Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the coolest first day of vacation


So, I had the coolest first day of vacation.

I rolled out of bed around ten after staying up until 2:30 am laughing with a friend. I ran out the door in shorts and sandals, acceptable attire just about anywhere in Florida, and went to Space View Park to watch Atlantis launch. I got there four hours early to stake out my parking spot. Launch days around KSC are like game day in the SEC, lots of traffic and no parking. I found a sweet parking spot next to a park. Since I was there early I went and had the biggest blueberry muffin ever made and fresh orange juice to kill some time. After making my way back to the park I set up my cameras for the launch. It was warm, but not hot. The countdown went perfectly and Atlantis launch at 2:01. The sound rolled across the Banana River and washed over the park to cheers as she rose above pad 39B. It was cool seeing the people in their white t-shirts wade into the water to watch the launch - sort of like a launch baptism. The orange flame disappeared into a cloud after about a minute and she was gone. You could hear the rocket motors but you couldn't see Atlantis. It was my third launch in five tries, not too bad. I decided to try and shoot from the most popular sites before the shuttle program shuts down. Next time, Jetty Park and the shuttle flying over the lifeguard tower. It's a shot I've always wanted.

My football-sized blueberry muffin had created a craving for more blueberries. I went back to the coffee shop/bakery and had a blueberry scone as I sent uploaded photos and waited for traffic to thin out. I met a grandfather and his granddaughter in the shop and the young girl told me she had seen shuttle launches her whole life and can see them form her back yard, no big deal. Florida kids.

I went back to my friend apartment and cleaned up and chilled while I waited for dinner plans to firm up with us and a photographer friend of mine who was also here for the launch. We had Italian for dinner, my favorite. Mmmmmmmm.

To cap the day off we caught the new Star Trek movie at a cool theater in Viera. It was a great movie. It was cool to see a shuttle launch to the Hubble Space Telescope on the same day I saw Star Trek, a show which certainly planted the seeds of fascination with the space program.

Like I said, it was a cool first day of this Florida vacation. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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