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!