Saturday, December 02, 2006

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach, Florida, N 29 14.133 W 81 01.443

We have very fond memories of Daytona Beach. In 1967 I worked here for 6 months on a project. I worked at G.E.'s Apollo Support department. It was the time when the Apollo program was in full swing. I was terribly impressed by the number of very very smart engineers I met at Apollo Support. The secret behind putting man on the moon was that they cherry picked the whole country for the truly best and brightest. If one takes such talent, then one takes the risk of trusting them enough not to micro-manage, then the results can be unbelievable. We could do it again today except that we'll never agree on what project deserves that talent. If you doubt that, ask the person you're talking to which area of science and engineering they would assign the worst and dumbest. Nuclear power? Medicine? Power? Roads? Water? Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. None of the above.

We also brought the family here several times for vacation. Once in particular with the kids and with Libby's Mother. We had a grand time.

I remember renting a scooter in 1967 and driving it 15 miles south along the beach. When I got the end, there was a beached whale there.

I remember a clambake with guys from the project. We made a fire in a sand pit, then threw in seaweed, clams, corn and lobsters. There was lots of beer too.

I remember being in Daytona in the spring. First came the motorcycle crowd for their races. Then the NASCAR crowd for the Daytona 500. Then the college kids for spring break (in 1967, Daytona was the hot spot for spring break). Finally came the families for Easter Vacation. The town would fill up to the brim with one group, then empty out again. All that time I was living in a motel on the beach with a balcony facing the ocean. It was great.

I remember one night during spring break when a bunch of drunken college girls accosted me as I was leaving my hotel room. The cops were busting any kids who didn't have a place to sleep. The girls offered to pay me $100 each to sleep in my room. I swallowed hard, very hard, and said "No." Sigh. Life as a nerd is not always easy.

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