Not from the kayak, but from State Road 3 at the north end of the Haulover Canal drawbridge. A huge turnout for the last night shuttle launch. Life long friend Bill C. chose the right time for a quick business trip to Florida.
Thanks to my secret back door route, we avoided horrendous traffic heading east. A manager at my job left at 5, and at 7:55, got out of his car with everyone else stuck on US 1 to see the liftoff. Bill and I left at 5:45, got to our destination at 7:30. My co-worker got home after midnight, I got home about 10.
My plan was to watch from the Manatee Overlook. But, this being the last night launch, and a Friday evening, lots of folks had the same idea. As we drove south through the Merritt Island National, I wondered where the line of cars in front of us, all moving at the speed limit would park. Turns out on the side of State Road 3, the dirt road leading to the Overlook, and the dirt road leading to where I launch the kayak. We parked at the latter. I was surprised to see traffic going over the drawbridge. All the other times I've watched launches from the Canal, it's been open just before, during and just after the launch. I wonder if the left it open so more people could watch.
The liftoff lit up the sky, the Shuttle rocketed north, towards us. The sound, a low rumble, followed the glowing spaceship, propulsion flume coming out the rear. You can follow the Shuttle longer at night than during the day. Two red circles appeared at the rear of Endeavor, was I looking at exhaust pipes ? No, the jettisoned booster rockets.
Shuttle still visible, getting smaller, we got in the car, and beat the traffic back to Orlando by driving more miles, but avoiding the mess on 50,520 and 528.