Tuesday, September 27, 2005
posted 9/27/2005 05:30:00 PM UTC+12, McMurdo Local Time

Getting the bags packed

So, for about a week now I've been in Colorado bouncing back and forth between my uncle's house in Longmont (where most of my stuff is,) and friend's houses in Boulder (where the shops I need to deal with are.) Nearly everything on the checklist has been taken care of at this point, so it's just a matter of dealing with the small stuff and any additional stuff that pops up between here and takeoff Thursday evening local time.

Got the bike touring stuff tested out and with a few little adjustments, I think things will roll quite nicely. At some point, I'll try to do up a gear review of the stuff I'm taking for bike touring since I haven't seen too many good ones out there for the kind of thing that I'm hoping to do. Am planning on having the guys over at University Bicycles box up my bike Wednesday and check it as my second checked bag on the flight to NZ. The bike and associated gear stuff will be left at at the RPSC offices in Christchurch while I'm working on the ice, then I'll pick it up when I'm done working and go goof off in New Zealand for a month or two before returning to CO.

John, my friend of my friend's sibling who's also going to the ice, sent some interesting info that I'm going to repost here so that other people might find it useful:

The luggage weight restriction info in the participant guide isn't the
greatest, so I'll give you a little more information about it. On the
flight from Cheech to McMurdo there is a 50 pound weight limit on
checked luggage. You get loads of clothing (about 50lbs) at the
clothing distribution center (CDC) in cheech, half of which you'll wear
on the flight and half will go in your luggage. You will have a
carry-on on the plane (the same size as a commercial airline carry-on)
which has no weight restriction. Also, if you have a laptop you can
bring a laptop bag on board in addition to the carry on. So, if you are
close to the checked baggage weight limit, you put some heavy stuff in
your carry-on or stuff it in the many pockets of the large parka you'll
be wearing. If you hit the weight limit on checked luggage and still
have more stuff, you put it in a box and leave it at the CDC and it will
get flown down at a later date (usually 3-5 weeks later). So, you can
really bring down as much stuff as you want, don't let the 50lb limit
scare you.
Here's my take on boots to add to what Scott had to say. I found that
in McMurdo its nice to have three types of boots. A pair for really
cold weather at the beginning of the season, which they give you at the
CDC, a pair of insulated work boots for November and February, and a
pair of uninsulated boots for December and January. I and the other new
fuelies last year had bought rather warm boots, and our feet were
sweating like crazy in the middle of summer. However, I had no problem
finding uninsulated work boots in the well stocked lost-and-found, aka
Oh, and you're the GA, so you'll be spending a lot of time in the fuels
lab testing the fuel. Since there are fuel vapors in the lab you can't
plug in stereos or radios, but there is a radio and cassette player in
there that runs on rechargeable batteries. The selection of tapes is
minimal, so you might think about bringing along a few tapes to listen
too. Your mp3 player would probably do the job too, but last year's GA
never had headphones on, I'm not sure why.
Changing your tickets for traveling afterwards is real easy. They hand
out information about it in January. If you don't want to fly straight
home you visit Raytheon's travel agency in Christchurch in February and
change your ticket to whatever you want. There are three basic ways of
changing your ticket: you can delay your flight straight home as long
as you want, you can delay your flight home and arrange for stops at
places on the way home for a minimal cost (last years options were
Auckland, Honolulu, and LA, but some years there are more exotic
options), or you can take the cash value of your return flight, usually
around $1000, and use it toward whatever flight plan you want, such as
flying to Asia, an around the world ticket, etc., and you pay the extra
Also, you can leave stuff (cloths, tents, bikes) at the CDC while you're
in McMurdo, which is real handy.
Hopefully you'll find some of this info helpful. I think the
information they supply to new employees is a bit weak, so I thought I'd
pass on some stuff that's helpful to know before you leave home. Have
fun packing!


So, that's all for now. The next few days leading up to takeoff are likely to be busy and chaotic, so there's a good chance this will be the last post from Colorado! Will be taking pictures and posting them sometime in the near future, so keep hitting that refresh button!

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