Thursday, July 7, 2016

de Jong Boys go to Space Camp: Day 2

Today's Drive:

Today's intinerary:

Niels's observations for the day:

We started the day off quietly with a lazy morning at the hotel. We had breakfast, cleaned up our room and headed out to Mammoth Cave. 

Well, we should have hustled a little more or at least made advance reservations as when we got there the guided tours were pretty much all sold-out. We had to settle for the self-guided tour. D was a little disappointed after the cool tour we had the last time at the cave.

Mammoth Cave tour, October 2014
After the tour we headed south towards Nashville to see the Opryland hotel. We walked around a bit and decided to have lunch at Stax (good burger joint). We got our food and then the phone rang...

Needless to say, the rest of the day did NOT go as planned as the call was from Space Camp calling to check where we were as camp started at 1pm and it was around 2:30pm. Confusion all around as the website mentioned (and still mentions) Friday to Monday instead of Thursday to Sunday. (Jen did some sleuthing at the fact. Our registration from December does indeed show days from Thursday to Sunday, but no dates were mentioned in the emails we've received since, only references to the website, that had the wrong dates. The only way we would have been reminded of the Thursday - Sunday dates would have been to go back to the registration portal several clicks in. Not a great start to our much anticipated trip!)

Good thing we were in Nashville already so in a quick 1h50m we made it to Space Camp in Huntsville, AL.

The camp staff was very gracious and we didn't miss too much. The group was having something to eat and had only done a meeting with astronaut Don Thomas and a tour of the rocket garden. That may sound like a lot of important things but D (and I) has already explored the rocket garden when we here a few years ago. We also had lunch with an astronaut, which was interesting, but D is more interested in space exploration on the ground. Once we learned that Mr. Thomas was from Cleveland, though, we did feel bad about missing out of meeting someone from our backyard. We also missed the group picture, but because we were not the only campers who were working on the wrong date, the photo will be rescheduled.

We are on team Orion, which is fitting because the Orion capsule is a key part of NASA's Journey to Mars and D is definitely an enthusiastic part of The Mars Generation.

We joined the group during museum time and re-familiarized ourselves with all the cool things the US Rocket and Space Center has to offer.

A happy surprise was the opportunity to try out the Multi-Axis Trainer (MAT). As we watched movies like Space CampSpace Warriors, and A Smile as Big as the Moon this week at home, I thought it would be fun to try, but didn't know if it would only be for the Space Academy campers. I did it but D decided to opt out of that one and will choose the (Manned Maneuvering Unit) MMU and the low-gravity chair later this weekend.

We are now at 9:25pm and it's lights out at 9:30pm so we're signing off!

D's observations for the day:

What did I do: I saw a real snake, gecko and frog, we did the Self-guided Discovery Tour, we had to hustle to get to Space Camp when we found out it started TODAY!!

What was the best part of the day: Getting to Space Camp!!

My favorite picture to remember today is:

If you have a question for D about his experience, leave a message for him in the comments!

Read other posts about our trip here:

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