Cowgar Family Adventures

Monday, June 7, 2010

Florida Shuttle Vacation Part 2

Friday was launch day. Our vehicle placard had 12PM as our time to arrive by, but we wanted to be there as soon as possible. We probably sat in traffic for an hour and half before reaching the KSC Complex at 11ish. We walked around, enjoying some of the sights. All of the good spots to see the launch were already being occupied, so we decided to stick to shady areas for resting and taking our time looking at things to keep the girls entertained. We hit the gift shop and could have gone broke right there. We didn’t even make it to the second story of the gift shop. It was so packed from all the visitors, that I waited in line for at least a half hour before checking out. The girls played in the water fountain in the rocket garden, and we camped out under the shuttle displays to stay in a shady area until about a half hour before launch, then we packed up and moved as close as we could towards that corner of the complex. We couldn’t even see the jumbotrons they had outside because of all the people. We knew it was close because of the time on our watch, and then we heard the people in front of us that could see the TV start counting down from 10. It was at least 20 seconds before we could see the shuttle over the trees and the people in front of us. Luke had his a700 with the big lens we rented, and the a300 with a wider angle lens, so he was clicking away with both cameras. I had our camcorder and was trying to track the shuttle through the view screen while making sure that Lexi and Lilly stayed close (I forgot their info ID tags in the car). The video wasn’t that great, since I couldn’t see what I was pointing at, it kept going in and out of focus because of the tree beside us, and I was shaking for the adrenaline (and my eyes were stinging because I was crying….I’m a dork I know). It was so completely awesome though! We are actually formulating a way we can get back down there to see the other launches. It took us over 2 hours to make the 40 minute drive back to Daytona Beach. I felt so bad for Lexi though, her and Lilly walked the entire day, and Luke had to carry her back to the car because she was limping because her feet were so tired.

When we got back we hit Daytona Beach again, and this time we got out the buckets and shovels and stayed a while longer, so the girls could really enjoy it. We also got attacked by some salespersons about buying some timeshare down there. Ugh… we are on vacation people…not interested!!

Saturday we decided to hit Kennedy Space Center again, since our tickets are good for 2 admission days. We hit a Babies R Us and bought an umbrella double stroller for Lexi and Lilly. We took their tour since Luke wanted to see the Saturn V building. We had to wait almost an hour before we could even board the bus, and we had to leave our strollers behind. Luckily, they had strollers at each of the stops. The first stop was an observation gantry to see the launch pads. We would love to go when a shuttle is out on the pad. We also drove real close to one of the crawlers they use to transport the shuttle to the pad. The driver said 98% of people that take the tour will never get that close to them. So that was pretty cool. The second stop was the Saturn V, which had a few short movies taking you through NASA’s space race with the Russians, and ended with the successful lift off of the first manned Saturn V. Then we got to go into the building that housed a real Saturn V, and walk underneath it. Luke was a kid in a candy store. There were so many people there since it was the day after launch, that they extended the IMAX movie showing and park times, but we had been on the tour so late that they had shut down the third stop, which was the International Space Station modules that still needed to be sent to space. Oh well, we saw a lot of things, and touched a moon rock, and by the end of the trip, the girls were excited about being astronauts.

We hit Alan Shepard Park which is in Cocoa Beach and played at the beach one last time before returning home. Avery fell asleep in Luke’s arms, Lilly filled buckets with sand, and Lexi and I picked up pieces of shells on the beach. We had a lot of fun.

Please pardon the out of order picture overload, I'm too lazy (this is Luke speaking for once) to reorder them...

Even here, it's difficult to grasp how big that thing really is!

The crowd awaiting the launch. This is as close to the jumbotron as we could get. Can you see it? Yeah, neither could we...

Holly and Avery at Daytona Beach

Lexi at Daytona Beach

Lilly at Daytona Beach

Lilly at Daytona Beach

You wouldn't catch Luke on that thing!

Ferris wheel at Daytona Beach

Holly and the girls below a mockup of a Soyuz capsule

A Mercury capsule

The cockpit of a Gemini capsule

Lexi and Lilly playing in the fountain in the Rocket Garden. Pay special attention to the kid in the background...

More playing at the fountain.

STS-132: Atlantis' final mission, heading to space!


STS-132 around 30 miles up. This is where the boosters separate from the external fuel tank.

Here you can actually see the boosters separating!

Lexi and Lilly playing in a "Mercury" capsule.

That's us!

Waiting in traffic to get to the launch

Alpha Niner Foxtrot Charley, er something...

The girls in front of a mockup of one of the new crew capsules

Lexi and Lilly playing with the giant marble constellation ball

Luke's igloo on the beach. Because everybody needs an igloo on the beach in Florida...

Mmmm... Astronaut ice cream!

Lexi and Lilly looking at launch pad 39-A from the observation gantry

Luke touching a moon rock!!!

Lexi and Lilly finding their way to the moon

Lexi and Lilly playing at the beach at Alan Shepard Park

Holly and Avery at the beach at Alan Shepard Park

Luke and Avery at the beach at Alan Shepard Park

Avery fell asleep

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