Friday, 20 April 2012

Cocoa Beach and Kennedy Space Center

As soon as 2004 Gay Pride was behind us Ric and I left Toronto in order to experience another cruise. Before that cruise commenced we visited two other places which blew our minds.

The cruise to the Bahamas sailed from Port Canaveral which is just north of a beach resort community of which I had not heard before - Cocoa Beach. We flew to Orlando (me from Toronto and Ric from the West Coast). Our aircraft arrived within minutes of each other so we met at the luggage carousal. Ric had booked a ride for each of us on a van shuttle to Cocoa Beach. Whenever I am traveling to a place where I have never been before I am eager to view the passing scenery - but, this was Florida and 'passing scenery' was nothing more than monotonous flat mile after monotonous flat mile.

When we arrived in Cocoa Beach and pulled up in front of the very dreary looking Days Inn I was not at all impressed. We booked in and went up to our room where the drapes were pulled across the windows. I pulled open the drapes and then gasped - there was a magnificent beach immediately across the street!
Quickly we changed out of our travel clothes into our old swim suits (we each bought brand new and fashionable swimsuits  from a store a block away later that afternoon) grabbed towels and went out.

                                       An old looking pier - but very pleasant to walk upon.

Cocoa Beach looking south. The water was quite warm and the surf was gentle.

Cocoa Beach looking north. If this photo was enlarged you would be able to see some of the silos at Cape Canaveral a number of miles to the north. Actually, if you click on this photo you will see an enlarged version and - in the middle but right of center - you will see a white 'balloon' affair. That would be at the Kennedy Space Center

One of the other people who was at the Renaissance Faire weekend in Somerset, New Jersey was the wonderful - and beautiful - Rani. She, her husband, Steve, and their family live in the town of Volusia, Florida - just north of the Kennedy Space Center. They drove down to  Cocoa Beach on the following day to take us to the Kennedy Space Center. What an awesome day!

First we went to one of the chain restaurants - Ruby Tuesday - for lunch and then Steve drove us north to the Kennedy Space Center, purchased our tickets - and we went in.

At the entrance to the Kennedy Space Center are these two items. First is a mock-up of a launch being prepared and the other is what a space explorer looks like while walking on the moon.

As you can imagine - the Kennedy Space Center is huge so comfortable coaches are provided to take visitors around the site. Rani has MS and is confined to a wheel chair. We were asked to stand a little apart from the other passengers who were waiting for the bus. The driver pulled up in front of us and a part of the side of the bus opened, an elevator platform was lowered and Steve wheeled Rani on to it for the ride up. Ric and I were told to board the bus by the usual door which we did and sat in a seat across from where Rani and Steve were sitting. When we were comfortably on board, the bus pulled ahead to where other people were waiting. They filed on the bus and seated themselves in front of and behind us.

Running parallel to each other are two roads around the Space Center - one is used to roll the rockets and shuttles into place and the other is for ordinary vehicles. Our bus used the latter. This entire area is flat saw grass with numerous drainage ditches and in practically all of them we could see alligators basking and waiting for prey to come by. The drive took us past one of the launch pads. 

After our motor coach tour we went into the Space Center itself and viewed a number of fascinating exhibits. First was a view of the State of Florida as seen from space. Looking at the aerial photograph of the State, you will note an isthmus of land sticking out into the Atlantic with a box shape drawn around it - that is Cape Canaveral. 

In one enormous room we walked underneath a huge rocket-like machine. I believe that this was an Apollo (if I am wrong - as I have been in the past - Ric will correct me). Whatever it is - it is enormous!


The year 2004 was just after small Mars rovers were successfully dropped upon that planet. The following is a mockup of two of them.

Also we saw some films about both the American and the Russian space programs. Because of lifelong vision problems, I had never been able to see the effect of '3-D' films - until then. Since then I have been shown the odd 3-D movie - but with cinema glasses. - and I have not been able to see the three dimensional effect. But I was able to at the Kennedy Space Center!

Our last visit before we left to return to Cocoa Beach was to visit the memorials to the men and women who have lost their lives while striving to enlarge the human experience vis-a-vis outer space.


Back in Cocoa Beach we went to a wonderful restaurant to enjoy dinner together before Steve and Rani returned to Volusia. It was our waiter who took this photo for us.

1 comment:

  1. It was such a treat for us to spend that day with you two while you were in Florida for your honeymoon! Backstory for your readers: Ric and I "met" when we worked together online. Then a group of us met face-to-face in NJ from all over the country and Ernie from Toronto, most of us for the first time. What a blast we had! I was thrilled to see them on CNN in a piece on the first day of legalized gay marriage in Canada! When they decided to honeymoon in FL, I couldn't wait to see them again, this time with my husband, Steve, {{{{you guys!!}}}}