First post of 2013, it’s been a busy month. The first week of February my mom, dad, and I traveled to Key largo for vacation. We stayed at the Key Lime sailing club, which had a ton of fun stuff for us to do out on the bay, yes, including sailing. We went snorkeling twice which was awesome both times. We also went to the Florida Everglades where we saw tons of neat birds and alligators. It was a really great trip. There are a ton of pictures in my flickr gallery, and here are but a few of them.
Sandwiched between my Saratoga trips was the family vacation to the Adirondacks. I got a few hikes in, one an ill advised 3.5 miler in 85 degree heat with a banana and a beer for lunch, had a great time with my family, and had a relaxing time over all. The weather was just beautiful, and very warm. Swam in the lake every day. Just a great year at the lake. Posted a few photos on flickr, and of course here’s a few on the blog.
The last week in July and first week in August, while the stock market was tanking, I spent an enjoyable week in the Adirondack region of New York on vacation. I was able to do a lot of swimming, some hiking, star gazing, sailing, kayaking, trespassing, and pretty much everything you can think of that is fun. I got to spend time with my entire family, which is really special to me. Even my Aunt Paula came out from St. Louis, she took some great loon photos. Here’s a sample of some of my photos, the full gallery is visible on my flickr page.
This was a really fun vacation, and all the photos I took can be viewed on my flickr page.
We took the opportunity this June to make a quick trip to Boston for a couple baseball games (Both wins by the Sox over the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks), then it was time for a trip up to Burlington Vermont. While there we went on the Magic Hat Brewery Tour, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory Tour, walked around downtown Burlington, took in game 7 of the Celtics / Lakers NBA finals at a college bar, watched the sunset over Lake Champlain, and had a fun ferry ride on the way home. All in all a great trip. here’s a few photos…
It was a fun trip, and I think I would like to go back some time.
This past weekend Tracy and I went to Philadelphia to visit her mom and brother. We also went down to Baltimore to see the Red Sox for the first time this year. The pitching match up featured John Lackey for the Sox and Brian Matusz for the Orioles. We were hoping for a high scoring affair with the Sox winning of course. We ended up getting some extra innings for our $, but the Sox came out on the losing end 3-4 in an 11 inning thriller. Still we had a great time.
Sunday 11/15/2009 Day 3: Florida Institute of Technology and Cocoa Beach
On Sunday we took a break from our traveling to relax before the shuttle launch. We did go south to Melbourne and the Florida Institute of Technology to walk through their botanical gardens which was nice. There were lots of varieties of palms, bamboo, and lizards too. A lot of the trees had giant pathos plants growing all over them, but the leaves were huge compared to how large they get indoors in Rochester.
For me, it was fun to see lizards everywhere, but I have a hunch they are like squirrels down there to Floridians. I took the opportunity to take some infrared photos while we walked through the gardens, as the palm plants make really stunning pictures.
After we walked through the gardens, we went back to the hotel to spend the day at the beach. There were strong rip tides because of the remnants of Hurricane Ida that went up the coast, but we still did some wading. It was a very rough surf, and you really got pushed around by the waves and currents. But you gotta go in the ocean when you go on vacation, so we did.
As always, larger pictures of our full trip to Florida are available from my Flickr photo gallery. Day 4 includes our photos of the shuttle launch.
Saturday 11/14/2009 Day 2: Daytona 500 Experience
On Saturday we traveled up Interstate 95 to Daytona to tour Daytona International Speedway and the museum. When we arrived we were able to hop onto a tour tram and get onto a tour of the infield. I was surprised that the speedway actually seemed smaller than I thought it was. Seemed like if you were watching a race that you would easily be able to see all the action around the track. It is a large track, don’t get me wrong, but I was pleasantly surprised at the sight lines.
The tour took us into the infield through one of the tunnels under turn 4. The tour guide told us that the Italian Auto Club currently had track time, and we were treated to a steady stream of Ferraris, Mustangs, and other sports cars zooming around the track. Pretty much EVERYONE on the tour was more excited to see the cars racing by than look at the row of garages or grandstands and safety fences.
The banking of the track is REALLY steep, at 30 degrees in the corners. The tour stopped near the new winners circle for us all to get photos there, and view the VIP suites high above the speedway. Still, most people were trying to get views of the sports cars on the track.
After touring the speedway we went into the museum. There were multiple interactive racing simulators (some cost money), lots of cars on display, and lots of Richard Petty memorabilia. Matt Kenseth’s 2009 Daytona 500 winning car was on display right out of the winners circle. There were lots of bugs and gunk on it, and the fenders, front and back, were bashed in from the bump drafting. Really cool.
We watched an IMAX movie in 3D which was pretty good, and then went out to the track to watch some more auto club racing from the turn 4 grandstands. The cars were fast, and you could tell the grandstands were huge.
Overall it was a really nice day, and we spent about 4 1/2 hours at the museum before heading back to Coca Beach.
As always, larger pictures of our full trip to Florida are available from my Flickr photo gallery. Day 3 includes our trip to see the gardens at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne and the beach.
Friday 11/13/2009 Day 1: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center
On the first day of our Florida trip to see the NASA STS-129 Shuttle Atlantis Launch, we decided to tour the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Center to see the exhibits and take the Up-Close Shuttle Bus Tour of the complex. We knew we were going to be back on Monday the 16th for the shuttle launch, but wanted to take a day on site before the launch day so we could take our time and see everything we wanted to without feeling rushed on launch day. Plus, some of the tours and exhibits might be closed on launch day, and Dad made the great move of getting us Up-Close tour bus tickets for Friday, which promised to get us closer to the shuttle launch (it did not disappoint).
We arrived at the Visitor Center Friday morning and proceeded to walk through the rocket garden. The rocket garden has a collection of the early rockets the United States used to get astronauts and payloads into space. There is a Mercury Redstone, like the one Alan Shepard used to be the first American in Space, and a Saturn rocket, similar to the humongous Saturn V, as well as an assortment of capsules and many informative plaques and descriptions. Dad and I even sat in some of the replicas. It was pretty neat, and tough to get all the rockets into the camera frames.
After viewing the Rocket Garden, we went to the Astronaut Memorial, and saw a brief presentation on NASA today, which showed some live remote camera views of the prep work that was being completed for the upcoming shuttle launch. It was pretty informative, and neat to see. Then we went and saw the 3D IMAX movie about the International Space Station, and it was on to the main event, the Up-Close Bus Tour.
The Up-Close tour was really great and well worth the extra $20 it costs. We got to ride out to the NASA Causeway where we would be watching the STS-129 launch from on Monday. We could also see the Atlas V rocket which was supposed to be launching Intelsat 14 early Saturday morning, and the Delta IV rocket in its assembly building which was to launch later in the next week, but got delayed. We could tell that we were going to have some prime viewing spots for the launch. The shuttle was on Pad 39A, although most of it was obscured because the control structure was in place. NASA Launch Pad 39A, where Atlantis would launch from is 6 miles away from the causeway. Pad 39B, converted for the Ares Rocket Program is slightly farther away. The Delta IV and Atlas V are US Air Force Launch Sites, and not accessible or viewable to the public. Views from the causeway.
After viewing the launch sites and rockets from the causeway, we got back on the bus and headed towards the large Vehicle Assembly Building. We made a right and drove past the standard tour viewing platform (3 miles away) and headed towards a closer tour viewing area. We drove past the 39B launch pad and past a couple NASA crawlers. Then we made it to a viewing area midway between pads 39A and 39B. It was really close. We stayed there a while and viewed both pads. Shuttle Atlantis was on 39A. We also saw a tortoise burying eggs, and a NASA T-38 Jet fighter flew over. It was very close, very cool, and well worth the trip.
While at the viewing platform I was able to use my super zoom lense to get an image of one of the USGS Benchmarks in the excluded camera pad area. Its designation is “KAREN”.
After viewing the shuttle and launch pads, we went to the huge Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). The VAB is the largest building in the world by volume. It is over 500 feet high, and each star on the giant American flag is 6 feet in diameter. Each stripe is 9 feet in diameter. The VAB was built to assemble the huge Saturn V rocket. Today’s shuttle is half that size. When we visited, vultures were using the heat waves off the building to soar. More info on the VAB is available on Wikipedia.
We did a drive by of the really loooonng NASA landing strip after our stop at the VAB. It was not very exciting, just a huge runway.
After the runway drive-by we ended our bus tour at the Saturn V building. This rocket is huge! To big for my zoom lens, so I’ll have to wait for some pictures from Dad to post here. It was neat to see the rocket, touch a moon rock, and get a bit to eat. The Saturn V building is near the bleachers where the extended family of the astronauts get to view the launch. More info on the giant Saturn V rocket is available on Wikipedia.
After the bus tour, we returned to the visitor center and rode the NASA Launch Experience, which was amusing, and toured the shuttle bay in their full size shuttle on sight. Then it was back to the hotel. The Intelsat 14 satellite was due to blast off on the Atlas V rocket we saw earlier at 12:48am that night. So we got some rest and went out to the beach at 12:30am to watch the launch. Unfortunately unknown to us, the launch was scrubbed at 12:35am and we ended up staying out on the beach until 2:15am before giving up on it that morning. Doh!
As always, larger pictures of our full trip to Florida are available from my Flickr photo gallery. Day 2 includes our trip to Daytona Speedway.
Well August is traditionally a vacation month, and so far this month I’ve been to Saratoga twice and spent a week in the Adirondack Mountains near Tupper Lake. Too many photos to handle. For now I will direct those interested in seeing Horse Photos from Saratoga to view them in my Flickr Gallery.
I have added a few photos to the Infrared Photo Gallery as well, including this image of a snake sunning itself on a dock in the Adirondacks.