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Trip Report and pics from our roadtrip to Florida...
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Joined: July 13, 2004
Posts: 289
Location: Greenville Mi
Antron is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:33 pm    Post subject: Trip Report and pics from our roadtrip to Florida... Reply with quote

Ive been busy catching up from my 2 week trip to florida trip to see the last shuttle launch.. Below are some of my trip notes and pics. Also a link to a video. Its kinda long so grab a cold one and enjoy !

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Packing up and ready to leave

Ok trip update.. Had a great time. Could get used to being on the road. I see so many things that look interesting and worth exploring but even with my loose schedule I can't afford to spend a week in one place looking at old abandoned buildings. Everywhere I look all the Mainstreet small town USA's look the same - destitute, borded up store fronts & dilapetated buildings are the norm. Greenville has it pretty good compared to some of the towns we drove through. Anyone who tries to sell you on the fact that this is a slow recovery or recession is at the least uninformed or at worst lying to you. These small towns look like the depression to me...

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Met some pretty cool people including the guy with the largest ball of paint in the world. He has been painting it for 34 years ! We added a coat to the ball / a nice lovely shade of pink. We then headed to Dayton to check out the Air Force Museum.. Wow what a place ! It was awe-inspiring to stand next to the bomber that dropped the bomb on Nagaski Japan thus ending WW2. Curious to me was the diversity of the attendees... A discussion for another day...
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The van has ran great so far but could really use some extra umph to get up the hills in Kentucky ! The trailer didn't fare so well, a tire blow out actually ripped the axle nearly clean off the trailer. It trashed the springs and mounts. One look under it confirmed that this trailer was not gonna make the trip. After making arrangements with a tow company to get it, we loaded most of our gear into the van and headed out- next stop ? Mammoth Cave National park. Touring the cave we learned about it's history.. Pretty cool that the cave was used to make saltpeter which was needed to make black powder for the rifles at the time during the War of 1812. Mammoth Cave's saltpeter reserves became significant due to the British blockade of United States's ports. The blockade starved the American military of saltpeter and therefore gunpowder. Kinda cool to be standing at such an important part of American history on July 4th.

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New engine option to help pull hills in Kentucky

Tonight we are camping in Nashville going to try and get the girls up early tomorrow do some sight seeing and eat BBQ then head towards???? Maybe Atlanta to tour the coke Headquarters but my girls also wanted to check out Clearwater beach in Florida so we might make a push that direction .

What an amazing trip... Things just seem to fall into place for us perfectly. From Craig still living down here and offering us his home ( he should have been in Michigan months ago, but an evil force has delayed him ) to the trailer break down that turned out to be no big deal.
The day before the shuttle launch Craig and I went scouting launch locations and as a whim decided to try one of his favorite viewing sites. Manatee Hammock campground is a county park right across from NASA's launch site. We stopped by hoping to snag a pass just to park for the day.. Luckily they opened 10 overflow spots that morning and 3 were taken- I took number 4. Happy that we scored such a great spot we headed back to wake the girls (it was afternoon!) and head to the mall and some dang fine Italian eats for dinner.
On Friday I got the Girls up at 6. World from NASA was if the launch weather was bad they wanted to call it at the 7am meeting. It didn't get called off but it wasn't looking likely to launch as the weather was crap. Amazingly I had the girls up & out the door just a bit after 7!
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There was hardly any traffic all the way to Titusville and the van was driving great. We got to the campground only to be told we couldn't come in till 3pm !!! I explained that is not what we were told yesterday and the guard said "take it up with the ranger" The ranger let us in anyway and I pulled my van down to the beach and had a great view from the front seat in my van !
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I turned on the HAM radio and found NASAs frequency and listened to mission control go over their checklists. The weather was still crap... But amazingly it appeared to be clearing a bit. We watched the fighter jets patrol the area enforcing the no fly zone I'm sure. As it got close to launch time it was still a bit cloudy but getting better and better. As the final checks were being radioed in they got to the spot were Houston had to give a go/no go for the weather. My heart skipped a beat when Houston asked that they come back to them after all the other checks were final... I thought they were gonna scrub it ! And judging by the tone of the guy in Houston they were considering the scrub likely. After the final checks were called in Houston gave the "you are go for launch"

I listened to the countdown 5....4....3....2...1

I was nearly speechless.. It was amazing even with the cloud cover we got to see it pretty clearly. Then the sound hit us ! I could just barely feel it in my guts..
So in the awful traffic that followed the space shuttle launch (it took 5 hours to go 35 miles) I noticed my temp guage climbing steadily upwards.. Sure enough sitting still the neddle pretty much pegged and the light starting blinking. My cooling van never came on. I pulled over and let it cool down. I eventually made it to a parking lot where I could check things out.Since yesterday the fan has been kicking on high speed like it used to..

You know the feeling you have when you think hey... Ive been here before ? They call it déjà vu. Twice on this trip I've experienced it in an amazing way- the first was at epcot when we were waiting for the fireworks. As we sat waiting I realized that the girls and I were setting on the exact same bench Jen and I sat waiting on some 20+ years ago....
The 2nd and even more amazing thing happened at Magic Kingdom. When we all got hungry enough to want to stop and eat we were in Liberty Square. We decided that a nice sit down meal would be a nice change and we were next to the Liberty Tree Tavern so we went in.. After a 10 minute wait the host took us to our table. It took me about 1/2 way through the meal to realize we were sitting in the exact same table that Jen and I sat at during our spring break trip in 1989! Now the table was pushed together with others to make it big enough for the girls and I. I was too stunned to say anything to the girls- it nearly took my breath away.
I know what I experienced wasn't true déjà vu... But something more amazing.

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The rules for post apocalypse living.. I think one says in case of Zombies meet at the Winchester Tavern

We spent the next 6 days enjoying everything Disney offered and then packed up and headed home. We took a random winding route home stopping to see the Georgia Guidestones. We drove through Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana !

Everything was perfect... until after getting home and trying to back up the van to wash it - the trans is making a horrible noise now !

Here is a link to a video of the trip.. of course i used the Vanagon song so if the "f" word offends you.... turn off the sound !


1987 Vanagon Syncro Westfakia
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Joined: March 24, 2006
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Location: Brookeville, MD
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you made it and had a great trip. That launch really was awesome. Very Happy
Dave O
'87 Westy w/ 2002 Subaru EJ25 and Peloquin TBD

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive." Robert Louis Stevenson


Building a bus for travel in Europe (euroBus)

The West Coast Westy
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Joined: October 27, 2007
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
FNGRUVN is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like you guys had a fun trip. I enjoyed the video.

At least your tranny waited until you got home to give up the ghost. Time to give AA a call.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." - Benjamin Franklin
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