Road Trip! What a blast!

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Here’s the thing, I feel the need to point out that my blogging has waned the past several days. Have you noticed?

I’m behind. Behind in writing and behind in reading. When I find time to read, the background noise increases and becomes too distracting to enjoy what I am reading. When I find time to write, my head is overwhelmed with unorganized ramblings of ideas and my energy level is low to non-existent, so I am unable to organize the rambling of ideas.

What does one call this state? Writer’s block? Lazy writer syndrome? I don’t have the answer, and I don’t have the energy to dwell on finding the answer. Moreover, I know you’d rather I focus on the true purpose of this post. After all, if I am making my return to the blogosphere, I should make my return start off with a bang, right?

We were embarking on a road trip. Road trip! The car was not yet packed, the house was not yet cleaned and the house/dog sitter was barely lined up and booked. Still, we were embarking on a road trip, and we were leaving in 48hrs.

When we woke up on the departure day, I told the boys we would be ready by 10am. When 10:30 came and went, I told the boys we’d leave by Noon. Finally, at 1pm, we pulled out of our driveway, and we drove south.

Seven and a half hours later, we pulled into the driveway of our friends in FL. Woo hoo! We made it! We were exhausted. After entertaining company the day before as well as finishing a day at the office the day of our arrival, our host and hostess (with the mostest) were exhausted. By 11pm, we were all in bed. (I know. Our wild and crazy life is one to be envied by all.)

Life is good, pool-side.

The next morning, our host and hostess (with the mostest) got ready for work, while their two kids got ready for camp. By 8:15am, the family of four had left for the day. And the four of us? We spent the morning poolside. Life was good. After lunch, we headed for the beach. Again, life was good. When we returned from the beach, we jumped right back into the pool, and waited for our host and hostess (with the mostest) and kids to return from work and camp.

As soon as the hostess (with the mostest) returned, we started packing. We were embarking on another road trip. Road trip!

We were loading up and heading further south. That night, we would be camping in the car, along with approximately 250,00 other road trippers. Road trip!

When we reached our destination, we looked for the best place to set up camp. We approached a section of lawn alongside the water which seemed the perfect place to park. Though Rob scoffed at the $30 price tag for parking in the ‘perfect place’, the hostess with the mostest and I out-voted him, 2 to 1. Lucky for us, we arrived right on time. Had we pulled up an hour later, the ‘perfect place’ would have cost $50.

The kids grew more excited, as we shifted bags, coolers and car seats to make room for blankets, pillows and bodies. The kids were the lucky ones, with room to spread out in the back. The older and gimpier adults (me, Rob and Andrea HT (aka hostess with the mostest)) were crammed in the seats, spending the night in various (uncomfortable) yoga-like positions.

Have I mentioned the heat? The temperature was in the 90s, and the humidity was well over 50%. Even with the windows open and a shoreline breeze, the temperature in the car remained high.

Cramped spaces and high temperatures did not deter the kids from sleeping soundly through the night. While the kids slept under the spell of the sandman, we – the old and gimpy adults – were left behind. Perhaps the sandman has weight limit. Or perhaps, we were just distracted by the heat, humidity and continuous stream of cars and people trying to find a spot to cop. Whatever the reason, we lacked sleep. Interestingly enough, the hours passed quickly and slowly. (How does that work?)

By dawn’s early light, the cars and crowds had doubled – if not tripled. Much like the waters rise at high tide, an ocean of people swept onto the bank of the shoreline, covering every inch of land. And, like ants on a piece of fruit, people were doing their best to find an open space to call their own.

For what?

What was the reason behind the influx of people? Was there another royal wedding? Was there another high profile jury decision? Or, was Oprah releasing her latest batch of favorite things?

No, my friends. None of the above.

The launching of the Space Shuttle Atlantis

We car-camped and gathered on the shoreline with 250,000 of our closest friends to witness the last shuttle launch. We gathered to see Captain Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim take off in Atlantis, the last space shuttle to launch – ever. We watched and were witness to history.

Oftentimes launches are scrubbed at the last minute, due to weather or mechanical glitches. It is rare a launch takes off on the exact day and time originally scheduled. We made the 2hr drive in the dark of night with a hope and faith we would not be disappointed.

The clouds and storms flirted with the Kennedy Space Station the entire morning. When NASA finally cleared the shuttle for launch, a computer glitch arose with only 31 seconds left in the countdown. However, just as Mother Nature kept the storms at bay long enough to make the launch a ‘go’, NASA fixed the computer glitch in time to ensure the shuttle would still be in range and meet it’s target – the International Space Station.

The excitement, anticipation, suspense and discombobulated yoga-like sleep positions made for a wonderful lifetime memory. I am thrilled to have witnessed the launching of Atlantis. Even more, I am thrilled to have witnessed the launch with my two boys, my husband, my friend (and hostess with the mostest), her two kids and 250,000 of our closest friends.

Thank you for the memories, NASA. We are forever grateful for each and every astronaut, and we will never forget those who lost their lives on the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia.

Below is my own video. Pardon the shaking, blurry moments and yelling – I was trying to witness the event through more than my camera lens. Here is NASA’s video: Atlantis Shuttle Launch, Friday July 8, 2011. While you enjoy the video(s), we’ll enjoy the rest of our time in Florida, pool-side with friends.

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33 thoughts on “Road Trip! What a blast!

  1. Andrea HT

    It WAS an adventure! My most vivid memory of the launch will be of my 4-year old daughter who, 2 minutes before launch, just HAD to go poop (never mind the trips we had taken to the port-a-potty just an hour before for that very reason; but nooooo – pooping certainly could not have been accomplished there. No fear, she pooped in pull-up in the privacy of the van. I know, TMI, but it’s MY memory!) She finished with literally 10 seconds left in the count-down and I made it out of the van just in time to start snapping pictures. Sadly, I left the good telephoto lens at home, but, I was there, LIVE and IN-PERSON to see the last launch!

    Oh, and it was 750,000 of our closest friends. How could you forget the other 500,00 who were there with us?!

  2. Beverly

    Awesome Nore and Rob. I am so glad you are blogging this. You kids have fun and be safe. Love you! Oh and the video was awesome!

  3. Bravo! What a splendiferous memory for your family…especially the boys! My heart was there…can you include hearts in your count? My dad worked the Gemini, Apollo and the first few Shuttle flights before he retired and Cocoa Beach is a wonderful high school memory. I’m in Houston because he was transferred to Johnson Space Flight Ctr…our history and our national history 1961-2011 = 50 memorable years! I am so proud of Adventure Family…AG must be thrilled, too.

    • Georgette – that is so cool that your Dad worked on those ‘ships’. I just read aloud your comment to Rob and my friends. They all had the same wide eyed ‘that’s cool!’ kind of reaction. How very neat. I also enjoyed the fact that you used the word ‘splendiferous’. That’s my kind of word! ~ Lenore

    • Thanks Deborah. I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did – seeing a launch would have been on the list. I am so glad to have witnessed it LIVE and in person. I am glad you enjoyed the ‘show’.

  4. Incredible! How exciting to witness the launch and the boys must have been beyond thrilled. Between that and spending it swimming all day you guys must be in heaven. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

    • It was freaking awesome, GMom! And my youngest continues to ask to see the video of the launch. An awesome memory for certain.
      I do kinda rock, don’t I? Yeah, well – it takes a rocker to know a rocker. Peace GMom!

  5. jacquelincangro

    It looks like we were both road tripping at the same time. That pool looks so refreshing. Ahh! I can imagine wading into that cool water and just floating there with my umbrella drink.

    Love the video of the shuttle launch. It must have been a real thrill to be there.

    • We’re still vacationing, Jacqueline. Please don’t tell the crooks. Then again, they’d be surprised to see someone staying at our house.
      The pool IS refreshing. So nice to have it right outside the door. As I told my friend last night, “I am so glad I have your coat tails to ride on.”
      The video could be better – but you get the idea. And yes, it was a thrill.

  6. The shuttle launches began when I was a kid, and it was The Future, right in front of us. When I heard they were ceasing the shuttle program, my immediate interpretation was “They’re shutting down NASA?” then, this sort of disbelief – but, they’ve only been running them for… oh, 30 years. I guess they can probably improve it.

    Still sad to see the era end, in a way. I’m envious that you got to see that final launch.

    • We were launch virgins, Byron – surrounded by seasoned shuttle watchers. Hearing their tales about previous launches was entertaining.
      I think I am still in a state of disbelief regarding the shutting down of the space program. I hope the private sector will continue to explore the skies – because I sure do enjoy learning about what they find. And, I’ll miss ‘geeking’ out while watching the NASA channel. Which, by the way, is showing a space walk.

  7. I’d never seen a launch during the day like that and as close as that, but I was on Merritt Island with my ex visiting his mother one night when they had a night launch. Even from much farther away than you were, it was such an impressive thing to witness. That low, roaring, vibrating sound was just incredible, and we watched how quickly the little flame went up into the night sky.

    You guys must have been absolutely thrilled to have witnessed that last launch! What an experience! And thanks for sharing the video with us!

    (It seems that a lot of bloggers are a bit scrambled by the summer. I’ve noticed that several people on my reading list have been quieter than usual, or slower with comments/comment replies. Vacations, I’m sure. Also busy with kids home for the summer, maybe? Then I don’t know what my excuse is! 😉 )

    • My sister has a similar story to yours – she and her husband were eating dinner and happen to catch the launch overhead. Her description is much like yours. And, when she saw my video she said she had goosebumps remembering her experience. The comments and tales from others causes me to be sadder NASA has scrubbed the quest for space. I am sad they decided to retire the shuttles.

      Thanks for visiting. To say I am behind in reading and writing is an understatement. I thought I’d have another post written by Wednesday – alas, this was not the case. I hope to read more posts today. Wish me luck. 🙂

  8. So cool…worth all the aches and pains, I’m sure! Thanks so much for sharing.

    I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one behind in the blogosphere. I’m struggling to keep up during these summer days.

    Great post, Lenore! 🙂

    • You are staying on top of things, Young American! Your blog is keeping the summer sunny!

      Glad you enjoyed my post. Hopefully I’ll write more next week. I feel I am losing my audience….

  9. Steve and I camped out in 1982 to watch Sally Ride blast off into space as the first woman astronaut. It was amazing. That launch was delayed a day or two, but we were young and childless, so the delay wasn’t a problem. Great memories.

    • That is excellent, Susan. Nice that you had the ‘freedom’ to deal with the delays, too. We were questioning what we would do, if the launch were delayed. God did good! 🙂

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