TOUR AMERICA 2019: FLORIDA SPACE COAST

Home Is Where We Park It:  Joy RV Park

Date:  April 5, 2019

Veterans Museum and Exploration Tower

KABOOM!  And again, and again.  What a way to wake a guy up.  Thunder and lightening and pouring rain.  It sure got my attention in a hurry.  Thankfully, it didn’t last more than thirty minutes.  Oh well, no use trying to go back to sleep might as well get up and get going.

I had an appointment at 9:30 am at the local Chevy dealer for an oil and filter change for Little Graybeard.  I arrived exactly at the given time only to find out appointments mean nothing to them.  I was told the wait time was 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Forget it.  Once back home a little research showed that this dealer only had a 3 star rating out of 5.  I believe I know why.

Sightseeing time.  We headed to Meritt Island and the Veterans Memorial Park and Museum. This is the sign indicating that you are approaching the park itself.

1 Entrance Sign on Road

This is an 82-acre park jointly operated by the Veterans Memorial Center and the Brevard County Parks and Recreation Department.  It’s open to all every day of the year from dawn to dusk.  The park has a fishing pier, 1.5 miles of walking and hiking trails, three ponds, and a canoe launch ramp with access to Sykes Creek,  Within the park itself is the Veterans Museum.  Approaching the front door, off to the right is this striking

2 Veterans Museuim Building

exhibit of the front of a Vietnam era Huey with a mural of grunts jumping off .

3 Veterans Museuim Building Huey Front Entrance

This is a picture of the museum as you enter the front door.  It is a two-story building.

4 Veterans Museuim Building Walking In You See

The Museum collects, preserves and displays artifacts of the military history of the United States, with special emphasis on Brevard County veterans, in order to educate the community and inspire present and future generations with the military’s service and sacrifice.  With an amazing array of military artifacts ranging from the Revolutionary War to our current conflicts in the Middle East, the museum continues to strive to educate the public on our military’s efforts both past and present.

Once again it is impossible to post everything I discovered and took pictures of so I’ll just include some of the highlights.  We begin with WWI and the most decorated solider of that war.

I saw this and got a real chuckle.  When you think your RV is too small remember this poor guy who only had a tarp to call home.

76 Veterans Museuim You think your RV is small

An American flag from 1877.

8-veterans-museuim-awesome-flag.jpg

From the Vietnam war the uniform we wore and the uniform of the Vietcong

A map of South Vietnam showing the city of Pleiku in the Central Highlands where I was stationed in 1968 and 1969

11 Veterans Museuim Where i was stationed 68 69.JPG

They had a complete exhibit on women in the military.  Before 1990 they served in support roles, but by 1990 and beyond they began to serve in combat roles.

15 Woman in the Armed Forces

Moving outside we find the Memorial Plaza.

Outside Memorial Plaza

Outside Memorial Plaza overall view of

Within the Park they have Memorials  going back to the Revolutionary War.

Outside Memorial Plaza mon 1

They have even erected a Memorial to all the dogs who served.

Outside Memorial Plaza honoring dogs 2

Outside Memorial Plaza honoring dogs 1

But of all the exhibits that I saw there these two really spoke volumes to me.

We absolutely enjoyed our time here at this museum.  As a Veteran I am so grateful that there are those who are working to preserve our military heritage and to remind every one of the sacrifices made by all those who have served and are continuing to serve our country.

The day was not over.  We next went to the Exploration Tower.

1 overall picture.JPG

The Exploration Tower is absolutely breathtaking.  It’s a combination of fun plus education.  It has six floors of exhibits and an outdoor observation deck on the seventh floor.   Let’s go inside and see some of the highlights.  The first floor lobby contains this stunning exhibit called Embrace that just seems to swim across the lobby above you.

3 Exp towe lobby picture 1

3 Exp towe lobby picture 2.JPG

4 Exp towe lobby display explained

There was a floor dedicated to the history of the Port of Canaveral.

4 Exp towe about Port Canav.JPG

A picture of port

The idea of developing a port at this location was first conceived in the 1880s. The port was dredged between 1951 and 1955.  Dedication occurred November 4, 1953, with the Navy destroyer escort USS McCelland participating.

5 Exp towe port dedication 2.JPG

Cruise traffic appeared at the port in 1964.  Today there are over five cruise lines that call the port home and dock at one of the five cruise terminals.  Unfortunately, the day we were there none were in port.

5 Exp towe port canav start 2a

Port Canaveral also played a role in support of NASA projects out of nearby Kennedy Space Center. During the Apollo program, segments of the Saturn V rocket transited through the port and lock. In addition during the years of the Space Shuttle program the Shuttle’s external tanks were floated into Port Canaveral for each mission, and the solid rocket boosters were towed back through Port Canaveral after being fished out of the Atlantic Ocean after each launch.

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Up another floor and when you come out of the door guess what you see?  A wall of surfboards!

6 Surfboard display

Also on this floor is an exhibit of the many things one can do at Cape Canaveral.

 

Up to the observation deck and I found this stunning display of a turtle.  If you haven’t figured it out yet I like turtles.  They remind me that you never get anywhere in life unless you are willing to stick your neck out and come out of your shell.

observation deck turtle

Finally some pictures from the observation deck.  Nope, no cruise ships this day.

If you are ever in this area don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Tower.  Just leave yourself at least two hours to take it all in.  It is a must see and I’m so grateful we had the opportunity to visit it.  Life is good indeed on our Road of Retirement.

Leaving the Exploration Tower we decided to look for a place to eat.  We landed here.

lunch 1

At our table waiting for our food.

lunch 3 us.JPG

My meal, three freshly made crab sliders.  Absolutely delicious!  As for Barbara, let’s just say she doesn’t like fish.

lunch 6 mine.JPG

Here is someone looking for a handout, but not going to get it from me!

lunch 4 waiting for a handout

Meal over it was time to head for home.  We had another delightful day full of all kinds of wonderful new discoveries.  This is, if you ask me, what life is all about.  Good friends, good food, discovering new places, learning new things, and doing it together with the one you love.

Our day on The Road of Retirement is over for now.  Time to call it and get ready for Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.  It’s amazing how even I have gotten hooked on TV.  But then again it was no different in my house that didn’t move.  So really why should it be so different now.

Thanks again for joining us on our journey.  Hope you enjoyed the trip.  Have a good night and we hope to have you with us tomorrow.

These are the voyages of  Graybeard and it’s occupants, four paws and two humans.  Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before

See you on down the road

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “TOUR AMERICA 2019: FLORIDA SPACE COAST

  1. You had another full day. I thought you two were going to rest those knees and legs today. Looks like you found a few interesting places again. Thanks for taking us along.

    Like

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