Update 4

Date: January 28, 1996, 8:59 AM
To: Friends
From: Robert McNally
Subject: Update 4: Robert & Rebecca

Dear Friends,

Last time we wrote the temperature was about 10 degrees F. outside, with snow, slush and ice. However, we made it out of the northeast just before the "Blizzard of '96". We also missed every federal government attraction we wanted to visit north of Florida because of the furlough.

This time, we've been working on our tans in southern Florida. It's warm. It's humid. It's low season for mosquitos. We're having a great time. Rebecca's happy that she's finally getting to wear shorts again!

While visiting a friend of Rebecca's two hours travel south of Cape Canaveral, we got up hours before sunrise and watched the distant launch of Space Shuttle Endeavor on its latest mission. Even as far as we stood from the launch site, we could clearly see a point on the northern horizon break into a flickering glow, and then watched as a bright spike of fire rose, leaving a streak of cloud beneath it. We were surprised at how easy it was to see; you couldn't miss it. Within a few seconds it began curving eastward, to our right, and the spike became two smaller spikes and a third bright dot as the first stage boosters dropped away. The remaining dot now climbed higher and higher, appearing as a point of reflected light resembling a small, moving star. When it finally passed from our field of view, it appeared to be travelling horizontally. The sight took our breath away.

We've just finished about two weeks of camping in Everglades National Park, and we threw in a day trip down to Key West, where we watched the sunset and "street theater" near Mallory square. Driving down the Florida Keys, we saw the section of old highway blown up during the making of the movie "True Lies".

Rebecca says that to her, camping in the Everglades felt like a vacation from the whole sabbatical trip itself. We relaxed, read, went on walks, canoed, saw alligators and other wildlife, stargazed, took a bike ride, and let the mosquitos turn us into the low end of the food chain. :)

We're now headed north towards Orlando. We plan to stop in Lakeland to visit some of Robert's relatives there, and then do Disney World before starting back west through the southern part of the country. We've decided that weather-wise, south Florida or Hawaii seem like good places to spend the winter.

That's all for now. We hope you're warm and happy wherever you are!

Robert & Rebecca

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