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June 25, 2008

Saucy Truck Photos

We took the opportunity in the parking lot of a grocery store in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to get some shots of the trucks.


[Heidi with Big Red.]


[Liz lounges on the Dodge.]


[Our full fleet, with my Ford 550 on the right. Averaging about 8.7 miles per gallon of diesel. Glad *I* wasn't paying for the gas.]

We told Sarah, who had already been in Yellowstone for 8 or 10 days or so, we'd be in West Yellowstone around noon. So she left her well logging to meet us. We showed up around 5.

Packed the trucks, hit the road. Drove to the site, dropped off what we could, settled in to our new home. Liz and I chose our lowest-maintenance food for dinner: Brats. Mmmmm, brats.

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Twin Falls, Idaho

Well, we've made it to Twin Falls, Idaho, which is about two hours short of our original goal, but it'll do. We decided to get our trucks serviced this morning--two were up for oil changes, and mine was almost absolutely out of coolant--and what we thought would take an hour and a half took more like three hours, so we didn't get on the road until noon. Bummer. This means two more hours of driving tomorrow for a total of four, which with our rigs will be more like 4.5, which will probably end up making for a long day since we need to buy groceries for the next few days and move some equipment across Yellowstone for the install on Thursday. Whew.

This may well be my last internet access for the next few days, since I don't think we even have cell service where we'll be staying (an RV, if you must know) in Yellowstone. The plan? Good question. It sounds like the hope is for us to be done on Saturday, but I don't know if that means I'll actually be headed to Boulder at that point. I kind of hope so. I love to leave, I love to come back.

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June 24, 2008

Back to Work

Monday comes. Not that it always matters whether it's a weekday or not, but in this case the timing is such that we went back to work on a Monday.

Out to the San Rafael job site, took a load of trash to the dump, lifted a cement mixer into the back of a flatbed, and secured everything for driving. I've got the Ford F550 with the gated flatbed, which should be the easiest of the three; Liz had the big Dodge with the trailer, and Heidi has the beefy Ford F550 with the small crane. We're a slow convoy.


[Heidi and Big Red.]

Shortly after pulling out from our halfway-break, Heidi lost something. I'm impressed that she even saw that she lost something, and in time to pull off along the road in a perfect spot where all three of us could fit to go back and find it.

Found: Handle for one of the side compartments on the truck. Meaning the compartment door was hanging open. Lots of metal parts inside. Not good. So, I found a scrap of wire alongside the road and secured the door closed.

We passed on Reno and made it to the lovely town of Fernley, Nevada. A lovely place. To spend only one night.

The goal for tomorrow is Idaho Falls.

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June 23, 2008

Another Tour

On Sunday morning, we went to church. Or, maybe we went on a tour of Panum Crater with a park naturalist named Mike Rourke.


[Mike leads the way.]

Panum Crater is a young (300 yr old!) volcanic dome on the south shore of Mono Lake, along a longer line of craters and domes and cones. Very volcanic. Very interesting. My Masters adviser, Michael Hamburger, calls it 'the world's cutest volcano.'

The crater built itself up with lava fountaining, which dropped pumice in a ring around the vent, and then a dome of thick lava squeezed up in the middle, forming a mound with spires out the top.


[View out west from the dome.]


[A 'breadcrust bomb,' or a blog of lava thrown out from the vent and puffed out as it cooled, sailing through the air.]


[Happy Liz. Happy Heidi.]

After exploring Panum, we hit the road. Headed north, and then cut west through Yosemite. This was my second time in Yosemite, the first being just last month.

Since I had just been there, and took pictures (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/bethbartel), I took pictures of people taking pictures.

We made it that evening to San Rafael, where we stayed in a pretty nice hotel and rested up for the long days of (more) driving ahead.

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The Weekend In Between

Well, we didn't make it to Sequoia National Park. It would have been too far out of the way, so we headed north on 395 instead through Bishop to stay in Lee Vining.

On the way, we stopped at Obsidian Dome, just to check it out.


[Side of Obsidian Dome.]

Obsidian Dome is a dome of erupted obsidian, which is a glassy volcanic rock. Shiny and black, usually. Native Americans used it for making arrowheads. This dome is pretty amazing because there's just so damn much of it.


[Heidi gets excited about obsidian.]


[The obsidian is layered with pumice, of the same composition but filled with gas bubbles.]


[Lines were formed as the obsidian flowed/oozed along.]


[Heading back down after exploring the mound.]


[Back on the ground, I went over to hug a tree and came face to back with this guy.]

Next stop was Mono Lake. We turned at a sign that said something about the southern tufa and checked it out.

Very cool.

I'm too tired to write about it now, so I'm just going to post photos and maybe come back to it. To summarize: It was great, and today we explored a little more, and tomorrow after taking care of some errands at the job site I started out at on Wednesday, we're hitting the road for Yellowstone. Will probably end up somewhere in Nevada tomorrow night.


[Liz wanted us to stop for a photo on the way.]


[Not a bad view.]


[Somehow not quite as beautiful as the rest. Note toilet paper flapping in the wind.]


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June 20, 2008

Gettin' It Done

Got it done, but not quite in two hours as estimated. Got there around 3, got out around 9. But, got it done.

Poured about 15 feet worth of grout and then put the strainmeter in on its monster cable, and left it to set up.

Then, headed straight to dinner because things close early around here. Went to a kind of nice place. Fortunately, we sat in the bar, because we were pretty filthy. Heidi and I turned our shirts inside-out.

Tomorrow, Mike flies home for a few days and Heidi, Liz, and I will drive north, probably stopping at Sequoia National Forest on the way. Because why not. *After* we sleep in. (I took a nap today despite the 10 hours or so of sleep I got last night. 108 degrees F in town, so probably still over 100 at the job site, which is up a little higher. It takes it out of you.) (At least it's dry heat...)

Saw a chuckwalla today. It was cool. And a killer red-pink sunset thick through the smoke of a fire. No pictures, though, because, well, no pictures. Bummer.

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Current Version

The current version of the plan is: Install the instrument here in the Mojave but don't finish the site, drive or fly back up to San Francisco on Sunday, take care of a few things there and stay in San Rafael, then drive to Yellowstone on Monday or Tuesday. We even have hotel reservations for Sunday night in San Rafael, so things seem somewhat certain. We'll see. The thought is to be in Yellowstone by Wednesday to start an install there on Thursday.

The hole in Yellowstone is somewhat interesting. They expected it to be in a 'cold spot,' but it's not. It's hot. They hit hot water--80 degrees C, I think--and are trying to figure out how to plug it up to install the instrument above it. Usually they shoot for the 600-700 ft range I think, but this one's going to be around only 250 ft or so. Yep, Yellowstone. It's active.

Right now, we're just hanging out until 3 because of a road closure for testing. I guess it will be better to do the install in the afternoon after the height of sun and heat, anyway. Hopefully we'll get it done tonight.

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Desert Hot

Well, I'd been having a hankering for some manual labor, and here I am. In the Mojave. Exhausted.

Perfect.

The hole in the Mojave was done and and ready and the one in Yellowstone was having complications, so we came to the desert. I'm understanding now why the strainmeter gig is so unschedulable; it depends on how the drilling goes, and where. After this, maybe to Yellowstone, maybe Bay area, maybe home. We'll see. I'm not too worried about it anymore.

Yesterday, I got my first taste of an install, finishing up a site in San Rafael, California. We mixed and poured concrete mostly, then cleaned up, packed up, and headed to Richmond so I could hand over the truck I'd driven out. Had lunch with my friend Brian, in transition between our Northern California and Alaskan offices, and then headed to the airport to swap out trucks (where else are we going to store it?) and drive south. Heidi, Mike, and I. Heidi's been working at UNAVCO for about a year; Mike, for two. I didn't even know their names before this. The strainmeter folks keep a low profile.

We drove to Ridgecrest, California, which is adjacent to the China Lake navy base. China Lake is dry. Ridgecrest is in a broad valley. Go figure.

Steve, another UNAVCO employee I'd not even heard of, has been down here so long he's got an apartment here. The installs were mostly on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington for the winter, and now are here. What interesting timing, I said. Wouldn't you want to do it the other way around? YES, they said, we would, and that was the plan, but they had problems in Washington with the grout and then problems with the drilling in the Mojave, so everything's been delayed... by about five months. Steve came down here in January, and the instrument installs didn't start until I think May. We're now, I believe, on number 2 of 4.

So, when we rolled into town, we turned up at Steve's apartment. Steve was getting the barbeque going. We invited ourselves to dinner. Steve had two huge steaks. Should be enough for all of us, he said, unconvincingly. But they were indeed pretty big. Liz, our fourth (Steve's not part of the install crew for this--he is overseeing drilling at one of the new sites in the area), turned up and she and Heidi went for more food. "They eat a lot," Heidi said. Liz and Heidi came back with ribs and brats. And that's what we had. Steaks and ribs and brats. And that's *all* we had. Total meat fest. Good thing I'm not vegetarian anymore.

This morning, a 7 AM start to get our briefing from our contact on base, Chris. Liz had already secured our security badges. We're now official. Show our IDs at the gate with a pretty smile, and they let us in.

But no cameras allowed, absolutely no pictures allowed, so I don't have any visuals for you. It's a test site--bombs, missiles, lasers. There were a few millvans stacked with a big target on the front and big holes out the back. Interesting stuff. All sorts of interesting stuff out there, actually. Things we'd like to ask about. But if they told us, they'd have to kill us, probably. Okay, maybe not. But maybe.

The other highlights of our briefing were the animal warnings: Be kind to the desert tortoise, and be wary of the Mojave green rattlesnake, one of the most venomous in the Mojave. Or the southwestern US. Or North America. Or the world. Or something.

We didn't see any of either. Just ravens.

The goals for today were three: Send a camera down to look at and record our hole, which is 676 feet deep. Put the strainmeter on test so it can log for 24 hours before we install it. Raise the floor of the hole by 25 feet (some places are better than others to install the instrument, and the group had determined through well logs that the 632-649 foot range would work pretty well). The instrument is about six feet long. Shiny, metallic. No photo. Sorry.

We raised the hole by mixing concrete in buckets and pouring it into a long container with a trip on the end that gets lowered down the hole. The idea is for it to trip when it hits the bottom, releasing the contents. We had to do this twice (it raises the hole about 15 feet each time if full, but the contraption is about 35 feet long). And it worked both times. Score.

But the most exciting part of the day, and the most intense troubleshooting, had to do with the watermelon. We had no knife. How do you open a watermelon with no knife? (And why, between four of us, did we have no knife on a job site?) Mike suggested the vice grip on the side of our rig, but it was (fortunately) too small (not sure how that one would've turned out. I'm curious, but it sounded messy.). So Heidi used the Saws-all while I held the melon on a bucket. Very effective.

100+ degrees, and sunny.

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June 18, 2008

Nevermind

Okay, scratch that plan. The Yellowstone one that replaced the Mojave one. Looks like we're back on for the Mojave. It's gonna be ho-o-ot.

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June 16, 2008

Cowgirl for a Morning

My magical evening was followed by a great morning. I woke up whenever I woke up from sleeping out under the stars, and took a little walk around my campsite--which I'm convinced was the best one.

Then, in not too much of a hurry, I hit the road.

The dirt road.

I took an alternate route back to I-70, and dawdled. Stop 1: Rock art.

Stop 2: Wherever I felt like it. I was just cruising along in the dirt with the window down, kicking up dust behind me (even though I was only going about 20 mph, maybe 40 tops), listening to country music. It was fantastic. I just needed a hat. I even thought about brining my hat, and then didn't. Should've brought the hat.

Everything else was perfect.


[Where does this go? Looks like a nice view, may as well check it out....]

What a treat. So the trip wasn't just about Goblin Valley, after all.

I stopped for lunch in Salina, Utah, which I've been through before, and ate at Mom's Cafe, because you've gotta. I called my friend Jeff, who did some surveying in the area once upon a time, and asked where I should eat. Yep, Mom's. It's pretty much the only option.

Because this isn't one:

On my way in, I got a call from Dave, the guy I'm supposed to be working for when I get to California. I hadn't yet been told where to meet the crew, how long I'd be out, anything really. Are you still driving to Richmond? he asked. Yep, on my way to Richmond. (Brian decided against the Seattle idea. Stick with Plan A.) Good, he said. Things have changed. You're going to meet the group in San Francisco and drive to Yellowstone.

This is why UNAVCO kills me. I nearly collapsed into a fit of giggles when I got off the phone. Turning around and driving back east. I'd rather be working in Yellowstone than in the Mojave at this time of year, anyway. Maybe any time of year. Yellowstone is pretty cool.

But back to the southwest. There is something very, very special about Salina. Salina is the gateway to Highway 50. Google maps told me to go up through Salt Lake City to catch 80, but I said uh-uh. I want the Lonliest Highway in America. So I did that little grab-and-pull trick and had it re-route me. Desolate, barren, and quiet. I love Highway 50.

So much that I made a wrong turn leaving town and headed north instead of west.

Easily corrected.

Not far into Nevada, I stopped in Ely to check out the haps. I wanted to see what had happened on the street corner I had spent time on last time through Ely, which I realized must already have been two years ago now. Not that kind of spending time on a street corner. It was an intersection, really. My friend and co-worker Nicole clued me in to a nice pub in town, so I checked it out. The Twisted Pine. Halfway into my second beer, a man hanging out at the bar with his fiance befriended me and told me his story: He had just with his brother bought some properties across the street--an old theater, a cocktail lounge, and a restaurant. It was probably 11 PM, but in his enthusiasm (and I think to the dismay of his fiance) he took me over to show me (fiance in tow). Very, very cool. The theater hasn't changed since I think the 60's, and needs a lot of work but has class. The lounge is fantastic--they were about a month away from opening when I was there, with plush seating and a huge screen in back for movies or ambiance and a fantastic mosaic-ed floor which they had uncovered from back in the day when they pulled up the carpet. They wanted the restaurant to be an Italian deli, with *good food* (this is HUGE in Nevada, which, as much as I love it, has got to have the worst food in all the US) and wine and deli fixins.

I wondered how far they'd gotten.


[The strip: The theater, with Maggi's Lounge and the Italian restaurant encased in "Mr. G's."]

The restaurant and lounge were locked, but existed, so I went across the street to 'Desolation Arts' (I think I have the name right), an art gallery where I'd talked at some length last time to the retired BLM co-owner. He wasn't there this time, but one of the others, Joel (who shot some fantastic photos of the steam trains), was, and he clued me in. First, Nicole, the worst news: The Twisted Pine is no longer there. This was evident to me as I was driving through town because I was using it as a landmark and drove right past, only to have to turn around at the end of town and come back. (Not that Ely's very big...this meant driving about two blocks out of my way.) In its place is some nondescript generic bar that Joel said isn't worth checking out. Very sad. Glad I got a pint glass from there while I could. As for the 'new' venues--the theater hasn't changed, but both the lounge and the restaurant are open. Just not on Mondays. Yesterday was a Monday. Bummer. How's business? Maybe not so good. They were hoping for an influx of people from Las Vegas, which was actually starting to happen two years ago when this whole thing went down, but then the economy dropped out and folks stopped coming. Hard times have hit Ely yet again. Joel pointed to the tourist train going by to illustrate the point: The train hardly had anyone on it, and was a diesel engine besides. Both the steam engines were down, he said. Who wants to come all the way to Ely to ride a diesel?

In Salina, or somewhere around the Nevada border, there was a billboard for Ely. A big picture of a train, tattered and peeling, and under the train were the words:
Come Visit Ely
A Full Service Community

Joel tipped me off to a restaurant in Eureka, the next town over, since the Italian place was closed. Something like DJ's Diner, and he was right, it was good. So if you can't eat Italian in Ely next time you're through on Highway 50, give the diner on the east side of Eureka a try.

This is why I love Highway 50:

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June 15, 2008

The Goblins and the Mushrooms

I figured I had a little time for exploring on this trip, so instead of staying on I-70 I deviated and went south. To Goblin Valley. I'd been there once before, twelve years ago, and loved it. So, why not head back.

Even if the rest of the trip is a bust, I figured, cupped in a warm rock pedestal looking up at the moon and the erratic clouds in the dark sky, it was worth it already, for this one night of goblins.

I arrived just as the sun was setting, working quickly to secure a camping spot and then heading off to the Valley down the road. It was as I'd remembered it.

[The following is from my journal. Apologies for the further references to injuries; not looking for sympathy, just wanting to remember. And I think I must have looked pretty funny besides, some chick getting out of this huge white truck in a skirt and then gimping out alone into the wilderness.]

I entered the valley as the valley entered shade, the sun going down behind the western hills, its golden light on the red rocks inching farther eastward as I chased it. I hurried down, hurried in, walking more or less as fast as I could on my stiff Achilles, trying not to stop to take too many pictures before I got to the light, so I could take a picture of myself with it. Or try. Hey, look at me in the waning light in Goblin Valley.

Then, I explored, pushing farther back in, moving with the light, walking into the maze of washes and up, up, trying to get a view back out, pulling and pushing carefully against my bruised rib as I climbed.

I had a moment when I was climbing down from the palace in back, all spires and staircases and curves. I was coming down, and I realized something. And I stopped.

Silence. Desert silence. Almost complete silence. There was the sound of creaking in my neck, which I tried to keep still. Every once in a while, the buzz of an insect. And a high-pitched wine, which I couldn't identify, which may have just been the whine of silence. I put my hand flat on a rock--warm--to connect to the forms around me, and I stayed. I sat down. When I got up again, I loathed the sound of my footsteps.

I made my way back down to the valley floor, amongst the goblins and the mushrooms and the frozen mariachi bands. I found a pedestal. A pedestal, or a bowl. I climbed up into it, and I sat down in it, and let it hold me, and I leaned back and looked up at the clouds. I found the first star and I made a wish. I closed my eyes. I opened my eyes and was startled by the brightness of the moon. I noticed light on my knees and thighs; I registered with delight that the light was from the moon. I closed my eyes. I opened them. It wouldn't get any darker. I picked out long moon shadows behind the rocks. I took off my shoes.

When I eventually walked back, I walked back barefoot.

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A Perfect Spot to Nap

I didn't make it far into Utah. Shay (sp?) suggested I nap in Grand Junction before heading out, but I wanted to get at least a few miles behind me, so I hit the road and stopped in Green River. Went into the museum there to check out some maps and talked to the woman on duty about a nice spot to take a nap. She set me up.


[Up along the Green River.]


[A little narrow. I scraped my mirror going back across that part, but then I guess that's just an indication of my driving...]


[I picked a camp spot right along the river to park my truck and myself. If you squint, you can see the truck through the trees, on the right side of the picture, with the river just beyond it. I put down my tent's ground cloth and my sleeping pad and took a warm, sweaty nap in the shade.]


[The cottonwoods were going cotton-crazy. Hope no one's allergic.]

On the way out, I had to stop to catch a few Utah views. What a great state.


[Yep, that's right alongside the road--he crossed right in front of me and just hung out for a bit, then joined two or three others, including a young-un.]

Back in town, I headed to Ray's Tavern, recommended by the same woman who recommended my nap spot. Ray's was *hoppin'*. Burgers out the ears.

This isn't Ray's, but it is right down the street:

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June 14, 2008

Go West, Young Women

My job cracks me up. I love it sometimes.

Out with my girlfriends at the tequila bar on Friday night, I get a call from Karl, the guy who asked me to drive the truck out to Richmond. When are you planning on leaving, again? Tomorrow, I said. Kate and I had decided to go to the tournament in Grand Junction after all, and she'd get a ride back with someone else. Karl sounded nervous. What's up? Is that a problem? I asked. No, but plans might change. Brian might want the truck in Seattle instead of Richmond. We figured since I'd given myself plenty of time for the drive and since I was heading west anyway, I could just hit the road and change route if needed. Might be driving to Richmond, might be driving to Seattle. Whatever.

Saturday morning, Kate and I hit the road. In the biiiiiiig white truck. It doesn't look as big as it is somehow, maybe because of the canopy on the back, but it gets bigger as soon as you step up into it. UP into it. I have a little trouble washing the windshield because it's so high. And I'm not exactly short.

Not that it's huge, but for a pick-up and all, yes, it's huge.

Down through Golden, I-70 west to Grand Junction. Sleepy and grumpy and sore. And then, at around 3, started playing in the Ultimate hat tournament. Until 10. With some breaks. A hat tournament is a tourney that is generally open to everyone; you just show up, put your name and sometimes skill level in, and the coordinators draw the teams. I happened to be on a team with two Whitman grads, one of which my friend Paul has been trying to get me to get in touch with for over a year, and a guy who was in Antarctica last season. Small freakin' world.

Normally, tournaments start at 9 and finish up around 6 or 6:30, but this one was I think purposely shifted to advertise that the finals would be under the lights. Sweet. Especially since it cooled off when the sun went down. Kate's team had it the toughest; they somehow were scheduled to play their four games in a row, each (except the first) against a team that had just come off a by (rest). My team got lucky; we had a mid-day by, were undefeated after three games, and won the finals--under the lights--by I think two points. 11-9, maybe.

I was dyin' with my ribs and my Achilles acting up during the third game (was it really such a good idea to play with bruised ribs?) (My friend Marianne said the other day, 'You know how to tell if you have bruised ribs, right? You push on your sternum.' I pushed on my sternum. Woah, okay, got it, don't have to do that again, pretty sure I have bruised ribs) and didn't know how I'd manage a fourth. I took four ibuprofin before the finals. It was good.

[Pictures pending.]

After play there was a party, and we 'camped out,' meaning we slept on the lawn. Camped out, not passed out--it was planned. We woke up to see streakers, woke up to hear dance music (I think I must have woken up to every song...) and woke at dawn to hear that it was still happening. Needless to say, not a great night of sleep, but a great brunch with a good group of folks before hitting the road.

Then, time to fill out the driver's log and git me to Utah.

Posted by beth at 4:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 13, 2008

Back in the Saddle

That's right. I'm hittin' the road again. This time, back to California. For something a little different, actually. Something I've never done before. How exciting. I think the excitement of slinging bags of cement around will only last a few days (hours?), but whatever. At least there's that.

I'd been told there would be some work for me in June and July for the Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) project, something that UNAVCO is managing and that I've worked on before but that falls outside the normal scope of my duties. PBO is a network of over 800 permanent GPS stations and I-don't-know-how-many (but fewer than 800) borehole strainmeters installed throughout the western US from Alaska down to California and the Pacific out through the Rocky Mountains to measure strain associated with the Pacific-Juan de Fuca-and North American plate boundaries. In short: The Pacific plate is diving under the North American plate off the southern coast of Alaska, creating volcanoes and earthquakes (the 1960 eq that leveled Anchorage is one of the largest eqs on record, one of the few exceeding a magnitude 9); the Juan de Fuca plate, a cute little piece that used to be part of a huge plate that has since gotten gobbled up, is likewise sliding (subducting) under the North American plate off the coast of southern Canada, Washington, Oregon, and northern California, also resulting in volcanoes (the Cascades--Rainier, St. Helens, Hood, Shasta, etc.) and potentially large earthquakes (there's evidence of the last big one in the tsunami records of Japan--cool, and a little scary); and the Pacific plate is sliding past the North American plate along the San Andreas, getting stuck and then rupturing to release the pressure as an earthquake and doing it again, and again.

PBO is designed to measure the strain (accumulating pressure, measured as motion along the ground, such as two points along the San Andreas moving past each other as pressure builds between earthquakes) all throughout the region. Pretty impressive. (Check out http://www.unavco.org for more info if you're interested.) I usually work on the GPS part of things, which measures motion of a point in three dimensions (east, north, up) by calculating the point's position and then looking at how it changes over time. This time, I'll be working on a strainmeter installation. I'll be able to tell you more about it when I've actually done it, but the idea is that a professional drill rig comes in and drills down a few hundred feet, and we put a very sensitive and very expensive instrument down in the hole to measure compression and expansion, as the earth is pushed and pulled. These instruments are more sensitive to small motions that GPS--they're amazingly sensitive, actually--but they don't tell the long-term motion like GPS does, meaning they're great for 'events,' like an earthquake, but not for measuring what's going on in the in-between.

So, this time around, I'll be helping out with a strainmeter installation.

After I drive a truck out to California.

Here's the gig: Right when I had written this deal off, thinking I wouldn't get any work from UNAVCO in the next couple months after all because I hadn't heard anything, Karl calls and asks if I'm interested in driving a truck out west and then doing some work on the strainmeters. Sure. When? Maybe as early as Sunday. Nothing wrong with three days' notice, eh?

So this is what happened. First of all, my mentality went through a bit of a 180. Just earlier this week, when I'd written off any field work, I was thinking how--wow--it's really kind of nice to be able to commit to things. Like, telling my friends that yes, I can come to their bbq in several weeks, or penning in an Ultimate tourney or two, and actually getting excited about these things, *and* even thinking hey, I'm going to practice with a club team and get my edge back. It was kind of nice to look forward to things. Then, Karl says, wanna drive to CA, and..... I get off the phone and do a little jig. Because YEAH, of course I do! Not only do I get to make some money, but I get to go on an adventure, too!

I hopped on it. Drove into work to fill out the paperwork for a driving record check and made an appointment for a physical to drive a truck between 10,000 and 36,000 lbs. Ours are 11,000. It's a little bit ridiculous. Big white Ford somethin'-somthin' pickups with custom canopies. In my physical, the doctor said, You look like you've been in an accident--the skinned knees and scrapes, the bruises. At least she didn't ask if I was being beaten, which is what I was expecting. I have two particularly nice bruises right now on my right arm, and some bruises or pulled muscles over my ribs. It kind of hurts to breathe. I hope that one heals before I have to start slinging the bags of cement around. Stupid Frisbee.

When I talked more at length with the guys I'd be working for--Dave, the guy in charge of the strainmeter stuff, in particular--my attitude went back about 90, to put me somewhere in the middle of excitement vs. not. He was talking like I might be out more or less until the end of July, and my mind went to all the events that I actually wanted to be around for here in Boulder.... I mean, it's summer! It's beautiful! It's fun! And I kind of like having friends. And being around for them sometimes. It's nice.

In the end, I don't know how long I'll be out for. (Speaking of long--this might be my longest stream-of-consciousness entry in a loooong time.) Stay tuned. What I do know is that I'll be leaving tomorrow (might drive west to Grand Junction and play in a little Frisbee tourney there before continuing on!) or Sunday, deliver the truck to my friend Brian in Richmond, CA on Tuesday or Wednesday, and then hop on a plane to Ontario, CA, where I'll rent a car and drive into the Mojave to meet up with the strainmeter crew. The Mojave in June. Yeah.

In the meantime, a little happy hour with the girlfriends. Could the weather be any better?

Posted by beth at 7:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack