Castle Valley Comments
Nov. 8, 2012
by Ron Drake
Nov 08, 2012 | 1374 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Pierce family witnesses an historical moment as the Space Shuttle Endeavour passes slowly behind them on Los Angeles streets on its way to a permanent home at the California Science Center. Pictured (from left) are Rhondelle, Alexa, Brian and Braxten Pierce. Courtesy photo
The Pierce family witnesses an historical moment as the Space Shuttle Endeavour passes slowly behind them on Los Angeles streets on its way to a permanent home at the California Science Center. Pictured (from left) are Rhondelle, Alexa, Brian and Braxten Pierce. Courtesy photo
Many of us followed with interest as the Space Shuttle Endeavour made its final journey to California from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., last September. The Endeavour was one of three retired NASA orbiters that were offered for donation to museums around the nation after the shuttle program was scrubbed by NASA.

The Endeavour was the fifth and last orbiter vehicle to be built to replace the Challenger, which was destroyed 73 seconds after launch on Jan. 28, 1986. Do you remember where you were when that happened? The Endeavour flew for the first time in May 1992 and its last mission was May 2011 after traveling nearly 123 million miles and 299 days in space during its 25 flight missions.

The orbiter was loaded atop a modified NASA Boeing 747 on Sept. 19 at Cape Canaveral and was flown to California on a cross-country farewell tour. My brother, Kenny, was working at his business in Sacramento and knew the Boeing 747 and the piggy-backed orbiter were scheduled to fly over Sacramento Sept. 21. When he heard the low-flying aircraft overhead he ran out of the business and saw them fly directly over the building. He said it flew over the state capitol building then west to San Francisco to fly over the Golden Gate Bridge before heading to Los Angeles. It flew over several prominent southland locations before landing at the Los Angeles International Airport, 12 miles from its final destination at the California Science Center in Exposition Park.

The retired orbiter was kept in LAX’s United Airlines hanger as it was prepared for the cross-town trip. It made the final journey atop a special transporter from the airport to the space science center traveling through the city streets. Throngs of people lined the route as it shimmied around trees, utility poles and other obstacles, traveling no more than two miles per hour and was delayed many times to maneuver around those obstacles. The 12-mile trip took about three days, but the 85-ton orbiter arrived at its destination without a scratch and cost $10-million to get there.

My daughter and son-in-law, Rhondelle and Brian Pierce, happened to be in the area on their way to a vacation destination and heard that the shuttle was in route to the science center on the television news broadcast in their hotel room Friday night, Oct. 12. Their son Braxten had been following the final shuttle journey with his classmates on their classroom news channel in Buffy Camps sixth-grade class at Helen M. Knight Elementary School. The family decided to add the historic event to their itinerary the next day while they were in the area and so close.

The traffic was intense and parking was impossible to find close to the scheduled route so after a lot of driving, they finally found a suitable place to park on a street in sort of a run-down neighborhood nearly two miles away from the shuttle route. They made their way to where a Goodyear blimp and several helicopters were flying overhead as a guide and they were finally able to witness the Endeavour as it slowly passed by. Rhondelle took a picture of Braxten standing in front of the shuttle with her cell phone and sent it to Camps where she showed the classmates the following Monday morning. They were all pleased that they were able to witness a little bit of history that day.

* * *

We have all noticed that construction has begun on the Lions Park Transit Hub and the Colorado River Pathway Project. Project information coordinator Ken Davis stated this week in a news release that construction will commence on the “shoofly” detour road at the intersection of U.S. 191 and state Route 128. Earth work began on the south side of the intersection and preparations for utility upgrades will also occur in the same area.

Davis stated that there will be minimal impacts to traffic as the shoofly is created. Over the coming weeks, traffic will be shifted onto the new shoofly as work begins on the box culvert tunnel. Flaggers may be needed during certain construction activities. Everyone is advised to observe all project signage and traffic control directions during construction and the crew will do everything possible to minimize impacts caused by the construction.

* * *

The Castle Valley River Ranchos Property Owners Association held their annual general meeting at the Ramada Inn in Moab 30 years ago this week. The residents elected Ken Drogin, Dennis Godwin, Linda Jarman and Don Tuft to the board of directors and Ken DeVore was the carry-over from the previous year.

Each of the new board members was assigned duties, the financial statement was read as was the proposed budget for the upcoming year. Each of the old board members was entitled to $10 per meeting and they elected to pay their property dues with the money and donate the rest to the fire department for the use of their building for their monthly meetings.

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