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Old 05-26-2009, 10:48 AM   #1
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Space Shuttle Launch Rally-like Gathering

I have camped at KARS (Kennedy Athletic, Recreation & Social) Park I on a number of occasions. I like it because it is relatively low-key, scenic, economical, clean and safe. It does however require membership - which is limited to gov't and military employees (incl. retirees). But last week I found that I can sponsor a group event. That got me wondering if any of you might be interested in getting together - maybe during a shuttle launch timeframe….. I don't know if I would want to host a formal rally but would certainly be up for sponsoring an unstructured type gathering if anyone is interested!

I’m thinking that the summer launches are fairly unpredictable due to weather. But Atlantis is scheduled to launch on Thursday, November 12. Is that a good timeframe for anyone?

KARS I is located on the Banana River just a few miles north of the Beachline /528. There is a view of the launch pad from the river. Here’s a video I found on the internet – taken from the marina area of KARS (there are views unobstructed by this little jetty at about 100 yards north in the park) Shuttle Discovery STS-124 May 31, 2008 Video by Tammy Hodges Matthews - MySpace Video
There are 10 riverfront sites (that you can see the port/cruise ship activity) and, supposedly, almost 100 others with power/water. I didn't see that many - maybe 40 more. There are covered picnic areas; a marina with FCFS slips; tennis, racket-ball & basketball courts; a laundry; restrooms with shower; a dump station; a country store. In addition to the marina, there is an area to launch a canoe/kayak too. The park used to staff a NASA guard 24/7 but not now (contract change) though there is a NASA employee at the guard shack from 6:00 to 10:00 pm and the gate now has a keypad for entry otherwise. I don’t know of any restrictions on campfires – they provide drum fire-pits that are FCFS. There are several additional areas/items that can be rented: large pavilions, bon-fire area, big grills, etc. It’s really a nice park that seems to be vacant/underutilized most of the time. Oh - and they allow pets - on leash. Here’s their website (some of the info is out-of-date): NASA Exchange KARS Parks I & II
Please respond if you might be interested in an informal gathering for the November 12 launch – or sooner – as I tend to camp there regularly. I guess Memorial Day was the last trip without a/c though. And it was close on Monday – up to 89°F and sunny. My back is burned from replacing my door screen – after retracting my awning!
Cheers,
Laura
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:23 PM   #2
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We will be ready for an easy trip Nov. 12th scheduled launch time coincides with our sleeping habits. Informal get-to-gether also a nice concept. Ohio group is doing them when ever someone decides to go camping and just would like some people with similar interests and not needing seminars or travel from campground for entertainment.
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:28 AM   #3
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Several folks have expressed some interest (via PMs) in getting together at the park to view one of the last shuttle launches.

I heard today that the launch of STS-129 is likely to move to Monday, November 16. Unfortunately, I'll be leaving on Nov 20 for a ten day trip: 4 days at a north FL ranch and then 6 days with my family in south FL. I am just not organized enough to believe that I'll be able to relax and camp a few days prior for STS-129....

Sooooo, have to shoot for another one in the future. The current manifest I have shows:
STS-130 - launch Thurs, Feb 4 at 6:30 am eastern
STS-131 - launch Thurs, March 18 at 1:30 pm
STS-132 - launch Fri, May 14 at 2:00 pm
STS-134 - launch Thurs, July 29 at 7:30 am
STS-133 - launch Thurs, Sept 16 at 12:01 pm

I'll keep this thread updated with my plans - in case some of you want to join me by the river! I have spoken to some folks at KARS Park and believe organizing an informal gathering for several Airstreamers will not be difficult - 'cept maybe for the last launch???? Even then, I don't think it will be *un-do-able*.

Laura
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:08 AM   #4
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I am in for the launch in either February 4 or March 18. Maybe both. Cannot make Nov, too soon.

dale
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Old 10-20-2009, 11:12 AM   #5
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Cool - I'll keep you posted!
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Old 10-20-2009, 01:13 PM   #6
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Laura,
We're still in.
If you find you are going to make the Nov one we would be ready for a short notice call. The Feb or preferable Mar launch can be worked into our non scheduled camping must do list. From past launches it would be a good idea to have open dates for the days or week following scheduled launch date If the Nov one scrubs a week they will be into Thanksgiving holiday week.
I have scheduled my fixit items to be done and be ready for Nov 16 and will try to find a good viewing site, then head to north Fl for family visit over Thanksgiving.
Dave and Eileen
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Old 10-20-2009, 01:28 PM   #7
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I will have to talk to my girlfriend about this - I would love to see one of these. I am retired military also, might do this trip more often. She will havo to take time off - hard for her - easy for me.
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Old 10-20-2009, 04:24 PM   #8
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Laura,

November, February and March are all real possibilities for us. Please keep us posted if you plans change or develop.

Thanks a lot!
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mwells4654 View Post
I will have to talk to my girlfriend about this - I would love to see one of these. I am retired military also, might do this trip more often. She will havo to take time off - hard for her - easy for me.
If your retired military, I think you can get an annual pass!


I'll keep ya'll posted. Glad to see there's a few of you interested. Off the top of my head, March & May are the best possibilities for me. This is really a nice campground and the view is equally as nice. And it's fairly centrally located. Not too far to shops and restaurants. Orlando about 50 minutes.

Laura
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:05 PM   #10
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Laura,
Feb and March would be an option for us also. We will keep checking to see what you come up with. It would be a short run for us.
Thanks,
Joe
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:04 PM   #11
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How much might we expect to pay for this adventure? Just purchased an immaculate 25' 1985 Sovereign and love her! Looking for interesting places to go. Please let us know when you've selected a date. Janice & Bill
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:40 PM   #12
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We hope to be i Louisiana, then Florida from mid to late feb until late March, so will keep an eye on this thread in case anything shapes up for the March date.

Sounds like good fun!
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:48 PM   #13
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How much might we expect to pay for this adventure? Just purchased an immaculate 25' 1985 Sovereign and love her! Looking for interesting places to go. Please let us know when you've selected a date. Janice & Bill
Do you folks stay at the Royal Coachman in Nokomis! Very nice albeit a little pricy for a short stay!


We stayed there a few times with our last trailer but have not been there since we got the AS last Fall - went to California with it last winter.

This winter we will be heading for Louisiana, then florida. Not sure if we will get down to Nokomis/Venice or not on this trip, but sure do like that area!


Are there other nice campgrounds around Nokomis? We have only ever stayed at the Royal Coachman. Nice as it is, it is perhaps a bit spendy for us, as we don't tend to use the great pool and facilities that much - we are away most of the time and only back at dinner time!
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:47 PM   #14
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I'd definitely be interested. I'm in Guam right now and won't be coming home until mid-Feb, but if you plan something for next year, let us know.
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