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US Space & Rocket Center
One Tranquility Base
Huntsville, AL 35085

This facility is located adjacent to the Marshall Space Center, a major NASA facility that has been involved in everything from early rocket testing to some Space Shuttle mission control responsibilities. You may also know it as the home to Space Camp, where budding astronauts can fulfill a fantasy or three.

The museum focuses heavily on the science and innovation of the space program, which left Rick a little disappointed since he was hoping for something more philosophical in terms of the nature of why man wants to reach out to the stars. True enough there are other museums devoted to that but they werenít on the Plucky Survivors itinerary and extended dissertations on propulsion systems just donít fit into the theme of our trip.

But no matter, it was still fascinating with a historical timeline of the space program and actual artifacts from the small (a moon rock) to the epic (a Saturn V rocket out back).

On the way out, Mary noticed a series of rock climbing walls (it had something to do with Mars, we donít know). This was something she had tried for the first time with adequate success not many months before her latest cancer bout, and since no one was looking she decided to try it again despite figuring that her noodly arms wouldnít really be up to the job.

The very sweet attendants directed her to the easiest wall and assured her that many people canít even get up that one, ďso donít feel bad if you donít.Ē But she did! She fell on her rear trying to rappel down (the picture makes it look like she did a face plant but it was just an unfortunate timing issue) but she got to the top and thatís what matters!

Then feeling full of Everest conquering vigor, she tried the intermediate wall and only got part way up, but did she mention sheís sick?

Rick, who normally is too secure to need to display machismo decided that since heís forty and death is imminent anyway, he would go for it too. Please treasure this photo; it wonít be happening again. The secret, the height-phobic Rick says, is an oft-repeated one and in fact was one of the tunes played on our first dayÖ ďDonít Look Down.Ē (BB King)

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