Thursday, February 27, 2014

Titusville to Blue Springs

Shuttle booster rockets
Since we got the Delta 4 launched, the very next day we drove out to Merritt Island and checked out the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where the rocket boosters for the shuttle Atlantis stand tall and proud.  Last year we posted pictures of the full sized model of the Atlantis that is just down the road at the other NASA museum! 
  Heading south and across another causeway we found ourselves in Port Canaveral - the business hub of the hard working international port.   Oh, yeah, there are several good seafood restaurants here, including Rusty’s where we ate with L&D!  On this day tho, we ate at the “Smokehouse”.   On a long ago trip, we had smoked fish tacos here!   This time we split a smoked salmon taco.    It was strange but good!  We found the Exploration Tower that Louie and Dave had told us that we “MUST” see and explore.  The back of the 7-story building looks like the nosecone of one of the retired space shuttles. H thinks it looks like a big spinnaker sail!  What do you think?  The front is glassed-in layers of exhibits and information about the Port and the Cape called Canaveral.  The third floor is a theater with very comfy stadium seating.   When you first enter the room, the entire front expanse is floor to ceiling windows that overlook the harbor and Merritt Island beyond.   As the program begins, full width shades silently lower along with the movie screen.  As instructed, after the informational movie we went up to the 7th floor and got our first hand magnificent view.   The tall white NASA Assembly Building was just barely visible on the horizon.  Two cruise ships were still moored at their home docks.  You could see more heavy storm clouds pushing their way over the area.    On the 2nd floor, a massive mobile of bright blue whales, pink jelly fish and green and white bubbles dangles over the open area in the middle of the building.  The mobile is made out of recycled plastic junk collected from the ocean!  At the ocean end of the Port is Jetty Park, another campground where H used to camp but has become quite upscale and charges now to just drive into their grounds.  We did find out that you can ride a bike or walk in for free, but where to park your vehicle is the big problem then! 
  The beach was calling and we found the Cocoa Beach Fishing Pier with its eclectic collection of billboards and shops perched on weathered beams, stretched out into the crashing waves of the Atlantic.  We parked at a small dead end road a block away, put a quarter in the meter and walked the beach to the pier because the parking lot at the base of the pier now charges $10!  

On Sunday, more storms threatened but thankfully for us, their heaviest parts went north of us. Unfortunately for the folks at the Daytona Speedway, it hit them.  By now, everyone knows that - and that Dale Jr finally won his race!

On to Blue Springs State Park in Orange City!  This park has the biggest spring on the St Johns River and is called the Winter Home of the Manatees. It is just as neat as I remembered from 20 years ago when I first started flying to Florida to camp with H.  The park is in a “hammock” which means forest or the Indian word for “shady place”. The last time we were here I walked the boardwalk that rims the clear blue run at dawn and lost count of manatee at 45.  It has been warmer lately so the count was only 6 and a baby, 2 alligators, 2 eagles, a heron, a plethora of fish including some invasive nesting Tilapia and, as always, the required amount of cormorants.   The standard alarm clock in the park is a loud “cheery” cardinal!   I’ve met some really nice early risers on this last “before breakfast walk”, including folks from California, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Cherrie and David, full timers from Virginia! Sherrie grew up in Dayton and her father retired from NCR!  The license plate on the front of their motorhome and tow vehicle says “RV DREAM”!  And they are livin’ the dream!  Oh - and S blogs, too!    We got our laundry done and some local exploration in before H finally decided he should walk to the spring also.  With the sun high over the clear water, the shades changed to a deep blue at the headsprings and at its mouth where it meets the northbound currant of the St Johns River.  The park was full of school buses and their hoards of excited, color-coded kids who streamed from their confines.  Where the kids weren’t – the seniors were!   It was time to retreat once more to our peaceful “condo” and get ready for our next move.    Trimble Park awaits.

Blue Spring