Day 80: Huntsville i.e. Rocket City, Alabama

Something I didn’t know about Alabama till this trip is that they make rockets. Florida and Texas get most of the press being the launch site and the ground control, but Huntsville, Alabama has made rockets and continues to be part of space research at the Marshall Space Flight Center.¬†They also have quite an impressive space center which includes a space camp that I would imagine is quite great considering how impressive the center alone was.

2015-08-26 10.25.35 Their outdoor display included several real rockets:
2015-08-26 11.00.14 It also had the usual things that are still quite fun, like a bit of moon rock that an astronaut said was his favorite, so he brought it back:

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It also had the test version of the Saturn V, which didn’t go into space, but was launched into the atmosphere and was quite the impressive, and frankly, massive thing: 2015-08-26 12.04.49



They let you go in a replica, that you apparently had to be 5’11 for. Chris was a bit too tall:2015-08-26 12.24.04 2015-08-26 12.24.42

Needless to say, we had a great time:
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Learning the story of space in Huntsville made the town make more sense. A docent told us that when Hitler knew he was going to lose, he sent an order to have all his rocket scientists killed. In the tradition of rocket scientists, they were clever fellows. They weren’t just going to get murdered and they had a chat about who to surrender to. They didn’t want to go to Russia because they figured they’d just be prisoners. Their rockets had been used to bomb London, so they thought Britain¬†was a bad move too, and they picked the Americans. The Americans vetted them and sent the ‘proper’ rocket scientists to America. Some of them were sent to Alabama to work on the US rocket program. This ended up doing two things. The program itself built up the town, making it a much newer town than what we have seen in the rest of Alabama as most of it is about as new as rocket science. It also explained why we saw not one but several German restaurants on Trip Adviser, when most American cities have one or none.

After a full morning of rockets, we finally got around to trying some Southern barbecue:

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It wasn’t bad. I had chicken and Chris had pork. Again, we did struggle to speak to anyone though. Even the docent from earlier was actually from Pennsylvania and the only person we’ve really been able to have a full conversation with in Alabama. This seems like a nice enough city, but we do need more information, so if anyone has any, please do let us know what it’s like to live in the space city of Alabama, as it is hands down our favorite part of Alabama and probably one of our favorite cities in the south so far along with Charleston.

One minor negative is that Alabama has 10 percent sales tax, even on food.

Check out the video:

I think by this point in the trip, we have got used to the heat. It’s been in the 80s during the day in Alabama, which frankly, almost feels cold. I’ve had to put socks on for the first time in ages (I’ve mainly been wearing flip flops everywhere). I think on balance I’d prefer to live somewhere mostly warm. The 90s can work in certain places that are set up for them. I think they felt much worse in Wisconsin growing up because a place that also gets far below zero can’t also be completely set up for sweltering heat, whereas somewhere like Florida was, so I enjoyed it.


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