Arrival in Ft. Sumner and Day 1!

Wednesday was a long day of travel–McBride, Jane, Daniel, Justin, Alfred, and I all flew from Oakland to Albuquerque.  It was a quick, easy flight, and the view leaving the East Bay was remarkable.  Those green hills will be brown by the time we return!

Oakland and Mt. Diablo

Oakland and Mt. Diablo

A cool dust storm

A cool dust storm

We're getting to the desert...

We're getting to the desert...

After seeing our first tumbleweed gallop by in Albuquerque, we rented cars and started the 2.5 hour drive to Ft. Sumner.  It was incredibly windy yesterday–the forecast had called for 50 mph gusts–so there was a lot of dust to contend with.  Still, the drive was fine.  We had a chance to acclimate ourselves to our new landscape.

Scrubby New Mexico brush

Scrubby New Mexico brush

It's pretty flat...

It's pretty flat...

Arriving in Ft. Sumner!

Arriving in Ft. Sumner!

Our first view of the CSBF facility

Our first view of the CSBF facility

The hangar, day 0

The hangar, day 0

We arrived in Ft. Sumner around dinnertime and met those who had driven (Mark, Belinda, Alan, and Zhong-Kai) for dinner at one of the two restaurants in town.  Our motivation has been increased to get cooking on our own–I don’t think I can eat only bad Mexican food for two months!  We grad students settled into our house in the evening.  That night we were reminded how much the temperature changes over the course of the day–it was coooold!  Hopefully we can get the heat on in the house tonight…

Dinner at Fred's

Dinner at Fred's

Today after scrounging some breakfast from our food supplies we spent a full day in the CSBF hangar getting situated.  We set up our work stations and started reassembling the gondola frame.  That was smooth, for the most part.  We also got the last item removed from the rental trucks–the solar panels.  These are large and quite heavy, and without the nice SSL crane we were forced to get them out with strength and ingenuity.  Tomorrow the trucks get returned to Clovis, NM, and then we are really here for the duration.

Unloading solar panels

Unloading solar panels

Daniel attaches the electronics bay to the gondola.

Daniel attaches the electronics bay to the gondola.

Lab internet is pretty spotty for now, but amazingly I have decent cell reception throughout Ft. Sumner.  It’s a nice change from SSL to be able to make a phone call from work…

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