Hi, everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve done a personal blog on a life adventure. (Last time I did this was in high school.) But today I had a rocket launching adventure, and wanted to share it with you!
The day started with me (@MichelleMadow), my brother Steven (@StevenMadow), and our friend Jill (@JillianneSays) journeying to a local park to launch model rockets. It was a cloudless Florida day, 75 degrees, so it was ideal for launching rockets. (Except for the slight wind, which resulted in a problem later.)
We had two rockets — a small orange one, and a large white one.
|Me with the large white rocket
We launched the small orange one — and it was a SUCCESS! It flew high in the air, and everyone in the park watched. Some guys were playing basketball nearby, and one of them caught it and returned it to us. Yay for rocket launching!
Next, we moved on to the large white one. We set it up to launch, and were super excited.
|Large white rocket ready to launch
Sadly, that rocket did not take as well. It flew up a little, then kind of died and collided to the ground without the parachute opening. My brother analyzed the interior of the rocket and determined that it wouldn’t fly again until we repaired it with super glue, which we did not have on us.
Since the large rocket was out of commission, we decided to launch the orange rocket again — but this time we were going to use the SUPER POWER engine! (Earlier we had used a smaller engine.) There was a family playing soccer nearby and we invited them to help. (One of the girls had heard of my book, Remembrance
, which was neat!)
We launched the rocket, and it went SO HIGH IN THE SKY!! There was a bird flying and it was way higher than that! My brother estimates it went 1,100 feet up!
Here is where the wind became an issue.
The wind made the rocket travel to the side, and it landed in the gated community next to the park. There was only one option: Go inside and retrive it. The only problem was that we didn’t know where in the community it had landed.
But we weren’t going to let that stop us! We gathered in my car, and drove to the community. When we arrived at the gate, we told the security guard the story. He was sympathetic to our plight, but because of community rules he could NOT let us inside.
At least he couldn’t without us giving him the name of someone who lives there.
We guessed common names like Smith, Jones, and Gold, but no one with those names lived there. So we pulled to the side of the road, and my brother brought out the iPhone. Using Internet sleuthing skills, he acquired a list of the full names of everyone who lived inside. We drove back to the gate, and started giving the names. We got the names right, but everyone required that the security guard call them before admitting anyone entry! We kept going through the list, hoping to get lucky.
By this time, the security guard was getting sick of us. (Although he was smiling the whole time, so I think we were entertaining him.) Finally he said, “I don’t want to get in trouble, but someone is leaving now. You can go inside through the exit.”
So that’s what we did.
We drove around the community, keeping our eyes peeled for the rocket. We passed a biker and people hanging out outside their houses, and asked them if they had spotted an orange model rocket or if it had landed in their backyard. No one had seen it. But we weren’t going to give up that easily!
We parked the car on the side of the road near the park and got out. It was time to search on foot!
We walked along the streets, looking for the rocket, asking people if they had seen it. No one had. By this point, we felt defeated. We might not even be searching near the right place! How were we going to find one model rocket in the entire community?!
Just when we were about to give up, we spotted a group of five girls playing outside their house. I asked them if they had seen the rocket. They said, “Was it that orange thing with the parachute?”
IT WAS! THEY HAD SEEN THE ROCKET! HALLELUJAH!
Only problem: It hadn’t landed in their yard — they saw it go over the houses across the street.
They were friends with the people across the street, so they opened their fence and looked in the backyard. No rocket. Then one of the younger girls said, “I think it went in the DiCaprio’s* yard.” So I said, “Great! Do you know them well enough to check?”
The younger girls said this was fine! They ran around the DiCaprio’s house, trying to look into their backyard. Then the oldest girl said very seriously, “Guys, we can’t go into the DiCaprio’s yard.” The way she said it reminded me of an “Are You Afraid of the Dark” episode when everyone in the neighborhood is afraid of the one house with the scary neighbors.
They couldn’t help us further. But at least we had a lead!
We got excited, but then we spotted a red SUV driving slowly down the street — with the security guard at the wheel. He was searching for us.
He had gotten in trouble for letting us inside, and he informed us that we had to leave the community.
Having no other options, we got in my car and left. BUT THE SEARCH WAS NOT OVER!
My brother (once again using his Internet sleuthing skills) found the DiCaprio’s number. He called them to ask if they had seen the rocket. They checked their backyard … and no rocket.
So, we never got our rocket back. After getting home we Google mapped the community and discovered that there is a forest preserve in the middle of the community. (Undeveloped land in South Florida that’s not the Everglades?! WTF?!) It’s probably in that forest somewhere …
Lesson learned: We need a bigger field for the stronger engine.
In the meantime, enjoy this vlog about the journey!
*Name changed for privacy purposes.