Artemis SLS Launch

After several tries, starting in August, NASA was finally able to launch SLS (Space Launch System) with the unmanned Orion capsule as part of the Artemis program (Artemis I). The capsule will orbit the moon and return in a shake-down run for sending astronauts there in the coming years.

Apollo 17 – December 19, 1972

I watched the last Saturn V rocket with Apollo 17 launch at night 50 years ago. My girlfriend’s father was able to get us into Kennedy Space Center to view it. It was delayed but finally went up in the early morning hours. It lit up the sky and the roar was deafening. It was cool to see the successor launch all these years later.

Nicole spanks Cocoa Beach

I was pretty shocked earlier this week to see an unheard-of November hurricane Nicole headed our way. It could have been worse but the beach is trashed πŸ˜”. That makes two this year after a couple of years off.

Landfall just south of Cocoa Beach πŸ˜΅β€πŸ’«

Meanwhile back at the beach shack…

Update Thursday afternoon

My power was on this morning but I may have lost internet (or both).

Before the cameras went offline I could see a lot of debris and my patio was flooded, but that’s not unusual. They experienced 50 mph winds overnight and the city issued a lot of updates on outages and closures, including the main causeway (link to the mainland) being closed due to flooding for a while.

I would not be surprised if the crappy fence on the southern side came down in places. I put up some heavy rope between 6×6 posts to help contain this. If so, it will be interesting to see how it worked. I doubt I got any flooding in the garage from what I saw on the front cameras.

Update Friday morning.

My friend stopped by and confirmed that the only damage was some debris and downed trees. He told me that the tennis court at ramp road on the lagoon several blocks away from my house was under several feet of water.

Track of Ian across Florida

Epilog Saturday morning

We leave Pennsylvania today headed for West Virginia – and right into the path of the remnants of Ian. Poetic justice I suppose πŸ˜†.

Cyborg

Although technically not correct, I like to think of myself as a cyborg now. Turns out that my left knee quit working this winter. I was surprised to learn that I needed to have the whole thing replaced. Not exactly high on my list of things that I wanted to have to do in 2022. Oh well. I’m one month into the recovery now and it still pretty much hurts like a bitch.

Left knee X ray from Kari

Here’s what happens: A incision is made about 8-inch long on the very top of your leg and then opened up to reveal the knee. Next, some of the elements of the knee that are in the way are removed to expose the bottom of the upper leg and the top of the lower leg. They use a high-tech machine to figure out how to cut these bones to accept the metal components. The cuts are then made. The metal replacement parts are then cemented onto the bones. The top part is rounded. The bottom part is flat with a stem that goes down into the knee. Between the two a plastic spacer is added. The knee is then sewn back up.

Artificial knee from Wikipedia
Artificial knee from Wikipedia

And just like that, you have a new knee. And oh by the way it hurts like a son of a bitch. The most painful procedure that I’ve done so far. But the results are good, after a month I can walk pretty well but the range of motion, especially trying to bend my knee, is still rather limited.

Rockledge Regional Hospital

5 Weeks

5 weeks

I had the bandage removed about a week ago. The knee is healing up fine. You can almost see my kneecap again. I can walk a mile now without stopping. it still takes a couple of strides before I can get my gait right. I can bend the knee about 90Β° now. A bit disappointed that I’ll not ever be able to get all the range back. Most patients can achieve 0–110 degrees according to Wikipedia. Normal range is 135Β°. The knee will extend to nearly a straight position. Still doing physical therapy for one hour twice a week including every day at home a couple of times during the day. Pain is pretty minimal now.

6 Weeks – COVID Time!

Yes – as an added bonus to my recovery I finally caught COVID 🦠 – likely from Physical Therapy. Symptoms included low fever (100.5F max), upper and lower respiratory gunk with coughing and sneezing, fatigue & muscle pain (I guess – hard to tell with everything else). I recovered mostly in 24 hours other than the congestion.

The good news is the knee is doing really well now. I can now generally walk without having to ramp up my gait. The back is much, much less sore. I can almost see my left kneecap again. Yippie!

8 Weeks

I added the latest x-ray at the top of the post. I can currently bend my knee 104 degrees – Dr says I should get 110 – 115 (120 is considered normal gait). Very little pain walking now – I can do 1 1/2 miles with no problem.

Rockets πŸš€

I remember as a young boy being enthralled with all things space. I found copies of old Buck Rodgers and Flash Gordon comics where they would take off and land in their spaceships. It seemed to make sense you would want to do that 😎.

I shot this video of the most recent Falcon 9 lunch this morning. The first time I can remember seeing an uninterrupted feed of the stage 1 landing.

This video was shot several days later showing a booster landing at the Cape.

So far…

This blog starts where the last one left off – with the death of my beautiful Mother Betty.

Mom passed away in October of 2019 on the one year anniversary of Dave & Lisa’s house being destroyed by hurricane Michael. My cousin Sandra came down from Delaware for her funeral service.

Mom's Funeral
The three brothers, Carl, Adam, Sandra, Myhra and Lisa in Rick & Myhra’s backyard

Then 2020 hit like a Tsunami! Dave and Lisa made a trip in the Summer to check out Rick & Myhra’s new digs in Rockledge. We were able to get together at Mom’s final resting spot at St Josephs in Palm Bay.

Dave, Ed & Rick at the Cemetery tag St Joseph’s in Palm Bay.

Several years before my retirement I started thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I have always had in the back of my mind that it would be fun to travel the USA in a RV of some sort. The idea began to take shape and I created a map with all of the places I could think of to visit. Over the next couple of years I would add places to the map.

Where to go?

Now that I own a boat my initial idea was to buy a small motor home of some sort. I started looking at those but at the same time didn’t care much for the idea of have a large vehicle like that as a tow vehicle. I also felt it would really restrict what I could do on the road.

Dan & Maggie in Port Canaveral

In late 2019 I got a visit from my good friends Dan and Maggie Matheson from Colorado. They visited in their Winnebago RV that they have owned now for several years and made many trips. I was very impressed and started thinking this might be the way to go.

I have owned some sort of SUV since my days in Colorado in the 1990s. I had seen the BMW X6 a few times and was instantly drawn to it’s unique styling. I checked into it as a tow vehicle and determine it would fit my bill perfectly. I could tow it to the destination and then enjoy the X6 to drive and see the sites.

I started looking right at the peak of the pandemic and found a low-mileage, red (of course) 2016 X6 in South Florida. Research told me to stay away from the bigger motor and everything I read said the V6 had plenty of power (boy howdy!) For a month they wouldn’t even talk to me because of the shutdowns. I was finally able to pick it up around Memorial Day. It was of course a blast to drive although a very different ride than my past Porsche and Mercedes SUVs. And yes – plenty of power and awesome stick with a twin-turbo 3 liter through a 8 speed high tech wizardry transmission and drive systems.

2016 BMW X6 xDrive 35i
Flamenco Red Metallic 🀩

Does one actually take vacations when they are retired?

Me to Jake

Later that Summer Jake & I did our first trip in the X6 to North Carolina to spend my birthday with Brother Dave and Lisa. We enjoyed the idea of getting away (even in retirement) I decided to start looking for a RV. I started to embrace my Dad’s concept of going on vacation when you are retired!

Jake & Eddie in North Carolina

By the end of the summer I was set. I research and found a Micro Minnie slightly smaller than Dan & Maggies and new 2021 model. I was very impressed with the quality of fit and finish when I looked at it. It took me a while to figure out the equipment I needed to safely tow the trailer including lowering the suspension to be more compatible with the X6.

Winnebago Micro Minnie 1808FBS
Winnebago Mico Minnie 1808FBS

The rest of 2020 was spent outfitting the trailer. In March of this year we took a shakedown trip to a campground just north of Gainesville. I was very happy with the way the X6 and trailer handled although not so much with the nearly 50% drop in fuel mileage! The layout and features fit Jake and I very well it seems.

Jake & Eddie's Excellent Adventure
Jake & Eddie’s Excellent Adventure

Meanwhile back at the Beach

Before any of this transpired I first started taking the steps to build my dream workshop out in the backyard. Also something that I had been thinking about since my brother Dave planted the seed at Mom’s funeral. He suggested I look into a portable shed to put in my backyard and build out a workshop. After some research I found what I was looking for with a 12 x 20 foot shed built in south Georgia and shipped by truck to yours truly in Cocoa Beach.

The execution was straight forward – I opened a part of the back fence and made sure they could get the shed down the drop in the back of my yard. It all went well and soon the shed was in place.

I added a 100 amp power circuit and proceeded to insulate and panel the shed, build shelving and hang the appropriate tools after figuring out how to put all the tools jammed into the garage into the new digs. I was worried that it would be too tight but ultimately those fears were dispelled after optimizing the layout.

Workshop
Workshop today

As an added bonus I got the garage back! The M Coupe is much happier being inside these days and I actually drive it a lot more now that it’s easier to do. I also have been able to setup a second workshop for household and auto work saving the workshop for more refined activities!

Orlando Garage
Happy M Coupe!