Kennedy Space Center and Disney World

Summary: Really big.

Kennedy Space Center

I stayed at Manatee Hammock, a county park near Titusville, Florida to visit the Kennedy Space Center. The park is on the Indian River right across from Cape Canaveral.

Kennedy Space Center
First look, the Kennedy Space Center, about 14 miles across the channel from the Manatee Hammock campground.

That building on the Cape is the Vehicle Assembly Building, which Wikipedia lists as the sixth largest building in the world.

The Vehicle Assembly Building (NASA Photo - my photos of the VAB weren't any good).  Standing alone, it's hard to get perspective, but the flag is 209 x 110 feet - the stripes are about 9 feet wide (wider than my RV).  The VAB is one of the largest buildings in the world - it is almost twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, interior volume is 2/3 larger than the Pentagon or 3.75 times as much as the Empire State Building.
The Vehicle Assembly Building (NASA Photo – my photos of the VAB weren’t any good). Standing alone, it’s hard to get perspective, but the flag is 209 x 110 feet and the stripes on the flag are about 9 feet wide (wider than my RV). The VAB is one of the largest buildings in the world – it is almost twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, interior volume is 2/3 larger than the Pentagon or 3.75 times as much as the Empire State Building.

It takes more than a day to see the main attractions at KSC. The complex is huge. Some of the sights you’ll visit, like the launch pads, are a 35 minute bus ride from the main visitor complex.

Apollo 14 command module
Apollo 14 command module
Saturn 5  on display at the Kennedy Space Center, 360 feet long
Saturn 5 on display at the Kennedy Space Center, 360 feet long

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The Crawler-Transporter, which moves assembled space vehicles to the launch pad, With some objects like an 18 wheeler in the frame for perspective.
That’s not a building, that is the Crawler-Transporter, which moves assembled space vehicles to the launch pad, With some objects like an 18 wheeler in the frame for perspective.

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A mural of the International Space Station
A mural of the International Space Station
Rocket Garden at KSC
Rocket Garden at KSC
The Kennedy Fountain
The Kennedy Fountain

Walt Disney World

I’ve been to Disneyland, but this is my first time at Disney World. All I knew was that it was bigger than Disneyland.

Bigger is an understatement. Disney World covers 43 square miles – twice the size of Manhattan. I stayed at a campground onsite, Fort Wilderness, which, despite being on site was still a 20 minute bus ride on Disney freeways to the theme parks like Epcot or Disney Hollywood Studios.

First look, walking up to Epcot.
First look, walking up to Epcot.
Disney Hollywood Studios
Disney Hollywood Studios

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The start of World Showcase - more than a mile of international themed restaurants and souvenir shops.
The start of World Showcase – more than a mile of international themed restaurants and souvenir shops.
The World Showcase continues, wrapping around a lake inside Epcot.  It's like the world's largest food court.
The World Showcase continues, wrapping around a lake inside Epcot. It’s like the world’s largest food court.

A special appearance during the stunt driving show Lights, Motors, Action.
A special appearance during the stunt driving show Lights, Motors, Action.

At Disney's Animal Kingdom
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom 2

Rhino at Animal Kingdom
Rhino at Animal Kingdom
Street scene at Animal Kingdom
Street scene at Animal Kingdom

MVD + ADEQ

After 10 weeks of trying, I’ve been unable to get the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to grant me an out of state exemption from emissions testing so that I can renew the registration on Roamward Bound. Now my registration isn’t just late, it’s suspended. No problem, it’s only 2000 miles, $800 or so in diesel and Arizona will be able to test that I’m not generating pollution in metro Phoenix.

In any case I’m heading west. At a stop outside Pensacola there was a bit of rain …

There was six inches of standing water during the downpour in Pensacola.  Yes, the Tailgater satellite dish still works.
There was six inches of standing water during the downpour in Pensacola. Yes, the Tailgater satellite dish still works.

Cedar Key, Lake Panasoffkee and Tampa

I spent a couple of weeks in Cedar Key, a very small, sleepy town with one gas station, a small market and three gun shops. The gun shops are important – there’s a big feral pig problem in the area. I dodged one on the road, and waited out a half dozen people with shotguns in quads chasing what had to be 50-100 pigs across a county road.

Next up, Lake Panasoffkee, another low key small town with a nice lake. They had air boat rides on the lake – a blast.

Airboat ride was fun and  loud.  Can't imagine how there is any wildlife within 5 miles.
Air boat ride was fun and loud. Can’t imagine how there is any wildlife within 5 miles.

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Good fishing here - for everyone else.
Good fishing here – for everyone else.

On March 1st I headed to Tampa to spend a ridiculous amount of money to have routine maintenance on the motor home.

Keira's spot in Tampa.
Keira’s spot in Tampa.

I was going to head to Daytona for bike week, but it’s nothing like Arizona Bike Week. No real entertainment, not even a real location.

As it turns out, I need to head back to Arizona …

Snow

St. Andrews State Park at Panama City Beach was a great stop, not the season for the beach, but a beautiful setting and great riding weather.
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Just another morning in Panama City Beach
Just another morning in Panama City Beach

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Morning light
Morning light
Keira spots a deer, waiting for a car to approach before crossing the road
Keira spots a deer, obviously waiting for a car to approach before crossing the road

I left PCB with flakes of snow blowing around just before dawn on January 28th. Snow in Panama City? Yep, and the police were out in force ready to close the bridges if they started to ice. I was still on the road, heading south to Cedar Key, when the news started reporting what came to be called the Atlanta Snowpocalypse.

Panama City Beach

About an hour east of Grayton Beach is Panama City Beach. I’m staying at Saint Andrews State Park for ten days.

View of the Grand Lagoon from my campsite at Saint Andrews State Park, Panama City Beach, Florida.
View of the Grand Lagoon from my campsite at Saint Andrews State Park, Panama City Beach, Florida.

The campground is along the lagoon side. The beach is about a half mile or so from here.

Panama City

Hmmm, Tactical Flaw

Sunrise at Western Lake
Sunrise at Western Lake

Glad this was the one pic of twenty that came out good today. Not a day to have soup.

I seem to have made an 1800+ mile tactical error. The registration for Roamward Bound is up in January and an emissions test is required. The closest station seems to be about a nine day drive and $700 in fuel away.

Meanwhile, when I returned from the beach I found a park ranger warning on the door for dog noise (dogs are not allowed on the beach). I could say the neighbors were cranky, but actually I could here her a 100 yards away.

Santa Rosa Beach

I’ll be spending a few weeks on Florida’s Emerald coast, starting in Grayton Beach, a small, quirky, beach community between Panama City and Destin. It’s nice to thaw out and sleep with the windows open and the sound of the ocean again.

Miles of soft white sand at Grayton Beach, Florida.
Miles of soft white sand at Grayton Beach, Florida.
Western Lake in Grayton Beach State Park
Western Lake in Grayton Beach State Park

Grayton Beach

T3: Rise of the Trailers

After two great weeks in New Orleans it was time to leave the bayou.

Rainy morning walk across the bayou.
Rainy morning walk across the bayou.
Never saw a gator in here. Did hear a few wildcats though.
Never saw a gator in here. Did hear a few wildcats though.

Shortly after crossing Lake Pontchartrain is the Mississippi border and I stopped at the welcome center rest area to find …

Mississippi welcome center on eastbound I-10.  The lunar lander trainer used by the Apollo 13 astronauts.
Mississippi welcome center on eastbound I-10. The lunar lander trainer used by the Apollo 13 astronauts.
Space boot prints signed by Fred Haise, Apollo 13 astronaut and Mississippi native.
Space boot prints signed by Fred Haise, Apollo 13 astronaut and Mississippi native.
Sign at lunar lander exhibit
Sign at lunar lander exhibit

Then I stopped at a little town in Florida, Bonifay, where it rained for 40 7 days and 40 7 nights, flooding the nearby Choctawhatchee River. Finally it’s time to move on to Ozark, Alabama and pick up my new motorcycle trailer.

T3

Yes, this is my 3rd trailer in just over a year. If this doesn’t work out I’m putting training wheels on the bike and towing it with a nylon strap.

Trailer number 3 - The Baxley SB001.  Yes, that's a moonshine still in the background, every campsite should have one.
Trailer number 3 – The Baxley SB001 at my campsite in Ozark, Alabama. Yes, that’s a moonshine still in the background, every campsite should have one.

This one is a Baxley trailer which has a pretty unique loading mechanism. So far, so good.  I’m hanging here another few days to sell the old trailer on eBay where the bidding is way higher than I expected and there’s still a few hours left in the auction.  Then I’ll be heading to sunny rainy better be sunny Florida for a little time at the beach.