Fly Me To The Moon

Read about our travels to the Space Coast Cape Canaveral

…aka Across The Universe

USA Music Tour 2015 Day 14

Cape Canaveral, Space Coast Florida 3 September

Today something completely different.

Our three-hour drive south along I-95, started slowly, heavy traffic, three accidents. Nothing though compared with the opposite side, miles and miles of crawling northbound traffic.

photo by Jim Jacob

Soon enough, however, we were motoring along the three or four lane road, enjoying thoroughly Elizabeth Cook’s show on Sirius FM’s Outlaw Country (she’s about to go on tour with Todd Snider who we saw fronting the Hard Working Americans a little while back on this trip).

The road was straight and flat, hugging the Atlantic Coast, each bend welcomed.  A short coffee stop (at Ormond Beach) and we pulled into the John F. Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex around 11.45 am.

photo by Jim Jacob

The first activity was a bus tour, which drove us past the VAB (the vehicle assembly building) where the space craft are put together. It is massive, the tallest single-storey construction on the earth with the highest doors in the world.  To give you an idea as to its massive volume inside, it can fit the mass of over three Empire State buildings in it.

the VAB – photo by Jim Jacob

The bus took us to the two rocket launch pads which were impressive (built way back in 1965) and, much to Jenny’s delight, we saw a beautiful manatee in one of the many waterways, from the bus on the way.

The bus dropped us off to Saturn 5 Centre building where we were treated to videos, a fantastic mission countdown launch simulation, then out to see a full-scale rocket at close quarters.

the original mission control console – photo by Jim Jacob

photo by Jim Jacob

photo by Jim Jacob

photo by Jim Jacob

photo by Jim Jacob

A quick lunch and browse through the gift shop.  I got a genuine Apollo XIII space pen which will work anywhere:

  • underwater
  • upside down
  • from -30F to +250F
  • in the gravity-free vacuum of Space
  • over grease!

It has the NASA phrase “Failure Is Not An Option” emblazoned along its sleek exterior. Invincible!

I hope it doesn’t run of ink…

We boarded back on the bus for our five-minute return to the main visitor centre, viewing a coyote and a giant bald eagle’s nest.

photo by Jim Jacob

photo by Jim Jacob

photo by Jim Jacob

We split up at this point and I saw an Imax presentation of the most recent repair of the Hubble telescope which was fascinating, caught a little chat with former astronaut Clay Anderson, rushed around the rest of the facility before meeting at the gang at 4pm.  It had been hot, but maybe a little drier than the heat at Jacksonville.  By this time, a massive front was forming, with black-ink clouds and we overheard a vendor being advised to shut down as a result of the weather forecast.  Time to go.

photo by Jim Jacob

The next stop was to be the Merritt Island Refuge Visitor Centre which was renowned for wildlife such as manatees.  Four attempts to find it with two printed maps, two phones with map functionality and the Passat’s GPS.  Not enough!!  We did however, find another area on the way back, with manatees, much to our delight.

A two-hour drive back north (made much shorter through listening to an extended Howard Stern interview of Bill Murray) to our next spot which was Freebird Live at Jacksonsville Beach which was Ground Zero for the legacy of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

photo by Jim Jacob

Alas, it was closed tonight, so we decided on over the road to a place called Surfing Sombreros, right on the beach overlooking (well, it was dark admittedly) the Ocean.  A solid meal for weary travellers.  A forty minute drive home.  A big and rewarding day.

Tomorrow, to St Augustine Florida, with many activities planned.

 

Read about our travels to the Space Coast Cape Canaveral

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Author: Rob Dickens

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