The Mundane and the Out of This World

Word Press doesn’t tell me WHO is reading these tomes, but it does tell me how many and from where. That’s cool. When Australia pops up on the stats, I’ve got a good idea of who’s making that “ping”, as well as Canada, Belgium, England, Ireland and Scotland. The Camino threads weave a wonderful tapestry. Love having you all along. πŸ™‚

This episode, by the way, is a repeat of the missing day, so it’s going to be a bit out of sync. When we’re done, I’m sure we can get it back where it belongs.

Even the mundane adds to the story in this farmer’s travels. Case in point; parking and un-parking. Richard had negotiated with the condo management to let us park in the delivery bay of the building. To make that happen, we could well have Β made use of a giant “shoe horn” to get us parked where we were out of the way of daily activities, yet still able to squirm our way out to the tall overhead door that made our stay there possible. Cathy is generally the calmest of travelers, until it comes to doing the things that must be done with the RV to get in and out of tight places. My operational code is that clearance is clearance, even if it’s only an inch. Let’s just say her comfort level doesn’t go there. When she slams both hands over her eyes as she’s “guiding” me, I know we’re in tight quarters. Our exit required maneuvering around FedEx and UPS trucks in the narrowest of alleys also. Done! with nary a scrape.

Fueling up should fall into the mundane as well. Not always. Especially in Miami. GPS will guide you to the nearest fueling station. It will NOT, however, describe the neighborhood in which that service is located. As we pulled into the pinpointed station, I was totally concentrating on making the too-close-for-comfort turn between the two cars parked on both sides of the entrance. Had that not been the case, I would have seen in advance the half dozen or so unfortunates who had taken up places in the shade on three sides of the station. One of them sprang up to “assist” me getting to the pump. Which didn’t work. Which required another to come “help”. Who then got into a vicious verbal exchange with another one who was sure it was “his turn” to help. Then one of the cars I had barely cleared moved ahead just enough to block my exit without some compensation for all my “helpers”. I provided “meal money” for my crew, and the blocking car moved back to take its place along the drive for the next unsuspecting motorist. It’s an adventure, right?

Destination for the night was a very nice Brevard County Park named Long Pointe Park. We introduced ourselves to our amiable Harley Rider neighbor and exchanged pleasantries. More about him later. We have spent this much time on the road without having a evening meal out with just the two of us. Di Angelos, just 10 miles up the A1A was recommended by the park management, so we headed there and were well rewarded. Not a destination for elegance and decor, but long on service and tasty, generous, entrees. It was the kind of place you could strike up a conversation with the tables around you and totally enjoy the exchange.

A later than usual return to the campground, and sleep came easily and quickly. For a while. Remember Mr. Harley man? For reasons we’ll never know, he fired his throaty beast up in the wee hours of the morning and let it do it’s high compression rumble/rumble for a good long while. Oh, and his music selections coming just a few decibels over the engine exhaust weren’t ones we would have picked either. Cathy was not amused. Or happy. I would say he left just in the nick of time.

Moving on, always the order of the day. Single goal for today, the Kennedy Space Center, just outside Cape Canaveral. This name still conjures up the excitement of a teenager glued to the announcements over the intercom at Albia High School when names like Shephard, Grissom, and Glenn took on instant hero mantels as they “broke the surly bonds of earth” and added the name Astronaut to our lexicon.

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The “Rocket Garden” at the entrance

We had first visited the site when our family made its first trip to Disney World, 1989, a trek of significance since it was the last winter we would have all four children home. At that time, there was little to see there other than the battery of rockets that had powered each of the space programs to date: Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. NASA had (rightly) concluded they weren’t in the exposition business and hired that out to private companies who modeled their NEW Space Center after the just-up-the-road enterprises of Disney and company. They’ve done a great job.

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The booster rockets and the solid fuel tanks used to blast the shuttles into the heavens.

Watching the 3D and IMAX presentations was awe inspiring. I must add that I was surprised by the depth of emotion I felt as we watched again the tragedies that accompanied this epoch of space travel. The Challenger and the Columbia disasters have taken up a more permanent space in my heart and mind than I had thought. At the same time, I felt nearly as emotional with the pride of accomplishment that our country has achieved, all in the span of my lifetime. And the International Space Station is the ultimate example of what we can do when we work together as countries with a common goal. Such a loss that will be if these lessons are forgotten in today’s political environment.

The centerpiece of the entire exposition, however, is the Shuttle Enterprise, in its full and unbelievable entirety. Looking at this space-scarred, indomitable master work of technology, engineering, and manufacturing is, for me, like viewing the work of the great masters of art.

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All the missions of the Shuttle Fleet. 126 million miles. Saving the Hubble Space Telescope and allowing us to see what the ends of the universe look like. Experiments in space that will impact our lives for the rest of our lives. Β 

There are over two million individual numbered parts on this “machine”, and they all were required to work perfectly. The first time. And they did. Leashing the power required to blast it into orbit required the harnessing of the power of the most powerful bombs and funneling it into controlled thrust. I don’t have the words.

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From its blackened heat shields to the scuffed tires from its 235 mile per hour landing, this machine says “veteran” from any angle you see it.Β 

Add KSC to your Bucket List if you haven’t already. Take your kids. Let is all sink in. Let’s all hope there is more of this kind of “Right Stuff” in our country’s future.

4 thoughts on “The Mundane and the Out of This World”

  1. I remember that trip, and vaguely remember seeing so many of those great pieces of engineering. I definitely want to go back again! Keep the posts coming, we love to read them πŸ™‚

    Like

  2. Oh boy can I relate to Cathy on parking the beast!!! And navigating narrow spaces and roads too! Phew πŸ˜…

    Seems like happy trails always follow the challenging ones (and vice versa) so looking forward to hearing about the fabulous people and locations you’ll experience next.

    God bless…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi FJ and Cathy! Maya is studying Christa McAuliffe in school this week! She was awe-inspired as I told her my memory of watching the Challenger on tv in 6th grade and the tragedy after. This will be a great place to take her one day.

    Liked by 1 person

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