hi there folks!!
let's talk about georgia, shall we?
we awoke in hardeeville, sc sunday morning and rounded up the troops (jon and lola) and continued south. 20 minutes outside of hardeeville sits the beeeeeeautiful city of savannah, georgia. i dragged braden here too. totally worth it though. it's right on the river (complete with riverboats!!), and is full of historic buildings and homes and cobblestone streets and squares of overhanging trees. its perfect. and very hot. but it was sunday, so parking downtown was free, so we wandered around for 45 minutes and took another half hour trying to find our way back to I-95, our trail south to florida.
it was another driving day, from jacksonville, south to titusville (just south of daytona beach), where we would be spending the night. we checked in and leapt right into the pool- its amazing how a day on the road in 93 degree weather can make you feel pretty darn gross. after soaking up some sunshine state sunshine and recharging our batteries (as well as the batteries to every camera/ electronic device known to man) we set out to locate dinner. we came across kelseys pizzeria (the local's favourite since 1983) and stuffed our faces with pasta. delish. SO much food.
that brings us to today. this morning was a relatively early get up- we were showered/packed/ at breakfast just after 8 and headed downtown titusville/ to the waterfront by 830. yesterday we had done a little bit of scouting to find the perfect spot to watch today's shuttle launch, across the river at kennedy space center. this morning, while scoping out the waterfront we stumbled across donna and bill hamilton's. they were opening they're yard up to shuttle-launch dorks for a donation to the american cancer society. it was PRIME. and it was for a good cause. and it had bathrooms. and shade. we made our donation and bill "reserved" us a spot (he gave us a business card with '#7' in pencil on the back) and we went for a little drive to walgreens to see if we couldn't find some reading material. that mission was very unsuccessful, but it killed time, so it wasn't all bad.
we headed back to bill and donna's and were the third car there (there was no one else there on our first drive-by), so we were parked next to a black jeep, 40ft from the water. alex was running the black jeep next to us, and he was also running a REALLY nice video camera, and feeding live to one of the local news channels. he's sending us a copy of the final edit later this week. we killed the 5 1/2 hours pre-launch playing some cards, reading, sitting and wandering the antiques store in titusville. oh, and eating lunch. the yard filled up steadily, mostly with people who had been to two or three other launches that had been postponed last time, which meant they were full of stories of cancelled launches and missed chances.
fortunately everything came together today and 2:01pm rolled around really quickly. the weather was good in titusville, as well as in spain, where the shuttle would land should anything go wrong. it would take them one minute to get from florida to spain at the speed it travels. un. real. everyone had their cameras ready and were lined up waiting for launch. AND THEN IT LAUNCHED! a pouff of smoke to start with then the brightest flame i've ever seen (pictures do NOT do it justice) behind the shuttle. 5 seconds after launch you could begin to hear the rumble make its way across the river, then in another 5 seconds it was like standing next to a freight train. and then that was it. the shuttle was behind clouds and then made it safely into orbit and everyone headed out.
we said our goodbyes to our new space-geek friends, bill and donna, and titusville and pointed our noble car north. just outside daytona beach we drove through huge smoke clouds.. something was burning to the west of the highway, then a pretty heavy (but brief) rainstorm. we hung a left in jacksonville, then a right on I-75 and here we are now, 39 miles into georgia in the town of adel and going to bed!