No-Go For Launch

I’ve set a personal record of a sort.  I’ve gone through an entire year without visiting the east coast of Florida before, but now I’ve managed to drive over there 4 times in the space of a single month.  I’ve never made so many cross-state trips in such a short timeframe.

One trip was to visit a few of the places where I used to live.  The other three trips were all attempts to see the space shuttle Endeavour lift off.  All three of those trips were in vain, since the Endeavour is still sitting on the pad hoping for a break in the weather today.

One trip to Titusville was made in June when we found out that the launch had been scrubbed just as I was arriving on the east coast.  The two other trips were both made this last weekend.  I was camped out at a riverfront park for five hours on Saturday morning before that days attempt was cancelled, and then drove back on Sunday morning and spent twelve hours out in the sun on a gorgeous day just to see storm clouds roll in at the last minute and force another cancellation.

Counting previous attempts over the years I’ve made a total of six trips over to see the shuttle lift off and I’ve only actually seen it go up once.  It’s an experience I’ll never forget.  Still, after three failed attempts to see the shuttle go off in the space of one month, you’d think I’d be over it, but I’m not.

My weekend consisted of a combined 10 hours of twice driving across the state & back, along with a total of about 17 hours sitting under the sun, which can be pretty brutal in July in Florida.  Instead of being disappointed that things didn’t pan out, I come away from the weekend feeling that I’m really spoiled in a way.

Practically everyone I met at the viewing area came from out-of-state.  There were a lot of people from Georgia and the Carolinas.  I met people from Ohio who flew in just to watch the shuttle.  There were people from Japan and Europe there.  All of these people came a long way, at considerable expense, in the hopes of seeing the shuttle lift off.  For me it’s just a two-hour drive from my house, and on a clear day I can see it from my house anyway.

Being a Floridian, I pretty much knew how to stay cool during the day and take precautions against the sun, so it wasn’t that bad.  I got to spend a day and a half sitting by the water watching the dolphins and manatees play just a few feet away.  The tourists went ga-ga over them, and it was fun to see people take such delight in things that I get to see all the time.  The shuttle didn’t go off this weekend, and who knows when I’ll get another chance to see a launch, but I can think of worse ways to spend a summer day.

I really am spoiled.

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