September 15, 2007
By Bob Dodds
Those on board were; Myself and Nancy, Mal and Jean Roode, Allan Wicker, Bob and Shirley Bolin, Craig Baker, Nan Savage, Don Sweinhart, Betty Wallin, Chuck and Lois Lahmeyer, Bob Younger (drove from Santa Barbara to join us,"What A Guy") and Dave Romero and Osa. Luck was with us again. We had perfect weather.
Friday the 14th Nancy and I arrived at the springs. Ben Curtis was behind us with his 5th wheel, and his wife Johnnie was to join us after work. Bob and Shirley called from the highway so Ben and I went out and escorted them up. We were all set up when Nan arrived.
Bob Younger got in just before dark as did Mal and Jean. Ben got a call from his wife, Johnnie and their daughter was in the hospital in Georgia, so he left to take the rig home and fly out. Hope all goes well guys.
Saturday morning all were up and ready. We met Betty and Don at the gate. All got checked in, and we headed to the gate at Goldstone to check in again. We were escorted to the facility by Karla herself.
At the first stop we saw a interesting animated movie on the mars rover landing. Karla is not only an exceptional speaker but has such knowledge and passion for the space program. She is mesmerizing with her numbers and statistics.
We then went outside and she told the story of a gentleman who had heard that the antenna was to be torn down ,and he asked if the Apple Valley school could have it. He arrived in his pickup with wrench and screwdriver in hand. Well this antenia was 65' tall and 18 tons so instead they negotiated with Goldstone for the school to continue tracking missions close enough using that dish. Now schools all over the world are doing the same.
We continued on visiting several antenna sites and were lucky enough to see one move into the stow position after completing its tracking. Before the last stop we saw burro, coyote, and several unidentifiable bird.s. Did I mention the shark and Goldnest monster?
The last dish was the largest, and I forgot the name, but it tracks the farthest away at 93 billion miles. We saw the tracking rooms where 24 hours a day they track missions, Rover travel and planets. Right now the biggest project is Mars and the Saturn Rings - all gathering information.
We thanked Karla, bought T-shirts and followed her to the gate to turn in our badges and head to the Museum. Neil Morrison was unable to make it but had his assistant open for us.
We ate lunch in the museum which was really nice, then Rose gave a tour.
The displays are wonderful, and we watched a wide screen computer that was showing Iraq and our troops there. Betty and Don left before lunch.
We had a really special day, then returned to the Springs. Some of us went swimming; some hung around and watched us swimming. Maybelle brought our dogs to us and stayed a while.
Thanks, Dave for opening the gate and cooking chicken for dinner.
Hope everyone toured the house and saw Dave's tile work. We ate through happy hour and dinner. Some of us went to bed early, some had a campfire and Craig left at some point.
Sunday morning Mal and Jean, Shirley and Bob, and Allan had to leave for home. But there were 4 vehicles, and we went exploring. We were heading toward Goldstone Minng town when we came to a fence and gate. (government) We read the warning sign, and it didn't say no entering so awe decided to go through the gate. All it said was no cameras or making diagrams and subject to search. It wasn't there last time. Nancy stated that flags go up when the leader uses terms like "This doesn't look right" or "I think we're on the wrong road" or "we have to turn around" Bob Younger counted 4 times he heard those famous words. We explored Goldstone mine; had lunch on the way back and tried to find Lanes stone house/well.
It was getting late in the afternoon. and Nan was getting tired, and all had to head home. Bob was driving all the way to Santa Barbara. We went back to camp to get our trailer.
I forgot to mention that Leslie and Diane, both are Walkers, came by Sunday morning to see everyone and make sure we had all we needed.
Thanks again to the Walker family for allowing us to stay at their place and to Dave Romero who lost his mom and sister somewhere. They never showed up for dinner.
Thanks everyone who joined us and remember to "TREAD LIGHTLY"