So… like many Central Floridians you’re probably debating whether or not to see the shuttle launch this Friday because, frankly, it’ll make for a cool Facebook status update. And let’s be honest, you’ve really only seen a launch from a parking lot in Orlando. Well, if you decide to make it down to Brevard County, my biggest advice to you is to make a beeline for your car immediately after the shuttle launches so you can be one of the first people to wait. For what will seem like days. In traffic that will put L.A. to shame. There are people who are still sitting in traffic from the last launch!
A typical shuttle launch produces upwards of four hours of traffic into and out of Brevard. This time around they’re expecting it to be more like SIX. This is a legitimate – though not often talked about – part of the shuttle experience and will give you the opportunity to see that everyone on the road, except you, drives with as much intelligence as a coffee table. Make sure your car has a full tank of gas and a three-day supply of food and water.
If you actually live in Brevard County it’s probably best if you heed the warning from law enforcement officers and board up your windows while taking shelter in a closet. The following is an excerpt – verbatim, mind you – from a press release sent by the Titusville Police Department today:
“Residents living in Titusville and other areas near the coast in North Brevard should avoid being on the roads at all Friday afternoon if possible. “We strongly urge anyone who can plan ahead and avoid being on the road Friday afternoon, please do so,” said Assistant Titusville Police Chief John Lau. Law enforcement officials are urging businesses to close early and /or adjust hours to avoid having employees coming or going to work at a minimum of up to two hours before, and four hours after launch.”
I expected it to end with, “… and Godspeed.” It was an innocent enough press-release but it made me re-think my plan to watch the shuttle launch within a 1,000-mile radius of Brevard County. My boyfriend and I looked into getting a hotel room down there but the front desk attendant of pretty much every hotel we called began laughing uncontrollably when we told them what night we wanted. We probably shouldn’t have waited until the week before.
So right now I’m up in the air; torn between wanting front-row seats to a major historic event knowing half of my day will be spent in a car. Or watching it all unfold from the relaxing perch of my balcony while sipping a glass of wine, seeing no more than the white tail that marks the sky as it makes its way into space. Either way, it is always an impressive event that fills me with indescribable pride. And it’ll still make for a pretty cool status update!