Nevada Field Trip, Day 5 – One Last Low Band Reading and a Steak Dinner.

The weather report for our last full day at the ranch indicated afternoon showers, but clear in the morning until about noon. We decided to get one last 2 hr low band measurement taken in the morning. On our way back the previous day, we noticed a spot 15 miles south of the ranch that looked favorable.

As we loaded the car, the tire pressure indicator warned us that we were low 5 psi in one tire. We exited the car, had a look, and discovered it to be worse than just 5 psi. The tire was half flat.

Luckily, John and the ranch hands had not gone into the field yet and were still working in the area.   So we asked them if they could help us with our tire. They pumped it up with air and then we easily heard where the leak was – on the bottom of the tire right in the middle and was caused from hitting one too many sharp rocks. The tire couldn’t be patched, it was a dead tire.

John knew of a tire repair place in Austin, Nv, just 50 miles away. The man had a tire our size, and agreed to come up the road from Austin to deliver and install the new tire (actually a used tire). The deal was on.

Raul and I drove to our observation site using the spare tire (not a full sized spare) and began setting up the morning’s observation. 10 minutes later, the repair man pulled up with his truck and proceeded to take care of our tires. Amazingly the whole ordeal only set us back about one hour. We thanked him profusely and paid him profusely, but it was worth it. He said, “this is my job, I fix tires.” And he was a very busy man indeed. He was one of the tire shops selected to patch the huge tires for one of the mining companies. He told us that those tires were very lucrative to repair.

The sky was clear when we started but we knew it was going to be a race against time. Hour one: completed. Skies looking a little more ominous. Hour two of measurement began: how long would the sky hold off? We waited a bit too long and the high winds came. We furiously tried to shut down the computer cleanly, but the wind and now rain droplets were coming down too fast. Our shade structure twisted into a pile of rubble. We did manage to get the computer and instruments back into the car with no damage to them or us.

We unpacked the car at the ranch, as it had not started to rain there yet, and repacked it properly. That hour of delay from the flat tire did cost us as we really needed that extra hour.

As we were recovering from the earlier mayhem, the AC suddenly shut off and all was quiet – the power went out. OK, what next?! Fortunately, dinner was being cooked on the gas grill and we would not be denied our dinner.  In the meantime, I went down to the hot spring hoping to cool off.  The end of the pond away from the spring was indeed cool and it felt very nice to wash the dust off and cool off in the hot spring (luckily we are from Phoenix and have an altered sense of hot and cold).  Showers at the cabin were out of the question as the cold water was too hot to stand under.

We had a very nice dinner with the ranch manager John, with his wife, two daughters, the daughter’s 3 little boys (ages 3, 5, and 7), the daughter’s boyfriend (also the head ranch hand), and one college intern.  We had great discussions about cattle, the history of the ranch and surrounding area, and of course, John wanted to know more about the topic we were studying.

And to cap off dinner, the power came back on after being out for nearly 6 hrs. The day had a rough beginning, but a pleasant ending.

We are now headed back to Arizona and are examining the data we collected.

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