Day 4 – Launch of Atlantis

We woke up with a 70% chance that the shuttle WOULD NOT launch. They did fill the tanks with fuel and continue with the necessary preparations, but the weather wasn’t looking very promising. We kept our hopes up, did our research, found out where the best viewing was in Titusville, and headed out that way.

There’s a Space View Park on the edge of the water in Titusville. Directly to our east we could see the Vehicle Assembly Building and both launch pads. NASA had a tent and sound system set up so we were able to get updates and listen to NASA speak between Kennedy, Houston and the shuttle.

For a while the weather was looking better. The chance of launch even went from 30% to 40% probability. However, at about 45 minutes out NASA was calling it a no go. A storm had come in from somewhere and was too close to the launch pad. Nobody moved though. There were about a thousand people in that little park and we were all waiting, holding our collective breath.

Meanwhile we made friends with the couple behind us. They went and got two of their beach towels out of their car for us to sit on, as we only had our raincoats, which Du had to convince me to bring from the car. Sometimes (ok, most of the time) he does have great ideas. We were so unprepared for this. My defense is that we flew here and would not have been able to fit one more thing in that rental car. Each time we pack it up we play how many clowns can fit in the VW Bug. No binoculars, no chairs for comfortable waiting. But we made do with new friends and their goods.

The girls did so well to wait for as long as we did. We waited over three hours. THREE PLUS hours. Reagan colored almost the whole time. Ashlyn tried to crawl away the whole time. We did remember our penchant for food and brought along some snacks. NASA also guessed our penchant for food and offered water and ice cream for sale.

After the 45min away scrub, somehow (it’s God y’all) the weather got better and the launch was back on. It was called a go by all parties involved and even more people began to stream into that little park. We got everyone in position. Ashlyn went into her stroller, Reagan went on Du’s back and I took control of the video camera.

When they “started up” the shuttle there was a rumble in the crowd (not from the noise of the shuttle, that would come 45 seconds after lift off). It was so awesome to see all that smoke billow from over 7 miles away. The countdown went so quickly and the lift off just happened. No slow motion, no warning to get ready to pay really good attention and try to remember everything you see. But it happened and it was spectacular. The shuttle shot up and was in the clouds within two minutes. We could barely see a faint dot when the solid rocket boosters disengaged. It was all so breathtaking. Everyone clapped and cheered.

All I could think about was that these people were in space. They were just seven miles away and then they were rocketing towards the space station at about 11,000 miles per hour. They are in space looking down on the glorious earth. How awesome is our God that He would give us minds to be able to understand math and science to such a degree that we could send humans beyond the grip of earth’s gravity safely. And how awesome is He that the day I planned on us being in the Cocoa Beach area is the day this shuttle actually launched. It was scheduled for a December launch. God cares about everything from the profoundly immense to the profoundly minute.

shuttle launchDu got a great picture of the launch. My videoing skills aren’t shown off in the video below, but I didn’t want to watch through a lens…so I quit after a couple seconds. What I did get is awesome though. Be patient while it loads.

NOW ON TO PART TWO

I’m able to come to grips with the two hotels that we stayed at for the last three nights. It’s all a distant memory now that I’ve seen what we’ll be staying in for the rest of our trip. We’re in Orlando now and I booked us a 3-bedroom condo for $79 a night (I know!). They upgraded us to a 4-bedroom house…with a pool…and a jacuzzi. $79 a night!!!! There are many reasons why I highly recommend traveling during the low season and this is one of them (another one is low crowd levels, which is great when you don’t care for other people’s kids). I’ll take pictures of it tomorrow and maybe will post some of them.

Ashlyn was in rare form tonight for dinner. Well, it’s not rare form for her. The other people in the restaurant sure weren’t impressed. It was par for the course for the whole dinner though. We stopped at a place called T-Bones. The name T-Bones was all aflame on the sign and it mentioned seafood, steaks and pasta. I thought we’d be stopping at some national chain decorated with attitude and offering really yummy chain food.  We walked into the restaurant and it was one of those local restaurants that have grown beyond their walls and haven’t cared to redecorate since they opened. Their menu was extensive and therefor I knew that most things on there were frozen the day before coming in on the Cisco truck. However, I was not about to be all uppity with a baby acting the way Ashlyn did. For appetizers we had fried green tomatoes, fried pickles and mozzarella sticks. I had Steak Diane for dinner–steak medallions covered in a brown sauce with mushrooms. Very close to German Jagershnitzel. It was good enough. Not droolingly mouthwatering like previous meals. Ashlyn was just fussy the whole time. I’ve come to realize that I no longer enjoy dining out. I can’t enjoy my meals because I’m constantly feeding Ashlyn, holding her drink so she doesn’t chuck it, picking up food that she’s chucked on the floor, trying to get her to quiet down when, God forbid, I wait two seconds instead of one, to get another piece of food in her mouth. Can mental illness be diagnosed in a baby?

I’m sitting out on our deck writing this post. The house doesn’t come with wireless internet (it’s only downside that I’ve found so far) and so I’m poaching some unsuspecting Orlandonite’s internet service. Goodnight!

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4 thoughts on “Day 4 – Launch of Atlantis

  1. Grandma Dee says:

    Four bedroom house!?!?!, I’ll have to check MONA and see how quickly I can be down there : )) And for $79, SWEEEET.

    Vicki, your video was sort of like watching the blast off in an IMAX theatre, of having the feeling of being in the shuttle ,,, I experienced the turbulence!! No, really, that is a pretty awesome video and you captured significant moments; thrilling each time I view it. I’m surprised how clear it is with y’all being 7+ miles away from the site.

    I’m so glad you are blogging this vacation, I have really been enjoying it and I look forward to reading it each day – thanks.

  2. I know! It almot feels a waste to have all this room. I said almost. Head on down, you can babysit Ashlyn for the rest of the trip so we can have some peace and quiet and actually enjoy our restaurant meals.

  3. Yay–we got to see the shuttle launch! Thanks for capturing it. Scotty said, “She videos like you!” That is not exactly compliment but he meant it in a loving and endearing way. He says I am the worst at holding a video camera…meanwhile, he’s Mr. Steady Hands.

    And I think you are brave for venturing out to places that aren’t McDonald’s with your kids. Thanks for being honest about it…I’m glad someone else feels the same as I did this time last year. Caroline is now at the age where she sits & behaves nicely in restaurants…praise God! But she’s 15 months older than Ashlyn, so there you go…but give her time. She’ll get better. And yes, Grandma Dee needs to trek on down there for some hugs and kisses from her granddaughters! (That’s my nice way of saying, “Free babysitting–date night!!!”)

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