east coast Florida road trip southeast travel Uncategorized

Day 3 WOW just WOW

Day three for me really started the night of Day two. If you remember I went to sleep around 2100 and set my alarm for 0600. I knew I would be up earlier than 6 but I had hopes I would sleep till 6am. I also didn’t think the Space X rocket would launch around midnight.

Well around 2330 my body decided to wake itself up. I looked at my phone and saw the time and was shocked I was up. The first thing I did was check out the Next Spaceflight app that I downloaded the day before. This app tells you when all the spaceflights are going to happen. You can even watch them live through your phone.

Well the app was saying that the launch was still on. Since it was still going as scheduled and my body woke up I decided to go outside and try to find a good viewing location. I was going to stay in the parking lot of the hotel but I figured I might was well try to see if I can get a better view .

I got in my car and started driving towards the coast. I was only about a mile down the road when something to the left of me caught my eye. Was that just lightning I saw? I figured it couldn’t be. The sky above me was clear.

I continued driving on 514 towards the Indian River. But again and again I kept seeing flashes from the left which just happened to be about where I expected Kennedy Space Center was. Well I continued to drive and made it on to US Hwy 1 and started heading north.

A little ways up the road I saw a sign for Castaway Point Park. I pulled in and didn’t notice any signs that said it was closed. I ended up hanging out here for a couple of minutes and watched the live feed of the rocket launch. It don’t sound too good if the launch was still going to happen. The storm was just north of the launch pad.

I decided to turn back and go to the hotel. For one I wasn’t sure if I could even be at this park around midnight. The second reason was I wasn’t expecting the launch to happen. Plus while it might have been a decent view. I just wasn’t sure.

I made it back to the hotel and continued to monitor the live feed and look to the north. I would still see flashes of lightning but never did hear any thunder. The video kept saying they were monitoring the storm but it was a safe distance away and the launch should go off.

With a minute left to go on the live feed I started seeing the sky to the north glow orange. I had my camera ready and started snapping pictures. It was really happening. I was getting to witness something I have been wanting to see for a very long time.

It wasn’t long after that I saw the orange streak going high into the sky. It was going higher and higher. At this point the video caught up and I got to watch the launch on my phone. I knew it already successfully took off because I was watching the rocket go higher and higher into the sky.

I can’t tell you if it was a minute or longer after the rocket took off but I could hear the rumble of the engines at take off. Even being that far away, well over 30 miles away I was able to hear it. I could only imagine how it would sound if I was closer. Oh and I will be getting closer at some point in my life.

I ended up snapping a few more pictures before it was time for me to go back to bed. I am so happy I woke myself up. I don’t know how it happened or why it happened. I guess my mind knew this was something I really wanted to witness.

Around 0530 I was up again. I didn’t have much to do to get ready for the drive to Fort Myers. The car was packed the night before all we had to do was get my daughter up. Eat breakfast and hit the road.

Breakfast was good today at the Holiday Inn Express. Still wasn’t better than the breakfast we had at the Holiday Inn Express in Pekin, Il. No omelets today just scrambled eggs. There was also ham this morning even if it was just sliced deli ham.

For the price of the hotel and the breakfast being included. I was very happy with our stay. I would even consider staying here again on another trip to the Space Coast.

We ended up checking out and were on the road after 0730. I decided to take the more scenic route instead of traveling some of the way on I-95. We were in no rush on this warm Sunday morning. The drive was going to take anywhere between 3 1/2 hours to 4 hours to get to the Wyndham Gardens at Fort Myers Beach.

Which meant we would still be getting there before noon and wouldn’t be able to check in that early anyway. So why not enjoy the drive and take our time. We were going to be meeting with family sometime in the afternoon but we still had plenty of time.

Taking our time and driving the scenic route was a nice break. One thing did surprise my about driving through central Florida. If I didn’t know better I would almost think I was driving in Lancaster PA. Well if Lancaster had Palm Trees.

I was shocked to see so many fields with cows. Tons and tons of cows. I was not expecting to see that at all. We had of drove an hour or more with just cow pastures on both sides of the road.

Our drive through the Florida country was nice. However, you could start feeling that today was going to be another hot one. Temps were going to be in the mid 90s again today with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Hey, it’s Florida you need to expect rain everyday.

We arrived at the hotel before noon and checked in at the front desk. Now I am a Platinum Member of the Wyndham rewards program so I get early check in. However, it was still a little too early and they didn’t have a room ready for us just yet. The nice lady at the front desk did give us a room key so we could access the pool while we wait for our room to be ready.

I parked the car and we head straight to the water. No we didn’t go to the hotel pool just yet. Wyndham Gardens Fort Myers Beach is located right no the beach. It is only a short walk from the hotel to hit the nice warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

We spent about a half hour in the water and even found a couple of nice seashells. Now since my family was going to be here soon we started making our way back to the hotel. Once back at the hotel we took a little dip in the pool.

We might have been in the pool for 10 minutes or so when we received a text that our room was ready. I wasn’t expecting to have the room so early but it was a nice surprise. Even better was the location.

We had a room on the first floor and it was across from the pool and the hotel restaurant Pinchers. I unpacked the car and got ready for my relatives to arrive. It wasn’t that much longer till they were here.

Everyone got ready and we headed down to the beach yet again. The chairs and umbrellas were started to get packed up and you could hear thunder off in the distance.

The storm wasn’t coming from the west. It wasn’t coming from the Gulf. Instead the storm was inland and moving from east to west. It sounded like it was going to be a decent storm.

We were on the beach for maybe twenty minutes when I started seeing lightning off in the distance. It wasn’t a lot but definitely at least one strike a minute. We stayed out there for about ten more minutes before we headed back up to the hotel. We were all very hunger at this point. Now was the perfect time to grab some food.

Since the hotel had an outdoor restaurant called Pinchers we were going to eat here. My mother usually eats here every time she comes down. My cousin used to work at a Pinchers when he first moved to Florida. Couldn’t really ask for anything better.

There was eight of us that were eating and we were able to get a table with no problem. A server came over and got our drink order pretty quickly. However, that was the only thing that was quick. Everything else took a long time to get to us.

It wasn’t a problem though. We all just chatted and watched the rain come down. The place was pretty busy too and it looked as if they were short staffed like many places are.

Shrimp Tacos

Everything we ordered was amazing. It was all hot and fresh. We were all very happy with our meal. At the end of our meal we were given three free Key Lime Pie slices. It was fathers day today and also my Uncles birthday. But the pie was for the Fathers at the table which was very nice.

Sadly, it was time for the family to leave. It was still somewhat early but they had a little bit of a drive ahead of them. We still had other things planned as well.

Once they left we decided to check out the main part of Fort Myers Beach. We hopped in the car and drove down to Old San Carlos Blvd. We found a spot to park on the street and checked out all the shops.

It almost reminding me of the Jersey boardwalks. Lots of little shops selling all sorts of beachy items. You could find all kinds of tee shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, and seashells.

It really was a neat little area. While we were down here we were going to try and grab a bit to eat too. However, the one place we were going to check out was a little bit of a walk and time was running out on the meter. We decided to get some ice cream cause my daughter really wanted some.

There was a couple of different Ice Cream shops to check out but we decided on Mr. G’s House of 2000 flavors. I don’t think they really had 2000 flavors but I guess if you mix and match you could come up with 2000 different combinations. We both just got one scoop since I didn’t want her ruining her dinner.

The ice cream was really good. It was nice and creamy and the waffle bowl really helped pull it all together. Of course, we had to eat it quick since it was melting very fast in the hot Florida air.

We made it back to the hotel around 1830 and went right to Pinchers for something to eat. This time our service was really quick. We placed our order. Ate our food and were out of there a little after 1900.

Now the sky was clearing up a little bit. It stopped raining a while ago but it was still a little cloudy. I figured today was going to be my best chance to get some sunset photos over the Gulf.

I grabbed my tripod and camera and we all headed down to the beach. It was still a little cloudy but the clouds were moving away. Plus I wanted some clouds in my photo anyway. It helps give the sky more color. At least that’s how I feel about it.

Fort Myers Beach Sunset

My daughter was loving it since she got to go in the water more. My mother was enjoying herself too and she was looking for seashells. Of course, I was enjoying myself since I was doing something I love to do.

I don’t know about you but I just find something really peaceful about watching the sun set over the water. There are not many places you can go on the east coast to do that. I try to make it a point every time I am on the Gulf Coast of Florida to get out there and watch the sunset.

One of these years I am going to get an east coast sunrise and a Gulf coast sunset in the same day. Sadly, it will not be this year. But at least I got to witness a pretty decent sunset today.

Tomorrow was quickly approaching and it was time to get some rest. We don’t have a lot planned tomorrow but a lot more beach time. Hopefully, we have good luck in the morning with our seashell hunt. I guess time will tell on that one.

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