Monday, March 16, 2009

the rockets' red glare....

Greetings from sunny Florida. Marla and I arrived on Thurs. (3/12), in Orlando, and drove down to Melbourne to see Florida Southern play 3 games in 2 days against Florida Tech. Max pitched Fri. afternoon. Went 6 2/3 innings gave up 3 hits...had a great no decision, but the team went on to win the game 4-3. Then on Sat. they spit a double header. So, now they're 19-5 and 3rd in the Sunshine State Conference.

My parents were to fly into Orlando on Sunday, we would pick them up and take them to Lakeland to spend the rest of the week. Dad ended up back in the hospital on Sat. with low blood pressure, he's o.k., in fact already back home, but the Doc won't let him fly. So, Marla and I decided to make our way up to the Kennedy Space Center and try and watch the launch of the Shuttle Discovery. The Space Center itself is o.k....not great, in fact we both agreed that the National Air and Space Museum in D.C. is far superior in almost every way.....except, they don't have launches. I've always been enthralled and intrigued with the space program. It was 2 days after my 11th birthday when Alan Shepard 1st went into space in the Mercury program for a whopping 15 minutes, followed by Virgil Grissom and then that All Amercian...John Glenn. We saw the original Freedom 7 and Redstone Rocket in Rocket Park at the Space Center...these guys were incredible cowboys to climb on top of these virtual firecrackers and take a ride.

But if you really want to feel the earth move under you feet (like Carole King sings), then you have to witness a launch 1st hand . Absolutely incredible! Should be on every one's "bucket list". The buses at the Space Center take you out to a causeway where there is seating, they're broadcasting the countdown, and even vendors for food and sweaters if you're cold. You have a very clear, albeit 6 miles away, view of the launch site, and the Shuttle. I cannot describe the feeling that you get when you see essentially the fuse lit on the bottom of this rocket, and 7 million pounds of thrust lift this approx. 170,000 lb. shuttle off the ground and it reaches a speed of 17,500 mph in about 6 minutes! This was a night time launch, and you get to see it for almost the whole 6 minutes, before it disappears into the night. The pictures attached were taken with my little Canon pocket camera...but what you're missing is the ground shaking, the incredible sound, the bright glow of the rockets, and the sonic boom aftermath...awesome!

Now, if that's the great news, the bad news is it took us about 6 hours to drive 96 miles to the hotel in Lakeland, arriving here about 3 AM...the traffic on all roads and highways was insane. I can bike faster than that. I asked a number of people, including toll collectors (and there are many of them) and they all say it's the volume of people that went to see the Shuttle blastoff.

Max's team has a game tonight against St. Michael's from Vermont, but he won't pitch again until Friday night's game against Rollins. So, we get to hang out in sunny Florida till next Sunday before we go home. We have planned a meeting with Max's coach, and we have tickets for the Thursday night Red Sox vs. Cincinnati game in Sarasota. I've gotten a couple of hour long flat runs in already, and I hope a swim or 2 at Florida Southern this week. Stay tuned...I'll post again at the end of the week...right now it's 85 and partly cloudy, so I have to endure...

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