Cape Canaveral, FL
Miles Today: 166.8
Total Miles: 3595.1
Days on the Road: 97
Today's Weather: Insufferable
Remember when Arnold's head went all nuts and he started going, "Aaaiighgh, aaaiiggngnghh, aaaighghhhh" in Total Recall and it obviously turned into a robot when the eyes started bulging out? Cool, huh?
The Vehicle Assembly Building. So huge, it would have clouds and possibly rain inside if not for the intricate ventilation system. Cool, huh?
Ride, Sally Ride
All of our guidebooks say that some part of the Kennedy Space Center is free. "You can enjoy the exhibits and museums for free and then if you want more, pay for a bus tour of some restricted facilities." Not true.
As it turns out, it used to be free, but due to a recent $120 million renovation and the, here it comes, events of September 11th, they are now forced to charge a modest fee. You know, $28. If you want the up close bus tour or to have lunch with an astronaut, it's an extra $20 - $50 per person. Apparently the theory is that terrorists wouldn't be able to come up with that kind of cash. We must admit we did feel pretty safe and secure among all the fatties that did show up.
That wasn't nice, perhaps, but observing the tourist wackiness that is all of Florida, it's impossible not to notice that we, as Americans, are some fat-ass-sons-of-bitches. Visions of the fall of Rome are impossible to shake as we watch families of 4 weighing an average of 200 pounds eat their way through 3 bags of popcorn and 6 foot long hot dogs while waiting to get on a bus. Or parents of fat children encouraging their young to take the elevator, even when the little tyke wants to take the stairs.
The moral, and we say this to ourselves as much as to anyone else: lay off the Big Macs or we're all doomed.
So, space. Space, we learned, is that great blackness that surrounds us at night. It turns out it's there during the day too, only harder to see. It's very large, apparently, and mostly devoid of anything at all. Sounds boring, right? It probably would be, after a while. But getting there from here, that's not boring at all. It's perfectly incredible that it was contemplated, let alone accomplished. It literally brought a tear to our eye. The sight of a Saturn V rocket, lying on it's side, as long as a football field, was truly aweful.
At night, drunk as monkeys, we looked up into the blackness with a new appreciation for it and how spinny it is, and a new sense of our own complete lameness for not doing something so cool as going there. We vowed to read 90 books by the first grade, as Neil Armstrong is said to have done, and to "reach for the stars". Anthony actually tried, but he almost fell and hit his head, for the third time this week.
© 2002, 2003 Anthony Hecht and Liz Jones. All rights reserved.