89th Parallel

Miles Advanced: 22.4

Weather: Clear, WC -39F.

The human keister was never meant to suffer this kind of punishment. Is God spanking me for something?

Anyway, yea, my rump is all swollen up like a baboons. I’d send pictures- but you guys might forward them to my boss and my boss’ boss, and you know what? A mongoloid a$$ is bad enough as it is. So the crew voted and let me have another day in the Living Module. I might set a new record after all- first person to be dragged to the South Pole. Has a nice ring to it!

Everyone is talking about AGAP. Will we go, won’t we. It’s still up in the air. AGAP is an abandoned camp located 450 miles grid north-east of Pole. The Powers-That-Be want us to go clean up the site.

So these are the things I’m missing most, in order of priority.

#1- Wife

#2- Normal sized A$$

#3- McDonalds (no, they aren’t sponsoring me- but they should)

#4- Night sky, I miss stars

#5- The smell of the earth- plants, dirt, etc…

#6- Dogs, preferably dogs that don’t eat my furniture and sh*t all over the house.

#7- The sounds of a river

#8- Pepsi (no, Pepsi doesn’t sponsor me either- but they should)

Miles Advanced: 27.4

Miles Total: 932.3

Miles to South Pole: 116

Weather: Ice Fog, WC -48F

We are now out of the National Park and into the Polar Swamp- an area notorious for having deep, soft, snow. Kinda weird how we went from really hard snow to really soft snow in a short distance.

We should have some pretty good miles tomorrow as long as we don’t get stuck too often. Side Note: Sastrugi N. Park seems to be growing- three years ago it was only 50 miles long and now it’s double that. Not good for plastic sleds. End Note.

Cut the beard off- it was all bleached red from the sun and I was starting to resemble a disgruntled Ronald McDonald. Or a homeless Carrot Top- whichever.

Day 36

Miles Advanced: 27.0

Weather: Overcast, Wind, WC -42f

Elevation: 9,612ft

Miles to Pole: 89

I predicted some good mileage for the day but unfortunately didn’t get it. Broke another sheet of HMW. This cost us a couple hours, transferring the fuel from the broken sled to a bladder on a good one.

Above: Plastic sleds bending over sastrugi causes them to crack.

It was my Birthday today! Technically, it’s supposed to be tomorrow- with the International Date Line and all that crap, but I’m celebrating it today. Thought the crew might set me up some kind of surprise party or something of that nature and I kept telling myself, “Dave, act surprised, lets give them what they want.” But when I entered the Living Module… everyone was just eating dinner like normal. No presents, no banners, no confetti. Not even a freakin’cake!!!! As you will see in the picture below- we have DOZENS of precooked, frozen, birthday-cakes. All you gotta do is put one of those suckers in the microwave for 10 seconds and it’s DONE.

Above: Our frozen, pre-cooked, kiwi food

Most likely the whole ‘International Date Line’ thing got folks confused. I understand, and I believe in second chances.

Miles Advanced: 42

Weather: Ice Fog, Warm, -3 Ambient

Miles to Pole: 46

Crossed the 89th Parallel! I can taste victory! Hopefully, we will be within sight of Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station tomorrow- IF all goes well. We are about as far south as you can go and its actually warmer here than 100 miles farther north. Maybe less wind at the Pole???

Nice warm day, it started raining from our skylights around noon. Lots of ice build-up on the tractors. Conditions were soft and much of the day we were hooked together with a plasma rope in tandem assist mode.

All the Smokers are low on cigarettes and want to get to Pole ASAP. If we don’t get there soon McLovin’ may try smoking the tea leaves, which Gidget has tried, and doesn’t suggest. I’m looking forward to the Galley food, which is always top notch! Oh, and a washing machine that isn’t full of diesel fuel!

“Congrats! Yer Getting a Pay Cut.”

Day: 38

Location: South Pole!

Miles Advanced: 46.7

Miles Total: 1048.4

Avg. Miles Per Day: 26.9

Weather Days: 6

At 6:00pm we could see the station. There wasn’t much of a vote- we were going to push and try to make it that night. Our convoy was on the lee side of the station as we approached the skiway- this is an area that collects spindrift and the snow is bottomless- probably the worst snow conditions of the entire traverse. And we got stuck. Two tractors per load, three tractors on McLovin’s- that sucker wouldn’t budge.

At 8:30pm we finally made it, tired but happy.

Andy led us to the station, the galley, and the Conference Room. The table in this domicile was bigger than our sleeping quarters. We had lots of elbow room, great food, and plenty of booze. Mucho thanks to Andy and the galley crew for hooking us up big time- Pistachio Ice Cream and all!!!

We burned 25,636 gallons driving to Pole. We are currently offloading fuel- this should take 4 days, then off to AGAP. Yes, we are going to try. In the history of mankind- no one has ever crossed this area of the continent. Should be interesting.

Location: South Pole

Weather: Clear, -9 Ambient/ -30WC

Fuel Delivered: 61,598 gal.

LC 130 Flights Offset: 21

Morale: Taking a Dive

This morning we were told that our employer (Raytheon) has cut our pay by 30% due to the fact that we are working at a station and are no longer in the field. (They didn’t do this to us last year) We were also told we’d be leaving for AGAP on Christmas Day and would not be getting that day off like the rest of the station does. So instead of a ‘thanks for all your hard work’; Raytheon gave us a big middle finger. I especially feel for the mechanics who have been working 15 hours a day, trying to get the tractors fixed and ready to go. What a slap in the face.

It should also be noted that employees at South Pole get a 10% increase in base pay because they are working in an ‘extremely cold environment’. I guess it’s not cold enough for us because we aren’t getting that either. So we work more hours, making less money, with no days off.

“I don’t know about you guys, but I’m feeling motivated!”