MANATEE HAMMOCK CAMPGROUND (FL)

This park is directly across the Indian River from the Kennedy Space Center. From the back of the campground you can actually see the launch towers and the storage/assembly building. Our visit here was brief but we did get in a one day visit to the Space Center. During times of scheduled launches I imagine it would be impossible to get a campsite here. The winter brings a lot of RVers from up north and with extended monthly rates the campground stays pretty full.



FRIDAY

TRAVEL DAY
YEAR #2 - STOP #4

This travel day was different than any of our other 52 travel days, I had a new copilot/navigator in the passenger seat! With Tricia squeezing in an extra day of roaming around DisneyWorld with her girlfriend Alyse, that left Jorge and I to move THE POD to it's new home. Fortunately the campsite I reserved was not so terrible to back the trailer into. Jorge did a fine job of spotting me while backing into the site and I'm glad to report we didn't hit one single tree, even though there were many in the way. After three or four readjustments to our position we finally settled into the new site. I'm sure Jorge was taking a few pointers from today on how to breakdown and setup a trailer, since he plans to someday soon also join the RV community.



SATURDAY

RELAXATION DAY
1 MILE ROUND TRIP

It's not often we have a day when there is nothing to do. After the grueling week we had at Disney, it's just what we needed. We started the day by going out to breakfast with Jorge and Alyse before they got on the road to head home. On the way to the little diner we had selected for breakfast we passed by several roadside flea markets. Alyse and Tricia are always on the lookout for bargains, me, I'm always looking for cheap DVDs. The first stop did not disappoint. Previously I was paying 50 cents for not so popular titles or decades old movies. Today I hit the jackpot with first rate blockbuster movies, all $1 each or 6 for $5. I found six movies with no problem, you see six was my limit due to the tight storage space I had dedicated for DVDs in the upper dinette cabinet of THE POD. Remember, when you live in an RV it's always about storage and weight.

After experiencing the Pandora: Flight of Passage ride at Disney we talked about how we now needed to rewatch the Avatar movie. Guess what, I found the one and only copy in hundreds of DVDs that were up for sale. A couple of Harry Potter movies for Tricia, Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner, RV starring Robin Williams and Into the Wild, a movie about living alone in the Alaska wilderness were the movies we ended up purchasing. We now have enough movies to keep us entertained when reading books just doesn't sound to appealing.



SUNDAY

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
21 MILE ROUND TRIP

Today we are visiting N.A.S.A. over on the Canaveral National Seashore. We can see it from the campground but it's still ten and a half miles to get there. After resting up yesterday we felt ready to tackle another day of rides and walking through all the exhibits on display. We were there before they opened at 9:00am and so were several hundred other people on this cold and blustery morning. When the gates opened we had to go through the metal detectors and manual bag searches (there were no expensive xray machines like at the airport) which slowed us down terribly. They should learn from Disney and have a separate line for those people not carrying bags.

Once through the gate more than half the people headed out in the same direction, towards the bus tour that takes you over to the Apollo/Saturn V Center. On the bus you will travel past the launch pads and assembly building where every trip to the moon started. We learned that the Assembly Building is the tallest single-story building in the world at over 400 feet tall. We saw the huge crawling dollies that move the rockets from the assembly building out to the launch pad.

Once inside the Apollo/Saturn V Center we walked under a horizontally suspended Saturn V rocket, trust me when I say it's huge at 363 feet. There are several documentary style films to watch and of course the obligatory gift shop you must pass through to get back on the bus, I guess they did learn something from Disney after all. Back on the bus and back to the main attraction area of the park, where there were several more buildings full of things to see.

The first one we went into was dedicated to the Space Shuttle Atlantis. After it's final mission it was brought here and put on display. You can get close enough to it to almost touch it, and again, it's huge. One thing we saw of particular interest to us was the vintage Airstream Motorhome that was used to transport astronauts to the launch pad. Another display that stood apart from the others was the Forever Rememberd hall. It's a memorial dedicated to the astronauts who lost their lives on the Challenger and Columbia shuttle missions.

Finally we sat through a presentation by an actual astronaut, Mark Lee. He was the first man to do an untethered space walk with only a jetpack on his back to keep him safe from floating away. Since then all space walks, tethered or not use a jetpack for safety. After his talk and questions from the crowd you could stand in line in the lobby to have your picture taken with him with your own camera, in other words nothing you then have to buy. If you so desired, you could also go over to the gift shop and get an autograph. It was great seeing all the younger people, and some adults, from the audience so excited about the opportunity for this up close and personal encounter.

In summary, I guess if you are really interest in the space program, this is a unique opportunity to further your interests. For me, it was still a very informative and pleasant visit, but I don't think I'll need to revisit here anytime in the future.

Have you visited Kennedy Space Center? What are your thoughts?
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Who will be the first to correctly guess our next location?
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2 comments:

  1. My guess for your next stop is in Northeast Florida. Maybe a civil war era fort and campground.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the guess Mike.

    Northeast Florida is correct, but the campground, not so much!

    ReplyDelete

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