American Locations 40 – Kennedy Space Center

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.

 

Kennedy Space Center, Florida

 

Back on the mainland we drove south on Hwy. 1 to Titusville. We found a county campground on the coast across from Cape Canaveral. The best waterfront sites were closed because of damage from the last hurricane, but we still secured a nice one. The campground host told us the place filled up whenever there was a rocket launch since this was a prime location to view them from.

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We relaxed the rest of the day, then got up early the next morning and drove to Kennedy Space Center.

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Outside there was a good collection of rockets to see.

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The first exhibit we went inside to see was historical. Two full grown men squeezed into this Gemini capsule.

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And an Apollo capsule.

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A mock-up of the NASA control center used in the first launches.

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The Right Stuff, the original seven astronauts of the Mercury Program.

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Of course, there were more current displays. This model of a Mars rover wasn’t built to scale. As you can see in the background, there is always a gift shop.

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In another building were displays of craft designed by Space X and Boeing.

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NASA partnering with GM? That’s a scary thought. But this wasn’t a real robot, just a vehicle with a man inside.

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There were many other exhibits and presentations, too numerous to mention (fact check: that statement means I can’t remember them all). But they were all fascinating. Then we hit the road on a bus tour. This was that huge building we could see from Canaveral National Seashore.

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Space X uses NASA’s launch facility, too. Note the water tower. This is one of their launch pads.

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A crawler transport. These things are so huge.

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We got off the bus to tour a large hanger that had been converted into a museum. This is not a mock-up. This is the actual equipment NASA used in their original control room.

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One really big rocket.

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The actual Apollo 11 capsule, plucked from the ocean.

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The Atlantis Shuttle is on display.

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With the Canada Arm extending out from the cargo bay.

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The suit and equipment used in space walks.

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We spent a full day here, from opening to closing, and still didn’t see it all. So we were exhausted. We drove back to our camp site and crashed.

 

Next Location – Long Point, Florida

 

 

American Locations 39 – Canaveral

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.

 

Canaveral National Seashore, Florida

 

Leaving Tomoka State Park, we drove south on North Beach Road into Ormond Beach, where we crossed the Halifax River to get back onto Rte. A1A. We drove south through Daytona Beach. Another nice drive along the coast. We crossed back over the Halifax River at Dunlawton Ave., then turned south on Hwy. 1. In New Smyrna Beach we crossed back over to the coast on South Causeway to South Atlantic Avenue, on which we drove south into Canaveral National Seashore. After stopping by the visitor center, we made frequent stops, to view the sound.

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And birds, of course.

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We turned down several lanes off the main road.

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And made several stops where we could park the motor home and walk around.

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We stopped by this old home that had been restored and made into a museum.

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Here is a Wikipedia entry about it:

Eldora is an uninhabited place in Volusia CountyFlorida, United States. It is located within Canaveral National Seashore, south of Bethune Beach and west of County Road A1A. The average elevation is 3 feet above sea level.

History[edit]

Eldora was a prominent community of orange groves in the latter part of the 19th century. After a freeze destroyed most of its crops, it was nearly completely abandoned and has never regained its population.[1]

After the death of its last residentDoris “Doc” Leeper in 2000, a locally famous artist and conservationist in the 1980s,[2] the management of the town was officially turned over to the federal government, and the town is now located more than two miles within the borders of the Canaveral National Seashore. The town claims no permanent residents, and visitation is limited and subject to park hours. Only two of its original buildings remain. The largest, “The Eldora House“, now holds a museum.[3] Although the town’s orange groves were nearly completely wiped out over one hundred years ago, some trees still remain.

The town is also the site of two marine research facilities jointly shared by Daytona State College and the University of Central Florida.

Geography[edit]

Eldora is located at 28°54′33″N 80°49′11″W. The town’s location is remote, as it is only accessible by one service road, County Road A1A. It is nearly a thirty-minute drive to the mainland through New Smyrna Beach.

 

The most interesting thing inside was this rock formed by fused shells.

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After a short rest…

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We walked around the grounds.

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At another stop I took another short hike.

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The sign said this was coffee beans growing wild.

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Near the beach there were shell middens, like I had seen at Skidaway in Georgia.

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I came upon some wild pigs. I followed them for quite a way on the trail. But they finally became aware of me and scattered into the brush. So I cut my walk short. I don’t know if they were dangerous, but I know enough not to upset a mother when she is with her brood.

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We parked at a beach access and relaxed on the beach for a while. The surf was calm enough here so I went in for a brief swim. Yet another advantage of traveling in a motor home – you always have a changing room available.

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After we left the beach we drove to the very end of the road. From where we could see one of the enormous buildings at Kennedy Space Center.

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From here we backtracked out of the national seashore and across to the mainland.

 

Next Location – Kennedy Space Center

 

 

 

 

 

American Locations 38 – Tomoka

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.

 

Tomoka State Park, Florida

 

We drove south from St. Augustine on Rte. A1A. It was a beautiful drive that hugged the coast. Along the way we stopped briefly at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park. I saw an alligator there. It was underneath a small bridge my wife was standing on. When I pointed it out she quickly got off the bridge.

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We turned inland on High Bridge Road and crossed the Halifax River through Bulow Creek State Park. We turned south on Old Dixie Hwy. This took us through some low-lying marsh land, with water nearly up over the road. Another beautiful drive. We turned off onto North Beach Rd. and into Tomoka State Park. The campground wasn’t busy, and the sites were very private.

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There is a memorial to the Tomoka Native Americans who originally settled here.

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At the northern point you can see across the Halifax River to the development on the nearby Atlantic coast.

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From here we hiked a trail along the Halifax River.

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That evening we went to the riverside to watch the evening come on.

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We saw a pair of dolphins playing in the river. The next morning I took a thermos of coffee down to the river to watch the sunrise. In the pre-dawn I could hear some large animals in the trees, but I never saw what was making the racket. The lights in the distance is the high-rise development on the coast.

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Later that morning we continued south down the Florida coast.

 

Next Location – Canaveral National Seashore