Justin says it's Birthday Thursday today.
Happy 25th Birthday Justin. May all your dreams come true.
"Some girls don't like boys like me, oh but some girls do" ~Sawyer Brown
Back to the grind today. First-day jitters are over and we're back in the swing of things.
The weather today was fog with more fog topped with a sprinkle of ice crystals. No wind today until the very end when we approached the Sastrugi National Forest. I've driven in weather days similar today but today it was creeping me out a touch. It was foggy but with a really good ground definition within a half-mile radius. It was bright yet the fog stayed grey at the edges of the circle of visibility. It felt as if our existence was rendering itself as it appeared out of the fog. I had a few moments where I felt we were trapped in a weird twilight zone situation. I'm in trouble it's day two and my mind is already playing games with me.
Around 1600hr we left the Swamp behind us. The snow started to firm up and we began to encounter signs of the approaching Sastrugi. Goodbye to the nice flat soft cruising and hello to everything ends up on the floor driving. We're camped within a half mile of where I dropped a waypoint designating what I felt like was the boundary to this year's Park. The term sastrugi derive from the Russian word zastrugi and is used to reference a snowdrift that is extremely dense and has been carved by the wind. These drifts can be six feet tall with vertical walls for sides. They have been known to stop a blade CAT in its tracks. The big ones aren't always the bad ones. The big ones you notice and are able to prepare for. You don't always notice the 1-2 footers and if you hit them full speed you may find your travel mug flying out of its' holder and hitting you in the back of the head.
Francis was our cook this evening. We had Beef Satay over rice with a side of pork spring rolls. Francis baked Justin a special birthday cake for dessert. Fedders found crayons. We decorated and wore party hats and pretended to sing happy birthday. Everyone is excited to use there now colorful party hats for their original purpose.
The crew did remind me of a few big things I forgot to include in the last sitrep.
First, a big thank you to everyone at the South Pole Station. Thank you for inviting us into your home and letting us tax your water supply with our laundry and showers. Thanks to the kitchen for preparing extra portions and washing extra dishes. Thanks to the VMF for allowing us to use bay space. Thank you for tours of the power plant and utility tunnels. A huge thank you to all the scientists that invited us into their workspace and took the time to explain their projects to us in a term we would understand. Thank you for making us feel part of the family for the holidays.
Second I should mention that our final fuel delivery came to 110,058 gallons. Lastly, we parted ways with Flat Stanley. It was a tearful departure as Josh sealed him safely away in his envelope destined for Illinois. Flat Stanley will be flying in a LC-130 heading North while we creep along in our tractors over the frozen continent.
Mileage today: 66
Remaining Miles: 915
Intentions: Head North. Stay Focused.