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Old 04-28-2002, 03:28 AM   #1
SpottyDog
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Stripes ON Tour (Mar 2002) 9. Kennedy

Stripes On Tour

Previously on Spotty’s holiday ……

1.The night before

2.The Journey

3.Me first full day

4.There’d better not be any queues

5.We've time fer a coffee

6.Yesterday, we went to EPCOT

7.MGM

8.Wet n Wild and Bomas

9. Kennedy

Sorry I missed coffee this morning. Didn’t wake till 6.10 and had to be out for 8am PS at Chef Mickey’s. We’ve been to Gatorland and Boggy Creek this morning and now the kids are in the pool.
I thought it’d make a nice change for us to sit and have a beer while I tell yer all about yesterday. We’ve got a beautiful clear blue sky , V’s so hot she’s had to move into shade, and the AS tannoy system’s playin it’s two hour 70s music tape – Blondie ‘Heart of Glass’ at the moment.
So sit back, relax and I’ll drone on and on about the stuff we did yesterder.


When I left yer in the foodcourt and went back to the room, V was all excited.
I thought she’d found her pressie but they’d had the news on (J was NOT impressed btw) and they heard mention of a launch at Cape Canaveral that afternoon. We planned to go to Kennedy tomorrer but quickly rescheduled coz a launch was too good a chance to miss.

We called in at Sizzlers (Maingate W) for breakfast and headed down Beeline 528 lookin for a launchin pad. A pleasant drive over and we were amazed and thrilled as we crossed the causeway bridge over Indian River.
We stopped bein amazed and thrilled as soon as we encountered the inefficient ticketin system. Tedium grew into frustration as we finally paid our $100+ to get in then four ticket gates converged into one unruly ‘he who pushes most’ single file line to get through the metal detector. It was 11.30 by the time we finally entered Kennedy Space Centre and I was not impressed anymore.
The launch had been advised on TV as bein set for 5.40 so we headed for information to find out more about it.
As KSC closes at 5.30, would we see it from the car park or be better moving away earlier?
Turns out the launch wasn’t at Kennedy after all and was an army satellite rocket launchin at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base down the road.

Yer didn’t think it was gonna be The Shuttle did yer?

We did!

I did think it was odd that it was goin today when there wasn’t a shuttle scheduled ‘till April but figured maybe it was deliberately announced on the day for security reasons. V had heard the news, not me. I just changed the plan accordin to the information and headed straight for the car.
Never mind, we were comin tomorrer anyway. And to see a rocket go up would be good anyway.
The lady told us we’d be better at Cape Canaveral Beach to see the launch and that it would take place at any time from 5.40 until 6.40. If it hadn’t happened by then it had been cancelled.
The NASA ‘Up Close’ tour was suspended due to heightened security and we didn’t fancy payin another $80 for the ‘Then and Now’ tour. Besides, we figured we’d struggle to fit everything in given it was already mid-day and we’d have to leave early to get to the beach. The Bus Tour takes 2 hours anyway so we set off to start with that.
We started to enjoy the day as soon as the bus got under way. The onboard video built up the anticipation of the tour nicely and we saw alligators on the bank side, which made V’s day.
First port of call was LC39 viewing gantry. We’d seen the Vehicle Assembly Building en-route and were duly amazed at the size and scale of it all.
The Shuttle video at LC39 was not what I expected at all. Not about the space craft but all about the people that work for years on their part of the project just to make it happen.
I’d gone to KSC under sufferance coz I didn’t really see what the fuss was about. It was gonna take a whole day out of me schedule and cost how much? Now, havin watched the pride and dedication of the engineers and backroom staff on that video, me adopted patriotic emotions started to swell- God Bless America!
I recovered me British sullenness as soon as we were back outside and the disorderly queue formed (or didn’t, which was the trouble) for the bus for our next stop on the tour.
The video on the bus set the scene for the Apollo Centre. At least this was something I could relate to. Never a sci-fi fan or an avid space race watcher, I was intrigued by the history and memories the Apollo’s evoked.
The launch of Apollo 8 in the Firing Room had an unexpected effect on uz. The video and sound effects made you feel you were really there.

Show over, we exited right, into the Saturn V Rocket Plaza. I’d seen this bit loads of times on travel programmes and all the Orlando ads. I vividly remember one clip of Sarah Greene bein all glassy eyed at the sight of Saturn V and sayin it was coz it was from ‘her time’.
Mike’s excellent ‘2 and 2 Kids’ Kennedy report had nearly got me here last year but I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) fit it in. To me, this was a ‘when I’ve time and nowt left to do’ tour. Something I’d like to see but way down me list of priorities.

We left the Firing Room theatre and walked into the Saturn V Plaza right under the booster engines of Saturn V. To say me jaw dropped is an understatement. I just stood in awe.
I’m not mechanically minded or a techy buff but I know power when I see it. I can’t describe the effect that first encounter had on me so I won’t try.
Suffice to say V and the kids wandered on oblivious to it’s significance and magnitude while I wandered backwards to the windows never takin me eyes of those five booster engines. I sat on the ledge and just sat with me thoughts for a couple of minutes. Glassy eyed, just like Sarah Greene. I could remember this. I’ve seen this on the telly blastin off into space.
I walked the length of it from back to front and back again. I was a bit overwhelmed.
I took pictures of the moon buggy and landing vehicles but kept bein drawn back to Saturn V. My hero!

The final film- Apollo 11 and the first moon landing- was well done but came as a bit of an anti-climax after the Saturn V Plaza. We got the bus back to the Visitor Centre and looked round the Shuttle mock up.
We had planned to do one of the IMAX presentations but the next ones were 30 and 50 minutes away and that would make us late for the beach and something to eat. So we left KSC around 3.30 and agreed it had been worth it after all. We’d all got something different out of the day. The kids were surprisingly interested in the space race and the fact these things had actually been in space. V liked the views all around and thought the films were good. I’m not sure I’d go again but am sure glad we went. I didn’t appreciate what I was missing but do now.

We found Cape Canaveral and was surprised to find it had very little in the way of shops and restaurants. We continued down the road to Coco Beach and it wasn’t as busy/touristy as we’d expected. Figurin it was better to be nearer the launch site we headed back to Cape Canaveral Beach and stopped for a very nice tea at Perkins. We were pushin it a bit to get back to the beach for 5.40 so V had to ‘pass’ on desert which was a shame coz she’d set her heart on Key Lime Pie.

We stood on the beach with 100s of others gazin over the water towards the launch pad. Yer could just make it out and I had to use the zoom on me video to see which of the three gantries had the rocket on – it was that far away.
After half an hour’s peerin into the distance yer eyes start to go a bit funny and we wondered if it was gonna be worth it after all this. Would we see it anyway?

It was. And we did !

The launch was just like all those we saw on telly in the 60s when we were kids. A ball of fire movin slowly up into the air and a faint rumble of the take-off. We could clearly see the trail of fire and exhaust as it blasted off some miles away. I expected it would go straight up and disappear into the atmosphere but it got so high then sort of turned and levelled, then came straight for us! To be fair, it was only a ball of light by now but you could clearly see it heading across the sky rather than up into oblivion. The growing crescendo of it’s boosters as it went across our eye line is another lasting memory of that day.

We stood watchin the rocket disappear for good and once the sound of the boosters was replaced by the ebb and flow of the sea we set off for home. We decided to continue up the Coco Beach road and join up with the 192 to take us back to WDW. We like sight-seeing so this would complete our route as a circle. It took longer than I expected as it’s a slow road and I don’t really like drivin on single lane country roads in the dark in UK never mind Florida but we got to see Indian Harbour and Melbourne and got home safe and sound by 9pm.
Beer and telly and I think I was the first asleep before ten.

So we’re sittin here chillin and the kids have gone back to the room. They’re watchin Pepper Ann. I’ve spend £5000 to bring them on a once in a lifetime trip and they watch Pepper Ann!!

Haven’t got time to tell yer about Gatorland or Boggy Creek coz I promised they could go to Disney Quest tonight. So I’ll go freshen up and we’ll grab a bite at the foodcourt before we go.

See yer tomorrer.
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Old 04-28-2002, 04:05 AM   #2
Astrid
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I found Kennedy Space Centre pretty jaw dropping too - especially the mock up launch presentation.

Sad to say your report also reminded me of the abysmal queuing system for the buses at the various stops!!

A great day out though, and the rocket launch certainly made yours even more special - a brilliant description, as usual!

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Old 04-28-2002, 05:17 AM   #3
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wow! Shuttle, rocket, who cares - How exciting to see a launch! we missed the video presentations at KSC because of Katie, and I think we must have missed the best bit from what I hear - but the Apollo rocket is pretty awe-inspiring isn't it.

Sounds like another great day.

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Old 04-28-2002, 08:18 AM   #4
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We were very wary of going to Kennedy in the humidity of August, but at the end of the day like you were really glad that we had made the effort. It was well worth it. I am glad that you enjoyed it. A real highspot for me too was to see the alligators in their natural habitat on our drive down and back. Funny thing is that when my DH and I went back to see them last Feb they had gone!!!! I wonder where they were???? Carolyn:D
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Old 04-28-2002, 08:29 AM   #5
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Glad you enjoyed Kennedy. When we went in '98 we were very disappointed, we seemed to spend longer waiting for buses than actually looking at the exhibits. I did enjoy seeing the wildlife inluding eagles that were on top of some of the buildings. And I think the wildlife enjoyed eating me I was covered in insect bites, quite a shock after the insect free Disney environment!
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Old 04-28-2002, 12:51 PM   #6
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fantastic report Dave, something I'm longing to see but have never managed to yet! I love KSC (apart from those awful queues) and last time we came back the same route as you. I was good to see another side of Florida.
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Old 04-29-2002, 03:58 AM   #7
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....... as Angel says, a fantastic report!
I was also surprised at the emotion the mock-up launch evoked in us all, and we spent ages at the Saturn 5 Plaza, it was awesome!
The day we went to KSC was very busy and the queues for the ticket booths ( they only opened two windows )were long and the system inefficient but I have to say, the queues for the busses were very well organised - we were impressed , given the large numbers, how quickly we all boarded the busses- as one was filling up another was waiting behind and all the lines were manned, so it would seem that they aren't as efficient as they were then ( April 2001).
Thank you Dave - reading this is a great start to the day
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Old 04-29-2002, 05:09 PM   #8
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The furthest we got to KSC was the parking lot..it was a last minute decision and we had left it too late..
Ah well maybe next time.:D

Another great report thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old 04-29-2002, 06:41 PM   #9
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Dave,
You old softie!! Saturn V is totally awesome, isn't it?

Shame about the queues, we never encountered any ...mind you it was November and not the day of a launch!! The LC39 viewing gantry was pretty unspectacular..........the land is so flat for 20 miles in each direction I didn't see the point in climbing up the glorified scaffolding!! You can stand on tiptoe and see it all.

Dead jealous about you seeing a launch, tho'!!

Great reports, keep them coming..............2 weeks left before the match, you know!

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Old 05-01-2002, 04:09 AM   #10
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Great report about KSC.I've always been exactly like you,we'll go when we've got time,which never seems to happen.But this October i'm definitely making time.

What a bonus to see a launch:D
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Old 05-02-2002, 06:20 AM   #11
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Great report Dave - thank you. As you know, I love KSC and make a visit each time we go to Florida. We must have been fortunate as we have never encountered queues for either entry or the busses - you must have been real unlucky

Glad you finally went though and experienced that 'jaw dropping, mind boggling' feeling when going through the doors at the Apollo Centre :D :D :D

Amazing isnt it??

Lucky you to see a launch too!
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Old 05-03-2002, 08:25 AM   #12
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If only KSC could get their queuing system sorted out it would make things even more enjoyable there!

LOL - I think every Brit who goes to KSC is just as pleased to spot the alligators and eagles as they are to see Saturn V (I know I was )

Glad you didn't give Val too hard a time over getting the 'wrong' launch
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Old 05-14-2002, 03:06 PM   #13
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Hi Dave, I've been enjoying your trip reports very much. As with those of March 2001, I'm having a good chuckle over your sense of humour.

I'm wondering if you were still at ASMu, the same time we were ~ March 11~16? If so, what a shame.....we all could have met for tea!

I'm watching for the next installment of Stripes On Tour, which I hope won't be long .

Julie
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Old 05-15-2002, 02:53 PM   #14
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Hi Dave

Great report - and you're right, KSC does bring out unexpected emotions. I'm not really into rockets etc but I thought the whole tour was the highlight of our first trip to Florida. It's such a contrast to the fantasy of Disney. This is real life! It certainly held the attention of our two sons and what KSC are doing with the International Space Station is fascinating. We wondered about going to visit it again but I don't think it would be so awe-inspiring on a second visit. What do you think?
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Old 05-15-2002, 05:16 PM   #15
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Oh, Julie we were there!! (as was Astrid).

I wish we'd realised coz it would have been so good to meet with you. Maybe next year?

Sandie, I agree maybe the first is the one you'll always remember. The Space Station was 'off limits' this year, so we've got an excuse to go back another time.
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