[meteorite-list] Newbie Tucson report, part 1

From: Matson, Robert <ROBERT.D.MATSON_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:31:21 2004
Message-ID: <AF564D2B9D91D411B9FE00508BF1C86904EE59A0_at_US-Torrance.mail.saic.com>

Hi Sterling and List,

Despite never having gotten on an airplane (I drove to/from Tucson),
I'm still feeling a bit jet-lagged from the experience. I'm very glad
I went as I finally got to meet dozens of people with whom I had
previously only exchanged e-mail or phone calls.

I left the L.A. area Thursday afternoon with the intention of staying
on Ford Dry Lake (California) Thursday night, hunting it some Friday
morning, and then continuing on to Tucson to arrive in plenty of time
for the Harvey Awards and Birthday Bash. However, I was not impressed
with the surface quality of Ford (puffy and sandy), so decided instead
to drive straight on through to Tucson. Made some calls along the way
to Geoff Notkin and Adam Hupe to see if anything would still be
"happening" at 11 pm, and both suggested the Reeds' room at the
Vagabond. Sure enough, seven or eight people were milling around
inside and outside Blaine and Blake's room, including John Gwilliam
and Bob Holmes. Mark Jackson, Howard Wu, Fred Hall and the Jensens
may have been there too -- the nights all run together for me, and as
we all spent a lot of time in the Reeds' room, it's hard to remember
who was there on which nights!

Around 1:30, everyone generously decided that Blaine and Blake needed
at least 5 hours sleep ;-) after a solid week of 2am partying, so we
said our goodbyes and I headed off to Willcox Playa to spend the night
on the lakebed. I didn't get to sleep until after 3 am, as it is
definitely more than an hour's drive to Willcox -- closer to an hour
and a half by the time you figure out how to get on the lake.

I awoke to subfreezing temperatures and frost on the ground at sunrise.
I took one step out of the truck, and sunk in 2". Not good! It's not
that the lake was mud, so much as it was puffy, damp clay. Evidently
the only reason I had had no trouble driving on the lake at night
was that it was FROZEN. At 7am it was thawing fast, and it was clear
that if I didn't get off the lake pronto, I would be spending the
next 18 hours there (until it refroze). I had some trouble getting
rolling, but eventually rocked it out of my sunken tire marks and
headed for the town of Willcox for breakfast.

The next several hours were spent trying other approaches to the lake
to see if drier sections could be found. Unfortunately, all of the
other routes were either blocked by locked gates, or impassable with
anything less than a 4WD Jeep (I drive a 2WD Pathfinder). I called
Adam to let him know that a hunt on Sunday did not look at all
promising -- two days of sunshine were not going to dry out Willcox
that much. Disappointed, I returned to Tucson, checked into the
Flamingo Hotel, cleaned up and headed back to the Vagabond.

The usual suspects were there: Adam, Zann and Greg Hupe, John
Gwilliam, Michael Blood and his wife, Fred, Bob Holmes, Howard, Mike
Farmer, Mark Jackson, Kim Cathcart, Steve (birthday) Arnold, the
Jensens and others (Bill Mason? John Divelbiss? Eduardo?) coming
and going. I really wish I had taken more pictures, but I was having
too much fun talking to everyone, swapping stories.

I opted to get to La Fuente early (7 pm) in case parking was difficult,
and the place was already packed. I asked the hostess to direct me
to the Notkin/Arnold party section, but she said Geoff had called and
wouldn't be arriving 'til 7:45, and that no one was back there yet.
(I know now she had to be very much mistaken.) I spent 40 minutes and
a couple Cadillacs in the bar (which does not have a line of sight
to the entrance), and the only face I recognized was Jim Tobin's
passing through about 20 minutes after I had secured a precious
seat at the bar. I finally decided enough was enough and headed to
the back. Sure enough, the place was packed! [Thanks, hostess.]

To be continued... --Rob
Received on Tue 10 Feb 2004 03:47:39 PM PST

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