03 Cocoa Beach

Trip Start Nov 08, 2009
Trip End Apr 16, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Monday, February 8, 2010

The pop-up camper is now fully ready to roll; the first test will be a trip to Cocoa Beach to view my first shuttle launch (this is actually the fifth last one before they are supplanted by regular rockets). The Endeavour is transporting the last of the living quarters, including a viewing porch.

Using side roads to bypass Superbowl traffic hoopla, we arrived at Cocoa Beach at 23:30 on Saturday February 6 after a short diversion visiting friends in Jupiter. We had a short sleep in a condo parking lot near the north end of the beach. We hit the beach a few minutes before the expected 04:39 Endeavour lift-off but cloud cover scrubbed the mission a couple minutes before launch. The beaches are really dark since oceanfront buildings must douse their lights so as not to interfere with nesting sea turtles.

To amuse ourselves waiting for the rescheduled 04:14 Monday launch, we toured the coast on Route A1A down and back to Vero Beach; lunch was a Greek salad and blackened Halibut at an ocean-side picnic area – yum. Brevard County doesn't allow dogs on beaches but we sneaked Bogie down to the waves a couple of times at secluded areas. Cindy and I watched the Superbowl and cheered the underdog New Orleans Saints to victory over the Indianapolis Colts (31-17). Dinner was free at the sports-bar and beer was only ten dollars for five beer; a huge buffet awaited with wings, dogs, burgers, chili, sausage stew and many types of raw veggies and sliced cheeses.

Up again for the rescheduled Monday launch at 04:14... WOW – to hear, feel and see the Endeavour liftoff was phenomenal and the sky was so bright. The only downside to the event was my low quality pictures.

After the launch and coffee (no Tim's), we headed back towards the Everglades taking more back roads alongside Lake Okeechobee and then down through the Big Cypress. The bird life was really interesting and I got to see my first ever Caracara, a falcon (no picture though). Lake Okeechobee is very shallow, except for the canals, and has a levee all around the lake to help stop flooding. There are an enormous number of cattle ranches surrounding the lake. At the south end of the lake, ugly sugar cane plantations are devastating the land and getting subsidies for blackening the skies when burning used cane. Lots of orange groves in this area as well.

Arrived back at the Glade Hut very tired but happy... More adventures posted soon...
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gnvmeyers on

Hello Tom! Been following your blog for awhile and love the updates as the area you travel is near & dear to me. Cannot even begin to describe the joy of being in Big Cypress.

Anyway, curious about the water level situation down that way? I'm heading down for a weekend trip (2/26) and if the water in South Florida is anything like North Florida - well, I'm sure I'll be putting my winch to good use.

Thanks for any updates.

gnvmeyers on

RE: At the south end of the lake, ugly sugar cane plantations are devastating the land and getting subsidies for blackening the skies when burning used cane.

The burns are trivial compared to the nitrate run-off from these farms. Hell, the non-point source nitrate-based pollution is killing off huge hunks of Florida. Even the crystal clear springs of North Florida are suffering.



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