June 4th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0

Woke up late in a real bed – what bliss – got up and showered.  Greg went out to buy some breakfast, and a real feast it turned out to be.  Half a cantaloupe (a sort of small melon) each, followed by bacon, scrambled egg, toast, slices of orange, and loads of milk.  Greg’s girlfriend turned up while we were eating – she was quite pleasant, quite pretty too.  At about 12 we said our goodbyes, gave Greg Mum’s address, and left.  He gave us clear directions to NASA, which wasn’t far away, so we were able to find it quite easily.  There were three big rockets parked near the entrance – a Little Joe II, a Mercury Redstone, and a Saturn V.  However, first of all we went to the Information Center (sic) and booked ourselves onto a tour later on.  In the meantime, we looked over the Skylab, which was interesting tho’ lacking in sufficient background for we lay persons, and the Space Shuttle, which was disappointing as there was virtually nothing to see, just the outside shell.  Then we went on our conducted tour, which was of Mission Control.  That was very interesting and much more comfortable since we were sat in the VIP lounge overlooking MC.  The place is much smaller than what one is led to believe from TV.  We were also able to take some pictures (hope they come out) so all in all it was the best part of the trip, even despite the couple of squalling brats, and the gee whiz isn’t this exciting approach of the tour guide.

And that, effectively, was the end of the day.  We drove out west of the city, stopping off at a Safeway to buy our dinner, and eating it in the car park outside, and then pushed on to camp for the night, yes, that’s right, at a rest area about 30 miles west of Houston.

One of many examples of out of the blue hospitality, though my recollection is that Greg’s girlfriend was more than a little amazed that he should have given up his bed to a couple of strangers.  No shortage of technical detail in the NASA report – and wasn’t it a jump back to be wondering if the pictures had come out, which was a feature of all photography in those days.  And apologies for my less than tolerant reaction to the children we met – something of a recurring feature, I fear.

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