Saturday, April 30, 2011

An Endeavor, Day 2, April 29, 2011

Day 2 officially started 2 hours after Day 1 ended. I slept, or tried to sleep for about 2 hours. I got up, showered, and then left for Port Canaveral so I could take the bus at KSCVC. 

I met the bus and enjoyed a brief nap on the 30-minute ride to Kennedy. We arrived at Kennedy at 6am. The launch wasn’t scheduled until 3:47pm so I had a lot of time to kill. After taking advantage of the empty gift shop, I decided to take the tour bus to the Apollo / Saturn V Center. It is always good to drive by the VAB, Press Site, OPF, and Landing Facility on the way there. I also enjoy the movies and attractions of the Saturn V Center including the massive Saturn V rocket itself that they have on display. 

Once there I sat down to breakfast and this lady sat down beside me and started having a conversation with me. I hate it when folks do that but in this case I went along with it as I had a lot of time to kill. As our conversation progressed, she mentioned Purdue and the John Purdue Club. The short story is she and her husband live in West Lafayette and have visited Faith, where I work. 

I spent the next 3 hours with them killing time at the Saturn V Center until it closed and they kicked us all out. The Saturn V Center is on the Banana River and on launch days they clear out the riff raft like me and only allow VIP’s, Congressional groups, and astronaut families in to view the launch from this location. Perhaps someday I’ll see a launch from there but not this time. We parted company as we got on different busses for the Visitor’s Center.

Once I got back to the Visitor’s Center, I still had 5 more hours to kill. I went to the IMAX movie but ended up sleeping through most of it. After the movie, I sat down next to a power outlet and while getting some more juice in my iPhone I received the tweet that the launch had been scrubbed. I still had to wait until 5pm to catch my bus so I decided to get something to eat. By this time, it was getting pretty crowded so I found some food (a massive turkey leg) and asked to share a table with 2 gentlemen. They agreed and so I sat down and found out that they were from Canada.

They had not been to a launch before and had many questions. As we were talking, this girl walks by with 2 purple tickets. Purple tickets are for causeway viewing but can only be gotten if you know a member of the crew. She was friends with one of the astronauts but her family couldn’t wait for the next attempt so she was selling 2 purple tickets for $100 each. My new Canadian friends asked me if this was a good deal and I told them to do it if she also had a car pass for the KSCVC. She went back and checked with her mom and sure enough, they had a car pass. So my Canadian friends got a great deal on a huge upgrade from the KSCVC to the purple section of the causeway. A great upgrade for them. Meanwhile I’m still watching from KSCVC unless I can come up with something else.

Shortly after this they had to leave to catch their bus. Now that the launch attempt has been moved to Monday I’m not sure if they are sticking around or not. I wish I would have gotten their phone number at least so I could check. If you are Canadian, are reading this, and know a guy from Alberta who was at the launch attempt please have him contact me. I think I have found a use for his purple tickets.

I killed the rest of the day and then took the bus back to Port Canaveral. On the bus ride I used Hotwire to again get a cheap hotel for last night. I got a decent deal and even upgraded to a 2.5 star since I had a credit from the issues with the previous night’s hotel.

The hotel I ended up at was an EconoLodge and it was by no means 2.5 stars. It wasn’t even 1 star. It probably has the higher rating due to its location on International Drive but it was not a nice place. The first room they gave me was a smoking room. I went back and they got me a non-smoking room however, it had a note from the maid saying she was sorry the bed was wet. I also couldn’t get the window to lock and since the hotel had exterior entrances having a window that doesn’t look isn’t a good thing. Not wanting stay there anyway I contact Hotwire and they were wonderful to work with, as I’m an Express member with them. They cancelled my reservation and rebooked me at a much better hotel 10 minutes away. 

I arrived at the Hampton Inn; grabbed some McDonald’s and went to bed. At this point I had been going 51 hours on 7 hours sleep. Needless to say, I slept well.