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Day 15: Better Than TV
(January 2, 2013)

Cycle South ExpeditionCurrent Position
Position Date: 2013-01-03 01:55:04
Position Lat: -80.3593
Position Long: -80.3455

My Ice Photo is also a cloud and mountain photo. Lenticular clouds over the Patriot Hills.Its funny to be biking along in one of the most inhospitable environments on the planet and be relatively comfortable. Not that it is crazy cold at all but still - it's Antarctica. I really like being warm when it's cold. Often times, when I start out I am very cold, then I warm up, then the worst - overheat. Today, I was pedaling along and was the exact perfect temperature. Perfectly toasty in all my Ergodyne and Bergans layers and my Optic Nerve goggles and home made nose beak (thanks mom!). (Image: My Ice Photo is also a cloud and mountain photo. Lenticular clouds over the Patriot Hills).

Sometimes, I think I must be on another planet and all these clothes are my space suit - my field of vision limited by the small opening of my parka ruff. But that's only sometimes. Today I was trying to figure out the last time I saw another person - two weeks ago I think...

The snow conditions today were terrible by the way, just in case you were wondering. But I didn't crash at all which makes today pretty darn good no matter how hard the pedaling. I covered almost 12 nautical miles! I only put in a partial day today, because I thought I was going to be picked up, but more on that later.

There is something called a superior mirage that is caused by temperature changes in the air. Basically, its a phenomenon that makes objects appear much larger than they actually are when viewed from a distance. More than once, I've biked towards a drift or sastrugi that I thought was the biggest I'd ever seen only to discover it was less than a foot tall when I rolled up next to it!?!

MapDistance is a funny thing here, too - or anywhere cold and polar for that matter. I remember the first time I was on Ellesmere Island. We were out with a school group on snow machines. I was wondering out loud if we would also be visiting the mountains only a couple miles in the distance. 'They're 30 miles away,' someone replied. (View current position by clicking on map).

Today, I assumed I would reach Patriot Hills with little effort, but when I checked my DeLorme GPS realized I was still 20 miles away! The air is so clear here.

Not that I minded - biking towards actual scenery was worth every extra minute. For nearly two weeks, I've been staring out this big open space. Today, on the other hand, I was treated to this dynamic scene of peaks and valleys, layered behind one another. Lenticular clouds formed high up, then rippled and shape shifted all while I watched. The sun cast an orange glow near the horizon. It was one of the most incredible scenes I've ever witnessed. Who needs TV when you have the wind and a few mountain peaks in Antarctica.

I waiting in the tent for quite a while this morning as I was supposed to call in to confirm a twin otter pick up. I had been told the same thing the day prior but the weather was bad enough I was sure no one was flying. Today, the same news - no flights. I was actually happy at the news because it means one more night (at least) on the 'trail'. Of course, one of the ALE staff signed off by saying the weather looks good for flying tomorrow and we'll see you here tomorrow for dinner. 'Kiss of death,' I thought. 'That's the surest way to guarantee no flights.'

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