Thursday, 7 February 2008

Cape Canaveral - Atlantis shuttle launch

After writing last nights blog post, and seeing the racoons at the RV door, I shut down the computer and heard some rustling outside. When I popped my head out, I saw a large Armadillo shuffling across the patio! I was so excited. I'd love to sit out there one night in the dark and just watch all the wildlife. I'm sitting with the door open again tonight hoping to catch a few more creatures of the night on their adventures through our lot.

This morning, as planned, we got up early and drove Thelma to the area where we could watch the shuttle launch for free. We all just drove there in our PJ's and had breakfast when we got there. Even at 8 am there were quite a few RV's parked up, but we found a nice spot and set up for the day. The plan was just to relax and enjoy the weather until the launch, which was scheduled for 2.45pm. Dan ended up taking Barney for a walk, and 2 hours later they returned back to the RV, totally worn out from their adventures. They had found a kids park and Barney had burnt off a lot of steam there. On the way back the draw bridge over the river opened to let some tall boats through, which thrilled little Barney. Whilst they were gone I just chilled out on a rug on the grass and got a wee bit sunburnt. Annabelle and Jimmie watched Apollo 13 on the laptop, which was quite apt for the shuttle launch.
A police offer stopped next to our RV at one point and gave the kids some tattoos, which were Titusville police department tattoos, with a space rocket on them. Barney thinks hes now officially a policeman and keeps arresting people!

I had thought that the kids might think the launch was a bit of a let down after waiting around all day for it. But actually they all got really excited about it. Barney just thought the whole thing was awesome, and was full of chat about the atronauts inside, and what they might see in space. As planned, at 2.45pm precisely we heard a roar and a mass of flames and billowing smoke, as the rocket lifted off. We managed to take a few photos as the whole thing happens a lot slower than you would think. It was a phenomenal sight. I know Dan particularly enjoyed it. One of Pat and Jims friends has given us free passes to the Kennedy Space Centre (tickets would have cost us $150), so we plan to go there on Monday, now that the kids are enthused by the rocket launch.

Our Northern Irish flag caught the attention of two local passers by, and they came to ask us where we were from. They were two American guys, one of which was still living in the 70's Woodstock era, and the other knew so much about British history that he put me to shame! They stayed and chatted for over an hour, eventually getting out our big map of the US and writing points of interest for us to visit along the way. The hippy guy thought we were the coolest travellers he'd ever met!

After the launch there was a mad rush of traffic as everyone tried to leave at once. All that remained along the sideway were the RVers, who all sat outside their vehicles enjoying the view and ignoring the mad rush to leave. We didnt leave until a few hours after the launch. We stopped at the play park Barney had discovered earlier, then came home for a swim before bedtime. I took the kids swimming whilst Dan tidied up Thelma a bit. When we came back he said he had some news for us. The purchase of the new laptop, satelite navigation system, cell phone and various other bits we needed came to almost 500 pounds - a huge chunk of our budget. When he went online this evening he discovered that we won 500 pounds this week on the premium bonds! So thats covered the expenses and we still have our budget. Great news!


neil said...

mmmm, just finished my chicken and rice. Just thought I'd tell ya.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your win - I can't think of a family who deserve it more xx Caroline