Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Camping at Cape Canaveral

Saturday, I attended more NASA briefings, took advantage of the press room wi-fi to check mail and posted an update story for the paper. I stopped at one of the NASA gift shops on the way out. When I was here many years ago, you paid for visitor tickets a la carte, eg. the bus tour or the IMAX movie. But now, you have to pay a $41 for everything and you can't even visit the gift shop without a ticket. Travel Tip: you can go to the Astronaut Hall of Fame and visit their gift shop without a ticket.

I decided to try the public campground at Cape Canaveral because it has beach access. Since it's the county beach and you have to pay to get in, you can't drive in and check it out; I had to pay for the night, cash, without even seeing what it was like. It turned out to be a good gamble.

I'm not very good at backing up the camper. I know to turn the opposite way, but I have normal car mirrors and the Scamp gets cocked very quickly. So my normal procedures look like Snoopy playing ping-pong with himself. I've already learned that people in campgrounds will watch you back into a tree without saying a word. There's some sort of unwritten rule (must be a guy thing) that you have to ask for help. But when you do, you may get more help than you wanted.

I asked a fellow at the adjacent picnic table if he would watch a water pipe to make sure I didn't run over it. Soon I had three young, tipsy British gents assessing the situation. They decided that they could push my little Scamp into the right spot, sans car. I could see that they were eager to try, so I let them. They heaved and pushed — as I silently prayed for the safety of their sandaled feet — and got the camper turned the right way before an unruly hill on the campsite got the better of them. I thanked them and backed the camper up to the electrical outlet, with plenty of distance from the water pipe.

I gratefully set up camp and then went out for supplies. I thought about giving my newfound friends from across the pond a five-pack, but since there were three of them, that would be just wrong. So I gave them half of a 12-pack, which I quietly delivered to the hurtin' pups that were unable to answer their open door in the morning.

Sunday, I investigated the beach. An airshow was just ending, and four Thunderbirds flew in formation right above my head!

The campground is next to cruise ships that tower like high-rise buildings over the trees. I watched several go out.

The weather was perfect, but in my rush to pack (and it being November) I didn't bring a pair of shorts. So I rolled up my jeans and stuck my toes in the Atlantic anyway.

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