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Some fans never tire of seeing Endeavour up close

October 12, 2012 |  5:48 pm

PHOTOS: Endeavour rolls through the streets of L.A.

Hundreds gathered at Manchester and Airport boulevards to watch as the space shuttle Endeavour inched its way toward its new home at the California Science Center. But to one group at the southeast corner of the intersection, the shuttle was no stranger.

"I spent the night with the thing," said Neils Thompson, a science center volunteer who was given a special tour of the shuttle before it began its slow roll early this morning.

PHOTOS: Endeavour rolls through the streets of L.A.

Thompson and his wife, Ann, scoped out prime locations right at the yellow police tape that barred anyone from moving closer.

"It's shuttle mania," Ann screamed as Endeavour approached.

Ann said she woke up early to see the ship depart and plans to drive to another spot along Manchester to take more pictures.

TIMELINE: Endeavour's journey through L.A.

"We've got shuttle fever!" she said.

For 9-year-old Angelique Gonsales, the shuttle's street crawl was her third time seeing the massive spacecraft up close.

"I was waking the kids up by 4 a.m.," said Anna Marie Gonsales, Angelique's mother. "They just told me to go back to bed."

Angelique watched as the shuttle's transport began early Friday morning. Then she saw it again when her fourth-grade class at Westpoint Heights Elementary School went on a field trip to watch its move.

But as she stood waiting, using the holes at the bottom of a white-and-orange street work sign to improve her view, Angelique couldn't help but be giddy.

"I love science, but I'd never want to drive that thing," she said. "It's too big."

Around 2:30 p.m., police shut down traffic on Airport Boulevard.

Angelique, after a lengthy discussion to convince her mother, climbed atop the white brick wall on the perimeter of a vacant lot at the intersection corner.

"It's coming, it's coming," she squealed.

Around 3 p.m., the shuttle reached the intersection, where Miguel Renteria didn't want to miss it.

A delivery driver for nearby rental car companies, Renteria sat atop the 40 tires in the bed of his white truck, and stood on the roof to get a better view as the shuttle rode past.

"I've got the best view in the house," he said.


How big is the shuttle? 'Pretty stinking big'

Past cheering crowds, shuttle has risky night aheadr

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly recalls 'incredible' shuttle

-- Wesley Lowery in Inglewood

Photo: Miguel Renteria has a good view of the shuttle from his truck. Credit: Wesley Lowery / Los Angeles Times