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A Very Long, Fun Weekend – Endeavour Has Lift-off

The launchpad list up with the xenon lightsYou know by now that the space shuttle Endeavour successfully lifted off to the space station Monday morning as planned. We were there and had a “blast” despite cloud cover at launch time. That was pretty disappointing, but there isn’t anywhere else I’d have rather been yesterday… unless you could have gotten me 3 miles away!

Our friends arrived just before midnight and we were all loaded up and on the road at 12:06, exactly 8 hours 50 minutes before the scheduled launch window. Time went amazingly fast because 1) I’d had a 4 hour nap before dinner 2) I took a caffeine pill before we left and 3) everyone stayed awake and talked the whole way there. We arrived in Titusville, across from Cape Canaveral, a little after 2am. We scouted out the bridge and the causeway looking for the best spot and decided on the seawall on the Cape side of the bridge. There were RVs and tents along the side of the road for miles from what we could see, but we parked about 150 yards past the bridge in prime position to just pull out into traffic.

We set up our stuff to make our long wait on the concrete and rocks more comfortable, took some photos, and tried to get some sleep. It was in the upper 50s where we were sitting with a good 10-15mph wind, so it was pretty chilly sitting in lawn chairs with a windbreaker, hood, and a beach towel as a blanket. I finally managed to hibernate until some dufus up on the bridge behind us came with his camera, NASA radio, tons of space knowledge to share with the other fine, quiet people on the bridge. Oh, and his wonderful belching was the perfect 5am serenade. I wanted to grab him by the back of his jelly-rolled neck to swing him over the railing into the water but feared that he might land on me on the way to his watery end.

The sun was starting to make its presence known just beyond the horizon before 6am, so I made a trip to the car to get my sunglasses (which were hanging at home since we left at night) and one last trip to the port-a-johns because I’d be arrested for public exposure before I missed the launch just because I was going to have a bladder explosion. I made it back in time to take great shots of the sunrise.

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They Are Leaving on a BIG Jet Plane


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Tonight (tomorrow) at midnight, we are packing up with my best man and his girlfriend and the 4 of us are driving from Tampa to the Cape to watch the second to last shuttle launch Monday morning just before 9am. We’ve got Beautiful’s allergy-free snacks, ham, juices, and chicken salad packed along with my Newtons, Oreos, Boosts, drinks, and hard-boiled eggs… along with caffeine pills for all of the driving at strange, sleep-deprived hours.

I did my evening treatments on time after dinner tonight and am feeling great, but I’ll bring my inhalers along and we should be back around lunchtime tomorrow, so I’ll do my treatments when we return home rather than pack all of that extra stuff and scrounge up batteries for my Trio and Altera. I may not get enough calories during the first part of the day, but I’ll make up for it later.

STS-134 launchpadWe are pretty excited because this is the first time we get to spend any time with his girlfriend and it’s been pretty long-term, but she is attending college in Chicago, so he’s moving up to the area to be a paramedic with the CFD this summer. It will be our first and last chance to spend any time with them as a couple, and we are really looking forward to seeing who’s got my best man all knackered. I’ve known him since he was about 10 years old, but now he’s 25 and has me by more than a head in height and a good 50lbs. I was his youth group mentor back in the day, so seeing him like this, well, it gets me choked up. Just don’t tell him I told you.

We’ll have plenty of photos and video posted sometime tomorrow here and over at Kristinology, so until we return, have a great night.