Our Spectacular Winter

November 2022 to April 2023 – Melbourne Beach, Florida – Written by Jim

Some of our readers may have noticed that we haven’t posted all winter. One of them even gave me a gentle nudge, complete with exclamation points! So why the long pause in posting? Truth be told, we were chilling out after our push to get the cabin done, followed by our unplanned RV purchase on the way to Florida. It took us several weeks to get ourselves settled into the new RV, and once we did, we kicked back and enjoyed our spectacular winter.

NASA started off our launch season with a bang by sending up the first Artemis rocket.

Night became day when the mammoth ship headed to space! The unmanned craft performed flawlessly as it flew to the moon and back.

On top of that one NASA launch, we had somewhere in the vicinity of 30 SpaceX launches this year. I was able to work on my photography skills with that many opportunities!

One of my favorites was this streak shot of a Falcon Heavy launch, followed by the two side boosters returning to Cape Canaveral. Unlike a traditional photograph, I set my iPhone on a tripod and, using a remote shutter button, I let the image develop over several minutes. I never know for certain how a photo is going to turn out until the shutter is closed. Some are duds, but some are really cool.

Here is an example of when something cool happens. This is a Falcon 9 that flew through a cloud, which created a gap in the streak. Farther up, the stage separation can be seen, and the descending dash of light is the booster performing an entry burn to land on a ship out in the Atlantic. So you might be wondering what that dotted line is. That is an airplane strobe. The pilot was nowhere near the rocket, but from our vantage point, he lined up perfectly in that gap caused by that cloud. I looked on Flight Radar and got the plane’s tail number and was able to look up the pilot. I sent him the photo and his response was “best photobomb ever!” Air traffic control actually suggested he make that maneuver out over the ocean to view the launch. Pretty fun to be able to chronicle that for him.

Last year, I put up a Launch Day flag to alert our park residents of an upcoming launch. Val and Barb suggested a sign to tell the launch time, and it wasn’t long before Barb found an easel at a garage sale. I put a white board on it last summer and put launch times and other information on it this winter. I received a lot of thanks for doing that. Thank you for the easel, Barb!

Another big part of our winter was our weekly shuffleboard tournaments.

Brenda organized each weeks tourney. She and her husband Jimmy also incorporated a couple of cookouts into the mix. She also awarded medals to the winners of each weeks event, which ended up being a lot of fun!

Here is most of our crew. This was the end of the season, so some folks had already left for home.

Another event was a trip to Summer Crush Winery that Diana organized. We were thrilled that over 40 people drove over an hour each way to Fort Pierce!

A good time was definitely had by all.

Several of our friends made the trip on their motorcycles.

Betty jumped onto Park’s bike so she could send a photo to her grandkids. 🙂

On St. Patrick’s Day, Diana and I met her cousin. Jerry in Lakeland for a Detroit Tigers game against the New York Yankees. We went out to dinner afterwards and then shared an Airbnb that night. The Tigers had a huge lead at the beginning, but the Yankees made a game of it, coming to within one run. The Tigers pulled out the win!

All in all, it was a pretty darned good winter in Melbourne Beach. Our mission to chill out was accomplished! Until next time, safe and happy travels to all!

18 thoughts on “Our Spectacular Winter”

  1. ‘Bout time you posted! Awesome winter, awesome launch photos, awesome sunset and pelican(?) photo.
    I bet it is good to be back north where you can put the finishing touches on your cabin, sit back and enjoy the summer!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Definitely missed hearing from you guys but I sometimes go a month or two between posts, so can’t complain when someone else takes a break. Loved all the launch pics! Hope we can plan a get together at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like you had a great winter, indeed. And you definitely deserved time to kick back and relax after all of your work building your beautiful home. You captured some very cool photos of the launches! Enjoy your summer in Michigan. :-))

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So happy to see all of your accomplishments! Your home is beautiful and I have enjoyed watching your progress. If you were are ever near the villages, please feel free to visit love, Jackie.

    Sent from my iPhone


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    Liked by 1 person

  5. While we miss hearing from you, you deserved some time off. Blogging is great for others but it sure is time consuming which is why John opted to not block any longer when we are just doing month trips. He decided eight years was enough. But I am glad you kept us in the loop with your amazing photos of the launches. Thanks for sharing. Glad you had a wonderful. relaxing winter. Can’t wait for some Michigan photos! Safe travels home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Steve and Dianne! The pilot was shocked I found him (and he’s a lawyer :), but he understood, once I explained the process I used. I just wanted him to have that photo!


    1. Thanks, Debbie! Between the rockets and the pelicans, my shutter got a workout! That whole thing with the pilot was a bit surreal. Funny thing was, I didn’t even notice him at the time the rocket was flying. On the rig: it definitely was cozy this year, as the old rig was 6 feet longer. We shipped stuff back to my sister, which we retrieved yesterday. Next year will be much more organized (and decorated) in Florida. We sure do love our layout though (look up Cougar 25RES). It works well for us at this point.


  6. Glad you were able to chill and have a wonderful winter – but sure missed your blog posts. So fun to see the different “captures” of the launches. You’re definitely in the right place 🙂 Bet you can’t wait to “move in” to your cabin this year and enjoy the fruits of all your labor. You both look wonderful – chill was a good prescription!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jodee! I’m looking forward to the day when SpaceX launches Starship from Florida. I’ll get back into the posts…and I’ll try to figure out why I don’t get notifications from Blogger. 🙂


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