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Sunday, May 10, 2009


Today is a quiet day after the busy-ness of yesterday. Yesterday was go go go, exertion, walking, etc. This morning after a languid breakfast at Waffle House (right next to our hotel), we drove out to the Merrit Island Nature Preserve to go on the Blackwing nature drive.

I did this drive with Tom a couple years ago, and it was a nice quiet drive with a lot of waterfowl, other birds, alligators, and so on. It must have been a different time of year because the place was practically dried up and the drive was very quiet. It's about a 4-mile drive that took us about an hour (we stopped at a bunch of the stops and walked around some). We took a few pictures and I took some videos of some birds flying overhead, small crabs along the shoreline (hundreds of them!) and some interesting plantlife. It was very still and quiet out there. We were constantly on the lookout for alligators about to spring out of the water's edge. Dawn likes to squat down and take pictures of butterflys on flowers at the water's edge. The image of her being dragged under was pretty powerful and I kept a sharp lookout. And I made continual fun of her.

After the drive tour we went further north on Merrit Island and saw a couple of manatees - they are really quite huge! It was really really hot and humid still and after standing outside for a while we both got a touch of sunburn. We were going to go to the beach near the refuge area, but they close it down 24 hours before a shuttle launch because it's really close to the pads. We departed the area at 1pm and headed back to Titusville.

We picked up a few groceries to try and stave off the inevitable feeling of bleh that you get when you've been eating better (I have been lately) and then you eat junkfood. What made me want to eat that way in the past I will never know. Glad to see my diet is in the slow motion process of changing.

Anywho... we are back at the hotel, resting up. We have an early morning arrival at KSC (6am) so we are resting and restoring fluids today. Tomorrow morning we dine with an astronaut at 7:30am, then wander around until its time to get on the bus to go to the causway site - it's the closest the public can get to the shuttle launch. 6 miles and unimpeded by clouds. It will be clear, directly in front of us, and LOUD. I can't wait!!

As of this posting, everything is looking really good for tomorrow's launch. They roll back the service structure at 5pm EDT so the shuttle is exposed. Tomorrow morning they start fueling the tank with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Around 10:30am EDT they start loading the crew into the shuttle.

Off to nap, read, and drink water. It's SO hot and bright here. And it's only May.

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