THE SPACE SHUTTLE VISITS MY TOWN
The retired Space Shuttle Endeavour spent one night in Westchester, CA, the first stop
on a three-day journey from the nearby LAX to the Natural History Museum in downtown
Los Angeles, where it would spend the rest of its days.
We lived a few blocks away, and the the next morning my wife and I went to have a look.
It dominated the parking lot behind my bank and a Sprint store. The Shuttle had not been
cleaned up and it showed its age - as it would even after it went up for display.
The Shuttle began that day's journey late in the morning. No rush here, it rolled Eastward
at 2 miles an hour on city streets. In order for the wings not to hit anything, trees had been
trimmed, streetlights removed, and wires raised higher than usual.
Certain intersections looked like a hurricane had just come through. City workers were
everywhere. Hundreds of people lined the streets.
Strapped to a motorized platform as long as itself, the Shuttle covered less than two miles
that day, when it temporarily parked next to Randy's Donuts.
7,000 people gathered as a film crew scurried around, preparing to document a serious
challenge: The combined weight of the platform and the Shuttle was too heavy to safely travel
across a four-lane bridge over the eight-lane 405 Freeway. It was, instead, to be taken off the
platform and towed by a Toyota pickup truck. Why Toyota? For a commercial to air in short order
during the Super Bowl.
FYI, if you're ever in Westchester, I recommend Randy's apple fritters, which are justly famous.
They will not help to keep your own weight down.