"Today was a good day." ~Ice Cube
I'll admit I was dragging getting out of bed this morning. I was feeling that it was just going to be one of those days and I didn't want to deal with it. Man, I was wrong. I'm writing this @ 2300 with a beer in hand and today has been one of the better days I've spent on this continent.
Weather was nice today, not great but nice. I don't know if we've acclimated or what but -26F windchill was pleasant today. We hope this weather holds through tomorrow morning. It would make our Holiday Brunch.
In morning meeting the crew got their load assignments for the trip North. I'll be pulling the Kitchen/Generator Module. Kriete will follow me with the Tool Shed/Reefer/Tiny Tiger. Francis will come next pulling our fuel load. Josh will be pulling the Forty Foot Flat Rack with 40,000lbs of retro steel next. After that comes Justin with a tandem Bladder Set load. The lucky guy will get to inspect 16 bladders every stop instead of the normal 8. Kevin will follow Justin with a normal set of 8 bladders and the same for Fedders who will be bringing up the rear.
Preparations for Open House Holiday Brunch were also discussed this morning. I don't want to give anything away. However, the guys have really taken to the opportunity to host brunch and continue to generate ideas for tomorrow. Seriously its's 2330 and Fedders is hanging stockings with our names on them.
The morning was occupied with making final preparations for the trip North. All the bladder sets are prepped and pointed North at the end of the runway. Cargo finished loading and securing the steel on the forty-foot flat rack. The Modules received a thorough cleaning. We'll only need to clean up after the open house and we'll be ready to hook up and head out Wednesday morning. Also this morning we were able to meet back up with our friends from Arctic Trucks and Gamania. The Gamania crew finished their XC ski and Tricycle tour from the coast to the Pole. We talked with them while they were taking their "Hero" shoots at the Pole. To further strengthen international relations we invited the Icelanders and Taiwanese to Holiday Brunch. I definitely made Artie's day by gifting him a tin of Copenhagen.
This afternoon I assisted the fire department with the 1400 flight. Tractor support to move their firefighting equipment into place on the runway in the event there was an incident. We don't talk about crashes. I've been to close to actually having to belly land an aircraft on the snow. The Boys took the afternoon to clean their tractors, do laundry, and... I'm pretty sure there was an epic round of MarioKart that took place in the lounge while I was slaving away at the airfield.
After the airfield, I had yet another opportunity to be an ambassador for these United States. When I arrived back at the Modules I noticed a new set of vehicles parked at the Pole. These happen to belong to a crew from Russia that has previously circumvented the arctic also stopping at the North Pole. That happened to just be for fun. This trip is the result of a film crew's desire to make a documentary celebrating the anniversary of something I have completely forgotten now. Well, I went over and introduced myself and asked if they wanted a tour of our camp. They accepted and afterward I was invited to their camp for tea which also included an opportunity to sample some dried fish. Actually not too bad. I asked a lot of questions about their trucks. They were custom built by the leader and his friend. They are amphibious which was necessary to cross sections of open sea in the Arctic. The power plants are a 2.2-liter diesel engine out of a Toyota Camry. Manual transmission. And only weigh 3,300lbs. Sleeping, cooking and eating all take place in the trucks which were actually very spacious and made excellent use of the limited space. They said they had a good video of their arctic adventures at yemelya.ru It'll be a while before I have access to fast enough internet to watch it. However, I encourage everyone to check it out. Their past adventures are quite engaging. They will also be joining us for Holiday Brunch.
After tea with the Russians, it was time do some Sledding. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. I'll just say Josiah did an amazing job at forming the hills this year and there may have even been some downhill mountain biking that happened. Oh and Red Sleds with 14 people on them is terrifying.
That's all great Thor but really one of the better days on the continent? Yes for a couple of reasons I haven't mentioned yet. I don't know if I'll be able to explain this but I'll try. If you've ever had the privilege to work on a crew that makes plans to hang out after work hours and finds themselves amused by the random silly situations they end up in you already understand. If not just think on the fact that seven guys who have spent the last month working and living together in very close quarters spent days planning and preparing to host a party in those same living quarters. And on the eve of that party, they hung out tobogganing as a "family" jokingly calling me Dad all night. That feels good. The second thing that made today great was having some downtime at the airfield and being able to text my wife Andrea. Nothing special just sharing random thoughts about random things. That's it... just getting to touch base with the person that loves me and supports me in this crazy lifestyle we have decided to live.
Almost forgot. Dinner was Hamsters. There was other stuff but I didn't get that far. The first thing on the line was Hamsters and I ate six with a side of Siracha sauce. I may have an unhealthy fondness of Hamsters. Dessert was a seventh hamster. Yes, hamsters were a factor in this wonderful day.