Back in December I realized that the STS-130 space shuttle mission just might be the last night shuttle launch. NASA had decided to retire the shuttle fleet at the end of 2010. I started doing some research into what it would take to photograph a shuttle launch. A some point I started discussing it with my photography friends and family. Dad thought that it would be fun and a once in a lifetime experience. So I invited him and he said yes. Now while growing up my father and I never took a vacation together. Any trips we took together were to go see my grandparents so this was our first real vacation together.
We left Houston in the rain on Thursday and it rained all the way to the Florida border. It rained so much at times that you could barely see the road in front of you. There were numerous accidents along the way. Several cars went off the road. One 18-wheeler turned over in the middle of the road. The rain was really bad around the Alabama/Florida boarder. So we stopped in Pensacola for the night.
In the morning, the rain had let up. It did rain some during the day, but nothing like the downpour that we experienced the day before. In Gainesville, we came across 3 accidents and witnessed one car spin across the highway and come to rest pointed the wrong way. One of the accidents was so bad that anyone in the back seat would have been lost. To me, it looked like the car was hit, spun off the road, and hit a tree from the rear bumper. The car hit with such force that the trunk of the car was compacted into the backseat.
Through out our trip down I-10, we passed numerous New Orleans Saints fans going to the Super Bowl in Miami. Once we made the turn South on I-75 the traffic picked up and we stopped seeing as many Saints fans. While waiting for the traffic to clear in Gainesville, we even spied a Colts fan in their RV. I took the picture below to document that there will be at least one die hard Colts fan at the game.
We made it to Orlando with about 16 hours of driving over two days. I’m looking forward to the launch early Sunday morning. We have a tour bus picking us up and taking us to the Kennedy Space Center. From there we will board another bus that will take us to a site that is only 6 miles from the launch pad. It should be a good time. Hopefully I will get some good shots.