Monday, March 16, 2009

Lighthouses and Liftoff

Sunday was a pretty amazing day. We left Jacksonville in the morning and drove down the Florida (Atlantic) coastline. The weather was in the high 70s/low 80s with a bit of humidity.

First stop: St. Augustine. We drove through the old historic area, which was really beautiful. We'd like to go back there sometime. We stopped at the lighthouse and had a picnic in the park. Vivian and I sat on a big girl swing for a little while. She didn't seem to mind it at all.

We drove through Daytona Beach -- land of NASCAR. It's Spring Break, but we didn't see too much excitement going on, thankfully! We had a mission for the day -- to get to Kennedy Space Center!

Second stop: Ponce Inlet. We stopped again to take pictures of the lighthouse.

We were trying to find an ideal spot to watch the shuttle launch. As we drove through Titusville, we saw cars lining the highway and people setting up chairs EVERYwhere. We stayed on the highway in our attempt to find a Publix to find something to eat for dinner. We never found the Publix; however, we did pass the Astronaut Hall of Fame. So, I made a U-turn and we headed into the Hall of Fame parking area. What better place to watch the shuttle liftoff than there!

The Astronaut Hall of Fame has a really large museum (and giftshop, of course) that covers all of the Apollo missions and shuttle missions. We walked around for a bit, before we staked out our bit of ground on the grass.

We were six miles from the actual site, which was as close as you could get. Across the river you could see one of the launch pads and the Vehicle Assembly Building. Other than that, we weren't sure what we were looking at since it was so far away. We could watch the large TV screen with the on-goings of the shuttle (NASA TV) and listen to the communication between KSC, the astronauts in the shuttle, and JSC.

There were thousands of people there and it was a pretty amazing site. I guess you don't realize how many people come to watch the launches until you're actually there.

About 20 minutes before liftoff, Vivian decided she needed to have a blowout. So we quickly changed her. Ahh...the joys of having a baby! :)

About 2 minutes before liftoff, I got a bit weepy. It's an amazing thing to actually be there to watch a launch. I've only watched it on TV, which always makes me a bit weepy.

We were standing right in front of a NASA employee who was talking on his cell phone. He was telling this person the details of exactly what was going on, which was really helpful. We had no idea what to expect.

A few seconds before liftoff, there is this giant orange glow and then you see this amazing fireball in front of you lifting off from the pad. A few seconds later, you HEAR the sound. Honestly, it wasn't as loud as I expected. I'm actually grateful for that, since Vivian can still hear.

We stayed for a few minutes, until the shuttle became a bright dot in the horizon and then got the hell outta dodge.

Traffic was HORRRRRRRRRRIBLE getting out of there and Ms Vivian wasn't happy at all. We waited for a long time and finally left. We were stuck in traffic trying to get to Orlando, so we detoured onto I-95 thinking we could just take something back over and get onto I-75 to head to Tally. NOT THE CASE! We decided to stop in Daytona Beach (FAR away from Spring Breakers thanks!) and reassess the drive in the morning.

Apparently we'll be heading to JAX again on I-95 and then hanging a left on I-10 to get to Tallahassee. Can't wait to finally get there!!!! It's been a LONG time coming -- like over a year! :)


  1. No offense to Chris, but I'm glad you decided to blog...he took too long to update!! :)

  2. Pie,
    The blog and pictures are great.. You are enjoying your trip and Vivian will be a great traveler.... SHE IS CUTE.