Wednesday, October 11, 2006


The past couple of days, I've been doing lots of
things at McMurdo for the first time. On Tuesday,
I took vehicle training. For some reason, in my
five years here, I had never driven a vehicle of
any kind. I never had a reason to. There was
always someone there to do it for me. So I hopped
into one of the vans with my trainer and my co-workers
and off we went. The vans are run by the Shuttles
section of ATO so while we were out training, we
received several calls from people to pick them up
and take them various places. It was kind of fun,
as I got to go all over the place instead of simply
driving around in a small area.

I also got to train on something called an Airporter.
It has a cab like a van, but a long, bus-type rear that
carries passengers around. Kind of like the rental car
shuttles that you might see at an airport...hence the name.
You have to make wider turns with the airporter since it's
the size of an RV. Not much different from driving the
vans though. Both of these vehicles are really high off the
ground. Monster-truck high. Not exactly convenient for
those of us with short legs. However, they have installed
footboard type things and straps to make it easier to enter.

We did our first Bag Drag on Tuesday. I've been through
many Bag Drags before, but always on the dragging end.
This time I was the one checking people in, making sure
all of their baggage was ready for their flight. Most
people can check only 75 pounds of baggage. (Winterovers
get 145 pounds) If they are over that weight, they have to
either mail some of their gear or find a friend to take it
that has less weight than they do. Today's drag was relatively
easy with only a couple dozen people on the flight. There will
be flights later in the season with almost 140 people so it will
definitely get much busier.

Yesterday a flight came in. This flight brought in about 120
people. However I wasn't concerned with the incoming people on
this flight. I was concerned with the crew. My co-worker Susie,
and I were in charge of running a Crew Tour. We go out to the
Ice Runway, wait for the plane to arrive, and then pick up the
crew to bring them into town. They only have a limited amount
of time, so we hustled them to the store, where they bought lots
of souveniers and then back to the plane. We did this twice.
Usually once is all there is time for, but they had a large
group and all of them wanted to visit. It was fun for me
because I was the trainee (Susie had done this before) and
I had never been to any of the runways during a flight for any
other reason other than arriving or departing from McMurdo.
Friday I will be the trainer and another co-worker, Mariah, will
be the trainee. Should be fun.

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