As a way of introduction my younger sister lives in Cape Canaveral and I had not seen her in about 3 years. Coupled with that was the fact that I had never seen a space shuttle launch and the last launch was scheduled for July 8. My sister put me in touch with a guy who gave me a number for a woman at the Kennedy Space Center. She put me on a list to get on a bus to watch the launch from the Center Causeway, about 5 miles over very flat land from the actual launch site. Good! I’m going to Florida. Shortly thereafter I was waxing nostalgic about my childhood and recalled how much I like to go in the car with my grandfather. An idea was born. I called my daughter and asked if I could take my granddaughter Molly to see the Atlantis fly into orbit. Permissions granted and an excited yes from Molly and things were set in motion.
Shortly before we departed.
Molly doing what all teen-age girls do – texting her friends during the breaks.
Later I learned she could listen to her iPod and text while were cruising down the slab towards Florida.
Molly waiting patiently while I take pictures and get geared up after a break.
I was worried that she would have problems with long hours on the bike but she complained to her mother that I made too many stops and the stops were too long.
In the 80s there were over a hundred bill bo0ards for this place. They have been reduced by about 80% and there are now all politically correct. How times have changed.
My daughter and I usually stop at BMW dealers when we travel to see how they stand up to Bob's BMW. This is Daytona Beach. Friendly people.
So after breaking the ride into a 500 and a 400 mile day we arrived in Cape Canaveral.
There are almost as many signs for Ron Jons Surf Shop as for South of the Border. And there is one on I95 in Philly.
Molly explaining the K1300GT to my sister’s youngest granddaughter, who was there to see the launch also.
On the 8th
I went to a mall and got on a bus to the space center. Thanks to the traffic it took over two hours to get to the viewing site. Friday PM there was total gridlock in the Cape area for 5 hours.
A launch pad for unmanned space lights still in use
The crowds waiting for the launch
In the midst of this crowd I found a Naval Academy classmate I hadn't seen in 43 years.
NASA helo taking pictures of the picture takers
The shuttle is behind that building – really
Shortly after lift off
Heading for space. It is about here that the noise of the launch catches up with the visual – a nice demonstration of the difference between the speed of light and the speed of sound.
On Sunday Molly flew home and I rode solo back to Maryland. After 700 miles the heat got to me and I stopped at a hotel. The next morning I went directly to work and changed into vacation clothes for the work day. Saved some vacation that way.
All in all a fun week.