Guess what. The bread got smashed.
So as everyone probably knows by now, we drove 273 hours to Florida to watch Discovery launch on what will probably be the last night launch of a Space Shuttle. We arrived at our hotel on the beach just as the sun was setting so we made a quick trip down the water to let the kids play for a few minutes. It only took a minute or two for the boys to "accidentally" get soaked.
Fresh out of the car. Haven't even unpacked the Expedition yet.
We were officially in Florida as an award honoree and were supposed to go to a nice banquet dinner and bus tour of KSC followed by half a day at the KSC visitor center. Unfortunately, the rules changed for the previous flight and kids under 12 were no longer allowed on the bus. They still gave us free passes to the visitor center so we took advantage of that. I also had the pleasure of seeing a couple of my former coworkers from WSTF who were also there for the award. It was nice to chat with them again.
Bruce, the roving photographer, took this photo for us. It's nice to drive 700 miles from home and still know someone who will take photos of your family.
Cade was a little freaked out about the spaceman. He liked him from a distance but not so much up close.
They had all these cool rockets and space artifacts and the kids' favorite thing was the play area.
Me and my boys.
We had a great time at the visitor's center. I could have easily spent a few more hours there looking at all the neat displays. Two of the more memorable things we saw/did was ride the Shuttle Launch Experience and watch "Magnificent Desolation" in 3-D. The SLE was really cool. You get strapped into your seat in the cargo bay of the orbiter and then it rotates you 90 degrees so you're lying on your back looking out the "windows". The whole thing rocks when the main engines fire and then you start shaking as the solid rocket boosters ignite. When they burn out the shaking immediately stops. A moment later, when the main engines cut off, you pitch forward and hang weightless in your seat. I just couldn't stop grinning the whole time. Everyone else came out with a smile on their face so I know they enjoyed it too.
The movie was absolutely incredible! It was somewhat of a documentary of the Apollo missions and had some awesome views of the moon. It was so realistic you feel like you're really on the moon in several scenes. When Dana walked out of there she made the remark that all the NASA critics should go watch that movie. Absolutely wonderful movie.
We played on the beach a little more that afternoon before taking a nap and getting ready to go watch the launch at 1:30 or so in the morning. We were also supposed to get a ride on the bus out to the Banana River Causeway to watch the launch but again, kids were not allowed. Fortunately, I had the connections to get a personal vehicle pass to the causeway.
It was really exciting to drive out and see the Space Shuttle lit up under all the lights. We had an excellent view of the launch pad. We were about 3-1/2 miles away and looking right at Discovery. Our camera just couldn't focus on it so I wasn't able to get any decent pictures. Poor Kevin was sick so he slept in the Expedition the whole evening. We arrived 4 hours before launch and got comfortable on a blanket on the grass. They had vendors set up and speakers so we could all hear the chatter between Discovery and Mission Control. I really enjoyed listening to all that. Dana and the boys all slept so I guess it wasn't that exciting to everyone else.
Here it is! A picture that I didn't take of the launch of STS-128 that we didn't see! Photo courtesy of NASA.
All that chatter included a lot of weather talk and the countdown never came out of the T-9 minute hold. If they'd had another 1/2 hour the weather likely would have improved enough to launch. So it was a scrub and they decided to try again the next night. I'll save the suspense and tell you they scrubbed that launch too due to a suspected valve leak. We took a nap the next afternoon and missed the announcement so we didn't find out about it until we drove the 40 miles out there and had the guard at the gate look at us like we were idiots. The next attempt was going to be at least 2 days later and we just couldn't stay that long. Darn it darn it darn it!!!
Anyway, we spent that second day playing in the water again. I was afraid the boys were going to grow gills and webbed feet.
I think this is a neat picture. I like the reflections in the sand.
Cade chilling out while he waits for one his brothers to finish a ride.
Before we left we watched 2 riders enter the Sphere of Death (say it in a deep, booming voice) on motorcycles. It was actually pretty neat and the kids got a kick out of it.
And to wrap this up, on the way to soccer practice tonight, Cade told Dana out of the blue, "Don't smash the bread!"