Tuesday, October 23, 2007
What a DAY!!!!
WOW!! It was a day of first's for me!! First time ever getting to watch the space shuttle take off - first time ever swimming in the Atlantic Ocean!!! First time meeting some new friends.
Day #4 started early....really early. I set my alarm to go off at 4:30 am, EDT!! UGH. I met a bunch of cute fun ladies downstairs by the dolphin fountain. Some I knew, some I didn't. We took off about 5:05 am to head to Cape Canaveral. The ladies driving had gotten online to find the best route to Jetty Park Beach where we were headed. Then just a few minutes before it was time to leave they talked to someone at the Hotel and he said - no - go this way!! So the first half hour we went the scenic route (in the dark) trying to follow the fellows directions - finally the two cars got together in a parking lot and decided to go back to the mapquest directions as they were more complete.
It was a fun ride with some fun ladies - one of whom is Shawn and Kris's neighbor Laurie Sorenson. We arrived at the park about 6:15 am - it was just starting to get light outside but we found a great place to park and there were still park benches available. (We got there plenty early - afterwards we discussed the fact that we COULD have slept in till 6:30 and still had a good view. We visited and walked all the way out to the end of the jetty to watch the fishermen who were not happy about the shuttle take off because all the people ruined the fishing!! He told one of our group that if she would jump in the water and thrash about it would help him catch a shark!! Actually - he did catch a small one later on!!
As soon as the sun was totally up it started to get warm. About 9 am some of us headed over to the beach side of the park and went swimming in the ocean. Not a really clean place but we kept our mouths closed!! The waves were fun to float in!!
There was a little store there so we bought water and later on some pop and fresh danish rolls - that was breakfast.
Everyone kept saying that the launch would most likely be postponed due to the clouds. We commented to some park officials that we couldn't see how a few clouds would stop a shuttle!! And they explained that the problem was not how powerful the shuttle was but that they needed the eyes of the satellites to film the launch for safety sake - so then we watched as the clouds moved in and out wondering, wondering.
We did not go to the Cape Canaveral site itself because they now charge $38 a person and you never know whether or not the launch is really going to work. The school teacher in our group had contacted NASA and they had suggested this park - it only allowed 600 people in there to watch so we didn't have crowds and crowds. We also didn't have a real good view - we couldn't see the launch pad and were probably about ten miles from the site - but when it took off we could see it go!!
By 11:30 everyone was waiting with their fingers crossed. Then right at 11:38 someone said - there it goes!! We could barely see the rocket itself but the stream of flame behind it was awesome. We were all busy trying to take pictures of it going and then all of a sudden I felt such an overwhelming awe come over me...I put the camera aside and just watched. There were men on that - Americans, being flung into space. It went up and up and then seemed to make an almost 45 degree turn and moved South. The picture shows the flame above the cloud line - the only way you can see it is by enlarging the picture. We watched it go up - then it went behind the clouds you see here and then we watched it go above the clouds and on up. It seemed like it was at least a minute or a minute and a half into the flight before we heard the noise of the lift off. Then there was this huge rumble. The spectators who had been there before told us that the water right in front of us would wave from the sound waves but we didn't see that happen.
After it was over we hopped in the car and boogied right out of there hoping to beat the crush of cars and we did. By the time we got back to the hotel at Disney world we were ready to drop...we talked about stopping and shopping at the outlet mall but we were all sticky and sweaty from both the humidity and swimming in the ocean. We decided a shower and a nap sounded much much better. I remember Ed coming in from his meetings at 2 pm but I kept sleeping...I finally woke up about 5 pm - I had been sooo tired.
When you hear something like that called awesome it truly is...'Awe'some. We were almost giddy on the way home as we talked about how amazing that sight had been. Most of us were from Utah, but one of the group was from Michigan and another one from Iowa. It was a most amazing experience!