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Northstar To NASA – Kennedy Space Center

One of the main attractions of Jetty Park Campground is the parade of cruise ships that pass through Port Canaveral into the Atlantic Ocean.  Every Sunday evening, folks line the shore to watch these enormous ships pass a stone’s throw away from the campground.

We were unbelievably lucky to (1) be staying at Jetty Park on a Sunday, and (2) get a campsite right on the water where the cruise ships pass.  On that particular Sunday, there were three cruise ships scheduled to sail starting at 4:00pm.

As departure time approached, the unmistakable sound of a ships fog horn roared and echoed repeatedly across the campground.  With each horn blast, more people lined the jetty rocks waiting for the first ship.  Finally, the Carnival Sensation slowly made its way toward us.

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Above: The Carnival Sensation and the Disney Dream (click to enlarge)

It’s quite the sight when these monstrosities sail by; music playing, people laughing, and the announcer announcing, “You’re on vacation!”  As the ship gained speed, I kept thinking about the endless buffet just a couple hundred feet away.  Maybe I could dive in, swim across, climb on board, sneak a hot dog or three, and come back before Angela noticed.  Am I the only person who has these thoughts?

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Above: The Disney Dream going past Jetty Park

About an hour later, the Disney Dream pushed through the channel towards the ocean.  True to Disney form, the Dream played loud Disney music.  Then the Disney cruise director called out on the ship’s PA system, “Hey kids, yell if you’re skipping school!”  From shore you could hear children scream from stem to stern.  Then the director said, “Hey parents, yell if you’re skipping work!”  The noise that resulted was probably heard by their employers coast-to-coast.

With the Dream safely at sea, Angela and I settled into our usual truck camper evening routine; we made dinner, ate dinner, washed the dishes, put the dishes away, and then crawled into the cabover to watch television or a movie.  Downton Abbey was on and Angela was quite pleased that the Northstar’s antenna picked up the program in crystal clear high-definition.  Potato Sack and I were less smitten, but we can’t always watch Animal Planet and Star Wars.

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Above: The Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas at night (click to enlarge)

Fifteen minutes into the post-Edwardian aristocratic drama, another ship’s horn roared.  When I opened the rear door, there was the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas.  In the dark the ship looked like a city block at night, reflecting its neon lights onto wet streets.  It was a notably calmer ship.  No announcer rallied the passengers.  No music filled the air.  Just the dull swoosh of water passing the hull, and the voices of hundreds of people excited for the adventure before them.  If I swam out quickly…

Kennedy Space Center

The next morning we woke up at dawn, quietly packed the camper, and set out for Kennedy Space Center.  Operation Whisker Sneak had been a success, and Potato Sack went back to his former name sake.  Harley was relieved.

Kennedy Space Center is located just twenty minutes from Jetty Park, across the Banana River in Titusville, Florida.  The gate opens at 9:00am, so we arrived around 8:45am to get Harley settled and beat the expected crowds.  We were somewhat surprised by the parking attendant who charged us $10 as an automobile instead of $15 as a motorhome/RV.  It’s good to be a truck camper.

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Above: Parking Lot D at Kennedy Space Center

We were directed to parking lot D where we found news vans freshly set-up with out-stretched antennas, satellite dishes, and cameras.  When we asked the NASA folks why the news crews were there, they told us some congressmen and women were attending a NASA presentation and the news was going to broadcast their post-meeting comments.

I was tempted to flash my esteemed Truck Camper Magazine media credentials to see if we could get press passes, but Angela gave me a, “Don’t even think about it” look.  How can she read my mind like that?

Nothing Is Simple Anymore

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