Thanks for posting, Gypsy! After all of the years that the shuttles have been in service, we were finally fortunate enough to be able to watch one take-off! And it was STS-133, Space Shuttle Discovery on February 24th!!!
We'd been in Florida several times over the years when NASA was supposed to have a launch, but they were always postponed for one reason or another, just like Discovery had been since September of last year. Then to our surprise, they scheduled it for a time when we were actually going to be back in Florida!
I got online and played hunt & search for a good spot to view it from. I had planned originally
last year, to try and get tickets to view one from right at KSC. Although the one that was scheduled at that
time for February was the Endeavor (which was then postponed due to the late launch of Discovery).
So I went to "plan B", which was to "get close". I found "Space View Park" in Titusville, but also found out that you really needed to get there several hours before if you wanted even a prayer of a chance of viewing from that point. Space View Park is 15 miles due east of the launch pad.
Finally, I found a little restaurant on the intercoastal waterway, that has an outdoor open deck. It is 16 miles due north of the launch pad! Also it is off the beaten path on a back road in a sparsely populated area! In fact most of the folks that were there, didn't even know there was a shuttle launch taking place that day!
We got there about 3:20, got seated at a table on the deck with an totally unobstructed view to the south and east, had some great fresh seafood & refreshments. Lift-off took place a few minute after we had finished eating, and I shot about 150 pictures of it right up until just after the solid boosters separated and quit firing! (Once I get all of our pix downloaded, I'll post a couple.) When our server came by with our check, we paid it and headed back north to Ormond Beach. There was NO
traffic to contend with at all...amazingly! On the news that night, they said traffic was still backed-up on I-95 3-4 hours after the launch! I was soooo glad that we had opted to do as we had!
This shuttle launch was one more thing that both myself and my Mom (who is 83) got to scratch off our bucket lists!