So much universe and so little time – Terry Pratchett
We really took advantage of last night’s quiet night and got to sleep early. It seems to have done the trick. Aimee was feeling much better and we felt recharged and ready to go. Today we were headed for Daytona Beach, Florida which is the home of the biggest NASCAR event in America – The Daytona 500. Given that we are from Bathurst which hosts the biggest car racing event in Australia, the Bathurst 1000. We have been around this sort of stuff our whole lives and are not really car racing fans, but we were still keen to check out Daytona nonetheless.
We drove about 3 hours all up and arrived at a nice little pitstop before Dayton which turned out to be real highlight for us – NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral.
This place was unreal! It is where many of the missions into space were launched from, including the Saturn V which is the rocket which was flown in the Apollo 11 which was the first mission to land humans on the moon. The space shuttle Atlantis launched from here as well as the infamous pace Shuttle Columbia which ended in disaster and many many other space missions.
We got to go around and tour the facility which has one of the biggest open air buildings in the world where they assemble the rockets called the VAB. We also got to look at the enormous launch pads. Then we went into the Saturn building which had the Saturn V rocket which was absolutely enormous. It was surreal, one of the technological masterpieces created by mankind. Just breathtakingly huge. We had 5 hours at the space centre and it was not enough.
We went to the Atlantis exhibit while still there which was probably the coolest exhibit. They had a space slippery dip which is a replica from one of the spacecraft and space suits there was an astronaut meeting people and signing autographs. They had the Atlantis all opened up so you can look in it and stuff.
They also had a rocket launch simulator ride there where you get strapped in, turned up on your side and they simulate a launch. It’s really rocky and your face goes all jiggly then when you get out of the atmosphere they turn off the engines and you get that anti-gravity feeling. It was surreal and gave us a small glimpse into the immense feelings that the astronauts must have on their launches.
They also have a museum here where you can look at memorabilia from space and space flights as well as cockpits and mission control stations. It’s very informative and if you are at all interested in space and space exploration is it an absolute must-see.
Following this we rolled to our hotel and checked in, it is a great hotel and easily the best room we have stayed in while over here. We have a little balcony that overlooks that is right on the beach and looks out over it. Lovely. It was nearly evening though and we had very little time to spend here. We were off on our included dinner which was at a place called Sloppy Joe’s. This is a surf theme restaurant at the top of a little shopping centre.
Ronnie ordered the Luau salad which was enormous and had chicken, lettuce, strawberries, pineapple, mango, red peppers, mandarin and a peanut dressing We needed some healthy food badly as our diets have been very poor recently. Ronnie really enjoyed his salad. Aimee had a burger which unfortunately was not as good and turned out to be quite the poor choice.
Daytona is just an overnight stop for us. Unfortunately we don’t get to spend more time here, we have one exciting thing planned for tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow we head for St Augustine for our last day in Florida.
Ronnie & Aimee