The Travel Post, part 2

Yes, there’s more to our spring break travels.

We visited Ponce Inlet Lighthouse on Tuesday of our stay in St. Augustine.  This lightstation has the tallest lighthouse in Florida and is the second tallest lighthouse in the US.  Only DH made it up to the top of this one.  It actually wasn’t the height of the lighthouse itself that made the rest of us quit, it was the fact that you could see down through the metal steps.  I mean, I can handle being up high if I don’t see how high we are until I’m at the top, but having to watch myself get farther and farther from the ground-no way.  The lightstation did have some great outbuildings that they had transformed into museums so we did get to explore the grounds a bit.  Then we went to the Kennedy Space Center.  We did the bus tour of the outer buildings that day and went back on Thursday to experience the various buildings on site.  My tip for the bus tour is to make sure that you only get on the KSC bus.  They occassionally have other busses in the line, but those drivers don’t play the video between stops and the KSC video is interesting and very well done.  And the restaurants in KSC must be run by the same company that runs the ones at DisneyWorld because they use the same three line system, burgers in one, chicken in another and a third for miscellaneous food.  On our return visit, Thursday, we listened to an astronaut give a talk and there was a Q&A session afterward.  We also used our KSC passes to visit the Astronaut Hall of Fame museum just down the road from KSC.  The kids enjoyed listening to the audio info at one of the old control room desks.

On Thursday, after we left KSC and the Astronaut Hall of Fame, we drove to DH’s parents winter home.  We stayed with them and got to see some really cool sites in central Florida.  We went to a county park on Saturday that had wildlife trails that were truly wild.  I think we ended up with about 50 or so gator pictures, along with misc. birds, a bunny, a frog and some flora as well.  The kids were well over 75 in their gator count.  I declined taking a picture of the snake.

On Friday night, we also got to see a part of Florida that most people hope not to see.  The inside of a hospital emergency room.  My shoulder had been aching since about Thursday afternoon and it got to the point that I couldn’t stand the pain any longer.  I seriously thought that with that much pain, I must have dislocated something.  No, the doctor said, it’s bursitis.  What!  Oh why not just hand me an AARP card with my name in big black letters!  Isn’t bursitis what people over 80 get?!  Geez, I know I’m touring the retirement state but come on.  Well, some pain pills, muscle relaxants, a cortisone shot & three hours later and we were headed back to DH’s parents’ house.  It was 1 am and we were supposed to be going to the flea market later that day.  We went out for breakfast first.  A little local restaurant, can’t remember the name but it was yummy.  After that was when we went to the county park and saw all the gators.   The flea market was a good trip.  I found two dresses ($10 each)  and a bubble top ($7).  I can wear all of it for work or a night out, so it was a nice way to take my mind off of my shoulder pain.

On Sunday, we went to a sunrise Easter service at Bok Tower Gardens.  They have a carillon tower and they were giving a concert after the service.  We stopped in the food court for a quick snack and I hit the giftshop for some souvenirs.  Then we went to Easter Sunday Mass at one of the local churches.  Poor BooBoo, the church was a more modern designed one (circular seating) and he just didn’t like it.  It’s interesting to me at least that both churches BooBoo got upset in were that modern circular design and that he is perfectly content to attend Mass at traditionally designed churches even if they are not “our” church.

Well, after Mass we went back to the house and got ready for an Easter potluck lunch in the clubhouse.  It was alot of fun.  The kids went swimming again after lunch, not that they hadn’t been swimming alot ever since they got to Grandma & Grandpa’s.  They’ve just turned into such little fish that they couldn’t get enough swimming in.  DH & I visited with one of the other couples who attended the potluck.  They were from Pennsylvania so we had a lot to talk about, having been there ourselves.

Monday involved getting up at 2:30am to be on the road by 3 am so we could get a spot in Titusville to watch the shuttle lift off.  That was cool to be able to see a shuttle launch in person.  Lots of people on the beaches there in Titusville.  We attempted to get out of Titusville afterward, the plan being to have breakfast in Daytona Beach or Cocoa Beach (remember, I was still on pain pills and muscle relaxants so the plan is a bit blurry) but the traffic was so snarled up that we took a side street and found, to our delight, a little German Delicatessen & Restaurant.  We pulled into the parking lot and got in line for a table.  We managed to get the last open table for our party of six.  Service was a bit slow and we found out from the waitress that they hadn’t even planned to be open that early.  Our waitress had arrived at work early because she figured traffic would be horrible on a launch day.  When people saw lights on, they started pulling in, so she called her coworkers to come in and started seating people.  Bet they had one of their best days because after we were seated, the line of people waiting stretched out the door.

After our good breakfast, we went to Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.  More gators of course, but this time we also got to see manatees!  Then it was off to Cocoa Beach.  We found a spot to park so the kids could go swimming in the ocean again.  The water was much warmer at Cocoa Beach than it was at Anastasia State Park and the kids had fun playing in the waves.  Then it was time to head back to the house.  On Tuesday, we said goodbye to Grandma & Grandpa and began the trip back home.  We got as far as Paducah Kentucky the first day and reached home on Wednesday.  Thirteen days was a bit long, but for all the fun and memories, it was worth it.

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

BooBoo on the KSC tour bus, trying not to get his picture taken 🙂

The shuttle on the launch pad.  Photo taken with a zoom lens, we didn’t get this close.

Part of the Astronaut Memorial at KSC.  These brave souls gave their lives for the advancement of space exploration.  May they not be forgotten.

One of the many alligators we saw at the county park.

This little turtle is just pulling your leg, the wind wasn’t that bad the day we were in the park.

“We have lift off!”  The cheers (and silent prayers) on that beach. . . amazing.

That small “rock on the right side of the picture is the manatee’s snout.  They’re not very photogenic creatures, but it was cool to see them just the same.

Playing in the surf at Cocoa Beach.

One final bit of fun in the sun at Cocoa Beach.

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