Florida Trip 2011

Planning for this trip started in mid-2010, as it became clear that the days of the Space Shuttle were numbered. Neither Scott nor I had ever seen a shuttle launch, and we knew that if we ever wanted to have that opportunity, it would have to be some time in early 2011. The November, 2010, launch of STS-133 was delayed until February, 2011, and that seemed like an ideal time to take a week off from shoveling snow and visit Florida. Even better, if we scheduled it right, we could also see the Red Sox in Grapefruit League action at their spring-training home field in Fort Myers. I also wanted to take the “Cape Canaveral, Then and Now” tour, which brings visitors to several historically important launch complexes on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and Scott had several years ago made contact with WPOZ founder and SBE organizer Jim Hoge, who had been asking for the opportunity to show Scott around ever since. Neither of us had ever done tower-hunting in central Florida, and both of us had last visited the area as young children in the early 1980s, so it was an opportune time to kill six birds with one stone. (Note: no actual birds were harmed in the making of this journey.)

Because of the limited availability of the Cape Canaveral tour, we spent Thursday, February 24, in Titusville watching the launch, then spent the next day with Jim and his coworkers in Orlando, and returned to the Space Coast on Saturday for the Cape tour, before heading across the state to the Gulf coast for Tampa, Sarasota, and Fort Myers, finally returning to Orlando on March 2 to see WPOZ's tower in Bithlo. Scott started a couple of days earlier, up in Jacksonville; I joined him in Daytona Beach the day before the Shuttle launch.