Spawn is taking FOREVER in converting his pictures. He shot them in RAW format – have NO clue what that means – but converting them down to jpg is taking forever. As a result, of the 400+ pictures he’s taken, so far, he’s converted…

60.

And with the exception of the 2 shots I’ve already posted of me and Suitor (or That Man, as POP!Thorin calls him) what the other 58 are of Cape Canaveral. Some of the Lighthouse – which I’m going to post shortly, but mostly of memorials and buildings – buildings I won’t post because… well… they’re buildings. Rundown, decrepit, not been into in years and years buildings. Okay, I’ve posted a few of the buildings, but not all.

Lots of boring vacation pictures.

Note: The complex has been closed to the public since 9/11. The Air Force (it is an Air Force base) conducted tours of the lighthouse, but stopped some years back. In January of this year, Cape Canaveral LH Tours resumed a limited mostly stay in the air conditioned bus tour that was simply amazing. These guys are Awesome! The bus tour includes stops at the Lighthouse, one or two museums, a few shops and a drive through of the Air Force Base with many sights to be viewed and thoroughly discussed.

I was rather shocked. I expected a high tech, busy, developed Air Force Station – lots of noise and planes and busyness and soldiers in snappy uniforms. It wasn’t. It was Florida Coastal scrub. They cleared off what needed to be cleared off while they used it and then allowed the area to return to nature. It was beautiful and sad at the same time.

There are 49 launch pads at the Cape. This is Launch Pad 17.

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This is launch pad 43

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Strange, for some odd reason I thought there was maybe only 3 or 4 but I guess with each new rocket type, there were a few new pads built and with new pads came new command centers and the old ones were abandoned and left for nature to reclaim.

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Watch out. That first step is a doozy!

Mission Control isn’t a huge airport type control tower… it’s a not very big building most of the time. Early ones look like beehives behind a bunker.

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We drove by an early pad so close – like feet – and you could still see the scorch marks from the rockets.

Early launch pad

We saw the building where Werner von Braun (spelling?) had his office.

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It was right next door to the lighthouse and we were told that he would climb the lighthouse to watch the rocket launches. We saw some monuments…

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Literally, you’re driving along scrub and then… this.  Oh, these were the Mars Missions. (No, they didn’t go to Mars. I think these guys went to the moon. Edit: No, they didn’t go to the moon, they just went into space.) It was along the road where the astronauts for this series of missions liked to drag race. One of the car dealerships gave all of them sports cars – except John Glenn. John was a family man so he got a station wagon.

I think.

We’re driving along and the guide throws his arm to the left – oh the Challenger remains are buried over there. And Columbia’s remains are buried here somewhere. So and so’s ashes are flung over there. The German guy he hated and tried to have fired and couldn’t get fired? His family flung his ashes over there too, so they’re flung there together. Of course, the Air Force told them they couldn’t, but they did anyway, so what are you going to do, vacuum the scrub?

There were two memorials that made me pause. The Columbia Memorial.

Columbia memoria

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As well as the Apollo 7 Memorial

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Yes, it’s The launch pad. If you look/squint behind the pad, you will see the memorial benches for each astronaut who died in the fire. It’s sadly neglected and overgrown. Once a year, they have a Survivor’s Day for the families. I would hope they cut down the scrub and tidy up. You look at these and you wonder about the quality of your own life. It also makes me wonder about the craziness of our own world. This year has been a plethora of death and I’m tired of it. At some point, God is going to reach down and slap the mortal pissfire out of some of us, maybe all of us. Sobering thoughts for vacation pics, eh?

Edit: Just after posting this, I heard about the bombings in Kabul. Will they ever stop?

There is a memorial for the astronauts of the Challenger, but we didn’t see that one. It’s out in the scrub…. somewhere.

There were the hangers where the chimps and astronauts were housed together. The astronauts complained about the chimps – they flung feces and trash and wouldn’t share their bananas, so eventually, they moved the astronauts to apartments. They made a lot of those hangers and today, SpaceX is using several of them. So finally, buildings that are still in use after years and years and not abandoned.

The SpaceX museum was really nice

It had flushie toilets, unlike the lighthouse that had portapotties out in the scrub with the mosquitoes. It also had one of the capsules, as well as some of the equipment from the original control towers. Very informative.

We had a nice quick view of Kennedy Space Center across the way. No, they AREN”T one and the same. Another new thing I learned.

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But of course, the REAL reason we went to Cape Canaveral was…

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This lighthouse is the sister lighthouse to Hunting Island in South Carolina – the one we visited in March. Both are constructed of cast iron, built to move because of expected erosion of the beach.

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Like many Southern lighthouses, this one was turned off (okay, the Fresnal lens was stolen and hidden until after the war, when it miraculously reappeared!) during the War of Northern Aggression.

That would be The Civil War to you non-American Southeners.

The really FUNNY thing about this lighthouse was it was original built up north and brought down here and put together. Every piece is numbered so it’s kinda like a legos or erector set.

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The builders ACTUALLY thought people would live in it, so the bottom 5 floors – the only 5 we were allowed to access, there are 10 – were created as rooms for people to live in. Doors, closets, etc… think about it.

Cast Iron House. Tubular. In South Florida. On the coast. Look at those porthole windows. NO breeze, whatsoever. C’mon. Really? They were clueless.

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My mom has that same tablecloth. I think it’s that old too!

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Needless to say, REAL homes outside were built very very quickly. According to old pictures, it was quite the complex! Also, every lighthouse keeper was related in some way to the original keeper.

He had a lot of daughters and if you wanted a job, you married the lighthouse keeper’s daughter. Really.

The lighthouse was beautifully maintained and the volunteers working the shop in the bottom were very knowledgeable and helpful and very talkative. It was HOT the day we were there – over 100 degrees and we went in the morning. My make up was melted off by the time we left the lighthouse.

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As I stated we were only allowed to climb the bottom 5 of 10 flights. It is one of the narrowist lighthouses at the top I’ve seen. They let us know why we weren’t allowed above the 5th floor…

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That 2nd pictures from the left??? That’s the stairs on the 10th floor. ’nuff said.

Back at our launch point was a beautiful observation tower we were allowed to go to. It had an elevator, thank you Jesus. It had a cafe, as well as rooms you can rent for whatever. Great little tourist shop, and we got to see three cruise ships in port. They were disembarking when we started and cars were lining up to embark when we returned.

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That is not a little black bow on the top of the ship on the left. It’s a Mickey Mouse Cruise Ship.

There are a load of pictures from this stop but I think these were the better ones. I think the ones from Jupiter LH – 2 hours south and climbed the same day – should be good, as well as the ones from the Japanese Garden we visited the next day. Some year, Spawn will get them done and I’ll bore you some more.

 

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