October 31, 2007

Magic Kingdom-Visit #1

Today is Halloween. We headed off early in the afternoon to take in The Magic Kingdom for the first time since arriving in the land of Disney.

Before going, Marlon caught this snapshot of our very own Garfield, although we have named him Fatfield...err...Chatfield.

Meanwhile, Sammy found a new technique to drink water and demonstrated it in this video.

So you CAN teach an old CAT new tricks.

The excitement mounted as we approached the parking lot entrance to The Magic Kingdom. The lines of cars stretched on for miles.

Magic Kingdom pictures would not be complete without a shot of Cinderella's Castle.

Many nights throughout October, The Magic Kingdom held Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. As a separate ticket was required for this event, the park would "close" at 7:00 pm for the party.

Not So Scary Halloween Partygoers dressed in nearly every costume imaginable. Ironically, many leaned toward a Disney theme.

Captain Jack Sparrow, among others, was in attendance.

Snow White and her wicked stepmother were also a popular choice for the night.

You know you're in Mouse land when full grown plants take on this shape.

For more pictures of our Magic Kingdom Visit #1, go to http://public.fotki.com/Marlonfleenor/1/2007/october/magickingdomvisit1/ .

To be continued...

October 23, 2007

Launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery

Today we headed to the Kennedy Space Center to personally view the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery. The Shuttle was carrying seven astronauts and a critical connecting module for the international space station.

Several thousand spectators joined us for the event.

Astronaut John Fabian took the stage throughout the morning to relate stories about his experiences in space in the 1980's aboard the Challenger and Discovery. One of his fellow flight crew members was the first woman in space, Sally Ride.

Big screens provided up-close analysis and information leading up to the launch.

Here is the promotional poster for the crew of Space Shuttle Discovery launch STS-120. The launch window would open at 11:33 am.

The launch was executed apparently flawlessly at 11:38 am. We documented it in the videos appearing below. It was truly a neat sight to behold.



Kennedy Space Center has a Space Shuttle Control Center set up where visitors can go to view the Space Shuttle on mission and hear different astronauts describe what the crew is experiencing on the current mission and what they themselves experienced on their own missions.

The newest attraction at Kennedy Space Center is the Shuttle Launch Experience, a chance to personally experience a high-impact simulation of a Space Shuttle Launch.

The Space Shuttle Explorer is on display at the Kennedy Space Center. We were a little disheartened to find that it is not an actual space shuttle that has flown but is instead a full-scale replica of a Space Shuttle. It was still quite impressive to see both inside and out. Be sure to click on the additional photos link at the bottom for pictures of the interior.

If we had actually been this close to the launch, we probably would have been incinerated or, at the very least, deaf.

Marlon prepares for his exploration of the moon by boarding this Lunar Roving Vehicle, also known as a moon buggy. These vehicles were used on the moon during the Apollo program.

For more pictures of the Kennedy Space Center on the day STS-120 was successfully executed go to http://public.fotki.com/Marlonfleenor/1/2007/october/shuttle-lauch-and-v/ .

To be continued...

October 20, 2007

Frank, Joyce & Kids Come to Visit

Marlon's step-brother Frank came to visit with his family from Sebring, Florida. Frank and Joyce and kids, Aron and Austin, were welcoming us to Florida.

First, Aron gave us a show from his inventory of card tricks...

and Austin gave us some lessons in the fine art of somersaults.

Then the family treated us to one their favorite restaurants in Orlando, Don Pablo's Mexican Kitchen. The chips were so good, Doug ate a couple of bowls of chips by himself.

Then we all headed over to Pirate's Cove for a little miniature golf action.

A group photo between holes.

Frank and sons after the game...Aron and Austin look excited to don the pirate hat...well Austin does anyway.

They were BOTH excited to see their parents in the pillory.

But Austin was more excited when we went to Fun Spot. Here he and Joyce are about to ram Aron in the bumper cars.

Hey, are you looking at me?

Time for Frank and Austin to take a few laps around the go-cart track.

Then Aron is ready to soak 'em in the bumper boats...

and soak Marlon and Austin he did.

Here's a video of Austin enjoying the fun.

For more pictures of this evening, go to http://public.fotki.com/Marlonfleenor/1/2007/october/franks-family-take-/ .

To be continued...

October 17, 2007

Theme World RV Resort & The Citrus Tower

Today we arrived at Theme World RV Resort just off I-4 and US27 in Davenport, Florida about 10 miles west of the entrance to Disney World.

Our plan is to be here at Theme World enjoying the Florida "winter" until about mid-April. We will be in this spot.

The day after we arrived we drove around a little bit looking for the nearest Wal-Mart and found this offbeat attraction-The Citrus Tower in Clermont, Florida.

Built in 1956, it was one of the first tourist attractions in the area. At over 200 feet high, orange groves could be seen for miles from the observation tower at the top.

As you can see, the current view in the same direction has a few less orange trees in it.

Another view from a different direction atop the tower gives vast insight into the high cost of orange juice nowadays...there are NO more orange trees in Florida.

This picture of Marlon provides a little proof that we really did go up in The Citrus Tower.

A volunteer tour guide gives a brief history of The Citrus Tower in this video.

For more pictures of Theme World RV Resort and The Citrus Tower, go to http://public.fotki.com/Marlonfleenor/1/2007/october/theme-world-rv-reso/ and http://public.fotki.com/Marlonfleenor/1/2007/october/citrus-tower-clermont-fl/ .

To be continued...

October 13, 2007

Atlas 5 Rocket Launch Viewed from Cocoa Beach

Marlon heard that there was going to be an Atlas 5 Rocket launching this evening, so we headed over to the Cocoa Beach Pier to view the launch.

This Atlas rocket was to launch the first Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft...whatever that is. Here is the video as recorded by DOUG with the camera...

and here's the same event recorded by MARLON with the camcorder...

The pictures following were taken when we returned to Cocoa Beach during the daytime the following Saturday.

Although the sand at Cocoa Beach is not white like at Navarre Beach, it is pretty clean.

A small sea gull struggles to keep hold of his food.

Marlon made sure to take off his $1 shoes so they didn't get wet.

This is the Cocoa Beach pier where we viewed the Atlas Rocket launch days before. We stood at the very end near the Tiki Bar.

To see a few more pictures of the Atlas Rocket Launch and Cocoa Beach, go to http://public.fotki.com/Marlonfleenor/1/2007/october/atlas-rocket-launch/ and http://public.fotki.com/Marlonfleenor/1/2007/october/cocoa-beach/ .

To be continued...

October 9, 2007

The Great Outdoors Resort, Titusville, Florida

Next we headed to The Great Outdoors RV, Nature & Golf Resort. But we'll just refer to it as The Great Outdoors from here on out. The Great Outdoors is located in Titusville, Florida and is just 12 miles from the NASA Visitor Center at the Kennedy Space Center.

All of the RV sites at The Great Outdoors are deeded to individual owners and are quite large. There are several different types of properties at the park. Property in the park sells from $69,900 for a basic RV site all the way up to $800,000 for a resort home with RV garage.

Our street came with its very own family of cranes.

Although we didn't see any, apparently there are also alligators prowling around the property now and then.

Deer are seen at all times of the day and night in many sections of the park. This deer was enjoying the peace and quiet of the nature trail while we were bicycling down it.

This marked the first time we had removed the bikes from the RV to ride them. Hopefully, we will do it more often in the future.

Marlon put together a video of the nature trail at The Great Outdoors. Click below to view it.
Sammy finds peace and relaxation in the plush driver's seat.

Rving presents plenty of opportunity to learn how to play shuffleboard if the desire ever hits.

This stream is nestled away behind residences on the nature trail.

We had our first annual service for the motorhome here at The Great Outdoors, including an oil change for the engine and generator as well as a new fuel filter.

While the motorhome was in service they loaned us an electric golf cart to explore the park. Driving the golf cart reminded Marlon of his Toyota Prius.

Deer stop and wonder at the golf carts as they fly by.

There's one of our new filters now.

We stayed exactly a week here at The Great Outdoors venturing out to Cocoa Beach and Titusville a few times and simply relaxing. A visit to the Kennedy Space Center was planned for October 23rd to coincide with the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery.

For more pictures of The Great Outdoors, go to http://public.fotki.com/Marlonfleenor/1/2007/october/the-great-outdoors--1/ .

To be continued...