the hoist in a space not much taller than my 5' 10" brings a new perspective. Descending to the bottom of the turret you see the multiple levels of flash prevention to ensure that any hit on the turret doesn't get dowm to the powder magazines. You also see the tiny and unescapeable spaces where the most important guys in the system worked. It was a truly steampunk world.
A companion on the tour, who did several years in an SSN-637 class attack submarine, remarked that 1940's Navy lube oil (the entire lower decks still reeks of it) smelled the same as mid-'90s lube oil.
Then there was my daughter. Those battleships had a direct ladder/tunnel between the main spotting bits (i.e. who to shoot at) high on the ship and the machines that used the data (i.e. how to shoot at), which were kept low in the ship for protection. She saw the ladder rungs and was off like a shot. Good thing there was a grate stopping kids like her from getting tired on a 100+ foot climb to the main spotting top.
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. Ralph Waldo Emerson.