Shuttle Launch {Florida}

I'm not a fan of sci-fi.  I really don't like it.  I don't care what people say, Star Wars is lame.  I'm sorry. But real outer-space? Now that is really cool.

I mentioned in my "stranded in Florida" post that we got to see the space shuttle, Endeavor, launch into space.  Here's the 411. The DL.  The full-scoop on that experience ;D

Part of the best thing about an "accidental" vacation is that you really have NO plans.  We had our faces and our rental car, and Florida was our oyster.  So one day, as we headed to the beach, we saw lots of RV's camping out along the highway.  After a quick iPhone google, we discovered that the last night-time launch ever in the space program was going to be happening that night!  We (after a little debate) decided to go to the 4:14 am launch. Um, yeah. 4:14 am.  I haven't seen that hour... since... probably when I needed to get a drink of water in the middle of the night last year.  It was early.  Since our hotel was over an hour away from the launch site, we decided to just keep busy.  Target shopping, late dinner, more Target shopping, late movie and then some waiting (and sleeping in the back of the car for me ;D) at the launch site.  So sadly, the launch was called off 9 minutes before it went up.  Major bummer.  Not as big a bummer for us as it was for the astronauts who were all strapped in, but still a bummer.  We rolled back to our hotel at about 6:11 am and slowly stumbled and oozed our way to bed.  The next night, at 2:00 am we got back in the car and prayed it wouldn't be canceled again!

Everything looked good, so I happily grabbed my 200 prime lens as we waited.  After taking a quick "tester" picture, I was truly disappointed when I saw this:

I was like "Man!  We aren't going to be able to see anything!  We came all this way and it's just a little speck!"

The flight deck was counting down on the radios, the silhouettes of people wrapped in blankets decked the hill, Dre, Becca and I had our cameras and iPhones ready - and I was still "hmph-ing" about how far away we were.

Everyone.  Don't worry.  When a space shuttle launches... you can see it.  Don't worry

The fire from that blast literally lights the area for MILES.  It was complete darkness, then complete day-time light in seconds.  It was insanity.  I can't believe that really happens. 

And, oh manny, that ship FLEW. 

After it went into "turbo launch" we couldn't see it anymore.  Boom. 10 seconds. Gone.

By the time we had gotten into our cars and turned around to head back, the shuttle was over Spain.  RIDICulous.  That was such an awesome memory and truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.