Thursday 27th December
Housekeeping turned up with a bed at 11:20PM - I stumbled out of bed in my boxers and accepted the bed. Got back into bed and went back to sleep. Not sure if this was simply a mistake on their part or a practical joke. Up at about 6AM finished the packing and got dressed. We loaded the car and headed off to Kennedy Space Centre. Got there around 10:30 and it was already looking fairly busy. Our first stop was the IMAX film - which was very impressive. It is getting hot now - about 80 degrees today. Next we moved on to the space robots thing - got some food and checked out some other exhibits. We elected to meet the astronaut.
The astronaut was Mark Lee who had flown on 4 shuttle missions and completed several space walks - two to fix the Hubble telescope. He was very interesting and the girls got to have their photo with an honest to goodness spaceman!
By now it was too late to get the bus tour but our ticket allowed us free entry the next day so we decided to come back. Di and Lucy did the shuttle launch simulation whilst Georgina and I waited.
Headed out to our hotel in Titusville - nothing special but quite acceptable. Headed over to a Roadhouse and had a couple of steaks. In defference to our upset stomachs we both ordered well done and Di felt her steak was not as nice as it might have been. On the whole pretty good. Back to the hotel for an early night. No mysterious bed deliveries tonight!
Friday 28th December
Back to Kennedy - we jumped on the bus tour - got to see some of the modules that are now a part of the space station. Also saw Atlantis on the pad ready for launch around 10th January. The drivers are excellent on the coach tour - really knowledgeable and very entertaining. It was a shame that they could not get much of a response from the passengers on the tour. I joined in by shouting out the answers to some of the questions - how many men had walked on the moon - what are the names of the remaining shuttles?
We are all agreed that KSC was a very interesting and impressive thing indeed. It was nice that they had taken the time to put out some banners alerting people to the fact that I would be turning 40 later that year.
We shared some pizza and chicken salad at the orbiter restaurant before heading out for Madeira Beach.
It took about 2 hours and 45 minutes to get to the Gulf. Following I4 south from Orlando to Tampa. Then crossing Old Tampa Bay on the spectacular Howard Franklin Bridge. We had selected Barefoot Beach Resort from the internet. So there was a little anxious moment as we searched for the hotel. Everything was fine - it was a very nice hotel and right on the beach. My diary entry reads "Typing this with the excited sounds of the kids mixed with the gentle waves outside. Pretty special!"
We went to a Longhorn Steakhouse for tea - I had the portabella pepper filet and Di had a 10oz Salmon. Back to the hotel for a fairly noisy night.