By the time the stuff dried out as much as you could expect in a very humid environment (and yup, it rained again mid-morning), it was so late in the afternoon, that I decided to back track one more time and make a last ditch effort to see the shuttle take off at 6:00. So I connected the trailer to the Sequoia yet again, and in the process, realized how many stickers I’ve accumulated. I really like it that I have memorabilia to show the miles I’ve traveled and the things I’ve seen.
Made the drive up to Titusville and was looking forward to stopping in for something healthy, but with the camper attached, I had to choose carefully where I pulled in. Not that I had much of a selection to choose from. Ended up at a hamburger joint – didn’t recognize the name, but apparently it’s a chain - and got four cheeseburgers the size of a coaster and about as thick. They were disgusting, but I ate‘em, along with a diet coke to cut the grease. The funny thing is that the cardboard hamburger wrappers had photos of the chain’s biggest fans and a little story that they told why they loved the burgers so much. They were mostly kids – pimply faced, obviously obese, and in my opinion, not necessarily the best image, but then I’m fairly certain I’m not the target audience for the chain – I’ll never eat there again.
I found the same spot I had on Sunday afternoon, and got my chair, binoculars and camera ready for the launch. While I was waiting, two women and a young girl came to see too. They forgot their camera, they forgot their binoculars, so I let the girl look through mine to see the shuttle while we waited for the countdown. Got the twitter message that there were no holds on takeoff, turned on the car radio and all of a sudden we were 30 seconds to liftoff.
It happened quickly – much more quickly than I anticipated. All of a sudden, you could see the big billowing white smoke all around, then fire and lots of it. And then the shuttle took off….like a rocket! It rose in no time at all, I was surprised that I got off as many shots as I did, and it was beautiful. Really beautiful to see such an amazing feat of science. Wow. Then when the shuttle was high in the sky, the wave of sound hit us. It wasn’t windy, but you could feel it. The closest thing I can use to describe it is the sound of a train that you get when there’s a tornado – although I haven’t been in a tornado since I was a kid. But it definitely was a wave that hit us all.
The little girl asked to look through my binoculars right in the middle of the launch, but I didn’t let her. I considered it for a few seconds and then I selfishly thought, “no, I drove 4,000 miles to see this, you can come back and see it again kid.”
When it was all over, I started the trip north. Guess where I’m staying? You got that right! I’m at outskirts of Jacksonville, named in many songs, I’m not sure why but the sound does have a ring to it, and hope to rise early and get up to Savannah tomorrow. I’ll get to Charleston on Friday. I’m looking forward to that!
Okay, time for some sleep. No internet here, I’ll post tomorrow.