Sunday, October 17, 2010

Space Shot

So far the Tennessee River has been out of this world.  As we make our way to Chattanooga the fall colors have started to appear on the mountain sides.  I must say, I was not expecting to see much in the way of leaves turning this far south, but much to our delight it is on every mountain side.  We have even had a touch of cold weather.  On a few mornings we have awoken to find a thin frost on the ground, and for the first time since we started the trip we have found ourselves looking for those sweatshirts we stowed months ago.  I have to tell you I am not upset with the drop in temperature, the 100 degree days were brutal on us.  This is the perfect temperature for a New Englander.  The good weather is not the only good news we have gotten in the past few days, it seems that my parents are going to fly into Chattanooga for a visit.  I must say it has been far too long since we have seen them.  So with a date set and reservations made Anna and I made our way up the Tennessee.  One of the stops I had been long looking forward to was a visit to the Huntsville U.S. Space and Rocket Center.  To those of you that have not heard of Huntsville, it is home to the largest military arsenal in the United States, and was also the testing ground for our Nations Space Program.  All of the Mercury, Gemini and Saturn Rockets were constructed and test fired in Alabama.  For that matter I would not hesitate to say that all of our country's cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and other things that go boom were built here as well.  Huntsville is also home to NASA's space camp.  When I was a kid I always dreamed of being an astronaut and thought that going to Space Camp would be just awesome.  Upon our arrive to the center, we were greeted by life size replicas of all of NASA's rockets.  On display inside the main hall was a real life Saturn Rocket displayed on its side.  It was amazing to walk alongside the rocket and marvel at its size.  Many of the exhibits at the museum were fascinating to look at, never before have I seen so much in one area.  I felt like a kid as a stared endlessly at the flight suits, helmets, and other equipment.  I was in heaven.  Anna was also in heaven in Huntsville but for an entirely different reason.  Huntsville had a Publix Supermarket and Anna went crazy over the fresh produce.  It seems that Walmart has taken over the world with regards to shopping in the south, and although they have lots of stuff, their produce and meats to put it softly, STINK.  I too have been craving a head of lettuce that is not stuffed in a pre-made bag and a cut of meat that was not packaged in a warehouse god knows where or how long ago.  It is funny the things you come to miss on the water.  I can't say I miss TV, but I do miss the farm and fresh tomatoes and corn.  I am sure there are places to get these things here, but they never seem to be within biking distance from the rivers.  With a fully stocked boat, we are pushing off for Chattanooga, it is going to be nice to see Mom and Dad, it has been too long.

We had to say goodbye to our good friends Jerry and Carolyn, they are on their way to Florida ahead of us.  Safe Travel Guys.



Watching the water be released from the locks can be a great show.


Mobey seemed to perk up a bit when we passed this stretch of river.



WOW!


The Home of space camp.  Yes, there really were tons of kids walking around in blue flight suits working on all sorts of projects.  They even had a huge dive tank where the kids get to experience getting in a space suit and working underwater just like the real astronauts.


I had to laugh at this sign.  Talk about having two meanings. 

How fast do you think blue would go with one of these pushing her?

The fact that this was a real rocket was hard to believe.  We learned that the new Orion Rockets will be even bigger than this Saturn Rocket.


To think this capsule went all the way to the moon and back.


This space suit walked on the Moon.



Wow this is not a lot of room.



Look at the size of the Saturn Rocket compared to the smaller Mercury and Gemini rockets.


What a day, and what a great sunset.




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