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Old 06-13-2009, 08:42 PM   #31
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Day 10 & 11: Florida Panhandle

Jason and I woke up from our stay in Mobile and headed towards Florida. We drove around Pensacola and then took the 85 towards the beach. We stopped at the Florida visitors center...the rest stops are pretty cool. This one had a Jet and a previous one had a lunar lander. Texas has wifi at every roadside stop, even ones that are just a picnic table. Why doesn't California have this stuff?




Made a pass thru Destin, to see the beach I visited as a child. Very slow and lots of people...it's completely different than I remember...very touristy and built up. I'm pretty sure that the place I stayed as a kid was either paved over or developed around so much as to not be recognizable. Or both.




Panama City was a hole...lots of traffic, crazy drivers and felt a little sketchy...reminded me of Tijuana. Bleck. Mexico Beach was very nice, relaxed. I should look at some property in that area. This is how I remember Destin...


Drove thru Apalachicola...a beautiful part of Florida, on the panhandle. Pretty trees and beach along highway 98...very scenic.


We decided to try to camp somewhere in that area but every state park in the area was full...guess it's that season. So we ended up at an RV park just off the beach. Very nice, but lots of bugs. We cooked up some of our freeze dried camping meals on our camp stoves. It was pretty good...this is Chili Mac:

Jason after setting up camp.



We checked out the beach at night, and found a bunch of crabs running around. They were about 8" long and ran really fast, doing their little crab walk.

Thinks he's camouflaged...

The little tracks...

Found his home.


The next day, after a terrible night's sleep (mosquitos + heat + humidity), Jason took a dip in the Gulf of Mexico while I took pics.

A few early morning joggers.


Driving out of Apalachicola was real nice...similar to what we'd seen between there and Destin. Lots of trees, occasional beach views.

We stopped in Perry, FL for breakfast. I got stuck in the bathroom in the diner, the door lock was jammed and wouldn't open. But I eventually escaped and was able to finish my food. It was good.


As we were leaving the diner, I pulled my cool vest out of the trash bag I had kept it in...all pre-soaked and ready for use. I thought it smelled kind of funny, but I put it on anyway. 2 hours later, we stopped for a little break and I smelled like a dead fish. I took it off and even went into the bathroom and washed my t-shirt in the sink. Bleck.

I had picked out Ocala Natioanl forest as a probable pretty route. Sounds good, driving thru a national forest, right? But it wasn't pretty like a national forest should be...just kinda plain with a few spots of southern pines. Jason and I played around getting pics of each other on the bikes. This is Jason on his 1200GSA.


Riding thru Daytona beach was...strange. Lot of other bikers...but out of about 30 or so I waved at, only 2 waved back. It had a weird vibe. And the car drivers had very little respect for bikers...riding our butts and cutting us off at any opportunity. For a beach town, it wasn't very laid back.

Jason had arranged it for us to stay with his Aunt, who just happens to live in Titusville. Turns out she is a retired electrical engineer and worked for a NASA contractor. She re-arranged her house to set up twin beds for us in her master bedroom and had beer ready for us when we got in...what awesome accommodations. She even bought us tickets to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and the IMAX shuttle show. I really enjoyed talking to her that night. She pulled out something pretty cool...the owners manual for the Solid Rocket Motors. So cool!



Jason and I joked that the first page said "Thank you for your purchase of a Solid Rocket Motor. Warranty information is on page 10". Hehe. In reality, it has all the technical diagrams and even how to pack the parachute and what methods the boats should use to recover them after splashdown. Pretty interesting reading.

We slept well in our comfy beds that night.
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:48 PM   #32
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Made it to Titusville

FYI I posted all the blog entries from n8moto.com up so the pics would be in both places. Yay.

I made it to Titusville. I even got VIP tickets to the launch, but it was scrubbed. Dammit. I am probably going to stay down here, pending any news from NASA that changes my mind. Not sure if I'll get to do the Florida keys or not. This link shows my current progress across the US. I will update it when I start moving again.

Hope you all enjoy the pics. Also, how do I move this to the 'ride reports' forum?
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:04 AM   #33
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If you plan to come back through the LA/MS coast give me a shout. I'll be glad to put you up for a night and if the schedule allows, show you around a bit.

Paul

PS Brent is good peeps isn't he?
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:59 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dranrab Luap
PS Brent is good peeps isn't he?
Aww...shucks...
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:56 PM   #35
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Talking

Hey Nate -

Thanks again for joining the BMW Motorcycle Club of Nashville for our meeting this evening in Brentwood, TN. It was great meeting you and I wish you well on the remainder of your journey. Ride safe and enjoy your travels!

Aubrey
(the dude holding the flashlight in the parking lot while discussing your tire)
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Old 08-02-2009, 10:31 AM   #36
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Question

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=491908

looking for a couch to crash on in the SF bay area. My planned couch flaked out on me. Any takers?

-N8
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Old 08-02-2009, 09:49 PM   #37
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Hey remember me? You found me by knocking on my motel door in Wall,SD?
I just got back from my trip to Montana. I didn`t make it to Canada. The weather was against me. But it was a good trip on the ole battle wagan.







I did the Badlands tour on my way home today. Anyways, I hope your trip is a great one. BTW, I am N0MKH.
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Stranded in Iowa screwed with this post 08-02-2009 at 09:55 PM
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Old 08-02-2009, 09:54 PM   #38
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:31 PM   #39
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Day 12: Preparing for Launch

Friday, June 12, 2009

Today, was a rest day. I slept in and ran a few errands. Hit up Walmart for some camping supplies, Kinko's for some more website/trip cards (I had some made before I left, but ran out), the post office and some food at Dixie Crossroads. Jason's Aunt said it's where all the tourists want to go, and in fact, as we were leaving, the line was 1.5 hrs to get in. I had a plate of rock shrimp (like little lobsters) and some key lime pie. Very good.

Tomorrow is the launch. I am going to be in the VIP section, watching with the astronaut families, politicians and celebrities. Don't ask me how I managed that, I won't tell you. Jason and I get up at 3AM EST time to head over there. I board a bus at 4:30AM to the KSC and the launch is set at 7:17AM EST. I've got my HD camera and SLR ready, with a rigged up mount so I can work them both at the same time. Got the good mic and plan to have some time to practice before the launch. I really hope it doesn't get scrubbed. At least, not for too long.

I'll probably tour the KSC complex and do all the IMAX stuff after the launch.

I am so excited I can't sleep. :)
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:32 PM   #40
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Launch Scrubbed

Launch Scrubbed


One word: Doh!
NASA has cancelled today's launch of the space shuttle Endeavour because of a leak in the gaseous hydrogen vent system that developed late in fueling. Officials say the launch will be delayed until at least Wednesday and perhaps longer.
And since it moves up 25 minutes per day of delay, it's 100 minutes earlier and getting into a night launch. If it were to go up in 4 days, it would conflict with the LRO launch schedule. Which requires some negotation with the military. If they do NOT change the LRO schedule, then the earliest it could launch is June 20th at 3AM-ish. More here.

Not sure what the plan is tomorrow, but for now, back to sleep.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:33 PM   #41
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Day 13: KSC Tour

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day 13: KSC Tour

Jason and I woke up at 3AM Sat. morning to find the launch scrubbed. So we slept in and decided to hit up the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and do the cool NASA stuff.

We did a lot of neat stuff. First we hit up the IMAX film about the moon landing. It was in 3D, and done pretty well actually.

There was a full scale mock-up of the space shuttle on premises, along with a full scale mockup of the SRB's and External Tank.


Check out the cool tiles.

Mock up of the internal bay with a fake satellite.

Shuttle cockpit.

We checked out the astronaut memorial...something that I had seen on TV after the Columbia accident and had wanted to see. It's designed as a reflecting wall so the names appear in the clouds. Beautiful, and moving.

The rocket garden was pretty neat too. The horizontal rocket is the Saturn 1B.

The famous F1 engine from the Saturn V rocket used in the Apollo program.

Too big to fit them all on the camera, even with a wider angle lens.

We finished up the day with a cool drink and a walk thru of the Early Exploration museum. Pretty cool to see what was required to get to space back in the day. This shot is the ablative material from an old re-entry capsule.

The NASA control room from the 1960's. I am going to have to remember this for my dream home.


We ended the day with some speculation of NASA's plans, developing our own contingency plans for the rest of the trip and heading off to bed early to get good sleep.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:34 PM   #42
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Bumming around Cocoa Beach

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 14: Bumming around Cocoa Beach

Today we had planned on visiting the KSC again and doing the bus tour, since tickets are good for 2 days. Instead we decided to go to the beachfront, get some lunch and do a little shopping. We'd seen signs for Ron Jon Surf Shop all thru Florida, so we decided to pay it a visit. It's huge!

I bought a new hat! I always wanted a cool fedora, now I look like I'm on vacation!

We also checked out Cocoa beach. It was packed! My pics didn't do it justice but I think this is the most populated beach I've ever seen. It was a great day for it so I can see why everybody turned out.


Jason's Aunt has a lot of lizards living around her place. Which is good because they eat the mosquitoes!

We watched the 5:30PM NASA press conference to figure out more info about the launch. They were vague like Jason's Aunt predicted, but offered plan A and plan B. A: Shuttle launch on 17th, LRO on 19,20. B: LRO on 17th, Shuttle on 20th. I am hoping for plan A so I can get on with my trip...I'm still not sure about a journey to they Keys yet (2 days drive from here), but I am hoping it can work out.

Right now as I type this, it's POURING the rain outside. I miss the warm summer rains, we don't get them like this very often out in Southern California. Reminds me of summer nights as a kid in Tennessee. Wunderground reports 40% chance of thunderstorms thru Wednesday (launch day). I hope the weather cooperates.
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:34 PM   #43
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Dang Weather!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dang Weather!

Jason and I are both in here on our laptops checking out live weather and NASA TV, anxious for the launch to happen. The weather at the cape is turning this into a nail biter. Come on NASA, I know you guys can squeeze more time out of the launch schedule. Just don't botch the fueling!


posted by Nathan at 7:45 PM 2 Comments Links to this post

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 15 & 16: Waiting to launch

Monday, we didn't do much. I worked on my gracious host's pool, took Jason to the doc for a prescription refill and installed Linux on the hard drive of my laptop (vs running off an SD card, which was slow).

Tuesday, we decided to get up early and go back to the Kennedy Space Center to do the bus tour and pick up a few things from the gift shop. The bus tour is pretty cool. We got to see the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), which is the 3rd largest building in the world.


Visited the Saturn V rocket display, which was pretty neat.


We did a 'simulated Apollo launch' in simulated NASA control room. The windows actually shook when it launched. With some creativity I could imagined the launch I hope to see tomorrow morning.

We also checked out the Astronaut Hall of Fame. It's basically a museum about the astronauts and their history.

This helmet lineup was particularly cool.


We saw a manatee, some large birds and a bald eagle's nest on the NASA property, which is right in the middle of the Merrit Island Wildlife Preserve. Even with the alligators, signs like this make me want to climb over the fence.


Wrapped up the day with a steak and an early bedtime (in prep for the launch). It goes up at 5:40AM EST tonight/tomorrow morn. I need to be at the VIP pickup at 3:00AM which means I get up at 1:45AM. No sleep for me. :)
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:35 PM   #44
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On the Road Again...

After the disappointing scrub of the shuttle launch early this morning, it was time to hit the road. Jason's Aunt took great care of us in Titusville, and I hated to leave. However, 5 days of waiting on NASA to push the big red launch button had us both jonesin to ride. We hit the road in the late afternoon, headed north. Had dinner in Jacksonville, FL and when it started raining on us later in the night, stopped in Brunswick at a motel. Unfortunately I chose a crappy motel (with smelly water), but it will get us thru the night and we can hopefully make great tracks tomorrow towards the east side of the Smokies.

On the topic of the shuttle: NASA postponed the launch till July 11th, maybe I'll come back down for it then, who knows. I bought the t-shirt and the commemorative pin so I am committed to see it now. hehe. I also had to skip the FL Keys due to time constraints, hopefully I can do them another time.

And hopefully tomorrow I'll remember to take some pictures. :)
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:36 PM   #45
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Georgia and South Carolina

Jason and I arose early after a crappy night's sleep at a Super 8 motel. I will never stay at one of those again, sheesh. The water smelled like sulfur or something horrible. Anyway, we hit the road, did a little bit of the I-95 highway. We grabbed lunch in Hardeville, SC. Fried chicken, collard greens, baked beans, cornbread and sweet tea. Mmmm.

South Carolina had swamp on both sides of the road. I kept wondering if I was to somehow go off the road, would I drown or be eaten by crocs first. This shot was taken off the 125 in SC, near the SC/GA border.

After a bit of the swamp, it opened up into some nice forest. This was Sumter National Forest, just north of Augusta.

I really enjoyed the small towns we were passing thru. This one was particularly neat, with a stop light or two, train tracks and a state route crossroads.

Alternating small towns and farmland continued thru SC. This farm was beautiful.

Our destination that night was Anderson, SC. As we got into the area, we saw a big storm approaching. We put on our rain gear but after looking at a wall of water moving our way that resembled a tornado, I bailed out and we drove around the storm. We ended up staying in a decent hotel that night and went to bed early so we could get good sleep for our ride thru the smokies.
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