Stepping Out of the Blur and Seeing UFOs

With travel as common as it is in today’s world, it has become almost routine to be in a unique place for business and never even realize where you are. Hotels and meeting rooms can all blur into something that leaves you comfortably numb. But I have to tell you, it can be worth shaking off the numbness even if it is very short. Thursday was a great example of that.

I was in Fort Meyers, Florida for a conference of a professional association I am in (the Ag Relations Council). My day started early with a board meeting and went right into a panel discussion. I was the one who introduced the panel. Pretty standard day even if I had to miss some of the sessions for a bit of computer time (Please tell me I am not the only one that has this happen to them.)

I was working away realizing I’d be passing on the group dinner when a friend sent a text “make sure you look n-east @450 2 c if u can c shuttle.”  Hmmmm…. I wasn’t sure what he meant so was glad when he clarified, “the space shuttle is launching today and we are supposed to be able to see it at about 450.” Wow! I turned on CNN and sure enough they were doing a countdown. I put my nose to the grindstone determined to take a short break around 4:45 pm. (You can read NASA’s release NASA’S Shuttle Discovery Heads To Space Station On Its Final Mission for more info.)

When I got outside, I looked to see who else was there for the event. I walked around a bit of the hotel & finally saw two guys looking up from the parking lot. Had to wonder if they knew where to look…. I pulled out my iPad and used StarWalk to see which way was northeast. Something so simple confirmed I was on track. Though i have no idea why i didn’t open the NASA app I have. I was getting info from them though as The twitter feed from @NASA let me know there were some issues causing delays.

The guys who were a little bit out of shouting distance disappeared and I realized it was just me. After a while I saw a security guard nearby in a golf cart. And then after taking a few photos of flowers I saw it.

Space Shuttle Discovery final flight

Obviously I didn’t feel the heat from the burn. I was, afterall, 140 or so miles away. But how cool is it that I could see it? Granted, knowing what time and what direction to look made all the difference. It was incredible. I had a tiny brush with the space program even if it was more than a hundred miles away it reminded me of that excitement my brother, sister & I had when we visited Cape Canaveral as kids. The world has changed so dramatically since we were kids… I can only imagine where we have the potential to go now.

About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

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7 Responses to Stepping Out of the Blur and Seeing UFOs

  1. Kathy February 27, 2011 at 9:02 am #


    I had the pleasure of being an invited guest to see a night launch only four miles away from the launch pad. Incredible does not even cover it. The whole sky lit up and you could see it forever!! A wonderful experience that I am sad to say is coming to an end.

    I also have to add that I hadn’t been in Florida very long and was pulling in my driveway one night. I looked to the southeast and saw a “shooting star” going straight up. That was my first shuttle launch viewing (although I didn’t know it at the time). I couldn’t believe I was four hours away drive time and could see the launch!

    • JPlovesCOTTON February 27, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      That is awesome! I would love to see a launch!

  2. Angela February 27, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Great article. Seeing the shuttle launch is on my bucket list but time is running out. For launches, not for me. I hope. Great that you had the chance to see it in flight!

    • JPlovesCOTTON February 27, 2011 at 9:52 am #

      Thanks girl! It was still a rush even if it didn’t shake the ground I was standing on. 🙂

  3. Mike Haley February 27, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    I wont be surprised when I find out you are headed to Roswell.

  4. Mace Thornton February 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    While you were looking for the “shuttle,” I was on the shuttle with the other ARCers on our way to to 0ur evening event. Sorry you had to work, but glad you got to see the “shuttle.” Those of us on the shuttle did not. 🙁

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