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A Two-Museum Day

Hank – I woke up at 4:30 am. That sounds like rain. Then the lightning and thunder started. I wondered how the dogs were faring. I was half awake and half dozing for a couple of hours. Mary made us a great breakfast. We chatted some more and then had to pack up and leave. I really hope they come through Spokane at some time while they’re touring so we can hang out some more.

Rob has a sailboat he’s working on and keeping at Honest John’s Fish Camp. He told us about an 8-foot alligator that the owner is trying to harass enough to make it move somewhere else. Kathy was not keen on seeing the 8-foot alligator so we skipped stopping by. A cool thing about the property is the original deed is signed by President Theodore Roosevelt.

There must be some good fishing at Sebastian Inlet. When we crossed the bridge we saw tons of people fishing on both sides. A bird of prey was sitting on a pole at the crest of the bridge. I got a photo right when it started to fly away.

Pressing onward on Hwy A1A we came up on the McLarty Treasure Museum. Way back in the early 18th century 11 or 12 Spanish ships carrying millions in gold and silver sank off shore near here. The museum has a lot of artifacts on display. There’s also a documentary about how salvagers discovered and recovered artifacts and treasure. We hung out there for almost an hour.

We stopped in Vero Beach for lunch at a place called Cravings. They had live music outside. I got the impression we were in a high end neighborhood. Everyone in sight looked like they were worth a million bucks.

When I first mapped out our route I notice the Navy UDT-SEAL Museum was along the way. First, I wondered why the museum was in Fort Pierce. Second, I knew we had to stop by. We met Dave, Hal, Andy, and Christoper who volunteer there. After hearing what we were up to they thought we were badass. Are you kidding me? Navy SEALS, man. Kathy and I checked out the museum. It takes you through the history of the SEAL Teams in reverse chronological order. All of the artifacts on display, boats, weapons, a helicopter, and more, were either actually used by SEAL Team members or were captured by them. We had a great visit. Before we left, Dave gave me a U.S. Navy coin. How cool is that? We meet the nicest people everywhere we go. We say our goodbyes and wished them all a Merry Christmas.

Oh, and why is the museum here? Because the training site for the Underwater Demolition Team, precursor to SEAL Teams, developed during WWII was here at Fort Pierce.

Rain was not in the forecast but it decided to show up anyway. A light rain started while we were at the museum. And when we left it increased in intensity. We only had seven miles to the hotel, which was only slightly more than a tent site at the KOA campground, and we were thoroughly soaked by the time we got there. We got everything dried out and did our laundry.

Kathy – Mary prepared an amazing breakfast of banana pancakes and maple bacon which we thoroughly enjoyed with our tea. We had a few more hours of wonderful conversations with Rob & Mary before we had to bid them goodbye. We could have spent much longer with  these amazing people but we had to press on with our travels. We are extremely grateful for all of Rob & Mary’s outstanding hospitality.

Today we cycled 44 miles with temps in the low 80’s. It was a cloudy day until our last seven miles where it rained nicely. We were pretty soaked by the time we got to our hotel tonight. We are limited for campsites in this area. We did find a KOA that was charging $50 to pitch a tent. We chose wisely and paid $10 more for a dry hotel room.

We stopped by two museums on the way to our destination today – Fort Pierce, Florida. Both of them were very interesting, but I must say the Navy UDT Seal Museum was quite spectacular. So many outstanding Navy Seal displays which included historical information. Not only was the inside of the museum fantastic, but outside there were so many artifacts that allowed us to increase our knowledge about the SEALs. We met some incredible people that work there too. They were interested in our bike trip but we were just fascinated by all that was there. This by far was an amazing museum. I was happy that Hank found it on the map and happy to meet the fine gentlemen who work there too.

It was a pretty relaxing ride today. I had lots of comments on my Christmas decorated bicycle. It is surprising just how cheap you can get a few Christmas decorations at Wally World. Most loved the Christmas tree on the back of my bike. It is all about being seen by the cars and if this helps all is good. Hank is somewhat of a bah-humbug and isn’t interested in any decoration on his bike. We are enjoying the warm weather. Only four more days before we fly back to cold, snowy Spokane for Christmas. 🎄

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The Kennedy Space Center

Hank – A good night’s sleep does wonders for you and we both felt much better when we woke this morning. We got our rental car at noon and drove to the Kennedy Space Center. Unfortunately, the thunderstorms and rain visited at the same time. During the bus tour of the launch pads and our visit to the Apollo and Saturn V Center the rain came down in buckets interfering with our views and making photography impossible. Thankfully it stopped when we left the Apollo and Saturn V Center so we had a much clearer view of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). It’s a big honkin’ single-story building with four bays where the space vehicles are assembled before being rolled out to the launch pads.

Back at the Kennedy Center we found we had to watch a video to get in to see the Space Shuttle Atlantis. I remember when we first got into the center, before getting on the bus tour, we had the option to leave through the exit doors during the video so I offered that idea to Kathy. When they dropped the rope and opened the doors Kathy and I headed for the exit doors but we didn’t see any. There were four sets of doors and only one set had a handle so I opened it. There was a second theater with a video playing. We figured we’d at least cut out video viewing time in half so we jumped in. When we did the employee watching this group pointed back at the doors and said, “Hey you’re supposed to stay in there.” Well, it was too late to do anything about us but the door opened again and he was quick to stop whoever else tried to come in.

The next generation launch vehicle, the Space Launch System, looks promising and exciting. Hopefully we’ll see some exciting results from this program. The trip to Mars is part of the program.

I enjoyed all the displays but the loud dramatic music, whether in the videos you have to watch or it being piped throughout the place, really wore me down. We made short work of the remaining displays at the center and skipped the remaining videos. Kids would love this as it is really geared towards them, which is great because I would hope it would generate interest in science.

We wrapped up the evening with a video chat with our kids. It’s always great to see them and we’re looking forward to hanging out with them during Christmas.

Kathy – We both slept well last night and had a relaxing morning in the hotel. We picked up the rental car this morning so we can move a bit faster on the roads. The next four days we will be playing and acting like tourist in Titusville and Orlando. We have lots of time to cycle the last 192 miles to the Fort Lauderdale airport where we fly home on December 19th. So it’s time to relax and enjoy the sites via the rental car. We turn the car back in on Thursday, hop back on the bikes and then start our trek south.

Today we visited Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. It was interesting and we are happy we went. We like to read the many interesting facts as we visit sites and museums, but Kennedy Space Center is geared more for the kids. Lots of exciting music and ten minute videos that you must view in order to move to the open display rooms.

Each area there requires you to watch one video then move to another room and watch a second video, then finally you move into the open area with artifacts and informational readings displayed. In one of the buildings we decided to sneak into the second room without watching the first rooms video. 🤓 Needless to say the gentleman working there was surprised to see us come in and not very happy about it. We are not interesting standing in two different rooms per building for 20 minutes of videos with loud music before we can view the displays. Seems they should let you skip the videos if you like. Regardless, we did find it to be an interesting place and are happy we went. We do not buy all the souvenirs at tourist places, so the highlight was when I talked Hank into dressing up in the spacesuits and getting our picture taken. 🚀 👩‍🚀👨‍🚀🌟