Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Magic Carpet Ride

Last night was my first night shift of the season, my first magic carpet ride in Antarctica and my first with MaryJane.  Wow. A pretty amazing night!

The roads are bad and so are the skiway and ice runway.  We have not been able to land wheeled planes for weeks now because the snow is just too soft.  So no Airbus or C-17's.  The LC-130's with ski's can land and take off but only with limited cargo and weight.  Too much weight and the skis just sink into the mush.  Rumor has it that almost 300,000 pounds of Priority 1 cargo and 30,000 pounds of package mail are stuck in Christchurch waiting to get here. But don't worry, all those letters, notecards & postcards you've sent will still get here. They almost always make room for letter mail, so send away!

My van on the magic carpet.
It's after midnight and still this light out.
The next sunset is in late February.

The van with Mt Erebus in the background.
The magic carpet can hold two vehicles.

A Cat Challenger, what pulls the magic carpet.

A view from the driver's seat.
Alaska Glen's driving the Challenger.
Let me explain, I now work at night and try to sleep during the day.  Not too much difference down here, it's light out all the time, even on the night shift.  The only real difference is that the nights are a bit quieter.  The magic carpet is a huge plastic sheet that we drive the vans onto and get pulled by a Challenger tractor thru the worst of the bad roads, milepost 10 to 14.  MaryJane is the van I drove, van number 422, a 15 passenger Ford E-350 V10 4x4 van, which gets about 6 mpg.

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