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Off the Editor’s Desk – 3-7-2018

Weather was nice in Florida

We returned last week from our annual winter vacation. This year we traveled to Florida and spent a week on the East Coast and the second week was at Destin on the Gulf of Mexico.

The temperature for the most part was in the low sixties during the night and the mid-seventies during the day.

While on the east coast we stayed a few nights with Paula’s brother and sister-in-law, Allen and Paulette Klatt at Titusville.

While at Titusville we had the opportunity to watch a rocket launch from the Kennedy Space Center. Allen drove one of his cars to the beach early in the morning to make sure we had a good spot to view the launch.  

We arrived sometime before the scheduled 1:30 launch time with our viewpoint some eight miles from the launch pad, 39A across the Indian River. The launch window was until 4 p.m. that afternoon and it was just before that time that the big rocket fired up and lifted off. We waited about four and half hours for the event.

The rocket called the Falcon Heavy Launch was a 230-foot tall vehicle. According to a newspaper report the Falcon Heavy’s 27 Merlin main engines generated more than five million pounds of thrust and are capable of lifting 141,000 pounds into a low earth orbit.

This launch was a private event staged by Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and of Tesla, the manufacturer of electric cars. His ($100,000) 2008 Tesla Roadster, an all-electric sports car was the payload in the nose cone of this launch. The car was shot into orbit and Musk stated the car will remain in obit for millions of years. The company has obtained contracts for future launches which could start in just a few months.

Not only were we thrilled with the lift-off but eight minutes later two of the rocket’s side cores performed a tandem landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and generated back-to-back sonic booms during the descent.

We could not see the landing of those two rockets, but did see them return which looked like two red dots against the blue sky and then the sonic boom. I watched the TV coverage of that landing and those two sat down on their tails and it looked like to me that it was something out of a science fiction movie. 

Traveling to Destin for a week in a timeshare on the gulf coast beach along with a million other winter birds from the cold north, we discovered how much movement is done by us older people. During the day, the three-lane highway in front of the place we were staying at was congested with solid traffic. But after eight in the evening, hardly a car was on that street. Apparently all of the old people were in bed by that time!

Leaving Destin, we traveled along the coast for some time before heading to Little Rock to spend a day with two of our grandchildren and then on to Kansas City for a night and then home. Leaving Kansas City it started to rain and the road turned to ice, but thankfully we did not have any bad experiences with the ice and by the time we drove into Iowa, the roads were dry and it is great to be back home.

Thanks for reading!     ~ Carlton