A day to recover and then off to Space!
Trip Start Jan 27, 2012
25Trip End Mar 04, 2012
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We had leftover BBQ ribs, cold french fries and coleslaw from dinner so we slept, ate, slept, ate some more, I did some of the blog, watched TV and slept some more, I think I went downstairs to the little shop and bought some juice, a danish and chocolate milk at some stage .... and might I say we both thoroughly enjoyed our day off!!
We had hired a car to be picked up at 5 pm today so we rang and organised for their free bus pickup to take us to Disney Car Care... about a 20 min drive from our hotel. They picked us up around 4.30 and we got the car no problem. I had checked directions on google maps so knew where we were going although I must say the roads are all pretty well signed in Orlando.
We haven't really done too much shopping the whole trip as we didn't want to be lugging shopping all over the country so tonight is our last opportunity to hit those Outlet shops!! We drove to the ones up on International Drive... easy to find.. but really all we ended up buying was some shoes and a few other small bits and pieces. I just wasn't in a shopping mood.. probably a good thing!! For those of you that haven't been to the outlet shops in the States..OMG...soooo cheap compared to what we pay at home.... I got 2 pairs of Nikes for $85, Rodd bought 2 pairs of Reeboks for about the same and I got Jack 2 pairs of Vans... again at about $40 a pair.... amazingly cheap!!!
A friend had asked me to find an over the counter cream for severe burns that is extremely expensive in Australia but relatively cheap in US so I'd googled all the Walgreens in a 20km area and we drove to all of them.. unfortunately no luck on the cream! Was fun driving around "spotting the Walgreens" though! While we were in Walgreens we thought we'd pick up something for dinner and breakfast so picked up some pancakes, cos we had jam and honey I'd saved from our $17 room service breakfast ( remember that? ), a bottle of wine, and we think something for dinner but our memories are both a bit blurry here!! Probably due to all the rum punches we had when we got back to the motel!!
Early night... lots of sleep needed.
Thursday 29th Feb.... early start today cos we're driving all the way to the east coast of Florida to the Kennedy Space Centre. Yum... going to have those pancakes for breakfast.. open up the box to discover... it's a box full of butter!!! OMG really??? I was soooo looking forward to those pancakes, look at the box, wouldn't you think that was pancakes? It really didn't say on the box it was butter sticks!
Once again the drive was easy, good directions taken from google maps and all the roads extremely well signed.
We arrived bright and early just as the gates were opening... we decided since we'd probably not get back here we might as well do it right and bought the KSC up close Tour.... which includes a bus tour out to the shuttle launching pads and inside the Vehicle Assembly Building... where they put the shuttles together!! On the side of this building is the American Flag... the biggest American flag in the world. The stars are each 6 foot tall, the blue background they fit on is the size of a basketball court, the stripes are each 9 ft wide the width of a standard road lane, the flag is 209 ft ( 63.7 m) high, and 110 feet (33.5 m) wide!!!
It's quite amazing the way they put it all together in the VAB. The crawler slides under the launch platform which is what they assemble the shuttle on, then it leaves the VAB and makes its way to the launch pad... the whole thing weighs 6 million pounds and travels at 1 mph... takes approx 5 hours to get to the launch pad and burns 125.7 US gal/mi ( 296 l/km ) of diesel!!
This was the best day we had in Orlando... it was totally awesome seeing the shuttles up close... they had the Atlantis in the VAB for repairs and a bit of a polish before it is retired and put out as a tourist attraction... this great big piece of metal has been into space and back, just blows my mind!! We were lucky because this building and the launch pads are only open to the public for a very limited time.
We went into the Astronaut Experience and listened to Bob Springer talk about his experiences on not one but 2 shuttles... Discovery in 1989 and Atlantis in 1990. We enjoyed this more than anything all day... he was truly awe inspiring! Taken from Wiki... Robert Clyde "Bob" Springer (born May 21, 1942) is a retired American astronaut and test pilot who flew as a mission specialist on two NASA space shuttle missions in 1989–90. A decorated aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps, Springer also flew more than 500 combat sorties during the Vietnam War. He has logged over 237 hours in space and 4,500 hours flying time, including 3,500 hours in jet aircraft.
After his talk he opened the floor for questions.. Rodd puts up his hand and says "we are all in awe of all you have done in your life, you've been to war, you've been to space.. Wow... what I want to know is what do you do for a thrill??" Everyone laughed... he replied " I play golf, still hitting single figures "!! We got a photo with him afterwards too.
I'll let the photos tell the rest of the days story... it was really worth the hours drive out there and I'd absolutely encourage anyone to go there. FYI the space program has not been discontinued.. just the shuttle program..they are going back to the Saturn rocket.. Apollo... type launches.
On the way back to the motel we stopped at Uno Pizzeria and picked up
pizza to take home for dinner.. was nice but not as nice as the
Louisiana Pizza Kitchen in New Orleans... and of course nowhere near as
good as Buderim Pizzeria pizzas!!
Tomorrow we fly home.