|We left our hotel
at about 4 hours before the opening of the launch window.
From past experience with shuttle launches, I
did not want to push it and get stuck in a long line of traffic.
Traffic at that
time was not very bad. We cruised right
up State Highway 3 and were at the KSC security checkpoint in no time. The guard saw our placard on the dash
waved us through. There were signs that
guided us to the KSC Visitor Complex.
placard we had a letter that gave us instructions on where we were
go. Since we had viewed a launch of the
space shuttle from the Banana Creek viewing site before, I thought I
we had to go. I thought wrong.
The place where
we were supposed to meet Linn and the buses was the administration
building. I thought I knew where that
building was. Unfortunately when we got
to that building it was locked. We
walked back and forth trying to find the place where we were supposed
to be. Nothing made any sense.
We saw where the
NASA guests were supposed to go, but that wasn't us.
We asked the NASA personal where we were
supposed to go, but they had no idea. They
suggested that we check with the ticket booth.
We went to the
ticket booth and asked the woman inside of it if she could help us. She too was initially confused, but then
finally contacted someone who knew. We were told to go back to our car
drive back to the first stop light coming into the KSC Visitor Complex.
I was very
apprehensive with this plan. I was
concerned that the parking attendants would not let us turn where we
go. Now we would have to go back against
the traffic flow. I asked if we couldn't just walk over to the building. After all it was closer to walk to the
building than it was to walk to the car. The
response was no, we had to drive over to the
I was pretty upset.
I feared we would arrive late and miss the bus out to the Banana Creek
site. Also by this time poor Wayland was
getting tired of walking. Who could
blame the little guy? He was only three
I picked him up
and briskly hiked back to our car. It
was in the farthest parking lot away from the visitors’ center. It was
hot and humid. By the time I reached the
car toting Wayland, I was tired and I was sweating like a pig.
We drove back to
the stop light. I was relieved when we were allowed to turn left into
with the guard gate. The guard came out
and asked for our names. I gave her our last name, but she replied that
were only two people listed under that name. I then realized that Lexie
Wayland were listed under there own last names.
The guard was
then able to find their names on the list. She
instructed us where to go, which was just a
short drive around the
side of the administration building. This
was the real administration building. I
had been confused by our previous launch
We parked the car
and I was very relieved. We gathered our
things and headed into the building. We
checked in with the receptionist and we were directed to a conference
where other launch guests were waiting.
We grabbed some
refreshments and snacks and took a seat. A
television was on showing the NASA TV coverage of
pre-launch activities. Linn came by and
told us that we could
actually move next door. That was her
husband, Dan's office and private conference room.
In there were many members of Linn’s and
nice. We were introduced to the family
members and to his assistant Tiffany. Everybody
was very nice to us. Nobody seemed to have
a great deal of confidence
that the launch would
happen that day. The weather just looked
too bad. There were too many clouds
rain showers in the area. Since the
vehicle was fueled, NASA would take the count down as far as it could
launch window would close.
introduced to Linn’s son Joey, who is just a little younger than
Wayland. Wayland was really excited
to see someone
his own age.
After a little
while Al Worden showed up. Al sat down
in the row of chairs in front of ours.
Wayland was pretty excited to see Al too. Wayland had so many
things that he wanted to
tell Al. He was not shy at all. He would tap Al on the
back, “Hey Al, hey
Al.” Al would turn around with a big smile on his face and say “What
At one point
Wayland told Al that he pinched his sister's butt on the beach. Al smiled and told Wayland, “I think, you're
just a little devil!” At another point,
Wayland told Al that he didn't have a belly button.
Al gregariously responded to Wayland, “Let
me see, pull up your shirt.” When
Wayland complied, of course he was tickled by Al.
This was so neat
to watch Wayland interacting with one of the very few people who has
around the Moon. That experience itself
was priceless, never mind if the shuttle launched or not.
At about one hour
and thirty minutes before launch, it was time to board the buses. Those buses would take us out to the Banana
Creek viewing site. We would be the last
buses to get out to the viewing site. That
was nice, though because we could relax in
confines with access to a great spread of food and drinks.
excited to be finally boarding the buses. However,
when you looked at the sky, it did not
instill a great deal of
confidence in launching. It was a short
ride out to the Saturn V building. Along
the way was passed by the VAB and the Orbiter Processing Facilities. I pointed all of those out to Wayland, but I
think he would have been more excited to see an alligator.
Wayland, and I got off of the buses and headed into the Saturn V
building. As we looked around the
Saturn V, we saw
someone heading in the opposite direction. This
person stood out in a crowd. He had on a
large white floppy hat. Also he wore a
very tight white shirt that resembled
blouse. Slightly behind him was a woman
who also wore a large floppy hat. She was
in a white dress with platform sandals. Her
hat was dark brown. They
were escorted by several security personal. As
they walked past, man in the white blouse howled!
man was Steve Tyler, lead singer for the band Aerosmith.
The woman was his daughter Liv Tyler.
Liv is an accomplished actress and played character Arwen Undomiel. I thought
seeing this group was an interesting spectacle. Lexie
was captivated because she is a huge “Lord of
the Rings” fan.
We watched as the Tyler’s
and their entourage headed over to the
area in the Saturn V center where the Apollo 8 firing room recreation
up. They disappeared behind a door.
the rest room that is over by the firing room doors.
In the rest room were a couple of teenage
girls. One of them had pitch black
hair. She went into a stall. The
other began pounding on the door and demanded to be let in. She held a
cell phone camera up to the crack in the door. The
girl inside shrieked "You better not be taking pictures of me in
here!" Finally she
let the girl with the camera in. Older ladies who
were in the rest room were appalled. What
outrageous behavior! A short while
later, Mary figured out that these two outrageous teenagers were also
the Tyler entourage.
I saw Steve and
Liv Tyler outside of the Saturn V building.
It seemed like a good photo opportunity so I went over to take
some photos. I had a new Nikon camera that
had a continuous
shooting mode. Using that camera I felt
like a real member
of the paparazzi as I snapped a sequence of photos of the Tyler entourage. Judging by the way
that the security person
looked at me, I was the paparazzi.
I noticed that
some young girls were going up to introduce themselves to Liv. I knew that Lexie desperately wanted to do
this, so I went back to get her. I told
her that if she wanted to try she could go say hello to Liv. Just as we got back to where the Tyler entourage was standing, they were whisked
behind a security rope that separated them from the general public. I felt sorry for Lexie, but I know she was
excited just to see Liv.
We went outside
to the viewing stands and gazed at the shuttle on the launch pad. It was an impressive site.
Everyone was excited, but the prospects of a
launch still did not look good. People
held out hope that some way the weather would clear in time.
I took some
photos of Lexie and Mary by one of the countdown clocks that were
T-9 minutes. Mary then took a couple of
photos of Wayland and me by the clock. Wayland
was being a little ornery at this point and
refused to look at
We took a seat in
the viewing stands. It was difficult to
find a seat at this point, but after some searching we finally found
one. NASA kept hoping that the
clear and counted down the clock some more for another hold.
At about this
point, we saw a rainbow in the sky. In
biblical times, this may have been a sign that the flood was over. I knew that for a launch attempt, a rainbow
is not a good sign. It means there is
rain in the air. That will still be a no
go for launch.
As we expected,
the launch was scrubbed. NASA would
decide later when to make another launch attempt. We boarded the
buses for the ride back to the
Visitor Complex. We were disappointed,
but not surprised.
We got back to
the Visitor Complex. We told Dan's
assistant Tiffany that we would be coming back whenever the next
attempt was scheduled. Linn told us that
she was having a party at her house that night. It
was supposed to be a party celebrating a
successful launch. Even though there was
no launch, the party
would go on.
the Visitor Complex was a mad house. I
noticed in my rear view mirror that Al was behind us in his black
Porsche. We got to the light and the lanes
full even though our light was green. I
pulled out into the intersection so that we could merge into traffic. I did not want to wait through another light
sequence. I thought Al might think I was
crazy with that maneuver, but he pulled right along beside me. We got to a left turn and I noticed that Al's
Porsche cornered significantly better than our Impala.
It took a while,
but we finally got back to State Road 3 and headed south.
Traffic was heavy, but it was moving.
We got to State Road 528 and found that the
police had shut down the entrances to the road. We
wanted to take SR 528 to get back to our hotel
room, but that was not
We continued south.
I noted that Al and Linn’s friend Dee were in
cars just ahead of us. I guessed that we
were still going in the right direction. Finally
we got to a road that would take us back
across the water to Cocoa Beach. Traffic wasn't quite
as bad going East on that road.
Before long we
were back at the hotel. Mary, Lexie,
Wayland, and I went over to the elevators. Who
should we see waiting by the elevator? It
was none other than Steve Tyler. He was
waiting there with a teenage boy. The
boy may have been his son. There was
security to be seen. It was so strange
to see Tyler in this situation without security.
Not long before that we had seen the security
hovering around him like a blanket at the Saturn V building.
We respected Tyler’s privacy and did not bother him. It
would have been nice to have gotten an
Aerosmith CD signed by him, but it just didn't seem like the right time. Everyone was tired after waiting through the
launch scrub, and we were sure that Tyler also felt this way.
We got into the
elevator to head up to our room. In the
elevator was a bell man from the hotel. Wayland
struck up a conversation with the bell man. He
introduced himself, “Hello, I'm Wayland
from Texas.” The two of them
talked all the way up to our floor.
It seemed unusual to
us for a 3 year old to strike up conversations with total strangers. During this vacation we found that Wayland
would strike up a conversation all the time with different people at
locations. It was amazing to watch.
After about 30
minutes in our room we headed back down stairs.
Once again we saw Steve Tyler.
Now he was checking out from the hotel.
He had changed clothes and instead of wearing white, he was wearing
black. Again his top looked like a blouse. Yes, he still was
wearing a big
floppy hat, only now it too was black. I guess it was his evening
In the lobby, his
entourage had assembled a ton of luggage. Out
in front of the hotel was a huge white stretch
limo waiting to take
them to the airport. From what I
understood, Tyler was appearing with the Boston Pops for the fourth
of July so he wouldn't
be able to stay for the next launch attempt.
We headed out to
find Linn’s house. When we got into her
neighborhood, it seemed like every street there had the same name. I think we were driving around in
circles. Finally Mary was able to get in
Linn on the phone. Linn was able to
guide us into her driveway. In our
defense, her house is rather hidden from the street.
Many of Dan's
family members had attended the launch. There
were at the party. We
introduced to him mom, his sisters, his nephews, nieces. You name it,
seemed to be there. One thing I must
say about all of the relatives is that they were all just super nice to
us. It was like we had known them
forever. There are a lot of parties that
I've been at where I felt like an outsider. You
kind of stand off in a corner and watch as life
moves on around
you. I never had that feeling at the
Wayland had a
marvelous time playing with Joey. We
brought Wayland’s swimming trunks and they had a great time in the pool. Lexie hung out with the girls.
I was sitting
outside with Al and Linn’s friend Dee. Somehow
the subject of my story telling came up. I
apologized to Al for my monopolizing the
dinner conversation at Bernard's Surf the other night.
Al laughed and said, “I'm used to one sided
conversations… I'm just not used to
doing the listening!” It was pretty
Mary joined us a
little while later as did one of Dan's sisters. Now
the subject of Cullen Davis came up. Dan's
sister had not heard about Cullen Davis so
Mary was going to tell
the story. Al put his hand over Mary's
mouth and said, “Mary, let me tell the story.” It
was what you might call a raucous party.
Mary and I
watched as Joey came out from inside of the house.
He was holding the family cat. His
face was rather expressionless as he
walked towards the swimming pool. In disbelief we watched as Joey
cat into the water! The cat quickly
made its way to the side and scampered out. Linn saw what happened and
over. She asked “Joey why did you do
that? That's not funny!” Joey replied
“Well it was a little funny.” You've got
to love kids. The cat probably didn't
have the same sense of humor that we did.
activity at the party was Karaoke. Almost
everyone seemed to be involved with it. I
can't sing very well so I stayed away from
the microphone. As the evening wore on,
Linn wouldn't let me off the hook that easy. She
talked me into singing the song of my choice. Shamed
into submission, I told her that I
would sing Elton John's “Rocket Man.”
Yes, I had been drinking.
Linn went through
the song list and sure enough she was able to find “Rocket Man.” So that I wouldn't have to
sing alone, her husband
Dan joined in with
another microphone as did another partier. To
my amazement, Al grabbed a fourth microphone. So
there I was, the night after a launch
scrub, singing “Rocket Man” with Apollo 15 Astronaut Al Worden. What an incredible experience.
It was around 10:30 PM, which
was pretty late for the kids. Mary and I rounded Wayland and
Lexie up so that we could head back to the hotel. Our car was
blocked in the driveway by other vehicles. Linn’s dad and nephews
came to the rescue. Like skilled valets at a restaurant, they
moved the four cars out of the way that held us captive. We got back to
the hotel and retired for a good night's sleep.
The story continues the next day. For this part of the story
follow the 121 Scrub #2