We did make it to Cocoa Beach on Sunday. Jetty Park was closed when we got there (presumably full) but the beach was cool.
Here's a helicopter enforcing the no-fly zone ahead of the shuttle launch.
And I think this is a coast guard boat - it's hard to see in the picture for some reason.
We spent all afternoon at the beach. LOTS of people were there doing the usual things. We had hot dogs for supper at one of the food stands - they were delicious.
Toward evening a strange thing happened: people oriented themselves toward the north and started drifting slowly up the beach. We were like a flock of migrating birds aligning ourselves with some invisible electromagnetic field, waiting for the signal to take off. You can't see from these pix because I wanted to get the delicate colors of twilight on the water and the wet sand but there were still lots of people, some setting up some fairly sophisticated camera equipment.
R asked me if I planned to video the launch. I told him, not if it was going to interfere with me watching it. So he took the camera and walked back to his viewing spot and shot this. Yes, that's R saying "holy crap".
The smoke afterward - it glowed where the sun could reach it.
What we didn't anticipate was the amount of time it would take to get out of there. It took about 2 hours to get from our house to the beach, with the extra traffic and all, and it took 2 hours just to get off the cape to the mainland. We didn't get home until 2 AM.