We’re not going to talk about what I’ve eaten, when I’ve slept or got up, or any of that over the last 4 days. Why? Because I was on VACATION!
So, here’s the quick and dirty version of our trip and I’ll be back to add pictures once I recover enough to get them off the camera!
On Thursday, we traveled to Titusville, FL, just North of Cocoa Beach for our, now annual, summer trip. Our goal was to play on the Space Coast all weekend! AND BOY DID WE! We arrived just after dinner time Thursday night and set up our campsite pretty quickly. We’ve done it enough, now, that it’s pretty routine and easy. We camped at the Manatee Hammock campsite, which is a Brevard County run facility. The staff is very friendly, and very helpful, even though the site is a bit… low end? There’s a pool, and the showers/restrooms were clean, even if they were VERY warm. It’s just off Highway 1, so there’s constant road noise, but it’s very shady and very well kept. Cocoa Beach is about 20 minutes away, and Kennedy Space Center is about the same distance, so it’s not a bad place to camp for a few nights. The worst thing about the site was the amount of mosquitos and no-see-ums that bit me every time I stepped outside. We set up a pop up with mosquito netting and it did little to no good keeping the bugs out. Since I enjoy sitting outside and letting the girls ride their bikes and play while we’re camping, it was a bit of a disappointment that all of our down time was spent inside our conversion trailer.
Friday morning, we overslept a bit, but still made it out to Kennedy Space Center by 10:30. If you’ve never been, you seriously need to go. I walked under the Saturn 5 rocket, gawking at the sheet size of the thing every step, sat through what mission control was like during the Apollo 11 launch, and enjoyed a very cool bus tour of the launch pads, then came back and introduced myself to the Space Shuttle Atlantis in one of the best presentations I’ve ever sat through. The annoying thing is that they make you watch a video before you see most of the displays (the Saturn 5, the Atlantis, even the Hall of Fame), and part of that were cool (minus all the standing to watch them, anyway). The Atlantis was my favorite, though, and even though I dreaded going through a 2 part video presentation, seeing that beautiful girl through the screen and hearing a voice introducing us to the Space Shuttle Atlantis was worth every second of it. The Shuttles represent my childhood, you see, and the astronauts that flew in them fed my dreams of being an astronaut, too. I watched the Challenger explosion sitting in the hallway with the entire school of Belle Chase Elementary School, I stopped what I was doing every time that shuttle lifted off from pad 39b and watched until they were out of range of the cameras, and I watched their reentry, too, crying like a baby when the Columbia never made it back. So being that close to the Atlantis with her arm out and her shuttle bay open… it was everything I’d wanted to see since I was in second grade, watching Christa McAuliffe give her life for the privilege of being the first teacher in space. Am I a geek about this? Yes, yes I am. We found some great pizza for dinner after we left NASA at Mamma Rosa’s Pizzeria Restaurant which serves some GINORMOUS awesomeness, and came back to the campsite to crash. My Fitbit showed 12,543 steps for that trip and my feet owned every single one of them!
On Saturday, we ventured into Cocoa Beach, to hit a few spots, after starting our day in the pool at the campsite. We started our day at the Dinosaur Store because Peanut is really into Dinosaurs. This turned out to be even more than I had expected, as they have a very well laid out museum upstairs with real fossils scattered in among castings of fossils on display in life size awesomeness. Quite a few of those critters wouldn’t fit in a single shot on Peanut’s camera, so she killed the battery making sure she got every inch of them! Then, we splurged and bought her a real fossil of her own, a 75 million year old Raptor tooth! I even found real amber to make SCA bling with, so WIN-WIN! After this, we drove over towards Ron Jon’s Surf shop and parked in the public access lot at the Four Seasons. It’s free to park there, only two blocks from the beach, and right across the street from Ron Jon’s, so I highly recommend it if anyone needs a good parking spot when they visit! We ate at the Shark Pit Grill there at the Four Seasons, and sat at the bar next to this amazing tank with sharks, eel, and a whole bunch of other salt water fish (WE FOUND DORI!). The crab cakes are amazing, Tadpole inhaled her cheeseburger, and I don’t even remember what my husband got, but there wasn’t much left by the time he was finished, so obviously, it was good, too! Afterwards, we crossed the side street and entered Ron Jon’s Surf Shop which hasn’t changed much since we went in 1998! We loaded up on touristy goodness with T-shirts, stickers for my car, and toys for the girls. There was even a live band playing while we were there! We scoped out the beach accesses along A1A and chose our beach spot for Sunday before we returned to the campsite with enough time to get in the pool, which was very warm because it had been sitting in the sun all day.
On Sunday, we made a few stops for food and other things on our way out to one of the beaches near Patrick Air Force Base. There’s no restroom, no food, just beach down there, so there’s not a lot of tourists and the beach isn’t crowded. However, there’s sand that had been trucked in, I’m guessing, then from the tide line out is all broken shell bits. It’s not hard to walk on, but it’s really uncomfortable to sit on and if you thought sand in your bathing suit was annoying, try SHELL BITS! About ten feet into the water, are full shells that have been deposited there by waves. Getting knocked down by a wave there is VERY uncomfortable! Tadpole and Peanut didn’t care, though, and, honestly, once I got used to it, it was alright. The waves hit you with small bits of shell, too, so it’s literally everywhere. Tadpole and I sat at the edge and let the waves hit us from there, playing with the shell bits that you couldn’t make sand castles out of (just ask Peanut!) and taunting the Atlantic Ocean with things like, “You can’t find our feet!” which she promptly proved she could do by using waves to wash away the shell bits we’d buried our feet in. Tadpole, more than once, started hauling out a line from Moana, “Fish pee in you! ALL DAY!” Once we’d had our fill of the beach, we came back to the campsite, where the girls begged to get back in the pool. We rinsed the shells off of us and then got in the pool, where we stayed for another hour or so, giving my husband time to take a nap in the trailer. I will say that I hosed myself down in SPF 70, hosed the girls down, too, and I have come back with a sunburn that is deep into the muscles of my legs. I hurts to bend my knees and not just because the skin is burnt. Ah well, such is the price we pay for being a blue eyed blonde on a beach and in a pool while the sun was up. Ibuprofen has helped take some of the pain away and I’m keeping the skin hydrated, too.
This morning, Monday, we got up, packed up our site in a little over an hour (practice has made us pretty efficient at that, too) and got back on the road at 10:30. Our plans for stopping in St. Augustine were sacrificed on the altar of both my sunburn and my husband’s, whose chest resembles a lobster almost as deeply as my legs. Neither of us slept all that well because of it, so we were both tired and ready to crash. We stopped for gas and lunch, and made it home by 3:30, where we promptly crashed on the couch. I have so far managed not to fall asleep, but I can tell you… that’s not going to last much longer!
So, aside from pictures, that’s the story of our summer vacation! We’ll get back to our regularly scheduled stuff tomorrow!
Until next time!